Monday, April 11, 2011

13 Months Later, Hoping to Bloom in the Spring

That was the longest month it seemed, March 9, 2011 to April 9, 2011. It started out with me bringing Elijah home after a respiratory virus landed him in the hospital. He was discharged on the 1st anniversary of Thomas' passing. The other night I reflected on it and the past month has been pretty difficult emotionally.

Getting used to Elijah's medication routine has been an up and down process. But his pediatricians are doing what they can to keep him from getting sick like his dad was and I appreciate that. Sometimes he sits there with the mask on like he's way more mature than his age would indicate. I can have his sister sit with him and brush my teeth, even start the van. Others I have to sit next to him holding the mask to his face to stop him from removing it. Honestly it appears to depend on what is on TV. His favorite Disney Show, Agent Oso, usually keeps him still. Trouble has been it starts at 6:30am and the treatment takes a bit longer than 15 minutes, so I really need to start it at 6:20. But overall he's been good about it.

I think it is my commute that is wearing me down more than his reaction to his meds. It's 40 minutes most days and I'm rushing because if I don't get back to the school by 4:00 to get Ariana it will cost me $80 for afterschool care. Like I need that in my life. So I bust my behind to get there by 4:00. They grace me 10 minutes usually because they know she's leaving. But on Tuesdays she goes to Sylvan Learning Center. I enrolled her there for tutoring for reading/phonics. She has to be at the learning center by 4:30 and that is a mad dash or whatever you can call a mad dash across town in the afternoon here. A mad dash between stop lights is about the best I can describe it.

But she's continuing to improve and the people at Sylvan say she's doing what they expect. Her phonics grades have improved slightly and she continues to score A's on her spelling tests. Her attitude towards books is improving though it still takes some convincing to get her to read to us. Her teacher I believe was looking for more improvement than she's shown, but she didn't get to where she was overnight and won't come out of it overnight either. My goal was to have her where she needed to be by December and Sylvan believes that is very possible at the rate she attends. And at $50 an hour, 2 hours a week is all I can afford. It's looking like summer camp is going to be more than her school tuition, but it's the closest one to my house. Better get her signed up this week. *sigh*

But I found out that children who lose a parent often lose an entire year of school academically and have to catch up later. She's had a few disadvantages. I want to give her what she needs to overcome them. Not only did he die, but he died a little at a time. The parents on the widow board range from "don't have the energy to worry about it" to "going toe to toe with school counselors and administration" when it comes to academic progress of their elementary school children.

Elijah? Growing in a lot of ways. I don't know how tall he is, but I had him measured for shoes over the weekend and and he measured a 6.5 wide and required a size 7wide shoe to have room for growth. Not sure where these wide feet came from. Probably means he's going to be a little taller. They looked so big the sales lady and I wondered if he'd walk in them, that is until he darted across the shoe department and was almost at the perfume counter when I caught him. Lately I wonder what I'll do with him to work with his energy. He likes to climb and he disovered the other night that the chair next to his sister's bed makes a good stepping stool and can now climb up on to her bed, a bed that is higher off the ground than he is tall. When I picked him up today, his teachers told me he'd been in and out of the little chairs they sit in to eat all day. Thankfully it's getting warm and we'll be able to be outside more. He's always enjoyed being out, ever since I can remember. We're also doing baby signing which is really fun. The other day during lunch, I asked if he wanted more chicken and he signed "more" back to me. How cool is that?

Me? Well, after dealing with a lot of stuff last month, I'm working on a wholeness plan for us. I figure here in year 2, it is something we can work towards. I got us all Devotional books over the weekend during an afternoon of retail therapy and the last two nights I spent 10 minutes with each child doing a devotional and activity from each of their books. Last night's subject was the creation and how God made this earth for us. The 2nd night was about Adam and Eve. Ariana's lesson was about how God has great plans for us, intends for us to enjoy life and wants us to be like Him. Elijah's devotional was about obedience and at the end we talked about what is a "no-no" in the house. Elijah's book is for toddlers specifically and Ariana's is for girls ages 6-9. Mine is a devotional and journal combined and today's subject was relying on God for strength. I also renewed my gym membership and am checking the budget to see if I can take the children to the local "Little Gym" this summer. They closed the one closest to us, so it may be some other gym. So that is pretty much it.

I spent a lot of time the last 30 days dealing with a wide spectrum of emotions where Thomas is concerned. I spent some time arguing at him, not with him of course, asking him what he was thinking knowing I wasn't going to get an answer. I spent time trying to forget who we became as a couple over the last 4 years of his life, how it wasn't what we planned and couldn't have been what God had in mind. Then I just chose to deal with my feelings on it instead. In the end I know he didn't mean to hurt me and I didn't mean to hurt him. We were clueless as to how to see each other through what was happening and so wrapped up in fighting the illness and conditions he had, supporting each other emotionally through the turmoil it was causing fell by the wayside. Still, certain things miraculously smoothed out towards the end and we developed an understanding I can only credit God for us having.

I also don't know that we took the time to think about a possible end to us. Less then 3 weeks before he was promising me better times. Asking questions during less tense times out from under the constant emergencies gave me some direction as to how to proceed in the event of his passing, but in an effort not to bother him, I didn't seek his input nearly as often as I should have. I didn't want to make bad days worse or make a good day bad. I believe I did the best I knew how and I know he believed he did the best he knew how and that's going to have to be enough. He's gone. And a much as I might scream in my head, "WHY AREN'T YOU HERE TO HELP ME DANGIT!!" That won't change.

I feel blessed to have gotten to this point with a sound mind. The ups and downs and situations that go with chronic illness and widowhood are exhausting. My calm was an asset at times. My husband used to say he married the right woman because all hell could be breaking loose and you would not know it to look at me. He said it gave him comfort. He always required me to "woman up". 13 months ago, I stood in my living room and nursed my son under a blanket tossed over my shoulder while the police interviewed me as the coroner prepared him for transport.

Other times the calm has me misunderstood. It gives people the idea that I don't hurt, that I don't get frightened, that I'm some super woman. I'm not. And that misconception lead to days when events took a turn and people did and said things that added more grief where I didn't need any more. But it also added some sense of accomplishment as to how we've made it this far. My main issue has been exhaustion to the point of tears. Last week I wanted to quit my job it got so bad.

But thankfully common sense prevailed and I pray it will continue to do so. It seems that just at the moment where I think I'll lose it an unexplainable peace comes over me. I've been in survival mode. I've stayed in church and continued to learn, but I'll have to put more effort into spiritual development. I know it. Prayerfully that wholeness plan wil help us continue to grow and become the family we need to be. Well...that and the much needed vacation I have planned for the end of the month for my daughter's spring break.

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