Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Accomplishments

Jessie says,"Happy New Year". No, I did not do this. My children did because, budding photographers that they are (thanks for the cameras,Santa), Jessie often becomes their main subject and she complies, sort of willingly. She was not happy about it and I usually don't allow them to dress her up but I made an exception. She kept it on for quite awhile too.

Can I tell you all now how much your comments mean to me? If I were you (which would be awesome because that would mean I wasn't me) I would have run screaming from this blog a long time ago. I read over that last post and it was a major "I love you/I hate you, come here/go away..." and I don't know why you put up with me and stay and encourage and care, but I'm so very glad you do. It gets so difficult to reconcile all of this. To make people understand that this wasn't a "typical case". As if anything is typical when it comes to losing your husband, life partner, love at the age of 37. We were still looking at houses. We had money in hand to buy land. We were full of loving and laughter and raising kids. Plans were being made. And Boom...that's what makes this so very sad and odd and just surreal most days. So, most days, I pretend I am somebody else for a good part of the day...just to get through. And, a lot of the days I don't like that somebody else, because she is rude and uncaring and generally not a very happy, fun person to be around.

Accomplishments. Today, much to the delight of the Mortgage Broker who owns the home, I finally finished a drive by that was sitting there, on my desk/kitchen counter/pile of paper for 3 weeks. It was ordered and I said,"No problem, yesirree, get right to it...and then all heck broke out. But, he is a great guy, let me give him an estimate and went with that until I could get it done. I have to be grateful for those people who are willing to wait on me. Unlike the idiot I work with who actually thinks finishing a rent study is tops on my list. Have I totally bored you with my completely boring job yet? A plus is that it's work from home. A minus is that I can't stand it anymore because there is Leonard behind every job, encouraging and excited about our future. I don't want that to be my future, alone, anymore. Again, with the oddness of it all. Our life is not my life without him.

Accomplisment two: I finally made it to the mall to get my new inserts for my Franklin planner. I used to get so excited about picking it out. This year, because I waited so long and they were out of "Blooms" in the classic size, I went with the ever exciting Original. Ah well, it's only a year. The important thing is that, this being only January 2, there were only 2 days where I had no idea what it was I was supposed to be doing. Since August, that planner has become my life because if it's written in there I do it. Not, I don't.

Look at how well Nik looks. She was not happy that I took this picture and will be even less happy when/if she finds it posted here. I don't like her looking at my blog, but I know she searched the title and has gotten upset with me. I will not censor myself anymore than I have. I have told her that 1. Pretty much everything I write here I have said out loud in her presence and 2. she is not an invited reader. Leonard knew that and most times didn't go looking for it, but I really have nothing to hide.

I love this picture of James. It reminds me of his baby face. He is growing up way too fast and I was a little teary thinking that this might be the last year he believes in Santa. That is, if he still believes in Santa and isn't just doing this to make Mama happy. I do got through some elaborate schemes to keep the magic going-up to and including having a neighbor come in our house and leave a small gift and note for him while we were at the store. He has been such a good boy throughout all of this upheaval and I would be in a much worse place without him.

I hope the New Year has started well for you all... My Family's best wishes for continued happiness go out to every single one of you who care enough to care about us.

36 comments:

Heather said...

A much more upbeat post today babe, and I'm happy to see it. And no, you never bore me, I look forward to every post. I can't wait to meet you, finally, one of these days. :)

Nic looks great! And James is a-dorable!!!

I'm still in stress hell, but I'm here and breathing. :)

Love you!!

haylee said...

Nik looks so much better than in the previous pic. It's nice to see some color in her cheeks:) Isn't it amazing how quickly things can change from good to bad to good? I'm glad to see the pillow on her tummy - hope it helps.

James is as photogenic as his father - so expressive - and handsome. Cute hat :)

You have beautiful children, for sure.

Laurie said...

Hi Laura,

You sound good tonight and I hope this is you and not the other person you pretend to be:) Your kids look so good and Nicole looks like she is back in her own skin and healthy. I would never run screaming from the things you write here. They are honest and how you feel. I am surprised you want to share them with us! You are doing good Laura, and I know you probably don't feel like you are, but I admire you so much for getting through last year into this one. I know it sucked, you said so many times, yet you are here and I am so glad you are stubborn:) I love that about you. I am praying that you laugh more, enjoy yourself more, and accept more love than you can handle this year. I am with you for the long haul so just keep being yourself and let us encourage you through. Love you girl.

Laurie in Ca.

Anonymous said...

You dont have to censor yourself but try and look at it from her perspective. Her father killed himself and her mom is really emotional right now & reading that you have a hard time going on must be really scary for her.

Not in a your wrong to say it kind of way because your doing something so great here and very important. Not just for you but for everyone that reads this. But I remember being scared to death when my mom left us that something would happen to my pop. It's just a teenage hormonal thing. All you can do is reassure her.

Everyone gets totally scared of stuff after big life altering events. Remember how scared you were when Nic was in hospital? You could not bear the thought that more could happen. So thats what it feels like to her as well.

Oh lucky day we all remember what it was like to be a hormonal teenager with thoughts and emotions flyin fast and furious.

Your son is becoming quite the photog. I think they believe in the magic as long as we keep it in their hearts.

Laura said...

Hi anonymous,

It goes so way deeper than that. I wish it were that simple. This is why it is so difficult, at times, on this blog, because I cannot write of what happened.

Laura said...

I also forgot to add...we don't focus on the "how" because that cheapens and stigmatizes the man that he was...because this is not a typical situation, as I mentioned above. It is also why I hesitated about writing about that day because it would put a lot of preconceived notions/book read ideas/presumptions on something that can't be categorized. We focus on how he was one of the most wonderful, generous, loving and giving creatures that ever graced this planet. To be cherished as he cherished us is to feel the great loss of his absence.

Laura said...

haylee, the pillow is the pillow her aunt used for her abdominal surgeries. I used a teddy bear one. Unfortunately this family is too well versed in the art of recovering from abdominal surgery. Thank you so much for checking in on us every day.

Laurie, You need to start a blog so we can all come and comment on it. I cannot tell you how much your daily visits mean to me.

Heather, Your visits and your presence in our lives mean the world to me. I will have to work on mah Boston accent. "Wha'd ya Pahk so fah from the Bah?" Did I do that right?

Julie said...

Laura, I visit your blog because I care for you and your family, even though we've never met. I wish you knew the power of your words to move the hearts of readers.

If there was one thing I could wish for you this year, it's love and it's miracles, in whatever form you most need them.

Julie

Ronni said...

Laura, one thing of which I was warned at the beginning of this process was starting a "St. Jim" party. There was never any danger of that, as I was in full pissed-off mode within minutes of Jim's suicide. The anguish in my son's voice when we went out and found Jim is burned in my mind forever. No mother should have to hear her child howl like that.

So the warning not to canonize the dead may not apply to you. Not all the guidelines apply to everyone. Just saying that, in the minds of his children, if he was wonderful, and it wasn't his fault, then it may seem as if somebody else was responsible for his death. Someone outside of Leonard, like God, or them, or possibly even you.

I'm not sure how well I'm expressing this, so please understand that I mean no criticism of your means of making sense of your husband's death. Just saying that most of us, especially kids, like it when there is someone or something they can hold responsible when bad things happen. To blame your husband would be an over-simplification of the situation. I would really like to know who or what they see as responsible for his death.

I guess I'd like to find some way to alleviate my son's anger towards his stepfather, because the depth of it shakes me when Brendan lets me see a bit of it.

I feel as if I'm walking on eggshells with my son.

Shari said...

Laura, I loved the pix of Jessie. It made me miss my own Sheltie. She's adorable. Lovely pixs of the kids, too. They do grow up fast.

Here's to 2008. Thanks again for the award. Sorry I took a few days to get around to posting it.

Hey, your blog doesn't push me away. Some days I do get "busy", but I come back and get caught up. You have a story to tell, painful as it is, and I like being able to give you some encouragement and support. I'm in for the long haul, too. (((HUGS)))

Laura said...

Unfortunately, for the situation, one of them thinks they know who is responsible. In the end he was responsible but there was a "push" for lack of better words. I wish, so many times, you all could have met him. I spoke of him very much in this manner in life, on message boards I participated on,...he was my everything and I tried to celebrate that everyday with our children. For not being a religious man he walked the walk that so many "religious" fall short of. He did because he wanted to make lives better. We have a $4000 Jaguar (used from his cousin) that he bought so that his cousin would have decent transportation for her children...and he hated foreign cars. It was just who he was. Even his last act was, in his mind, helping others out. If he had known the devistation that was left behind...the hundreds left hurting and wondering he would be so hurt. He was, as I've said here before, still a little boy (in a handsome man's body) just wanting to please people. Some took advantage (his own mother) and it hurt to see that happen. I only ever wanted to bring him the peace and happiness that a family can bring and that he so deserved.

Ronni said...

Everyone who knew Jim and myself together knew that we were absolutely right for each other. We were always supportive of each other. I ran the hospitality room at the school during the endless theater tournaments he hosted, and he always came to my rescue, whether I needed advice on a set design or a hand to hold in the ICU waiting room when my daughter almost died from TSS. He was the most wonderful, caring man, right up until 2:30 AM, August 20, 2007. Then, he became a dead son of a Siberian sasquatch who flushed us down the loo. I hate feeling this angry at him.

haylee said...

Laura: Rest assured that your love for Leonard was very evident in your writings even before this tragedy. I think I have mentioned this before.

You have "shared" him with your readers and by doing so in such an eloguent manner, I feel I do know him. I am sure others do as well.

This is just one of many reasons why we are here to support you in the loss of your wonderful soul-mate who, by all accounts, was and has a beautiful soul.

haylee said...

Sorry Laura, I didn't mean to appear so presumptious as to imply I feel I know Leonard. What I intended to say was that, because you have shared so much about him, I feel as though I have met him in some small way. I would think that some others who have read back through this blog might feel the same way.

This is in response to your comment that you wish we all could have met him.

That'll teach me not to proof read my posts:) Sometimes my fingers and brain have a total disconnect.

Angie said...

Laura,
I love the picture of the dog. She looks very sweet. The pictures of the kids are great too. Your daughter looks like she is recovering, and your son, he looks so much like his daddy, it must take your breath away some times. I hope this year brings some healing for you, and that you find things to make you smile. I pray that God will give you some relief, even if it is momentary. I am very grateful to have met you this year too.

Laura said...

Haylee, I'm glad that you feel like you know Leonard. My greatest fear, these past few months, has been that he would be forgotten. Your words comfort, not wound. I only wish you all could have truly met him because he was astounding...and really nice to look at too...

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Love the dog pic - I don't feel so guilty now that my kids put a hat on Fenway!!

Thanks for leaving such a nice comment about CJ. I wish he was back home already....

Hallie

haylee said...

Laura, yes indeed, Leonard's pics are very pleasing to the eye:-) I noted that your wedding pic (standing on the porch) is when he shows his biggest smile.

While I cannot know the personal pain of your loss, I think I can imagine the magnitude of it as I am blessed to be re-married to a man of similar strong character & inner beauty. I could ask no more of a husband and father. He is truly an answer to my prayers. (long story)

You are living my worst nightmare. Your prior fears are my fears. The first time I read your comment about both of you dying the same day, I thought "OMG, I could have written that!".

Leonard will never be forgotten. He left behind a strong legacy, a very devoted wife and hearts full of precious memories.

I like to think of memories as God's photo albums that are custom made for each of us.

Our younger son is home on break from university and he and I talked at length on New Year's Eve about my grand-mother whom he had never met. I told him how she was left to raise 6 children (aged 6 month to 7 years) when her husband lost his life in the coal mines at the age of 29 during the great depression. I shared with him a lot of stories -- most of them quite humorous -- she had shared with me and I hope that someday he will share with his children. In fact, I have a picture of the grandfather I never met (and my Mom has no memory of as she was only 4) hanging in my livingroom. The sharing of memories is one of the best tributes to those gone before us. Throught this blog, people who would never have met Leonard will remember him. Rest easy.

I hope your day is peaceful.

rachd said...

Laura,

The emotional roller coaster is the worst, isn't it? One day, two days, maybe even three days, I'm fine as if nothing ever happened, then, the next, BAM!,I'm hit upside the head and heart with the knowledge Han is gone--GONE! How the heck is that possible? I completely understand what you are writing and how you are doing.

I also know the fear of Leonard being forgotten. That too continues to be one of my biggest fears with the Monkey. Oh, God, how could she be forgotten?

You have made me see Leonard was a very real, genuinely wonderful human being and husband. He is someone I would wish to be friends with, as I am friends with you.

On another note, Jessie is too funny! Nicole is looking great, and wow, that James is gonna be a stunner before you know it! :o)

HUGS my friend, HUGS!

The Stevens Family said...

Ok, James is too cute! Nicole is looking great herself and you are sounding wonderful!

Leonard can't be forgotten if you keep talking and informing everyone of him. If I ever say anything to offend you, I am sorry. Sometimes things come out and it's not the way I mean them.

Hugs to you and your beautiful kids.

Swistle said...

She won't think so, but she looks gorgeous. She looks so much like you!

Jeanette said...

Besides your two cute kids, you have a cute dog, too? I used to have a dog that was patient like that. She would let the kids put any kind of hat on her, as long as that's all they tried. She did not like her paws touched. How much snow did you get at your area Monday night? We got 4-5 inches, but my son got 12 inches in White Lake where he lives. And yes, I love the frozen coke analogy you commented on my blog! Too funny!

Anonymous said...

Laura,
From the first visit to your blog, your words touched something deep inside of me. I don't know you, except through your writings, and yet I do know you. I visit your blog every day and I think you are an incredible person. You are so full of love for your family, especially Leonard, and it makes me feel good. I'm sorry you have to go through this rough time.
Read you tomorrow.
Massachusetts Gal

red tin heart said...

Sometimes I censor myself because my evil sister-in-laws searched for my blog and found it.
But i really hate the feeling of being spyed on. I feel like my blog is my space.
I resolved this year to write what I want and if they spy, whatever.
They can click away.
Every day i hope gets better for you. i wish you strength for this coming year and wisdom.
love nita

TIF said...

LAURA~
HANG IN THERE GIRL, YOU ARE TRULY AMAZING!!

haylee said...

Laura, I just wanted to say that I like when you comment here.

It makes it seem more like a chat:)

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

I hope that 2008 brings you some peace and relief from your pain.

Accomplishments are important to remember, I guess. And I have a boring work from home job, too. Tax software. Yawn.

Donna said...

Beautiful children!!! I know you're doing everything you can right now. Love to you!

Anonymous said...

Laura you have been through so much and your strength is overwhelming to me.

I think most of us would agree that almost no passing is cut and dried. There are always things left unsaid, undone, unanswered. I guess people would say that a long drawn out illness gives you time to say goodbye but I think that leaves you with memories of watching your loved one suffer over time and that breaks your heart every day as it happens.

So if you feel very very very deeply for someone, no matter what way they go, the loss is absolutely staggering!

There is no text book for life or death. There are pre-conceived ideas but that is it. The stages of grief almost never apply in the order they are given. And in many cases they do not apply at all.

I think the only absolute is that each situation is different and that finding your way through it is a day to day thing. You can share your feelings with others and commiserate and try to help but for each person it is different.

There are people who cry and scream, people who show no emotion, people who turn to drugs, people who turn to exercise, people who shut everyone out. There is no formula to figure out how any one person will react.

I think you are doing a damn fine job of holding up, even if you do not.

You said in an earlier comment here that one of the kids already thinks they know who is responsible and are already holding someone responsible, or blaming. But the thing is that it is damn near impossible to get in to someones head once they are gone and figure out why they did what they did. Unless Leonard held someone responsible it would be unfair for anyone else to. Of course none of us here no the dynamic so maybe someone told him he should do such a thing. And if someone did that, they are sick.

It is okay for you to talk about the entirety of your feelings. For whatever reason you do not yet feel okay talking about "that day" and that is fine. It is your decision. If you never decide to talk about it I think that is your choice. If you do decide to talk about it I think the important thing to remember is that suicide doesn't make someone evil, stupid, bad, inconsiderate or unloveable.
You have to be in a very bad place mentally do that and my heart breaks for anyone who has ever taken such a drastic step. To feel that there is no other way out must be so overwhelming. Those people do no deserve scorn or criticism. The tragedy is that they were not able to get help.

Theresa said...

Laura,

You dont know me. I have never commented here before, but I feel compelled to speak to you. The death of a loved one has to be dealt with in stages and anger is one of those stages. It does not matter the manner in which your sweet husband passed, you will mourn him in the same way. Dont feel like you are belittling him or your marriage by allowing yourself to grieve. You can only heal after the grief. God Bless you and I am praying for you.

T

brenbrookesmom said...

I found your blog today, cried for about an hour reading old posts of yours. I admire your strength and courage. So much so that I mentioned your blog and linked to it from my new one. I hope that's okay.

Deelovely said...

What secret, shameful thoughts are lurking inside of you?

Don’t feel bad. What you might think is you, is not really you. Your soul is eternal and it’s only your illusionary ego that has thoughts that you might consider shameful or “bad” desires, cravings, jealousies ... you fill in the rest.

That’s why it’s important to find a trusted teacher or friend to talk to. Tell them what you’re too ashamed to say in public. The moment you do you will feel lighter because saying it out loud allows you to look at it as something separate from you.

Don’t hold back. Break your shame. You’ll find that through talking it out you will neutralize the power these dark thoughts have over you.

(If you don’t have someone to tell, then try writing it.)

Ortizzle said...

Love the pics and your comments that show just a bit of sunshine peeking through the grief.

No one should judge anyone else for how they handle their grief, or how they run their lives, for that matter. I think you are doing wonderfully well under the circumstances, and I hope the new year brings you solace and comfort, and that you are able to somehow reconcile the events of the past year. Time does heal all wounds, even the deepest, even though it seems an eternity before you get there. You are an inspiration to all for your courage and honesty.

Nance said...

I have been behind for weeks, both in commenting and my own blog, but I have been reading. I am with you. Thanks for hanging with me at the Dept. whenever you can.

I think of you often.

haylee said...

This is an extremely awkward post for me to try to craft properly to get my meaning across in a productive manner.

To Laura: Please forgive me if I am out of line. I have had people tell me I have too much empathy to my own personal detriment. Empathy is a good thing so how can one have too much? I will admit to wearing my heart on my sleeve more
often than not but, in the main, I feel it has served me & others well.

That said, there are 2 recent posts here that truly trouble me. So then I think: if they bother me, how must Laura feel?

Laura, you may decide to address them yourself (and do a far better job than me)and if you so decide, it is important for me to know that you feel the support of another in doing so -- that someone is here to hold your hand even if figuratively.

Anonymous: First, may I suggest that if you are unwilling or unable, for whatever reason, to use your real first name that you use a nickname rather than anonymous? I think you possibly undermine your intentions as there are so many posters who hide behind the relative anonymity of the internet for less than a noble purpose.

Please let me be clear that I am not suggesting any ill intent on your part but rather am sharing a fairly commonly held notion - be it right or wrong.

I feel many of your comments are valid & well-intentioned. However, I do take issue with some of your statements.

I feel that Laura has been very clear that there are extenuating circumstances to Leonard's passing which she is loathe to expand upon whatever they may be because of her fear of adding more hurt to what already must be a painful
nightmare. I don't interpret it as her "choice" per se` but rather a conscious effort not to cause more pain to someone she obviously cares for deeply. She has said many times that she would love to relieve herself of the details of that day as it may help her heal. Instead, she has unselfishly put the feelings of a person unknown to us over her own anguish. I admire and respect her for that.

She has been equally clear that Leonard was not struggling with either depression or any other mental health isues. She is his wife. Who would know better? She has been so forthright about every other aspect of this horrible
road she travels that there is no just cause to believe this to be otherwise.

While it may be true that a person is "in a very bad place mentally" (to use your words) during the final moments leading to the fatal act, to me, it is so unfair to assume it was an on-going issue (although it is with some
individuals)- thus contradicting what Laura says was the reality. I can think of a few dreadful circumstances where a previously mentally healthy individual
could make an ill-fated decision that would not have occured except under those very specific circumstances.

Laura has gone to great lengths to help us "know" Leonard -- how very important he was in their lives -- what a selfless and caring individual he was and how, above everything else, his family was always first & foremost. That said, I think it was totally inappropriate to caution her to "remember" (again, your
word) that people who die through suicide are not "evil, stupid, bad,inconsiderate or unloveable". Try as I might, I simply cannot understand your intentions here especially in the face of Laura's testimony to the contrary. She, more than any other, knows this. She doesn't need to be reminded that others may feel differently.

Anonymous, I am sure you will agree that words are a very powerful instrument. On the internet, where facial xpressions, inflections & tone of voice are lost to us, we must be ever so vigilant with our use of language. Again, I am assuming it was not your intention but phrases like "those people" in reference to individuals who have died through suicide implies they are somehow different and apart
from collective society. I don't believe this to be true but, of course, I offer it as my opinion only. I ask that you please take my comments in the spirit in
which they are offered.

Deelovely: Where in the heck are you coming from with this shame nonsense? Laura has never implied feeling shame nor should she. To the contrary, she has consistently shown & expressed, in the most loving way, her unconditional & heartfelt pride in Leonard -- as a husband, father, friend and compassionate soul.

This is so out of character for me to say this but why not take a step back and explore where these "dark thoughts" you reference originate. What exactly about your post did you think would be of benefit & comfort to Laura -- a person in some much pain? What were you thinking?
*******************************************************************

Dear, sweet Laura: I am truly sorry if I am out of line or have offended you in any way. Please feel free to say so if I have. I apologize if it seems I have
hijacked this thread but I ask that you understand that, like you, I sometimes get angry at things I read - especially when people are pigeon-holed. I do
confess, however, that I do not believe that my feelings are unreasonable in this case and hope that you will agree or, alternately, understand. I tried my level best to measure my words and will be heartbroken if they somehow ignite an unproductive discourse.

I stand by what I have written & will make no further comment in this matter unless requested by Laura.

Much peace,
haylee

PS - Feel free to delete this post if you wish. I will take no offence.

Ronni said...

I see Laura as picking her way, cautiously, through a morass of contradictory feelings, while keeping the welfare of her kids clearly in focus.

Laura, this may be the most difficult thing you have to do, and I think you are doing a fine job.

I am sure that everyone who comments here means well.