Archive of ‘grief’ category

There are no words. And that is okay.

I have been thinking a lot lately about how difficult it is to come up with the “right” thing to say when a loved one is facing a tragedy, a difficult time, or is suffering in some way.

As much as I try to see the glass as half full- and I think deep down I believe it still is- bad things continue to happen. They happen every day. It is mostly out of our hands.
Luckily, there is good that happens every day too.
Thank goodness, right?
But as I get older, the tough times keep a rolling for loved ones and for me. I think some of it is just age, the older you get, the older everyone else gets, thus developing more health problems. It might be that when we are younger, we are shielded and protected from the “bad” that exists. When we are young, we don’t have to come up with the “right words” to comfort each other. If we see a friend crying on the playground, we just go up and give our friend a hug. Then we bring them over to play with us.IMG_6944

I think there is much to be learned from how we handled our friends’ tough times as children.
When I lost my dad, I heard so many different things.
“He is in a better place.”
“You will be with him again.”
“This must have happened for a reason, you will know someday.”
“He lived a full and rich life.”
Are those things true? Quite possibly. And maybe 6 months after losing him, those statements would have been easier to hear. But when I was ravaged by the shock, the pain, the awful emptiness of losing a parent- no words were enough. In fact, I barely ever answered the phone. I asked friends to wait to visit. I just couldn’t face the pain in their faces reminding me of my own pain.
There were no words. And that is okay.
When I recently lost another baby, I received an email from a friend who has moved to another state and she wrote: ” I don’t know what to say…..My heart goes out to you, Todd, and Evan.”
I can’t tell you how much I appreciated her message. She admitted that no words really fit the situation. It just sucks, and she wanted to send her love.
There were no words. And that is okay.
Please know that I am not faultless in this department. It is SO hard to sit by while someone suffers and not offer up some type of supportive remark. But I want to share that I have learned it is not the words you choose as much as the offer to sit with someone and mourn/kick rocks/suffer/laugh with them. The text messages I received from friends who just wanted me to know they thought of me that morning. That they wanted to know that if I wanted to yell, I could call them. If I wanted to come over and not talk about anything serious, I could. That they were just there. And that is more than enough. That was so much.
Sometimes there are no words. And that is okay.
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Darlin’ Do Not Fear

I was getting ready in the bathroom the other day and I felt like I needed some music to move me along. One of my favorite albums is the Parenthood TV soundtrack. I am one of those. Those who LOVE soundtracks. My dad and I would croon along to the Cocktail soundtrack on roadtrips. And don’t forget the infamous cassette tape of us singing “I’ve Had the Time of my Life,” from Dirty Dancing. (recorded in an amusement park “recording studio” nonetheless) It’s kind of amazing, and kind of scary.
Anyway, I heard these lyrics, loud and clear:
If you have a broken heart or a battered soul
Find something to hold on to or to let go
To help you through the hard nights like a flask filled with hope
Darlin’ do not fear what you don’t really know

“Cause it won’t last – your worries will pass
All your troubles they don’t stand a chance
And it always hurts the worst when it’s the ones we love the most
Darlin’ do not fear what you don’t really know

Do not fear what you don’t really know.
How simple is that? Do not fear the unknown. If you cannot control it, and it is in the future, however distant- don’t fear it. Clearly this is much easier to read and talk about, than it is to put it into practice.
But I thought I would try.
Should I focus/worry about the things I do not know for 100%, like will Evan develop heart issues? Will I get pregnant again? Will we have another baby with special needs? How will Evan be accepted in school?

Darlin’ do not fear…..focus on the things you DO know.
This I can do.
I know that we participated in a fundraising walk for Williams Syndrome this past weekend and we were surrounded by people who love us.
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I know that Evan is finally starting to use the pronoun “I” when talking to us.
I know that Todd gave me a mother’s day card yesterday and in it, he listed all the things I do for Evan and it made me melt.
I know that Evan played with his new teddy bear and practice pretend skills without any prompting.
I know that I work with some of the most supportive individuals.
I know that all I need to do is make Evan giggle (not a hard feat) and my mood will lighten.
I know that the beach is a happy place for me, and I was able to go there a few weekends ago (BY MYSELF) because of the kindness of a friend, and the support of a loving husband.
I know that it brings me a type of peace and pride to share about Williams Syndrome to anyone who will listen.

For now, I can heed Brett Dennen‘s advice.
And it’s all about that, right, the moment to moment observations?
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Take a chapter out of Evan’s book.

when Sorrow walked with me

My heart has been weighed down with this blog entry for about a week. It has haunted me actually. Needing to be written.  I mentioned in my last post that I’ve suffered multiple miscarriages. So it’s not a secret, but for some reason I have chosen not to really delve into it on my blog.  I think partly because my first miscarriage was so wrapped up in my father’s passing, that I didn’t really process it.  Evan was born a year later, and we chalked it up to one of the very common first pregnancy miscarriages that we’ve read about.

But here I sit four years after that dreadful week where I found out I was pregnant, lost my dad and then lost our first baby all in one fell swoop. Since that point we were so incredibly blessed to become pregnant again (very quickly much to our surprise) and have a beautiful baby boy.

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Evan Robert June 2011

We received his diagnosis of Williams Syndrome a year later. Since that point, we went back and forth about having another  child.  The discussion was laden with many factors. Our age, the possibility of having another child with a diagnosis, and my fear of another period of awful post-partum anxiety.  Ironically, we didn’t really discuss the possibility of miscarriage. It may have crossed T’s mind, but I didn’t really consider it very seriously.  I was more worried about what would happen after the baby was here, not the possibility we might lose another one.

Yup.

If there is anything I have learned in these last 4 years, it is not to count anything out. The good possibilities and the bad ones. The very good and the very bad. I tried so hard to rest in the mystery, rest in the unknown, put it into God’s hands. I had prided myself in losing the need to ask “why” all the time for the challenges in our lives.  I realized that no matter what I did, things were going to happen, good and bad, and I might never know the reason. It’s in God’s hands, I would tell myself.

For whatever reason, God’s hands decided to change our trajectory yet again. He decided to take a second child from us before we could even meet him or her. I am a Christian and darn it, this has tested my faith like nothing else.

I’m pissed. I’m frustrated. I’m devastated. This time around I most definitely am processing it.  Whether I want to or not. As my friend Jamie said, “The universe is making sure you go through it.” She is so right. Beautiful, glowing pregnant women everywhere. Some are very treasured friends of mine who I am thrilled for.  But that doesn’t make the loss of our baby any easier.  Baby showers, pregnancy announcements, smiling babies at Target. National Siblings Day was celebrated all over Facebook the other day. Another reminder that we may not be able to provide a sibling for our son.  Repeated blood work to make sure my pregnancy hormones are going down. Unsuccessful blood draws that have led to repeated visits to get MORE blood drawn.  Weeks of cramping and bleeding after we lost him or her.  I won’t even go into the actual physical process of losing a baby.  It’s horrific. I am conflicted about it because I understand why people don’t talk about it, but at the same time, when you go through it you feel so alone. No matter how many people love and support you.  You are on this island, wanting to grieve your baby and still physically carrying him.  It’s simply awful.

It’s not fair. I want to kick rocks and scream ala Charlie Brown.

Actually, I want to stop kicking rocks and crying. I want to get over this, and move on.  But I know that’s the whole point of crying and kicking rocks. In order to get through grief, you actually have to feel it. Well jeez. That just stinks.  I like to keep moving. To keep busy and focus on the beauty that is around me, not the pain and crappy stuff.  It’s not really part of my genetic make-up to focus on the negative. But it’s also part of my genetic make-up to take care of everyone around me and sort of forget myself.

So…..here I sit. and I walk with Sorrow. And I am sharing it with you because it is the only way I know how to be honest with myself. The days I sat at home waiting to pass the baby, I tried to find blogs about miscarriage that would help me feel less alone, but also give me some hope.  This poem gave a little light to my walk:

I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.

I walked a mile with Sorrow,
And ne’er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When sorrow walked with me.

-Robert Browning Hamilton

So today I walk with Sorrow. And as strange as it sounds, I feel less alone for it.

I didn’t sign up for this-My Messy Beautiful

I loved Punky Brewster growing up.

Punky Brewster

Who wouldn’t want to be as cool as this chick?

So much so that I would wear a bandana tied around my knee and I wished my name was Soleil or Moon more than once. One particular episode remains emblazoned in my mind. The “Very Special Episode” surrounding the exclusive club, The Chiclets. Click HERE to see them in all their scrunch sock glory. You can watch the first minute or so to get the idea.  The Chiclets were this “totally awesome” group of stylish sixth graders that Punky was dying to be a part of.  Turns out that they are “like totally” into drugs. Specifically “grass, a few uppers, and some nose candy.” Pretty sure  I had no clue what any of that was when I was eight years old.  Of course, Punky decides that she does NOT need to be a Chiclet and that she is much better off following Nancy’s Reagan’s advice and creating a “Just Say No” club.

I may or may not have created a similar club with my best friend on the second grade playground that met over by the see saws.

Erin and Charlene second grade

(around 1986) I was probably wearing this awesome floral romper as well.

Clubs. Secret societies. Exclusive groups with super cool people in them.

We have all wanted to be a part of one at some point in our lives.

As an adult I have realized that I have been thrust into several of these clubs without my permission.  Hoodwinked you might say.

The sudden loss of a parent club

The parent of a child with special needs club

The multiple miscarriages club

I don’t think a super cool gal like Emily with her charm necklace and pastel sweater came up to me when I turned 30 and said, “Hey, Erin, wouldn’t it be great if you joined our club? You know, the one where all the members have lost a parent before they could become a grandparent to your children? Do you want to join the club where all the members have suffered more than one miscarriage?”

I think I would have remembered that.

So here I am.  A member of several clubs.  Ones I would never have asked for membership.

But something crazy has happened.  The messy, beautiful person I am today, would not be nearly as messy, and nearly as beautiful if not for being a member of these clubs.  And not just because of the circumstances that led to my membership.  Not because I lost my father without warning almost 4 years ago.  Not because I have lost two babies before I could even meet them and hold them in my arms.  Not because I am the proud mother of a little boy with Williams Syndrome

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President of my club

Because of the INCREDIBLE club members I have been so privileged to meet.  Because of the women who have become my friends. My sisters. My guides through this brutiful life. I would never have started blogging if it weren’t for my membership.  I would never have met some of the most amazing women who I can reach out to any time of day or night and I know they will “get it.” I don’t have to explain what it feels like to wake up in a sweat because I dreamt about my father again.  I don’t have to feel guilty when I message one of them to tell them I am feeling super overwhelmed by the prospect of Evan starting preschool with his school district peers.

I laugh with them.  I cry with them. I spit nails of anger with them.

They somehow know me without needing to have been in my life for years and years.  Some I have never even met in person.  Some I did meet and it felt like they were a member of my Just Say No club on the playground in second grade.

I would never have met them if I had not gone through some of the most painful, difficult, and life changing events of my life.

Just this weekend I had the absolute privilege of attending a brunch for mothers of children with Williams Syndrome. It was like taking a deep breath of fresh air for 4 hours.  I laughed, I cried, I listened and I shared.   We have had Evan’s diagnosis for almost two years now, and there were some mothers with very newly diagnosed infants at home.  I could see the fear, the pain, the hope in their eyes.  And for once, I actually felt I could speak from experience and maybe even ease their worry a little.

Because of the pain, the struggle, the worry I have felt, I can support others who are going through similar experiences.  One sweet mama told me that my blog actually helped her see a future for her daughter, helped her to see past the colicky, sleepless nights that are her everyday right now.  Tears immediately came to my eyes.

BOOM.  Kairos.

There it was, the reason I started blogging. To help others who might need a voice, who might need to feel less alone. And to think that might actually be happening? Phew.

Thank goodness Emily in all her pastel scrunchy glory did not ask me to become a member of any of these clubs. Because I would have just said no.

(see what I did there?)

Sometimes we do not get asked. And we feel very angry about that.

Ahem….We meaning me of course……but maybe you are angry too?  and that is more than okay, it is right and totally warranted. But I am just so glad that I can pull myself out of that murky angry place and realize that other women need to hear that it CAN be okay.  You CAN lose a parent and wake up one day and realize it is not the first thing you think of. You CAN raise a child with special needs and see joy and beauty time and time again.  Miscarriages do happen and they suck big time but you are NOT alone. There are so many women who have walked your path and would love to walk it with you. Or kick rocks. Or drink wine, whatever works.

I have plenty of women who did all of those things with me, and continue to.

I’m glad they are in my club. Maybe you are too?

This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!

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For Good

My dad singing to me when I was a wee one

The month after we lost my dad, Learning Stages put on a fundraising event that celebrated the 20th anniversary of the organization. For those of you who do not know, Learning Stages is a non profit theater group that I have been a part of since I was 14. I performed in the chorus mostly, then started helping out with the production side of things, while also acting in one act plays. Finally I taught and directed the childrens’ theater program for 8 years before taking a break to have Evan.  I am extremely proud to be associated with this group, I have developed many of my closest relationships through the program and it has helped feed that hunger I have always had for creating art and working with children. 
I had been looking forward to the 20th anniversary show for months and months. I knew it would be like a mini reunion with those I had acted with many years before. I also was looking forward to performing again. It had been a long time since I participated in musical theater as a performer. When I told my dad that we were going to be showcasing many of the numbers we had done throughout the years, in addition to other songs- he made a single request. He asked that Joe Salvatore (who he had always called Joey) sing “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” from Oklahoma as he had the first year I was a part of the organization in 1993. When I brought it up to Joe, he said he had to think about it. Joe is now an NYU professor, director, playwright, speaker, the list goes on. He has come a LONG way since donning the chaps and cowboy hat he wore as Curly in 1992.  After my father passed, he made the decision to honor my dad’s request and he did sing it, entering the stage quietly with no music, beginning the song a cappella as he did so many years prior. I stood backstage in the wings biting back tears. I just knew my dad would have given Joey his own personal standing ovation if he could have. He just adored him and he was so thankful that I had joined the group as well.  
That evening I sang the song “For Good” from the musical Wicked with another friend from the workshop, Amanda.  The lyrics to that song are simple. Yet they say quite a bit. Just yesterday I went on my Facebook profile and noticed that a friend had recently looked at the video of the performance and commented with some hearts.  I watched it again and was overcome. Overcome with the feeling that my dad would have been so darn proud of me. I will never forget when he greeted me after my high school performance of “Singing in the Rain,” with tears streaming down his face, he ran up to me in the hallway. He literally ran full speed and hugged me as hard as he could. He sputtered and said he “couldn’t believe that was your voice up there.” “couldn’t believe that was my little girl singing.”
That moment meant the world to me then and it still does. I was very lucky to have a dad who wasn’t afraid to express how he felt about others.  I think I have adopted that same fearlessness with most of the people I care about, but I know i could take even more risks in my relationships. I think we could all learn from him in that department.

Here’s to you Daddy. “I know I’m who I am today, because I knew you.”


Five Rabbit Hops

Hi folks. I apologize for the length of time in between blogs lately.  I imagine it will not get much better when I go back to work, but I will try my best, because this here blog is good for me and it also is a nice place to preserve memories.
Anyhoo, today is June 11.  I didn’t even want to write this last night and post it today because it just didn’t seem right.  Three years ago today, my father passed away. Not from a fighting a long battle with a disease, not from an inherited condition. Suddenly and out of nowhere his heart gave up on him.  And as many others who have also dealt with a major loss, I look at life now as before my Dad died and after.  It’s weird how that happens but it just did. The significance his passing has had in my life is monumental. But what I want to focus this entry on is not his passing- because I am having a hard enough time not thinking of that afternoon and all the horrid details. Instead, I want to focus on the significance of his LIFE on me. Because clearly I miss him as much as I do, because of the time we spent together when he was here.

Traveling Exhibit in Dollywood

Last week we went on a whirlwind vacation. First to Kentucky to participate in the research study at University of Louisville. Then to the Smoky Mountains in Tennesee for family vacation with my in laws. THEN to North Carolina to catch up with old friends from liberti and to meet some new (only in person) friends who I have been anxious to meet for some time.  My Dad was on my mind constantly.  It was strange how much he popped into my head.  Not to say that I don’t think of him often, because I do, but this was almost every day, multiple times a day.  I would think of how he would love whatever activity we were doing. I would think how he would totally love what Evan was doing at the time. I would think how we would spend hours in the car together on our roller coaster adventures and we would record ourselves rating the roller coasters.  He called me Electric Erin and he was “Rollo” Robert.  We would rate them by “rabbit hops” (what the fun, quick up and down hops on a roller coaster are called). I think the scale was 1 through 5 rabbit hops. Of course, with a rating of 5 being an amazing roller coaster!
 I thought of him most when we were in Dollywood, a sprawling amusement park in Pigeon Forge, TN. We saw a sign for the Roller Coaster Museum and I knew I had to go in.  My mind was flooded with memories as I walked around and looked at the pictures, articles, and memorabilia. I walked around with my mother and father in law and they kindly asked questions and listened to me as I pointed over and over saying things like, “We went there!” “Oh my goodness, I remember that one!” “Dad I rode that one in the pouring rain!” or “We stayed in the craziest place when we went to that park.” There was one display that I wish I had taken a picture of- it had all the collectibles of an ACE member. ACE stands for American Coaster Enthusiasts. If you already know about that club, it is probably because you are a family member or friend reading this. It’s not a household name for sure. But we were members. When I was 11 years old I believe, I was a member. I had several tee shirts with the insignia on it. My father and my stepmother had silk screened jackets.

Debbie and my Dad doing what they loved.

When I came out of the exhibit, I felt lighter somehow, and so excited to tell Todd (who was sitting with Evan outside). As I rambled on about different things I saw, and their significance to me, it made me realize how important it is to write down as much as I can remember.  As time passes, memories fade. As much as I absolutely hate to admit it, the older I get, and the more time passes since an experience, the memory of that experience becomes dimmer and dimmer. And I refuse to lose the amazing memories I have of my dad.  I have the ability to enjoy life and live it with the people I am blessed to still have in my life. But I do not have that luxury with my father- so I need to preserve what memories I still have in my grasp.
 Here is a link to a lovely article written about my dad in lieu of an obituary.

Electric Erin here, coming to you live from the Putman dining room. I give the life of my father, Mr. Robert F Gaynor, otherwise known as Bobby G- Five Rabbit Hops, hands down.  You heard that right folks. Electric Erin, signing off.

When It Just Isn’t Fair

I was going to post a video of Evan standing on his own for a little bit, and share about some of the fun things he has done this week.
And I will. But not today.

Today I want to honor a friend and her sweet family who have become a part of my daily life as well.  Her name is Kate Leong, and I have shared several of her blog posts with you already.  She is the author of Chasing Rainbows. I have been following her family for a while now. I connected with her a few months ago when I reached out to her and thanked her for the post, Dear You. She wrote me back personally, which I was shocked by, and we started an email correspondence. She is truly a remarkable woman, amazing really, but at the same time, a regular mom doing what she can to take care of her family the best way she knows how. This past week her son Gavin was admitted to the hospital and within a few short days, was in very serious condition due to several major cardiac events.  They do not know yet what caused all of this.  I have been thinking of them non stop since she first posted about the first cardiac arrest. I have been lying up at night thinking about them sitting vigil next to their beautiful son.  This is one of those times I wish I wasn’t so darn sensitive. Because then maybe I could be like my level headed husband and realize that he is going to be in Heaven, with his siblings and that his parents will be with him again one day. Instead, I sit here crying, feeling pain in my head, my stomach and heart, that Kate and her family have to say goodbye to Gavin, a true inspiration.  
Just look at this face:

I have not been able to look at a picture of him without immediately smiling back at his kind eyes and smile. I have gone through the whole “life is precious,” “enjoy every moment” process many times throughout the past few years.  But for some reason, it doesn’t get any easier, each time a beautiful soul is lost.
I pray that Kate and her husband will feel carried by their family, friends, and God. That they will know they are not alone. They are far from it. And Gavin is the furthest from alone.
Thank you, Kate, for your honesty, for sharing this difficult week with so many of us. Like my husband said, your post today was hard to read, but encouraging.  You wrote an encouraging post when you are facing the most incredibly heavy burden I can fathom.  That speaks volume of who you are, and who Gavin helped you to become.
Gavin, I miss you already, without having ever met you in person. I had hoped that Evan would get to meet you one day and you would smile and giggle at each other.  One day you will.  In the meantime, he will continue to watch your Bruno Mars dancing video and sing and dance along.

Catch Ya on The Flip Side

Flip Fantasia
I carried so high!

I have been trying to find the time to write this post for weeks now.  I have found myself thinking a lot lately about how grateful I am to be on the “flip side” of different situations.

For example,
-I am very glad to not be 40 weeks pregnant anymore. Glad to not be sitting on the yoga ball, rocking around trying to make contractions happen. Worrying about how our child was doing inside of me. I am glad to have him here with us, growing stronger every day.

Love him

-I am glad to be almost three years out from losing my father.  Please do not read this to mean I am glad my father is no longer with us. That could not be further from the truth. But I am glad to be past the brick-on-my-chest, excruciating grief stage that came for months to follow. I am glad to be at a point where I can talk about it him without crying. (most of the time) I can laugh and share stories about his colorful life with friends and family as to keep his memory alive.

-I am glad it has been almost a year since receiving Evan’s diagnosis.  We are far from feeling completely at ease with everything, but I know that I feel much more settled than I did last summer. I know that it seems like I am always trying to put a positive spin on things on here. And honestly, I probably am, but that is because this is my blog, and that is just how I operate a lot of the time. I just
don’t see merit in focusing for too long on the negative. It doesn’t get me anywhere. I still get mad. I get sad. I ache inside for many different reasons at different times. I am sensitive and emotional and have been my whole life. But that sensitivity also allows me the ability to see the struggles of others. And our struggles just don’t seem as monumental as what I see happening out there.

A few weeks after finding out
And although I wish my little guy would not face adversity as he grows, I also realize that he is incredible. He is incredible because of ALL he is. And that includes having a genetic condition called Williams Syndrome. That includes his raspy giggly voice. That includes his constant vowel sound imitation.  That includes his dislike for pieces of fruit. That includes his engaging, sparkly blue eyes. I could not realize that right away. I could not get past the websites, the pictures, the descriptions of what his life might be like 5, 10, 20 years from now. I couldn’t accept that our future was going to be different from what we had pictured. 
 But I am on the flip side now. 

I am helping to organize a 5K walk and run to benefit the Williams Syndrome Association. I organized an event at a local restaurant as another fundraiser. I have met several families with children who also have WS. I have made amazing friendships with some women that I feel extremely connected to in a very short amount of time.
 I don’t know when the transition happened. When I crossed over into a different world. A world of celebrating the little things. A world of special needs blogs. A world of weekly early intervention appointments. A world of research studies.
All that matters is that it did.
Sometimes I read accounts of other individuals who are struggling; who are barely keeping their heads above water. Life has decided to kick them in the gut with something too hard to handle. It could be a diagnosis, a loss, shocking news.
 My wish is that they could know in their heavy hearts that they, too, will be on the flip side. It may not be tomorrow, it may not be the year to follow. But they will get to that flip side. Hang in there. Remember other difficult times you have muddled through. You will get there.

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Reflections in Green

Oh shashashasha…
That is why Todd says when he is imitating a leprechaun. Which is far more often than you would expect.
 St. Patrick’s Day 2013.  
The “Boyz” as my Dad used to call them, Blackthorn.
This day has me feeling a little different than in past years.  With a name like Erin, I have tended to celebrate this day in a pretty big way since I was a little girl. My Dad would bring home a box of Irish potatoes, (with one or two missing already of course), my mom and I would be adorned in shamrock earrings, bouncy headbands, and green from head to toe. My dad would put on his best Irish accent and shashasha his way around the house. As I grew older and my love for Irish music grew, I started to follow the band Blackthorn with my dad and my now stepmom, Debbie. My oldest and dearest friend Charlene and I would drive to see them all over southeastern PA, NJ Shore, and everywhere in between.  One year when St. Patty’s fell on a Tuesday or Wednesday, we met at a local hole in the wall bar/restaurant for dinner and had free corned beef and cabbage and some cheap green beer. We were clearly the youngest people in there but we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless.  My true heritage is a mixed bag, I am split between German and Irish pretty equally.  But again, with a name like Erin, and a father who was determined to get his Irish accent down pat, we spent a little more time celebrating that part of my background than the other.
Today went a little more like this, I struggled to find a good green shirt for Evan to wear to church, and ended up going with a too-small long sleeved white onesie under a green polo. Todd wore an orange shirt layered with a green shirt, he said he felt the orange always got the short end of the stick. I did wear a green sweater, but forgot about my shamrock socks and earrings. Instead of being out listening to some Irish music, we are home, Todd is working on this big computer project and I am trying to keep my eyes open and blog a little while Evan naps after fighting it for about 2 hours. I found myself wistful earlier, I looked at a picture of my father with that big radiant smile of his. I tried to imagine what it felt like to be hugged by him. I don’t know if this is something typical of people following a loss, but I do that sometimes. I try to imagine what it was like to hear his voice, or hug him. I am afraid to lose that sensation and forget what it was like. My Dad just represents such peace and home to me. To this day, I still think for a split second about calling him from my car when I am driving home from somewhere because that is what I used to do.
Grief is such an odd thing. When I was in the thick of it, I wanted so badly for it to pass. I wanted to be relieved of that heavy, suffocating feeling that I had 24 hours a day, especially when I woke up in the morning. That was always the worst, waking up and for a split second thinking that things were as they were before that tough day in June of 2010. And then it would hit me. Like an iron to the throat. I would remember. He was really gone. I would lament to Todd that I just wanted it to stop feeling so heavy. Family and friends who had been through it before would tell us that it would. It would stop feeling so awful, and it would get easier.

At my HS graduation party with my friends Denise and Charlene

Again, like I have said before, things did not get easier, but they did get different. Now that the immense shock and heaviness has lifted, it is more of a surreal acceptance and the sadness the comes from it. I find myself concerned that I am going to forget. I will forget the goofy smile he would always give when getting his picture taken where his eyebrows would raise and he would smile super wide and cock his head slightly to the side.
I’m concerned I will forget his voice. The booming, beautiful voice that would carry across the room and enter your heart. The voice that loved to sing “Sea of Love” every time he could get his hands on a microphone. The voice that sang with gusto in several community theater productions, no matter if he was in the back line of the chorus or in the front singing a solo.

Singing 16 Candles to me on my birthday

The first time Todd met my father and stepmother

I fret I will forget the night he first met the man I would marry. When we went to see Blackthorn at World Cafe Live and Todd bought us a round of beer in plastic cups and my Dad was so impressed by him. How nervous I felt at the start, and then how relieved and happy I was at the end of the night when my dad shook Todd’s hand with vigor, looked him right in the eye and said,
 
“Precious cargo,remember Todd, she’s precious cargo.”
 

He said this again as he gave me away to Todd on our wedding day.

Dancing to “Jersey Girl”

I should know I won’t forget.
 Some memories may fade a little more than others.  But as my eyes sting just thinking about the dance in that picture-I know there are some moments that will remain just as vivid as the day they first occurred. Thank goodness for that.
O’Thank Goodness. shashashashashasha

I don’t like growing up.

http://images.wikia.com/kingdomhearts/images/archive/4/4f/20110807094412!Peter_Pan.png
Sometimes I wish I could be Peter Pan, flying off to Neverland…
Typically I try to keep this blog upbeat, and definitely more on the positive tip.  Basically because I truly believe what you put out there is what you receive. I see no point in complaining about things I have no control over. Welllllll….today is a little bit of an exception.
 I am not happy this afternoon. I am frustrated over what it means to be an adult, and the tough stuff that entails.  I just updated the “About Me” section on here (finally) and I mentioned that I do not mind my age or birthdays, in fact I welcome them. And that is still true. 
But.
I don’t like what happens to the people around me as a result of getting older. I can take the wrinkles, the sagging skin, the getting loopy after two drinks, the funny looks I get from twenty somethings when I bring up a pop culture reference from my childhood. What I am struggling with, is the biggies-people divorcing, people getting sick, and of course, the worst one, people passing away.
 I know these things all occur all the time, not just because I am older. But clearly there is some correlation with my age, because it is happening a darn awful lot lately. 
Just last night I learned of the sudden passing of a soccer coach I had as a child. He coached alongside my father. Two of his three daughters all played soccer with me. I am not in touch with the family now, but I have vivid memories of team parties at their house and how proud he always was of his girls.  I know it was not expected because I follow the blog of one of the daughters- .http://www.jennifromtheblog.com, and I have since she started years ago. She posted two days ago just talking about her kids, going back to work after a maternity leave, etc. No mention of her father being ill. When I found out about her dad, I immediately turned to my phone. Without a second thought I was going to call my dad and tell him, “Oh my goodness Dad, did you hear the awful news, Mr. Dadura died.” 
And then it hit me. 
Like it does a few times a month when i forget I cannot call my dad anymore. Darn it. In that moment I felt more upset with myself than I was with the fact that he had passed. I felt embarrassed, silly, that I “forgot” for the moment. Then my heart just felt consumed with hurt for the Dadura family. I know that pain all too well.  
Then I get on Facebook, (which I know is not helpful), to get my mind off of it. I read a status update from a mother who I follow on FB and also on her website, Petite Peanut Boutique. She has a son with Williams Syndrome who was very ill back in June. That is when I discovered her and began following her son Clayton’s journey. Her post said: 
“I wanted to ask a special favor for all that follow my little Superhero Clayton.
Clayton is not doing well today, and really struggling to breathe– comparable to his breathing when we almost lost him in June. If you could please say a prayer for his comfort, peace, and strength I would greatly appreciate it. I know that my Heavenly Father hears and answers them.”
I read the words, “almost lost him” and felt a cold breeze across my whole body. It just hit me so hard. The reminder of life being so incredibly precious. That there are no guarantees. I prayed for Clayton and I sat in silence thinking of my blessings and how lucky we truly are that Evan does not have any major health issues that we know of right now.  
And if you know me, even just a little- I really really strive to not focus on the tough stuff, because I have come to find that we should not waste this precious time worrying about what we cannot control. But that is easier said than done sometimes. In the silence after Evan finally fell asleep today I just felt like I should write about it. 
My very good friend from work also shared with me that after having her son go through a grueling 3 day EEG at CHOP, his seizures have not improved even with a strict diet that has taken so much work and effort on her part.  Her son has come so far, beaten a lot of odds, and proven a lot of people wrong.  But still, I had to validate what she said, and it really stinks. It’s just not fair sometimes what we are faced with, and to question why is fruitless.  

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Now don’t go worrying that I am going to go curl up in a ball. I most certainly am not. I just felt the impact of aging today, and felt it was blog-worthy.   In my case, getting older also brought my marriage and beautiful little boy, so I do realize it has benefits as well. I was not ready for those things ten years ago. (even though I might have said I was) 
I do love the parentheses along with the ellipses……….
My thoughts are with my friends and loved ones tonight- I just pray that we all can pause time for a minute and look at what we have around us. Remember how incredible it all is since not one of us knows how long we all have together.  

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