When The Glass Is Half Empty

Being an optimist stinks sometimes.

No, really, it does.

You see? When you’re happy and positive and the one people look for to feel better all the time (read: Me), it gets to be a heavy burden to bear, especially when you really just want to have a bad day.

Right now, I just want to be grumpy.

My glass is half empty.

I want to stay in bed and watch trashy TV. I want there to be a pizza delivered to my house every night for a week so I don’t have to think about cooking or eating or cleaning up. Do you ever get sick of eating or thinking about eating? I do. Sometimes it just seems like such an exhausting thing to do. Like showering. And doing laundry. And doing all the mundane, but necessary, daily tasks.

Sometimes, even the most optimistic of us need to give in to the dark side of our brains. Because even though there is always light on the other side of darkness, there’s always darkness behind some of the light. Sometimes, even the happiest and chipper of us need to wallow in our sadness and exhaustion before we can break through to the other side.

Luckily for me, it’s often short-lived that I feel like this. I’m sure right now it’s a combination of a lot of things.

I want to be a stay at home mom again. I feel like I’m missing so much of my son’s growing up. I want the meds we started HL on to work just right every single day. I need to vacuum and mop and scrub toilets until my fingers bleed because the house is disgusting. The house is a disaster and in spite of doing 5 loads of laundry, there seems to be more that I keep finding. It’s either raining or snowing or too cold/cloudy to dry out the back yard so the dog can’t play outside as much as she needs to. She begs and barks and is generally a pain in the ass. I’ve got writer’s block. The husband is traveling almost this entire month and quite frankly, I miss him.

Depression? Maybe. Anxiety? Most definitely. The stage of life I’m in? Yes.

So what do I do?

Well, I do what I normally do. I go to the gym and run 10 miles, I order a pizza tonight, spray some lysol around, and go to bed at 8:00.

Then I will wake up tomorrow, brush the cobwebs off, and keep my glass half or more full as usual.

October 15, 2013: Always In Our Hearts

“If you know someone who has lost a child, and you’re afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died–you’re not reminding them.

They didn’t forget they died.

What you’re reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived, and…that is a great gift.”

~Elizabeth Edwards~

Today, October 15, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. In 2006, after years of pushing for it, the day was recognized by the House of Representatives. In 1988, President Reagan had declared October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. But in my opinion, celebrating this day for ONE day is much easier for a parent who has lost a child than for the whole month.

The International Wave of Light is the simultaneous lighting of candles in memory of these babies lost to miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss at 7pm in your local time zone tonight. The result is a continuous chain of light spanning the globe for a 24 hour period. Just think about that for a minute. How beautiful!

So tonight at 7pm, wherever you are, light a candle or say a prayer (or do what you do) in memory of all the baby angels that are watching over us and in honor of all the parents left behind to grieve the loss of dreams and bright futures for their children.

These are my special Angels and members of The Club I will be lighting a candle for tonight:

  • Our first baby: Junebug – miscarriage at 13 weeks, June 19, 2002
  • Our second baby: Charles “Charlie” Fleetwood Anthoine – died at 24 days old from late-onset Group B Strep, born May 21, 2003 and died June 14, 2003 – his story here
  • Laura Kaye Anthoine – October 20, 1969-April 3, 1981 – Daughter of Kaye and Roy, Sister of my husband Jason
  • The daughter of Pam Doherty, Hannah Noelle MacDonald was born still on February 3, 2003 from Group B Strep sepsis. Her father is John MacDonald.
  • Oliver Nelson Wright, son of Chris and Danna Wright, baby brother to Walker – Born and died October 2, 2010.
  • Leighton Sophie Taylor – daughter of Amy and Chris, twin sister to Jaxon – born May 26, 2011 and died June 17, 2011 from Group B Strep
  • Stephanie and Anna Causley – daughters of Paul and Robyn Causley – miscarriages at 12 and 6 weeks, respectively in 2003.
  • Sara Kay – born still September 7, 2009
  • Susan and Matt’s baby – miscarriage at 12 weeks – December 25, 1999
  • Emma Jade – Kat’s sweet baby – miscarriage at 9 weeks in 2001
  • Cara Jennifer – daughter of Carrie-Ann – born and died on August 17, 2010 – lived 12 minutes
  • Jill and Kyle Clay’s babies – Baby Clay, miscarriage October 2004 and Baby Clay , miscarriage October 2005 – both around 10 weeks
  • Allison Reid – daughter of Robin and Sean Reid – though she was not an infant when she died, she contracted the same bacteria that Charlie did and suffered long-term challenges. Allison was born on March 1, 2002 and died on January 25, 2008. I had the honor of meeting Allison and she was a fabulous fighter.
  • Cason Heard Adams- January 27, 1989-December 4, 2001 , was called home to live with the angels. He was a bright light to all that knew him and is greatly missed everyday by his family and friends.
  • Cora Mae McCormick – November 30, 2009 to December 6, 2009
  • Skye, Dakota and Martina – Nanna Chris and Mommy Staci and Little Sister Joclynn’s triplets – July 7th, 2007
  • Drew and Amanda’s Baby – miscarriage October 6, 2010
  • Brianna Elizabeth Franzen – Daughter of my friend, Julie. Born January 29, 1998 and died March 7, 1998 from a heart defect.
  • Cecily’s Sons – Nicholas and Zachary, October 27, 2004
  • Shauna’s Babies – one at 16 weeks, one tubal pregnancy
  • Erin’s Babies – Baby 1, September 2006, miscarriage; Baby 2, January 2007, miscarriage; Baby Girl 1, December 2008, late miscarriage; Baby Girl 2, born still on August 17, 2009 at 18 weeks.
  • Elizabeth Anne’s Baby – Baby Childs, miscarried June 12, 2006
  • Elizabeth Anne’s Friend’s Son – Jonah Oliver, delivered and died on Thanksgiving Day 1997 at 18 weeks gestation.
  • Becca’s friend’s daughter – Chandler Rivers, born 13 weeks early and died a week before her due date.
  • Jessica and Mark’s Daughter: Hadley Jane, born 10/9/07 and died 10/11/07
  • Chrissi’s Son: Tyler, born March 22, 1997 and died September 15, 2003
  • Trish’s baby “Peanut”
  • Michael and Robin’s babies – miscarriage at 5 weeks in April 2009, and miscarriage at 10 weeks in September 2012
  • Olivia Grace – daughter of my friend Barbara. She was born January 8, 2004 and died August 23, 2004 from meningitis.
  • Sunday’s babies – Tomorrow Dawn- December 1993, miscarried at 8 weeks and Samuel- January 2002, miscarried at 11 weeks (named our first son Samuel in his honor and memory)
  • Lindsay’s baby – little one lost to miscarriage at 10 weeks in May 2003
  • Lynn’s 8 babies – 5 lost at 14 weeks and 3 lost early at 8-10 weeks
  • Ms. Marie’s baby – miscarriage October 1977
  • Isabella Pearl De Leon – Stillborn one week before scheduled delivery. March 5, 2011. Paul & Nicole De Leon
  • Nora Henke –  Stillborn 12-30-12
  • Mike & Lauren’s babies: miscarriage at 6 wks in 1999; miscarriage at 7 wks in 2000; miscarriage at 10 wks in 2001
  • Carter Austin – March 18, 2006
  • Tucker Harris Neu and Fletcher Thomas Neu
  • Fiona Jane Tully was stillborn on May 8, 2011, and her sister, Brigid Eileen Tully, lived from May 8, 2011 to June 23, 2011 – daughters of Eileen Tully
  • Leah Brook Tomlin – daughter of Bevin and Adam, sister of Taylor. Born January 7, 2013 and died January 13, 2013 from Prenatal-Onset GBS
  • Carl Martin Kerr – passed away in utero at 6 months. Born on January 25, 2013. Baby Kerr – miscarried at 6 weeks on August 25, 2013. Both children of Solanke and Cincia and siblings to Isabella.
  • Jacob, born at 20 weeks in 2006. Lived for 52 minutes. Son of Nick and Melissa Tabbert.
  • Isabella-Rose Elizabeth, born still October 12, 2009, daughter of Tia

** I will add babies if you email me at janasthinkingplace@me.com to tell me you want me to add your angel. I know there are so many more, but I don’t want to publish without your permission. These are from last year and I’ve added new ones. I have also decided to add older children because really, they’re all our babies.**

 

It Was A Good Day

Today, my family said final goodbyes to my Grannie, or Mollie as her parents named her. 

A longtime family friend spoke at her funeral. He promised her that he would and he makes good on his promises. Sunday, I sat down and just wrote. I poured out my words onto my computer and decided when I hit save, that I wanted to read this at her service. 

When Mr. Bruce Goddard was talking to us about the service, I told him I wanted to speak. He thought it was a good idea so we set it in stone. My only real anxiety was knowing that he was going to introduce me AND follow up my words with his own. I mean, he’s a former undertaker motivational speaker and super duper author

But I did it. 

Here are the words I chose to honor my Grannie. For those who didn’t know her, I hope this sheds light on what an amazing woman she was.

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How do you put 83 years into words? Well, since I can’t because I didn’t know her that long, how do you even put 37 years into words? I’m not sure I can do that either.

Some things like this leave you almost speechless.

I only knew my Grannie as Grannie. Others have been blessed to know her in different ways: Daughter, Sister, Friend, Mama, Great-Grannie, Miss Mollie, Aunt Mollie, Mr. Elmer’s wife, and hosts of other variations.

I can only speak as a grandchild, but I can tell you, she was one of the best!

As kids, we spent what seems like a lot of time with Grannie and Grandaddy. We spent nights on pallets, we spent mornings on pallets that had been moved to the living room for cartoons and Scooby Doo Coffee.

We were taken on the most wonderful adventures to places like Christmas Lane and putt putt in Warner Robins. Both are close, now that we’re adults, but then, in the big red Cadillac, they seemed like they were in Colorado.

They couldn’t take us on fancy vacations, and even if they could, I’m not sure they would have been any better. We went far, far away – usually to what is now the Eisenhower exit on 475 – to a hotel with a pool for the weekend. We ate dinner out and swam all day. We played putt putt (see a trend here?) and went bowling. And then piled back in the big red Cadillac and drove ALL THE WAY back to Reynolds.

Every time Grannie worked, it was “Take your grandchild to work day.” We spent countless hours on pallets in the Flint Electric dispatch office. We knew where she kept her change for the vending machines, we spent hours running and rolling chairs up and down the halls, we slept there during her overnight shifts, we learned to end our conversations with her mobile radio call sign.

In fact, that was burned in all of our memories so much, we have joked with her for years about signing off at her funeral by saying that. She always laughed!

There are so many things, really, about Grannie that we will remember her for: scratching our heads, making us hot water bottles when our tummies hurt or just because, Big Red Gum and Certs always being available, a fridge full of Cokes and cold candy bars, fussing at Grandaddy for this, that or the other thing he did that wasn’t her way. The ice cream and hamburger money that was sure to be slipped your way whenever you visited. The birthday cards, the anniversary cards, the Halloween and Valentine and St Patricks Day and every other holiday you can imagine cards that were always in the mail on the exact day they were supposed to be.

And come on. How many of YOUR grandmothers had a Christmas room?

Grannie taught us a lot, though. Whether she meant to or not, she taught us that being born to a family that struggled didn’t mean you were destined to a life of struggle. If you work hard, love big, and live simply, you can do almost anything you want.

She also taught us that if you wink at the judge who asks if you’re “really 17” you can get married at 16. But that’s a story for another day!

Grannie lived her life her way. She was brilliant at keeping score – whether it was at gin rummy, poker, or figuring out which grandchild had been to see her this quarter. She went to bed at midnight and slept until 11 just because she could. In spite of her aches and pains over the last however many years, she still loyally went to dinners with family and friends and kept her flowers and shrubs as tidy as any professional gardener would.

Three weeks ago, Grannie had a stroke that did more damage than her body could handle. But her mind was still sharp enough to get onto me when I said I kinda liked Steve Spurrier now that he was at South Carolina. She also pulled her hand away when asked to confirm that me and Chad were her favorite grandkids. She’s no dummy.

I could go on for hours. I know my other cousins could, too. We cherish memories of her that my mom and aunt don’t know about. We cherish memories of a different Grannie than our children ever knew. We have secrets that are different than the secrets she shared with Uncle Jimmy, Aunt Ruth or Aunt Rosa.

But now I choose to think of her happy and healed, watching us all from the most gorgeous place she could be. Heaven. Sitting atop a cloud, holding hands with Grandaddy and rocking our son, her great grandchild Charlie for me until I get there. If I had to guess, I will have a hard time getting him away from her loving arms even then.

We all love you, Grannie. And until we see you again… KIA341 Clear!

 

And if you want to see the video Mr. Bruce was talking about – Jimmy Valvano’s 1993 ESPY speech – here you go.

Laugh, Think, and Cry – Click here.

 

The In Between

The In Between

Right now, I’m sitting in the most wonderful place. This place may feel sad for some. It may make some angry. For others, like me, it’s incredibly peaceful and awe-inspiring.

I’m sitting in a room with my Grannie, listening to labored breathing, holding feverish hands, waiting for her last breaths to be taken.

I don’t want her to go. None of us do. We selfishly want to keep her here with us forever. But it’s her time. The stroke she had a few weeks ago was more than her little body could handle.

Hospice is a beautiful place.

IMG_7352

Sitting in this room makes me realize, though, that there is a very special place in this world. It’s the “In Between” and right now I’m sitting in it.

I’m physically sitting here with my mom and Grannie, all of our bodies snuggled safely in this room and cared for by doctors and nurses who only want comfort for the here and now and a peaceful transition to Heaven.

Surrounding us, there are “others” – the ones who protect us all daily. I don’t know who they are. Only Grannie does.

But I do know that I haven’t felt my Charlie’s presence this strongly in a really long time. I know he’s here in this room with us. He’s waiting to jump into his great-Grannie’s arms and be cuddled and rocked until I get there. My Grandaddy is waiting. He’s here, in this room, waiting patiently (like he always has) for her to be ready to reach out her arms to him and walk towards him.

We’re all here – our bodies and souls all swirling together for the last hours in this particular state, waiting for what’s next. Waiting for what’s after the “In Between.”

Stream of Consciousness Sunday: Five Minutes of Freedom

It’s been a very long week – especially since it’s technically been a short week with the Labor Day holiday last Monday.

My grandmother had a stroke on Sunday and between staying with her and working and taking care of my own life, things have been hectic.

So I think this is the perfect week to have a free writing day.

No prompt. Just write for 5 minutes. Set a timer and go with the flow. Enjoy!
stream of consciousness sunday

Friday I drove to Macon to sit with my Grannie for the night in her hospital room. She had a stroke a week ago today and my mom is exhausted from the long hours of ICU and then typical hospital room stuff.

Do you know how many minutes it feels like when you watch the clock for 5 minutes?

It feels like at least 30. But possibly more like an hour.

The ticking of the clock, the dripping of the IV. The beeping of other rooms’ monitors. Blood pressure cuffs and compression wraps blowing up and letting out.

The sounds are so delicate, yet so deafening.

Once sleep invades your body, the sounds get louder. I’m sure it’s even worse for someone who has lost use of one side of her body and the ability to use her words.

Every Code Blue has to be explained: “It’s not for you, Grannie. It’s ok. You’re ok.”

There is head scratching to do, hands to rub, legs to put pressure on because of the pain.

Time in a hospital stands still. The only way to know the difference between day and night is to open the blinds and let the sun shine in.  Because that’s the only way to believe there’s light amid the darkness.

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This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…

  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes.
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
  • Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post (in the sidebar). .
  • Link up your post below.
  • Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

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