Wednesday, August 24, 2011

And the sadness comes creeping in

I know it seems that this blog is just about sadness.  I guess it is.  This is where I feel safe letting out my emotions.  I have plenty of loved ones who I can turn to and talk to but it's just so hard for me to talk about how I feel.  Typing is easier.

In a little over a week it will be one year since Laura died.  I've known it was coming but for some reason these last several day this sadness is slowly taking over.  I think about her often and how I felt that day but the approaching anniversary is multiplying the sadness.  Grant knows there is something wrong and he asks but I don't know what to tell him.  I don't want to tell him.  I know it's because I'm afraid I'll break down and I don't want to.  But then I do.  I just want to let it out.  But I can't.  Too many years of pushing down sadness and emotions. 

I've also been thinking about what I was doing this time last year and what Laura was doing.  What kind of crap she was dealing with.  I think about the day before she died.  Grant and I were with friends at an Aggie football game.  I look at the pictures from that game and it almost always makes me think "What was happening to Laura?  Was she gone already?"  Then I remember the call from Michelle.  Hearing the words I knew would come someday but still thought wouldn't.  "Laura is dead!"  Wow, just reading those words...  The following week, planning her funeral.  Seeing her body for the first time.  Seeing my hands when I looked at hers.  I still see her when I look in the mirror.  I see her hands when I look at mine.  It just hit me that I don't have a picture of the two of us together.  I can't remember the last time we were in a picture together.  Years.  I regret that.  Here's what I do have.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Families of addicts

This morning while watching the news there was a story, again, about Amy Winehouse and what her father said at her funeral.  He called her his angel or something like that.  From the couch Jon says, very sarcastically "Yeah, well Amy Winehouse was on crack!".  Jon tends to talk about the goings on of the world and he has very little knowledge of what is really happening.  He listens to me and Grant voice our opinion and will take them on as his own.  The old saying "You know not of what you speak" comes to mind.  Jon is just trying to be part of the conversation and prove that he's paying attention to world events and so on.  This morning though, this comment bothered me.  Jon didn't really know Laura well because by the time he was born she was well in to her addiction and I did what I needed to do to keep him safe and sheltered him from her.  So he didn't/doesn't know what we, as a family, went through with her addiction.  I turned the tv volume off and explained to him that no matter what Amy Winehouse's problems were she was still someone's daughter, sister and friend and all of those people still loved her.  Drugs didn't make her father love her any less.  Jon is just a kid and he doesn't understand.  I will sit down with him and talk some about Laura and what she went through.  I want him to understand that addicts don't just hurt themselves.  They hurt everyone who loves them.  Addiction doesn't just kill the addict, it kills a little of each family member too.  Laura was an addict but first and foremost, she was my sister and I love her.  Even in her deepest, darkest pit, I loved her.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Amy Winehouse

Since hearing that singer Amy Winehouse passed away, I've been thinking a lot.  I wasn't really a fan of her music, in fact I had to really think of one of her songs.  The only one that came to mind was "Rehab".  Her death was one of those things that people were expecting and I'm sure a lot of people weren't surprised about.  I know I wasn't.  But it is sad.  Sad that she was so young.  Sad that she couldn't pull herself out of her addiction.  It has made fresh so many memories of watching Laura fight and struggle with her addiction.  It's so heart wrenching to watch someone you love be consumed by addiction.  The person they were falls away and they become someone nearly unrecognizable.  You try to fight the battle for them but it's not yours to fight.  So many times I went to battle against the monster that had such a deep hold on Laura.  So many times my family went to battle.  Every time we lost.  Don't get me wrong, Laura fought too.  She tried so many times.  So many times.  There were times where I could really see she wanted to get away from her captor but each time, she was pulled back in.  Deeper.

I've seen stories online asking the question "Why didn't someone help Amy Winehouse more?"  Once again, it's not our battle to fight.  You can help, pray, talk, listen, cry...  Only the addicted is the one who can win.  Actor Russell Brand said something that really hit home to me.  He said sometimes people in these addictions don't know there is someone out there to help them.  I agree/disagree.  Laura knew we were there but had gotten to a point where she thought she had burned all her bridges with us.  She hadn't.  Brand said "All they have to do is pick up the phone and make the call.  Or not.  Either way, there will be a phone call."  I remember that final call.  I knew it was coming.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It's been a while

Wowzers!  It's been almost 4 months since I've blogged.  It hasn't been because I've had nothing to blog about.  Far from it.  TONS has been happening, making me feel like I'm carrying TONS of weight on my shoulders.

Good things and not so good things have been happening.  On the 9 month anniversary of my sister's passing, her/our tormentor was finally arrested.  I felt so many emotions that day.  I laughed, I cried.  So much going on in my head.  Now we wait for trial and justice to finally be served.

We FINALLY got Jon through the 5th grade.  Not without HUGE bumps along the way.  He's so smart and so sweet and I want nothing but the best for him.  His depression has hit a major low and we are working with new doctors to help him.  For the first time in a long time I feel hopeful that we'll get him through this time.  I'm hoping with this new treatment this summer he'll be ready to rock 6th grade.  He'll be going to a new school but luckily he'll have church friends to help him adjust.  He was standing next to me on Sunday morning before church and I realized he's grown!  He's still got a little way to go but he's almost as tall as me.  Where did my baby go?  He did a lot of body surfing on our beach vacation.  He learned to catch some serious waves!  He also got a hermit crab on vacay and was doing a really great job at taking care of it.  Sadly Marvin was way too stressed and began losing legs on Tuesday.  He finally passed on last night.  Jon's tender heart was broken.  He's been wanting a pet so bad and he really took good care of this crab.  Alas now we know that crabs get stressed and know better how to take care of the next one.

Then there is Jess.  He's still a mess.  He turned 5 and graduated Pre-K in May.  I had a hard time with him turning 5.  I am happy he's thriving and growing but it made me sad.  I guess it's because he's my last baby.  :(.  Great  Great Uncle Jess was able to come for the graduation ceremony.  It's so great to see the two of them together. 
Double Trouble-Jess Harper and Jess Payne

Jess has been talking a lot lately about wanting to go to heaven and see Jesus.  He's asked to fly on a plane so he can go to heaven and see Jesus and just the other day told me "Mom, I really want to go to heaven."  This is great to hear and a little scary because how do you explain how you become a Christian and get to heaven to a 5 year old?  God gives you the words, that's how.  I explained how you become a Christian by asking God to live in your heart and that means you'll obey the rules God gives us and when you sin, ask for forgiveness.  He told "I can't do all that!" (the obey part I think).  I told him how you will hear Jesus talk to you, your heart when you are ready to accept him.  "But I can't hear him mom!"  I laughed a little and said that sometimes you don't hear Jesus like he hears me or dad talking to him.  I said "Jesus talks to your heart.  You know how you feel when you are really happy?  That's how you'll feel when you hear Jesus talking to your heart."  He seemed to understand that.  I was amazed to be having this conversation with him, helping him through this.  I was praying to God to give me the right words.  I was waiting for more big questions when he said "Hey mom?" and I said "yeah?".  He said something about what happened at daycare that day.  Just ask quick as the conversation started it was over.  I didn't want to press and overload his little mind with too much.  I just thanked God for the opportunity and for the words He gave me.

Overall, it's been a busy few months.  We took a little mini vacation with the family to Crystal Beach over Memorial Day weekend.  I learned the valuable lesson of proper sunscreen.  I was suncreened but apparently not enough.  Despite the painful sunburn it was a great time.  So great to be with family and to relax and not worry about anything.

Me and my boys on the beach

Friday, February 18, 2011

Sister's visit and other things

Last week my sister Michelle came for a visit.  This was HUGE!  Even when we lived only 20 minutes apart we rarely saw each other.  So I was thrilled when she said she wanted to come, but I was also totally sure she'd back out.  But lo and behold she came and she didn't even get lost (Thanks OnStar!).  We had a quick dinner at home and then began showing her the sights of Aggieland.  A trip to the mall and then to Spoons.  Saturday morning we all went to Toys R Us because Aunt Shel promised the boys we'd go.  After that, Grant and the boys went their way and we went ours.  Another trip to the mall, a couple of other stores and then SUSHI!  We had such a great day.  It was so much fun to spend time with my sister.  I made her cry :(.  Ever since Laura died I've had this (irrational) fear that Michelle would die soon too and that I'd be all alone.  My mom would only have one daughter left.  That makes me sad.  After we cried she reassured me that I was the oldest and that I would go first and we laughed.  When the time came for her to go home I hugged her and watched her get in her car.  I started for the stairs and then stopped to look back.  I wanted to stand there and watch her car drive away but I couldn't.  So up to my family I went.

I've been reading Mary Beth Chapman's book "Choosing to SEE".  She is the wife of Steven Curtis Chapman.  The book is about their early life, her battle with clinical depression and the death of their 5 year old daughter Maria Sue.  If you know the story, you know that she ran out in front of her 17 year old brother's car as he was returning home.  The story is so heart wrenching and sad.  How does someone come back from something like that?  One word: FAITH.  She is totally open about their fear, sadness and anger in dealing with the loss of their precious baby. They questioned why God would allow something like this to happen and admit, they don't understand but know that God loves them and is holding them up through this.

Reading this book has made all the memories and feelings of my sister's death fresh again.  Needless to say it's been an emotional week.  I've wanted to talk about it to Grant, to anybody, but the fear of letting the emotions out scares me.  So here I am faithful blog readers.  I continually think about the moment Michelle told me Laura died.  I can still hear the tears and utter grief in her voice.  I didn't know what to do.  NO NO NO!  That's what I kept saying out loud.  Then having to call people and tell them.  Telling my dad was the worst.  I was headed to his house when I realized he was out of town.  I didn't want to have to tell him on the phone but I knew I couldn't wait for him to come back a couple of days later.  It was something he and I discussed frequently.  He would ask me if I'd heard from Laura because he'd had a dream about her.  We were always waiting for the "other shoe to drop".  Not that we wanted it, but we knew it would eventually happen.  When I told him there was total silence.  Oh how I wanted to be sitting with him, hugging him.

One by one, I started calling my close friends.  Some who were friends with Laura too.  I called Courtney but got voicemail so I just asked her to call me back.  When she did a little while later she was laughing.  She said "As soon as I heard your message  I thought she better not be calling to rub the victory in!"  Just the day before my beloved Aggies had played SFA and won (BIG) and she assumed I was calling to harass her.  I listened to her laugh and waited patiently.  Finally I said "Courtney, Laura died".  Again, a moment of silence.

Then we had to move on to the planning of the funeral.  Those days are still fresh in my mind.  Sitting in the conference room, seeing the clothes Michelle had picked out for Laura to wear were hanging on a coat rack in the corner.  It was too much.  I went to my mom bawling and tried to climb in her lap.  That's what I wanted.  I wanted my mommy to hold me, to make it better.  But she couldn't.  Picking out a casket.  Again NO NO NO!  The biggest kick in the gut was when we were able to view her body for the first time.  Walking in the room, smelling the flowers that had already been delivered.  I didn't want to look at the end of the room where my big sister was.  When I did, all I could do was wail.  I sat on the couch and Grant came to me.  I said "Go be with Ryan."  My sweet nephew Ryan, who so loved his Aunt Laura, sat sobbing in a chair.  All around me was grief.  I heard my mom, Aunt Margie and Michelle all sobbing. 

It's been 6 months and the emotions are as fresh and raw as they were the minute I heard.

Me, Laura and Michelle

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I was thinking about church earlier.  Thinking back to when I first moved here and we started looking for a new church home.  We tried a couple of churches in the area but they didn't seem to fit.  We came from a bigger church so we thought we might like to try a big church here.  Whoa!  Too much.  Not to hating on the bigger churches but attending this service made me wonder how you could really become part of a family in this church.  Would you ever know everyone in the church?  Would they know you?  For all the people around us knew, we'd been members of the church for years.  No one was out and out rude, but they weren't friendly either.  I took the boys to visit Parkway Baptist one Sunday and there were smiles to greet me and I met Brother Chris at the sanctuary doors.  Very friendly and welcoming.  I explained how we had just moved to town and were visiting churches looking for a new church home and he replied "Well, we'd sure like the job!"  So after a few months we had our new church home. So now we're part of this family.  We are involved in a few activities and have forged some good friendships along the way.

When I originally thought of church today, I was actually thinking of the worship service, or "big church".  I enjoy going to church and listening to Bro. Chris but do I really listen?  Can I remember what the last message was about?  So many times my mind seems to wander, or I'm telling one kid to sit down or another he can go to the bathroom.  Sometimes I'm distracted by other things.  I don't want to be.  I want to learn.  I want to soak up as much of God's teachings as I can.  I've taken a couple of small group bible studies and was amazed at what I learned, that in conversation about the topic, that I could actually participate, that I knew what I was talking about.  More importantly, I was learning God's word. 

I guess this is on my mind because our Women's Retreat is this weekend.  I love being part of events like this.  It always brings to the forefront my desire to be a child of God.  I always feel my spirit becomes renewed.  But alas, I allow life to get in the way and that fire gets doused a little.  In typing those last words this came to mind: "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.  This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.  Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine".  Is your light burning bright for all to see, or are you like me and it's barely flickering sometimes?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

You don't tug on Superman's cape...

When did I become this person who isn't afraid?  When did I become the person who kicks butt and takes names?  I don't know when the transformation happened, but it's who I am now.  My little sister comes to me and says "You HAVE to do something, they'll listen to you."  I call, send an angry, frustrated email and yep, they listen to me.  Now, I understand this doesn't happen under my power.  I've been sending up a few prayers today for patience and calm, but it feels good to be heard.  To know someone is actually listening to you.  I mean, LISTENING.  Not just "uh huh, gotcha, yeah". 

That being said, prayers are needed.  This quest for justice in my sister's death needs prayer.  We just need one teensy, tiny thing to tip the scales and for someone who has tortured many people and ruined lives to get what he deserves.  There are several things that could help, it's just getting any of these different pieces to fall into place.  Today I was given a renewed boost of hope.  All is not lost, not every option has been exhausted and we won't give up until it is.