Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas to All (even the haters)

Merry Christmas everyone!

Last year we didn't celebrate any holidays and this year we are only easing back into it for Bristol's sake. I want her to be able to enjoy these special times with family and friends without feeling guilty for doing so.

Those of you out there who think I/we use "our circumstance or situation" for special treatment are dead wrong.

1. Kennedy's death did not happen so I can have off of work at Christmas.

2. While you are enjoying your own child(ren) open their gifts left by Santa remember: I WILL NEVER, EVER SEE ONE OF MY CHILDREN, KENNEDY, OPEN CHRISTMAS GIFTS AGAIN. EVER!

3. Holidays, be it Valentine's day, 4th of July, Martin Luther King Day, will always be painful for us. While you are out enjoying the festivities we are grieving and missing our daughter who we will NEVER get to spend another holiday with.

4. Christmas shopping for others is almost unbearable when I am leaving out buying gifts for a child that loved opening them. Seeing the toy section in a store can bring me to my knees.

5. If I wanted fame from something in my life, I would have robbed a bank!

6. July 2nd (Kennedy's death) and August 26 (Kennedy's birthday) will always be a "holiday" for me. I will not be at work either of those days. Get over it and get used to it. While you are out celebrating by lighting fireworks on the 4th of July realize that I cringe at each and every firework. That's how "fun" my holiday's are!

The death of a child is awful and something I would never wish on my worst enemy! Life is forever changed, normal everyday events are unbearable. The physical pain from missing them is more than any pain med can erase.

I leave you with a Merry Christmas! Enjoy your families today and everyday, kiss the little ones an extra time and hug them extra tight and pray for those that will never understand the toll that this loss takes on everyone.

Friday, December 9, 2011

My New Year Resolution

I am generally not much for New Year's resolutions but this year I figure why not? I also have decided to start this immediately, why wait until Jan 1?

I have finally come to a point in my life that I realize how important family and friends are. Family of course being first. My family has been nothing but supportive my entire life, during the most tragic time in my life and continues to be supportive. My friends, I will say I have a few that have stuck by my side, most have come and gone and "friend hopped" on to others.

My resolution this year is to no longer beg for friendships or participate in "one-sided" friendships. My energy is far too consumed by a crawling 6 month old to worry about calling this one and that one to check in, when the gesture is never returned.

This being said, I have not always been a great friend either, so I am going to also try harder with those that are close to me. Unfortunately through all of the chaos of my life the past 17 months, I lose track of time easily and forget that it has been several weeks, rather than days, since I last spoke to someone. This is something I am working on. Bear with me...

The last 17 months of my life have been chaotic, drama-filled, sad, happy, confused, lonely etc. Some of my "great" friends have dropped off the face of the earth when I needed them most. I grieve for this loss too. Others have just created more drama in my already abundantly dramatic life.

Today I begin this new "friend diet" and start shedding those that obviously have moved on to their other friends. I wish nothing but the best and happiness for all of my friends and that will never change it is really just time that I quit wasting my time.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Thankful November

Sorry it's been so long since my last blog, it seems like I have been so busy doing nothing these days.

November 1 I decided to reflect every day on one thing that I was thankful for and write it down. This was eye opening because somedays it was hard for me to come up something to be thankful for! Really?! Yes! Other days it was easy. So here goes... (pardon the errors, I saved this each day in my iphone)

30 days of thankfuls
1- I am thankful for my sweet Bristol.
2-...for my church family. I always feel so welcome at OLV.
3-...for my shower cap.
4-...for the possibility of new opportunities.
5-...for having a job. Even though it makes me crazy sometimes.
6-...for Joe who gives up his social life on weekends to babysit B so I can work.
7-...for my family.
8-...for the scale finally budging!
9-...for Carolyn. She loves B like one of her own.
10-...for my iPhone. I'm just not sure what I'd do without it.
11-...for our veterans, past and present.
12-...for a good day at work. Take them when I can!
13-...for going to work today. Very cranky baby that was up all night.
14-...for my dad visiting and making sure I have a cooked meal when I get home exhausted from work.
15-...for a good nights sleep!
16-...for modern medicine and the fact that I did not have to feel my tooth being extracted.
17-...for Joe getting a good report after his colonoscopy.
18-...for my dad having the ability to come here and help us out this week. It was a busy one!
19-...for the snooze button on my alarm clock. Those 9 minutes mean a whole lot to me.
20-...for choosing to work in the nursing department that I work in. I love my co workers.
21-...for waking up to a happy, beautiful baby cooing in the monitor today.
22-...for my ability to be able work from home when necessary.
23-...for the Kelley family. Each month they sponsored a mass in honor of Kennedy, these services have made us get up and go to church in some of our darkest moments.
24-...for Joe who has been through the darkest moments with me and to this day still stands by my side. For Bristol for coming into my life and showing me that I can love again and have happiness. For Kennedy for showing me how precious life is. Because of her I have learned to appreciate so many things. Even if for a short time, I am so thankful to have been lucky enough to be her mother.
25-...for not having to shop in the chaos of black Friday.
26-...for only having to work weekends. It's nice working two days a week.
27-...for being flexible enough to deal with some interesting situations at work. Roll out the red carpet....
28-...for sinus medicine.
29-...for my strong moments because when my weak ones hit they take every bit of strength to get through.
30-...for getting to enjoy so many of Bristols moments with her.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Being Joe's Wife

This weeks event's have prompted me to write this blog. Joe is one unique individual and being married to him is one heck of an experience, sometimes I think we would really make a great reality show!

My sweet husbands reply to me on Sunday morning when I tell him I'm going to the ER, "why?" my answer - "because I'm dying", his earth shattering reply "OK".  Not the response I was looking for but not exactly unexpected either.

We have introduced solid foods to Bristol, which has been pretty easy, so my instructions to Joe were easy while I was at work, bottle, carrots, keep her happy, etc. He told me he had a very hard time with the solids and was just going to let me do that for now because she was just not having it. Turn to Monday morning when I was spoon feeding Bristol some cereal and he says to me "oh I didn't know you had to put the spoon in her mouth". REALLY?! did he think that her food just jumped off the spoon into her mouth. He's done this before!

I have come to realize that my life with Joe will be filled with repeating myself over and over, picking up the dirty clothes from around the laundry basket, listening to him retell the same stories over and over, hearing him bite his nails, scratch his head, obsess about things out of his control for weeks at a time,  and deal with his ADHD and OCD and whatever initials you wanna throw in there.

I do also realize that my life with Joe is filled with love, devotion and understanding. An understanding so deep that could never be found anywhere else. I guess we are stuck with each till we're old and gray and figuring out how to get our food to jump off the spoon into our mouth's:)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bittersweet Return

We made the painful decision to go back to the beach this past weekend. We chose not to go to Orange Beach but instead went to Pensacola Beach (If you recall the picture of Kennedy with her back to the camera looking out over the gulf, this is where it was taken in May of 2010).

May 2010

September 2011
 It was actually an easy trip. Bristol was surprisingly easy, although we were both sinus-ey, it was still a great trip.

I wondered if I was going to be able to even look at the water. I find it hard to look at it on TV or in pics, but being there made me want to see it. I only went in up to my ankles and that is probably all I will ever go in and that is fine with me. It was nice to not have anxiety when I saw the beauty of the beach this time.

We were able to make some pretty pictures with Bristol on the beach. We collected seashells, something I will always keep as a reminder to us of our strength to go forward. Will the beach ever be the same for us, NO, but we will continue to make new memories and grow from the old ones.

Our Little Family Feet
Reality hit me when we walked back into our house. On our last trip back in without Kennedy it was a somber, depressing entrance, the dogs even laid down and cried. This entrance was nothing like that, Bristol was wide awake in her carrier, the dogs were running around ready to be let outside, our life has continued on. It's amazing how slow and fast these past 14 months have gone, some days (most) are a blur and filled with anger and sadness but others are filled with the joy of Bristol. She is truly a blessing!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Happy Birthday Kennedy

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear sweet Kennedy,
Happy Birthday to you!

Four years ago today our life was complete when Kennedy entered it. Four years ago, we found love that we never thought was possible. As I write this I cannot help but wonder who Kennedy would be today? How tall would she be? How long would her beautiful hair be? How many more faces would she be making? What would her favorite song be? What would her favorite show be? Would she still be carrying her "B" around? How about that thumb, would we have successfully weened her from sucking it?

The answers to these questions I will never know. I can only imagine. My love for Kennedy is still as strong as it was the day she was born four years ago. I will never stop loving her.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I am so enjoying seeing the new smiles that Bristol comes up with every day. She's such a happy girl. They are so innocent and pure. She is so happy in this world. It is hard for me to not think about Kennedy's smile. It was so adorable but rarely caught on camera. She would smile so big until I pulled that camera out and then we got the serious face. The rare pictures I have of her smiling or smirking are such a treasure.
The smiles that my girls have given me are heartwarming and consoling, I just don't know what I would do without them.
Seeing them smile, makes me smile. With Kennedy, I smile for the times remembered with her. With Bristol, I smile for the times we have yet to create.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Birthdays and Beach trips

This month is a busy month, lots of birthday's. Kennedy's is one of them. August 26 is just as painful of a date as July 2 is. What do we do to commemorate it? Last year I was in such a fog/state of shock that we had a big celebration and I barely remember it or planning for it. I don't want to in 10, 15, 20 years celebrate the day by simply saying "Happy Birthday Kennedy". To me August 26 will always be her birthday and will always require a remembrance of some sort. Do I have another party with a cake and act like she is still here on this earth? It seems so strange to do that but it's not like I can go to Heaven and have a party for her up there. I am totally OK with being the crazy, grieving mother that still has a birthday party for her daughter every year but I now have Bristol to consider. Will she think this is completely weird? Right now she doesn't know what day is what, but I really don't want to mess her up. We'll all be in therapy together!

Aaaah the beach! After being tortured with every one's beach pictures and hearing about their awesome trips to the beach, we have finally planned a trip in September. We are not staying in Orange Beach but do plan on visiting there. I love the beach, so does Joe. It is killing us to be away from it and at the same time it's so painful. It's still hard for me to see a picture or video of waves crashing. I think this is one of those things that we HAVE to do to get over all of our fears.

By the way, three more weeks of school!!!! Woo Hoo! I have no idea how I did it!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bad Dream

As happy as Bristol makes me, I still feel like I am living in a bad dream. My life feels foggy, did all of this really happen? I still cannot believe it. I have been thinking about Kennedy so much these days. Every memory of her is a painful gift. I love to remember the sound of her screaming and crying at the pediatrician's office, how she looked with her thumb in her mouth, especially when she would smile with that thumb there, how she was turning into a beautiful little girl, wearing her tutu, playing with her hair that she just realized was there. All of these things are things that people seem to take for granted. No parent ever wants their child to throw a tantrum in Publix, I always dreaded that, now I would do anything to have her throwing her worst fit in there. As Bristol is growing, it is hard to not compare her to Kennedy. I guess having a second child makes you do that.
I will never wake up from this bad dream, this nightmare. My only reprieve is that I learn how to live with it. Some days I feel like I am coping so well, others not so well.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

This week I returned back to work from maternity leave. I was panicked at the thought of Joe sleeping with Bristol and basically taking care of her all weekend without my help. He did fine, his hair was on end at the end of day 1 and his eyes were purple from lack of sleep but he managed. I panicked for nothing. Day 2 they did much better and I am at ease now. He's a great daddy and I am lucky to have him.

Being back to work was great. I needed it. I complain about working all the time but I know that I will be a better mom for it. I need the time away. With my return to work I pledged to myself that I will not take any more time off, no more leave of absences! This year was filled with them and now I want to try and get back to somewhat of a normal life.

Bristol is growing so fast. We love her so much. Her smiles are so heartwarming and give us such a calm feeling. I could (and usually do) hold her all day and snuggle. We tell her about her Sissy all the time but I think she already knows all about her!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Where we have been; Where we are going

This year has been the most difficult year of our lives, we faced a tragedy that no one should ever have to face. We have been through the depths of Hell from the moment we heard the awful news up until now. We have been through the emotions of welcoming Bristol into a world that we are not so sure of. We have been up and down every emotional roller coaster there is to offer. We have been close to ending our lives, only to think enough about it that we don't because that won't ever get us to see Kennedy again. We have been across the country to clear our heads, we have sat quietly in the shower crying. We have been through countless sleepless nights. We have been through the best dreams and the worst nightmares.
Where we are going is definitely a mystery. We have plans. Plans to raise Bristol safely. Plans to re-grow our business, plans to cry when we need to. Over this year I have come to realize that our plans don't ever seem to work out. We planned to the leave the beach Friday morning, unfortunately it was a plan we didn't stick to.
We each have our goals. My number one goal is provide as much love as I have to offer to Bristol and raise her to know her sister like we did. I also plan to work diligently on my book over the next few months and hope to have it in print by NEXT Christmas. It is a far off date but I never realized all that goes into it, it's very time consuming. In 8 short weeks I will be done with my bachelor's degree in Nursing. I hope to take off until January 2012, to return for my Master's. This has been a long time goal of mine and it now finally seems reachable.
Many people have asked if we plan on having more kids. That answer is yes. When? I have no idea. I have said a thousand times if I could have a baby without having to actually go through pregnancy I would do it every day. I am just not a good pregnant person, I'm whiny, I gain way to much weight and I get super selfish.
I look forward so much to watching Bristol grow into her own person. She is a wild child already. She is so feisty (I'm pretty sure that comes from Joe). She is a determined little person too. She knows what she wants (we are still trying to figure it out) and she will get it.
July 7, Joe and I celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary, something many people probably never thought we would ever see. Through everything we have been through this year we are stronger than ever. Yes we disagree and argue but who doesn't. We have held to our commitment to stick together through this, I look forward to spending many, many more years with him. We are dysfunctional but somehow it works.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

More decisions

Yet again we face decisions. They are never ending. Before the tornadoes in April I was contacted by Fox 6 news to do an interview on where we are at one year later. The tornadoes hit, we didn't have to make the decision, there were much bigger stories at hand. News is slowing down now and yet again we are contacted.
I trust the reporter, Joe is on the fence, he fears that our comments will be cut and pasted and turned into thoughts that we did not say. I really do not know how it will turn out but I pray that, for the news stations reputation, our words come out the way we intend for them and editing is minimal.
The reporter wanted to do a piece on beach safety, something Joe and I decided early on that we did not want to be the face of. Instead she is doing the piece on how we have come through this. Bristol will even make an appearance.
My hopes in doing this interview is to help someone, anyone, even if it is just one person. I also think that we do have a story to tell, our faith and commitment to each other has really gotten us through this last year.
Pray that this interview goes well for us, we all know how our luck is over the past year. If it weren't for bad luck we would not have any!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Our year

Well life is definitely busy around here. I forgot what it was like to have a baby in the house. Bristol is doing great. She's such a content baby. We couldn't be happier.

Our family has been visiting since her birth, a new member each week. My house is full and busy but it's all so welcome.

It has almost been a year. We have been juggeling with the idea of returning to the beach for the anniversary on the 2nd but I think we have finally made the decision to wait until September or so. I am in a happy place right now, I miss Kennedy so much more every day and I fear that if I go to the beach right now it will make me lose my momentum of healing.

We teach Bristol every day about Kennedy, we show her the pictures on the wall of her and I think that whenever we say her name she smiles a bit. My goal is for Bristol to know Kennedy the way we knew her. I struggle now and probably will until the time comes for us to explain to her what happened to her sister. I know that will be a difficult conversation.

This past year has been the hardest, saddest, joyous and happiest times. Looking back, I still cannot believe what has happened. I guess it is something that I will always look at as a bad nightmare. Dealing with the emotions of all of this, Kennedy's death and Bristol's birth, is trying. I am generally happy but still hurt so deeply for Kennedy. Time is healing our wounds but I know they will never be fully healed. That is ok with us, we are learning our new normal.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Catching my breath

She's here! Bristol was born on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 1432, 6lbs 3 oz, 18" long. I had an amazingly easy labor and delivery, with the best coworkers/friends! Bristol is happy and healthy!

We couldn't be happier right now. It's amazing how you fall in love with someone you never even met so fast. Emotions hit me when I hit 9cm, I realized what I was in for, a huge episiotomy or tear and a painful recovery. I panicked a bit, but at 10cm, pushed with all my might, Bristol was here! I actually got to look down and see her being born, it was amazing. I have seen it a million times but this time it was different, she was mine and I was in love. I cried, happy tears and sad tears. Happy because there is a beautiful baby girl in my arms, sad because Kennedy wasn't with us to celebrate. Joe was amazed and in love too. Then his focus turned to the delivery of the placenta, lets just say the whole room got a tutorial from the doctor explaining how the placenta comes out. Then he saw it and said "I don't know how you women survive this, that looks like a deer stomach". Leave it to Joe to say something like that!

Bristol looks nothing like Kennedy when she was born, huge help. She is her own person. My doctor, who also delivered Kennedy, said it was a great thing for us that she looked totally different, I agree.

Everything I learned about newborns with Kennedy is out the window with Bristol. She is quiet, doesn't like to be swaddled, wants to cuddle and is breastfeeding so well. Kennedy was a spunky newborn, she was colicky, had to be swaddled, didn't care much to cuddle and did not breastfeed well. It's all so familiar yet so new to us.

Emotionally we are doing great, we miss Kennedy, we will never stop missing her, but we also feel that we were given what we needed, a sweet baby girl that wants our love. Joe made the comparison that Bristol is like a stray dog, she just wants to please us. Not a great comparison but it actually fits the situation.

People actually hold her, something I feared we would never let happen. Joe is still a germ-phobe and is 100% certain that hands are being washed before anyone gets within 10 feet of her, but that's Joe. As far as babysitting goes, not sure when we will let that happen, but we are definitely starting to move in a positive direction.

My posts will probably be few and far between for the next few weeks, school is kicking my butt this session and I really need to focus on it so I can finally finish this degree.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


So I made fun of Joe for nesting. He completely reorganized our house and still continues to do so. It was making me nuts but I was so thankful that I wasn't the one with the constant urge to run around and clean something. Not so fast.... Today while picking up a few things from wal-mart, the panic hit me. My baseboards are FILTHY, I have no idea when the last time I did the floors was, the bathrooms are probably a biohazard, the damn bird has feathers everywhere! OMG I had to get home and clean!

Unfortunately though, my energy and ability to clean most of the crap I was panicking about is just not there. I panic again, this is going to take me days to do! The car seat has to be put in too! I also have to work this weekend, work at Joe's office before the weekend and somehow deal with school.

Why am I stressing so much about the normal things that are always going on in my life? It's frustrating because I really do not think I have any control over these urges to clean. I managed to dry mop the baseboards, dust, Joe vacuumed, Orange-glo the wood floors in the living room (a rather large and exhausting job, I'll get to the foyer and dining room another day), got half of my school stuff done for this week and then I ran a bath and sat there until I pruned up.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I'm baaaccckkkk!

Whew! What a crazy few weeks! I'm now almost 37 weeks pregnant and ready (so ready) to have this baby. The discomfort is driving me nuts, but I am no one to decide when she's ready to meet us. So I'll just keep on complaining.

Joe has recovered quickly from his little golf cart mishap. Thank goodness! Nothing broken, except his ego:).

I just started my second to last session of school. Only 16 weeks left! I am worn out and worry a lot about how I am going to do this when Bristol gets here. I was going to take this session off but after a pep talk from Joe I'm hitting it head on and still plan on finishing at the end of August.

This month marked 10 months since Kennedy's accident. I hate it, unfortunately time does move on and this is one of those things that we will always deal with.

April 27, 2011-WOW! We were warned of the strong possibility of very severe weather and tornadoes days in advance. I don't think anyone could have ever imagined just how severe it would get. This state is ravaged. Seeing pictures on TV and video does absolutely nothing for the shear force that these tornadoes brought. Seeing it for myself, up close and with my own eyes, made me realize that I never respected the destruction that a tornado could bring. I feel awful for everyone affected. Most lost everything. Imagine walking into your neighborhood and not even being able to figure out where your house was. The destruction is amazing. Somehow our county (Shelby) was spared, which made me thankful, because we probably would not be alive today if it weren't. We definitely were not prepared for an EF-5 tornado to directly hit us.

Joe and I spent sometime (with some friends of ours) handing out food and supplies. What we saw was nothing short of amazing. People who lost it all are HOPEFUL. They are walking around dazed but they are confident they will rebuild and are thankful for their lives. Their strength gives me hope, we may not have lost everything we owned but the loss of our daughter makes us feel that way. Seeing people continue on through tough times, makes me certain that we will also get through this, as hard as it is at times.

I am going to continue my efforts to collect any items that can be donated at a later time to these great people. The supply posts are packed full in the towns we were in, because those affected have no where to take the stuff to. The need will be great in a few months when they are rebuilding.

I must say that I am really proud to call Alabama home.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Defects and Karma

I know I have blogged about this before but here I go again. We have the most defective animals!

Xander the Doberman saw a hot air balloon fly over our house this Saturday and got scared to death!. He is a 100+ pound baby. He sat shaking in his kennel for hours and almost a week later he is still scared to go outside without Joe or I. Seriously! His OCD caused him to lick a hot spot on his paw, not sure what to do about that.

Max is Max. He's the 11 year old pug. He cannot hear a thing but he and Xander somehow communicate when it's time to eat and Max teases Xander so much so that Xander acts like he's going to eat him. Max whines ALL the time. I yell at him to stop, but what good does it do, he can't hear me! He spends his days sleeping, whining and going in and outside continuously.

Bird. OH MY!  She's always had issues! She spends 90% of her time sitting in the corner of the bottom of her cage doing nothing but squaking. She has recently become super destructive and vicious. She tears her cage apart all the time. Ladder gets ripped off, food and water covers torn off and thrown across the cage. We fix them and she tears it back up. The other night I decided to put my finger by her cage (yes I was teasing her) she pecked at my finger! Several times! I don't have any idea what shes so mad about, we are pretty nice to her. If she wasn't Kennedy's Bird I would seriously think about giving her away, it's just hard to part with her right now.

Karma. I believe that if you are a good person, then good things happen to you, If you are a bad person then bad things will happen. This week I got to thinking, what have I done that was so bad in this life to have my daughter taken from me? Surely it had to be something big, but I really would be able to remember that. Right?

Had a doctor appointment yesterday, my BP was ok, go figure! I spent a week feeling like crap, only to wake up on Wednesday, the day of my appointment to feeling great. Not that I wanted to feel bad but I think it would have made me feel not so crazy. My doctor frightened me, she asked me if I was going to counseling. Told her no, I haven't been in forever. She got super concerned and fearful almost for me. It worried me, it was a very serious conversation. Does she know or see something I don't see? Regardless, I made an appointment with our counselor. It can't hurt at this point. There really are a lot of mixed emotions right now. Happy, for a new baby. Sad, because Kennedy isn't here. Anxiety, can we safely raise Bristol? Anger, that this really happened to us.

Joe has been in a hole lately and really worried me. I know he is going through his own difficulties with this. Counseling will help us tremendously!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Difficult days

So I  have felt terrible for the last few days. Woke up the other day and my face and hands were swollen, my fingers so much that I could barely bend them. I decided to check my BP, it was elevated, not alarmingly elevated but definitely higher than my usual 110's over 60's. I called the doctor, who told me to rest. Really? Resting on a Wednesday is impossible for me, it's always a very busy day at the office for me and I had a million other things to do. Ugh! I ended up going to the office and working for just about an hour or so and then home to lay on my perch. I guess the rest helped me some, I woke up this morning less swollen but still running higher BP's. Thankfully, other than being so tired, I have no other crazy symptoms. Work should be so much fun this weekend. I go back to the doctor on Wednesday, hopefully things will be better by then.

I managed to get a little ahead of my game with my school work. Turned a paper in today that wasn't due until Sunday, that's a big accomplishment for me. Also worked on another paper that's not due until NEXT Sunday, this is an even bigger accomplishment for me. Only three weeks left of this semester! Woo Hoo!

Yesterday I realized that I am alone in this world. Everyone is so consumed with their day to day affairs and habits that they rarely have time for themselves, let alone to listen to someone complaining about how sad they are. Its amazing how so many people were "there for us" when the shit hit the fan this summer but as time goes on, we end up being dropped from their lives when we need them the most. Our road to a normal life will never be easy, nor will it ever be normal. I hate the fact that I know that for the rest of my life I will deal with pain, it will be worse at times and less at others but nonetheless, it will be there.

My life will be faced with decisions, difficult decisions, but none as difficult as the decisions that I made that led up to Kennedy's accident.

My bad days are bad lately, my good days are days that I can stop the stream of tears. I know that this will all get better with time but unfortunately time just doesn't seem to be on my side anymore either.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Me, Myself, and I

I'm not really sure what is going on. I have been on this selfish spiral lately. All things are about me. I'm tired. My ankles hurt. I want this, I want that. I'm not sure if this is part of the grief process or pregnancy or just me being ridiculous. It's funny that when I get on one of these rants Joe just ignores me. He doesn't feed into it, he just plays his video game and lets me carry on about me.

I am also blaming myself for Kennedy's accident. This is new. Up until this point I called it an unpreventable accident and blamed no one. Now I blame myself, all the things I could have done differently years ago to prevent this. I know in my heart that this was an accident but I feel so much better blaming myself. I am guessing this is just another phase of grief. Maybe I should get my butt back to counseling...

I am also feeling completely inadequate in the sense that I want to make something positive of this situation but have no idea where to start. Adoption for us is not an option right now, being the face of beach safety is not an option either. What can I do? Start a memorial fund? There is a nonprofit organization that will set one up for us free of charge and handle all of the business end of it. But who does it benefit? Drowning victims? Then I go back to my selfishness, our business is struggling, our finances are a mess, how do I ask people to donate money to our fund when I can't donate to theirs?

I spent well over an hour at Kennedy's columbarium yesterday eating lunch, thinking and crying. All I could focus on was how much I miss her, how I never brought her to OLV church and how she is laid to rest in an unfamiliar place.

Joe seems to really be dealing with me well. I've managed to say some ugly things to him, which were meant to blame me, but he took it as me blaming him. He really just ignores me and chalks it up to a bad day I guess or crazy pregnancy hormones. I think as Bristol's delivery date gets closer we are getting more and more anxious. We both want what is best for her but how do we do that without letting her out of our sight?

On a completely different note, I had my 30 week check up this week. All is well. Strong heartbeat. Measuring on time. My weight gain has picked up full force. Sorry Brookwood L&D, you got a biggun' delivering in a few weeks.

My book writing has really suffered this month. My laptop crashed and I am unable to mentally fight with the laptop trying to retreive the file. It's very exhausting and frustrating fighting with something that is a whole lot smarter than I will ever be. I am hoping to get back to it full force in April.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Keeping the faith

It's been such a busy couple of weeks for us! Joe's dad came to visit, I had a bunch of appointments, papers due, baby shower to think about, thankfully things have slowed down some this week-with the exception of school! Gosh it is wearing me out. I was urged to not take these two classes together because they are the more difficult ones in the program. I figured best to take them before I deliver Bristol and my placenta takes my remaining brain cells with it. Hmmm, maybe not the best idea. Whatever, I've been through worse.

Since the oil spill last summer tourism has been down at the beach. In an effort to revitalize the area there are tons of commercials on TV about coming to the beach, one shows a family with a little girl (about Kennedy's age) in a pink bikini (similiar to the one she had on) running to the water. OMG! seriously what would have normally made me want to go there and spend a few days basking in the sun, has me running in the opposite direction. I want nothing more than to spend a few days listening to the waves and burying my feet in the warm sand but I cannot do it. Not now, maybe not ever. Knowing what I know now about how quickly things can happen and how dangerous the beach can be has me scared to death to ever enjoy it again. I want Bristol to experience the beach but fear that I may never let her near it. Anyone who knows us, knows that we love the beach and jumped at every opportunity to go there, now it's all different.

On another note, I celebrated with my friends on Sunday at my baby shower. It was nice. We got so many beautiful gifts. I swear I have no idea where we would be without our friends. That morning I didn't feel much like socializing but that mood passed quickly and I enjoyed the day. Yesterday, my dedicated PJ day, was spent putting things together and finding a home for all of the awesome things. It was bittersweet.

It's been awhile since I read the bible, I was reading it daily but really have been preoccupied lately that I just didn't get around to it. (not a very good excuse) Anyway, I am trying to read it more consistently now. I also prayed, prayed hard for several things last week and those prayers got answered. One for my own selfish reasons and another for a friend who is going through an adoption process. Coincidence? Maybe to some but I am chalking these up to answered prayers.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


For the past week I have been sorting things. Receipts, baby clothes, etc. I'm excited things feel lighter in my house and at the office. It was difficult to go through the receipts from last year, a time when I was still buying things for Kennedy and remembering our trips through the year. While I am glad that the bulk of it is done I know I still have the looming funeral expenses to itemize. While going through the mountain of paperwork I found her blue immunization card for school this year and a letter from my mother in law asking if Kennedy liked her Easter gifts. Finding these things is bittersweet.

My mother in law and sister in law sent a LOAD of baby clothes to us, via Joe's dad. I have spent the better part of the last few days sorting through the sizes and pairing things up. My sis in law even washed everything for me. There were several pieces that we duplicates of Kennedy's, imagining her in those outfits was painful but good. I can definitely say that we do not need any clothing for Bristol until shes at least 3 years old. Amazing!

Tomorrow I go for my three hour glucose tolerance test, since I failed my one hour test last week. Darn it! The last thing I want to do is sit at the doctor office for 4 hours but I guess its necessary. I had gestational diabetes with Kennedy and am pretty sure that it will be the same this time around. I very much dislike having to watch my diet.

School this session is officially kicking my butt! So many big projects, I am getting so sick of writing papers constantly. I have not worked on my book in weeks now, I know the times that I cannot even begin to sit down to work on it but unfortunately that has become the only time I can. I am choosing to get a better nights sleep over writing for now. I still make notes on my phone when I get an idea, so it's not that I have completely disregarded working on it.

I am officially counting down the days until Bristol is due! I cannot wait for her to get here. I pee 5 times a night, I am freezing everyone out of the house, I waddle because it feels so good, I cannot get up from a laying position without rolling to my side first. My weight gain has not even been an issue (20lbs so far) its just the extra girth of my belly that is wearing me out. Joe hasn't even had any off the wall comments lately aside from him thinking the wall fell down in the bathroom because I opened the window this morning because I was on fire after my shower. Poor guy has been wearing layers to bed at night and I even catch him using my half of the comforter that I don't use anymore.

My baby shower is this Sunday, I'm excited to see everyone. It seems like since I have been back to work, I haven't seen anybody in months.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Sealing up the memories

Today has been a successful day for me. I have really got a lot done. A great friend/co-worker gave me a cedar hope chest to store Kennedy's things in. The piles that were all over her and Bristol's bedroom are now neatly stored in my bedroom. I even manged to touch her baby book, something I could not do until now. It felt good to get this stuff organized once and for all. I am finally getting much more comfortable in their bedroom. Kennedy's influence is still present in that bedroom but I now feel comfortable in saying that Bristol can call it her own bedroom. I still need to find one more chest/trunk thing to put Kennedy's bed linens in and her dirty clothes from the week before the accident. The cedar chest will fit them but it is cedar and I just cannot bear the thought of the clothes that smell like her, smelling like cedar.

Joe's mother and sister bought us a ton of girls clothes. I went through four boxes today and hung and put away every single piece. I think I'm nesting. I have this urge to clean and organize EVERYTHING! Unfortunately today though, I am contracting every time I move around too much.

Today starts my 3rd session of school. Only two more sessions to go. I'm thinking though that this semester may be the most involved. The projects that I have to do are overwhelming just to read about. I am at least relieved to know the end is now in sight.

While opening the boxes today with my pair of kitchen scissors, I was reminded of a memory of when Kennedy would try to open something and have a hard time with it, she would go over to the silverware drawer and get the scissors out. It was like she knew what she was doing. She was so independent and was ticked at us when we moved those scissors out of her reach. I am glad my memory allows me to remember those sweet details.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dreams and Anniversary's

Things have been pretty quiet here. Calm before the storm? Let's hope not. I am a bit jealous of Joe. He has had several dreams about Kennedy but I have not had a single one. Why does he get the dreams? I want one too. I've never really been a big dreamer, I guess I just don't remember them. The vivid details that Joe describes to me about seeing Kennedy in these dreams makes me so sad. He gets to hug her again, I don't, he got to see her at a much older age, I don't. I only get to hear about them after listening to him moan and almost cry all night long. I always know when he's had one, his sleep is a mess those nights. I can feel his pain in each cry.

The only dream I have had recently, that I remember, is that Bristol was born without a head. I have heard about the crazy dreams that one can have during pregnancy, but really wasn't expecting that. She has a head, I saw it! What am I thinking? So silly.

While shopping this week in Wal-mart I walked down the Easter aisle. Already? I have now realized that holidays are hard. Not just for me but for so many others. Unfortunately it is sad that we relate a holiday to the death of a person but we do. Deaths seem to happen around the holidays a lot. Easter is definitely going to be a holiday that I know brings friends of mine to their knees. It makes me wonder how we can be so "happy" when the holidays roll around. July 4th and fireworks will never be the same for me. It's hard to even look at fireworks on TV. We were supposed to be watching them with Kennedy that weekend. She called them 'firetrucks'.

Joe and I have also tossed up renewing our wedding vows. Our anniversary is July 7(it will be 10 years this year). We forgot about it this year until late that day when Joe said to me "wow, some anniversary". Dates to me at that time were non-existent. I just cannot see how we will celebrate anything around that time. I wish that money were not an option and we could go away for the entire month.

Please think of others when you are enjoying your holidays or celebrations, so many of us out here are hurting during these times.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


This week has been absolutely beautiful weather wise. I sat on the driveway and watched Joe plant some shrubs and soaked up the sun for a few minutes, only to be saddened because, if Kennedy were still here, she would and should have been out there with me. This is just another one of those firsts that I keep experiencing. They are hard but I manage to get through them. I had to put away the visual image of her toys strewn all over the driveway and the million chalk drawings that would normally be scattered everywhere.

I seem to be having so many more emotional days, it has to be my hormones. I cry at the silliest things and then I can't stop. I guess it goes with the territory.

Today I did something I have been putting off for so long. I went to Kennedy's Mother's Day Out to visit. I worried that I would fall into a heap as soon as I walked in. Thankfully, because of the pretty weather, everyone was outside. I took a deep breath, got out of my car and walked over to that playground. It was hard to not see Kennedy at the top of the slide or playing with one of her classmates but I managed. I spoke to all of the great teachers at that school, they were awesome with all the kids, Kennedy included. She loved going to school as much as I loved the break.

I knew there was a mural painted at some point during last school year and Kennedy's hand print was used to make a flower. I went in that building, I didn't fall to a heap on the floor, took a picture of the hand print and was proud of my baby for making the only smudgy hand print on that whole wall. It was her, she was a mess. That hand print means so much to me, I had a casting kit from very soon after she was born but just never found the time to cast her print.

Down the entire length of the hallway, Ms. Michelle, painted a summer/spring beautiful mural with birds, and flowers and green grass. In this mural is a picture of a little girl with pig tails, carrying a lunch box, with the monogram KHA, wearing cute red boots  (with the Alabama logo). The thought that her teachers keep her in their memory was amazing to me. I know they remember her but to memorialize her in such a way was so much more than I could ever ask for. I  teared up in that hallway. I am forever grateful for them!

I got to see some of Kennedy's old classmates, they grew up so much, it helped me to visualize what Kennedy would be like today. I miss her and everything about her and truly hate that she is not here anymore, she was the perfect kid! I have been juggling back and forth again with the "why us?" The only solution I could come up with is that somehow, someway I/we will make a positive difference in this world, dealing with this tragedy has given me such a different perspective on life and just how precious it is. Someday when I know what that calling is I will share it with all of you.

Here are the pictures I took:

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hope everyone enjoyed or is enjoying their day! I will say this has been a good day for Joe and I. We decided to enjoy lunch together today, my choice. I chose chic-fil-a and a picnic with Kennedy. Not exactly how I ever thought I would spend Valentine's Day, but it worked. Joe never does the lunch thing with me at Kennedy's columbarium. Today he did and I think he did ok. We even remembered to get our crucifixes blessed by Monseigneur, something we have been forgetting to do for months.

Joe had an epiphany this morning. He said that these small holidays are just a waste of money, why do we waste $3.00 on a card? He informed me that we are only going to celebrate the "major" holidays. My guess is that he will forget to buy me a birthday gift and then we'll have to stop celebrating birthdays too. LOL! He's a mess.

I am now 25 weeks pregnant. Feel a TON of movement, so much that I am being woken up in the middle of the night. Another Joe-ism: while sitting on my couch this morning with my stomach sticking out (for some reason, it feels good to keep my shirt up over it, it looks ridiculous but its comfy), Joe said "why does it look like you should be due in like 2 months, you get really big when you're pregnant". Thank you Joe! Gosh he is so lucky that I am taking Prozac regularly.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Rough Days

Things really couldn't be busier in our lives right now and stressful. I have come to the realization that nothing will ever be easy for Joe and I, ever. Every day getting out of bed is an uphill battle, add the stresses of life to that and it seems pointless sometimes to get out of bed. After talking with a friend last week, who also lost a child, I realize she goes through the same difficulties. They may not be the same situations, but tasks that are easy for everyone else just aren't that simple for us.

It is frustrating. How much more are we going to be tested? Haven't we been handed enough? It seems that when things can't get much worse they do. Yet we keep pushing ourselves. At some point I fear that we will just give up and throw in the towel. I am scared for that day.

I am at the point in my life where I am sick of the drama. It's so meaningless and exhausting.

I have been writing, not everyday but most days. I decided that I can't write on Friday's anymore, too many emotions get stirred up and I cannot sleep for work the next day. I'm proud of myself so far, I really didn't think I could do it, yes it's very hard and yes I've had to skip some parts but for the most part its flowing pretty easily. I am spelling and grammer checks worst nightmare! The whole document is filled with those stupid green and red squiggly marks. I guess I can fix those on a brain freeze day. Whether or not I publish this book I know how much it is helping it me. Publishing it is definitely something that I would like to do but I won't be upset if that doesn't happen.

I've been more emotional in the past week. I'm not sure if its pregnancy hormones, grief finally hitting me, stress or just needing to increase my prozac. Either way, I cry more now than I have in awhile. I had the pain in my chest again, the empty pain that I had for months after the accident. I just wished so badly last night that Kennedy were laying by me in bed sucking her thumb and rubbing my arm. I don't wish for another day with her, that would be too hard, I want our lifetime together back. One more day with her wouldn't fulfill me at all. She would be gone again and the pain would come back.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Rainy days

Joe and I got a lot accomplished in Bristol's room. Crib and changing table are in there. The furniture is rearranged. I can now officially have a baby. Let's hope that doesn't happen for another 3 months at least though. It was hard to go into that room but it was something we did together and it felt good. We talked alot in there. Xander came in and sniffed everything, his ears were down the entire time. He didn't like it in there at all. Max walked in the door but immediately turned around and left. Poor dogs, they do understand.

I have tossed around announcing this but after lots of thought and coaxing from my family and friends I have decided to start WRITING MY BOOK. All by myself! I figured that if I announced it on this blog I would hold myself accountable to actually finishing it. Whether or not it gets published I will still have gotten so much relief from this whole writing process. Right now my rough draft is littered with little red and green squiggly marks all over it. I am definitely not a writer especially on this caliber. I have had to skip the entire accident explaination so far but, as I can, I plan on going back to it. It's just a hard thing to word when I was in such a state of panic and shock that I am unsure of a lot of the details myself.

I am feeling so much movement in my belly. It's fun. It makes it real. I swear overnight Saturday I popped out! I could hardly get around my patients rooms on Sunday. It's getting hard for me to bend over. Really? It seems way to early to be having all of this going on. I still do not feel healthy though, I haven't gained nearly as much weight at this time as I did with Kennedy at the same time. My hair continues to fall out. I am definitely eating much better, my appetite is back full force. I am sure the weight gain will catch up with me very soon. :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


For the last six months (almost 7) I hear so many people tell me I am such a strong person. I don't see it. I am still in survival mode. There are however, many things that I am strong through. But does that make me a strong person? I don't know. I do know that my weak moments are terrible. They are getting less and less as time goes on but they are always like I am taking two steps backwards after a long uphill battle.

This process is exhausting. Mentally taxing. Every day it is on my mind, this is nothing like having a late bill that will get paid with your next pay check, this doesn't go away. Getting pregnant was probably the best thing that could happen for my health. I wasn't eating well, I was losing weight at a rapid pace (not complaining about that but it was not a healthy way to do it) and I was drinking more often. This pregnancy came when I needed it most. I am now forced to eat, I'm gaining weight, I'm being healthier all around. I cannot help but think about what all of this stress is doing to my unborn baby, if there was something I could do to not have this stress and mental anguish every day I would do it.

The exhaustion that grief brings with it is amazing. I don't feel like getting out of bed because I am tired, not depressed. I'm worn out from fighting tears, thinking about my Kennedy, replaying that day over and over in my memory. It's a full time job with the worst benefits.

I am a person that tries to make the best out of everything. I wonder what my next step will be. How can I make this better? I do know that I want to help as many people as I can, how I will do this I just don't know but I guess in time the answer will come.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday Randoms

Wow it's only Tuesday! With Joe being in Mexico and me having to not only work in the office but also see his doctors, do entirely more school stuff than I want to and run four million errands I am worn out! I am realizing how much Joe actually does around here, shh don't tell him that.

I did get to see Kennedy's MDO teacher. She had Kennedy for two years. It was so nice to see her. I so desperately want to go to her old school to see the mural that is there that has her hand print on the wall. I just don't think I am strong enough to walk in there without her.

I am also battling with wanting another dog! What is wrong with me? We have two that drive me nuts! I've been wanting one for over a year that's how we ended up with the bird I bought for Kennedy. I figured at the time that having a bird was not as hard as training a dog so we bought a blue parakeet. Kennedy so appropriately named her Bird. I would tell her "her name is Jade" she would say "no it's BIRD!" whatever. Bird is just a prime example of how well we pick animals. She sits on the bottom of her cage 90% of the time and when she squawks she gets so loud! I discovered, after reading the info pamphlet that came with her about a month after we got her, that if she sits on the bottom of the cage for extended periods of time that she needs to be returned to the store, there is something wrong with her. I never returned her, what is wrong with her?

I think the epitome of our animal choosing comes with our decision to pick Xander. He's a doberman, a really big one! But he is missing a very important chromosome I think. He's as sweet as he can be, really well behaved but sooooo dumb. He trips, he falls, he walks into walls and he barks nonstop. He craves attention and will do anything to get it.

Then we have Max, the senior citizen. He's an 11 yr old black pug. His face is now grey/white. His eyes are cloudy. He either can't hear or chooses not to hear. He limps. We have to check him every morning to make sure he's still alive. He absolutely doesn't wake up before 8am. If it's raining he just chooses to stay asleep all day. We are proud of him, he's been a trooper and has been with us since we lived in PA. He's been through a lot!

Church on Sunday was dedicated to Kennedy, it was sweet. I am so thankful to have been able to go. I work with the best people!

I am thinking more and more about writing a book. I am not a writer but would love to tell someone my story and have them write the book. They would get the credit. How the heck do I even start this process?

Friday, January 21, 2011

C-Sections, Lumberjacks, Kenny Chesney and Massages

My husband is a real stand-up comic today! While assessing my tummy for the infamous linea nigra (which is there, but super light, hoping it stays that way, that sucker took months to go away before), Joe asked me "if you have a c-section, can your doctor just cut off a little bit of your extra skin before she sews you back up?" The irony of this question-there is no talk of me needing a c-section nor do I think I would elect to have one unless it was medically necessary. Thanks Joe!

Next up, while on a phone conversation with his mom this morning, I overhear him telling her "she's doing good, not blowing up like she did the first time, her snoring though is keeping me up all night, I keep looking over expecting to see fat guy with a beard and a flannel shirt on next to me in bed, you know like a lumberjack". OMG! Thanks again Joe!

I think prozac is doing wonders for me!

Today while getting ready I heard a song on pandora that I heard a million times but today it brought me back to the reality of my life now.
"Sunny days seem to hurt the most
I wear the pain like a heavy coat.
The only thing that keeps me sane
is knowing I'll see you again someday"
                              ~Kenny Chesney "Who you'd be today"

As I sit here and blog and await my 9:30 massage appointment, that I so desperately need, I can't help but think that I am not even close to where I want to be in life but this is my life and taking it day by day in my survival mode is the only thing that gets me through.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Random Thoughts

So I worked on Tuesday (not my usual schedule) to reorient to the Labor and Delivery unit. Some of our processes have changed a bit and I needed to see it all work together before I actually labor a patient. I got to see two births. Seeing these births made me think of two things 1. I cannot wait until Bristol is born. 2. Life is short! I really wanted to tell these mothers to cherish every single second with their babies because you just never know when it will be over.

I almost think that I expect children to die now. I don't wish it on anyone, but I now know it can and does happen. It is non-discriminatory. My biggest fear is that we are going to be "one of those families" that their children die tragically. I expressed this to Joe shortly after I found out we were pregnant and he became furious that I would think so negatively.

The constant fear that something bad will happen to Bristol is always on my shoulders. How do I ever trust anyone to babysit? Will the feelings that something bad is going to happen ever go away?

On another note, I managed to get Kennedy's things packed up and ready to be moved into the attic. It was easier being in the room this time. I designated her bed to the "hope chest" pile. I decided the things that are most recently important to us like her drooled on bed sheets, her dirty clothes, her used toothbrush, her overnight bag from the beach trip, her favorite books, etc will be stored in a chest in our bedroom. I am also putting her christening gown, her pink Strausburg dress she came home in, the bows from our door at the hospital, the dried pink roses that were given to her, the cards congratulating her birth and her baby books (I still cannot even touch these). I feel good knowing that Bristol can make this bedroom her own now, without me feeling like she's touching things that I would rather her not touch.

Yesterday, I also ate lunch at Kennedy's columbarium at the church. I try to do this once a week. As I sat there freezing my butt off, literally, the cement was wet, the marble benches had puddles of water on them, the ground was my only option and it was a cold, dreary, cloudy day, I realized that I can't complain about being cold, it's not right. So I sat there shivering eating my chic-fil-a and having a long conversation with her about Bristol. For the first time since my many lunches there, I felt close to her.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Too much for one day

Feeling empowered from this mornings blog, I decided today would be a good day to go through Kennedy's bedroom and put her clothes in bins to be stored in the attic. Joe and I made the decision to have Bristol use Kennedy's room. Kennedy loved her bedroom and always wanted her friends to sleep with her in her bed, she always welcomed "the girls" (the neighborhood girls) into her bedroom and never once said "no, my room". It's only fitting that her sister share a room with her. If Kennedy were still alive I think I would still have them share a room, that's how much Kennedy loved sharing it.
Going through all of her clothes that she most recently wore was heartwrenching. Seeing her shoes, knowing she'll never put them on wrong again was like a dagger in my gut. Holding back vomitting, I let the tears flow. I needed to do this.
How could any of this be real? Her stashed cookies on the side of her bed are still there, just in case she got hungry at night she was prepared. Her water cup is still on her bookshelf. Her toothbrush still on the sink. Her mirror still splattered with toothpaste. Her bedroom stopped in time.
Did we make the right decision to put Bristol is this room? It seems like the only decision, Kennedy wouldn't have had it any other way. I feel like I need to rearrange the furniture in there to allow Bristol to make this her room but how can I do that without erasing Kennedy's memories?


I am writing this today because I am hoping it will help me. Help me to quit reliving the awful memories of our tragedy. Maybe by making a list of the memories I have it will help me move forward and remember more of the good memories.

Things I remember:

* looking at the beach bag with Kennedy's beary in it and thinking shes been away from that for awhile, something is wrong.
* searching the condo grounds for my baby, never realizing she was in the water
* having the terrible feeling something was wrong, while calling 911
* seeing the police walk in to the condo lobby
* giving my phone to the police officer, that was the only place I had a picture of Kennedy
* seeing the officer walk back to me, he didn't have to say anything
* falling, crying, screaming, helped back up by my sore arm by the police officer
* getting separated from Joe
* seeing Joe agonize over the possibility that Kennedy was lost
* seeing Joe get the news
* making frantic phone calls to family
* the painfully long ride to the hospital, me in one police car Joe in another, the police getting lost, me begging them to turn on their lights so we could get there faster. They never did.
* waiting in the ER for the nurse to take us back to see Kennedy and identify her
* seeing my baby on that stretcher, tubes everywhere, I was trying desperately to warm her up. I laid on her.
* watching Joe scream at the doctors and thinking they were really taking it well
* answering more police questions, questions I did not know the answer to
* making the painful decision to leave the hospital without our daughter
* somehow getting back to the condo, it was filled with death, packing and loading the car.
* driving back to Helena. shaking, Joe couldn't drive, I did it. Every bridge we passed I battled with myself to not run into it to end this misery and see my baby again. I held her beary the whole way home. Talking to Heilah and crying with her for the last hour of the drive.
* walking in the door of our house that was filler with Kennedy's toys and memories.
* hearing the music, our only comfort to this day
* the steady stream of friends then family (arriving from PA) that came to console us.
* falling asleep, after my dad tricked me into a sleeping pill, waking up to a priest and a nun and thinking "oh good I'm dead". No not really, It was Sister Madeline and Father Weiss. I went back to sleep, it was too much.
* Uncle Larry asking me if I ate, my answer "a piece of cantelope" it was then I realized that it was days since I ate.
* funeral plans, picking a casket, creamation vs. burial, decisions only Joe and I could make
* going to Stein Mart in a daze, picking up 3 black dresses (sizes unknown, somehow they all fit), a pink dress shirt for Joe and a tie, buying them then sitting on the sidewalk waiting for Mom and Todd to pick me back up.
* Heather helping me pick which dress to wear for the viewing. Aunt Linda ironing Joes shirt.
* the heartwrenching procession to the funeral home then to the church. Traffic stopped for us, police escorted us like it was one of their own. Amazing!
* The viewing and funeral-hugging and crying, seeing Kennedy in a casket.
* the physical pain of missing Kennedy
* through it all I remember sitting on my perch on the couch and just having the world go on without me.

I have no idea how we managed to do everything, how my family found their way to the hotel, how people found out about the accident. So many unanswered questions.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Crazy week

Although I have only been back to work for one week, I am feeling the wrath of time management. Working at our office, keeping up with the house and doing school work now needs to be completed by Friday night, when my weekend shifts roll around I am useless at home. I am not complaining about the tasks I have to do but have come to the realization that I have awful time management skills. I procrastinate.
I am also feeling the physical effects of this pregnancy, all of which I welcome, but having no ab muscles results in a sore back. Maybe I should get one of those support things? Who knows. My cold is finally gone, but the congestion seems to be lingering and probably will for awhile. It's very sad when your husband says to you "when we sleep with that humidifier on at night, you don't snore as bad". Great!
We managed to enjoy ourselves a bit by taking a spur of the moment trip to New Orleans, my favorite city. Joe needed a passport quickly and there is a passport agency there that issues passports in one day. Everything went smoothly and now Joe can leave the country. Back to my loving New Orleans, I have no idea what it is about that city but I love it. I love to people watch, watch the street musicians, look at the amazing architecture etc. Could I live there? Probably not but I hope to always live close enough to be able to go whenever I want.
This trip made me realize that when Bristol is born I will not pass up any opportunity to show her the world. I regret not taking Kennedy with us to Las Vegas, she would have loved the lights, to New Orleans, she would have danced in the street to the street musicians music and ate beignet's like they were the last food on earth, to Disney world, we planned to take her this December, she would have loved seeing all of it.
My motto this year will be: it's better to regret something I have done than regret not doing it.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Return to Work

All of the stress and anticipation of my return to work was overly-dramatized. It was easy. It was good. I must say, I work with the best people! Everyone is always so eager to help, genuine in their concerns and so supportive. I worried about how people would take me, would they walk on eggshells around me? Would they be afraid to talk about their kids with me? Everyone was great the lunch room was filled with nursing RN's pumping their breasts (working in labor and delivery has made us all very comfy with each other:)), others proudly showing the newest pictures of their precious children. I felt normal, my new normal anyway, for the time I was there.

This morning was hard on me. I really have not had to get up early for anything the past six months. My old routine was back. I had to be at work at 7 am (Sunday I go back to 5a-5p shift). I managed to 1. sleep decent last night 2. wake up without too much hassle. When I used to go to work for 5am, my 3 am shower was done with the shower door open. The noise the door made when it shut would usually stir Kennedy, who slept right above that earth shattering noise. My instinct this morning was to leave the door open, I stopped myself right there, this practice was no longer necessary. It is the little things like that that make me miss Kennedy so much.

I worry about Joe on these weekends while I am working. He loved his time with Kennedy on the weekends. She was a daddy's girl then. During the week, she was my girl. Saturday's were spent with Daddy at Waffle House (somewhere Joe still cannot walk into) eating tons of hashbrowns. I would usually get a visit from them at some point during the weekend. Whatever their routine was, it was theirs. I worry how Joe will react to my being back at work. Early on he made the statement to me that he needed me here on the weekends because he just didn't want to be alone all weekend. I think and hope he will be ok. I have a honey-do list a mile long that should keep him busy. We have both come so far since that time.

Thank you Brookwood Girls for making my realize that my return is worth it. Your support is so much appreciated while I transition back into this phase of my life.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

One of those days

Today is just one of those days for me that makes me feel like I am on the verge of a panic attack at any moment. I start back to work tomorrow for the first time since the end of June. It's a step forward that I really don't want to take, unfortunately I don't get paid for sitting at home on my butt. I hate that the world is moving while my world is still at a standstill. I seem to be cycling back to my sleepless nights again. I was awake most of the night with "flashbacks" of that horrific day. Will they ever stop? I read that I should try to think of a happy thought when I get those, it worked a few times but my mind just keeps going back to all the little bits and pieces. Yesterday I made a fluffernutter sandwich  (marshmallow fluff and peanut butter, I eat them all the time) and couldn't shake the vision of Kennedy sitting at the end of our counter on the barstool with her head in her hands, asking me to take the "brown stuff" (crust) off.

My nerves are shot. I have literally scratched the skin off of the top of my hand, not to mention how badly I tore up my legs. Of course, being off of work for the past six months, my health has been pretty good, minimal colds that didn't last very long. Now I am sick, sore throat, headache, sinus pressure and general yucky feeling, and I go back to work tomorrow.

Losing Kennedy is the worst thing I will ever go through in my life but when will things get easier for us? It seems like we are always being tested or pushed to our limits. Days like this I wish I could find a hole to crawl into.

This week has been a super busy week for me, being out of town for the last few weeks of December really set me back. I really think all of the changes and the hustle and bustle that I am not used to yet are a big cause of all of this anxiety. Who knows...Calgon take me away!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


So I said my text post would be a vent session on the things people say after a loss. Here goes...

I do not know statistics but I do know that many people drown each day and each year, especially toddlers. After Kennedy's accident for reasons still unknown to us, the media was all over it. We don't know if it was because of the coverage of the oil spill or what but we were bombarded by hurtful comments on various websites and even asked to do interviews by people posing as concerned friends on facebook. Questions like "where were this child's parents, I would never let my child with a baby sitter around water" infuriated us. People continued to question our parenting skills which drove me to the limit. I already felt like a failure for not protecting my daughter then I had these outsiders thinking the same thing. I finally came to the conclusion that people always have and will continue to have their opinions and I had NO control over them.

Aside from hurtful comments on websites we were faced with the multiple stories about the accident. We heard that we were all drunk, that Kennedy ran into the water, that we were doing cocaine on the beach with an older man, you think it we heard it. We were vacationing with a large group of people yes there was beer (10 bottles between 8 adults, 4 of which were carried up to the room later). Kennedy did not run into the water, she was carried in to wash off after making sand angels. Rip currents are extremely dangerous. The cocaine story, how far fetched is this one? I am a nurse, I cannot do drugs, I get drug tested. If I were to do cocaine I highly doubt I would be doing it on a fairly crowded beach for others to see. Isn't that something that is generally not displayed?

My point to all of this is that it is hurtful to a grieving family to hear stories, any story that isn't the truth. I have learned from all of this that unless I actually hear the story from the parents I cannot take it as the truth. The last thing I ever want to do is misspeak. I know people do genuinely believe that they know what went on but unfortunately that is not the case. I felt like most of those first few days I was (as was Joe) correcting people on their version of the story. To have to re-live it over and over is just excruciating.

Thank you for allowing me to get this off of my chest:)

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Holiday's

Lets just say that this year the holiday season was a very dreaded time in our lives. How was I supposed to shop for other people when all I could think about was what Kennedy would want. Do we still put a Christmas tree up? Where are her gifts?

Black Friday is my favorite day to shop. I get out every year at 4 am and battle the crowds. This year was the first in 12 years that I didn't go. What was I going to buy anyway? We decided early on that we were not buying gifts for anyone this year. This was a mutual decision made by Joe and I. This decision was one of our best decisions made over the last six months. We traveled to PA to be with our family this year. Instead of gift exchanging and a short visit with each we actually got to visit and enjoy dinner and spend TIME with our family. I wasn't stressed out worrying about gift receipts, if this person or that person would really like our gift or store it on a shelf for the next ten years. We got back to basics, FAMILY, this year and may even do the same next year.

My shopping trips during this holiday season were filled with visions of Kennedy playing with the new Tangled dolls or dancing around in a pair of leopard print dress up shoes. Even just a simple food run to Wal-mart was excruciating. To help myself (yes it was done for selfish reasons) I decided to buy Kennedy all the gifts I knew she would love. I got the Tangled dolls, Dress up clothes, My Little Ponies, Tinkerbell, books, etc.. for her. Now what? I had a car full of toys for a daughter I didn't have anymore. I donated all of the toys to our local police station along with rolls of wrapping paper that I bought at last year's after Christmas sales, Tinkerbell and Dora wrapping paper that Santa was supposed to use. Somehow that shopping trip helped me. I would really like to keep up this tradition.

Somehow I managed to get through Christmas, we really treated it just like any other day. Nothing special. It was New Year's that I had a hard time with. I do not know why but I guess it was the realization that time is going on. My world may have stopped but not everyone elses. I can only hope that this year brings us some joy with the arrival of our baby girl. By the way, we decided on a name...Bristol Ava. Bristol after the city Bristol, Virginia that  we would spend the night in the "big hotel" (as Kennedy would call it) on our trips back and forth to PA. She loved sleeping there! Ava after Kennedy's middle name.

My next post will be a vent session on how people say and do the most aweful things during a tragic time. Not only in my own situation but others who have lost someone.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My Story

Two years ago I wondered to myself if I should create a blog but decided I had nothing to talk about...
July 2, 2010 changed that concept and my life forever. My husband and I's only child, Kennedy, a beautiful, vibrant, almost 3 year old girl drowned off the coast of Alabama while we were on what we thought was the best vacation ever. My baby girl was gone forever. I won't get into all of the details now but it was the absolute worst thing anyone could ever experience. My husband and I were forever changed. I miss Kennedy more than I ever thought I could miss someone. There are no words for the loss of a child.
Through this tragic loss I have realized several things:
1. I am not afraid of death, I am ready to be reunited with Kennedy again.
2. I have found myself turning to the Bible for comfort and sometimes answers (answers that I never get).
3. My family and friends are great. Their support for us has kept us standing.
4. Nothing is a priority in my life anymore. As long as the bills get paid who really cares if they are late. My floors are dirty, who cares, my baby is not here.
Going back to #1, I have to clarify, I am not going to commit suicide not now, not ever.
Joe and I vowed to each other that we would work through this and it will not drive our marriage apart, we were the only people that knew what each other was going through. Today has been 6 months since Kennedy went to Heaven. Are we over this? NO. Are we ever going to be over this? NO. I have heard time and time again that it takes time to heal. I don't ever see myself being healed, how can I forget this happened?
A few weeks after the accident Joe and I took a trip out west, it was a head clearing trip that we so desperately needed. We decided on this trip that we would try again for another baby. It took us 3 years to get pregnant with Kennedy and since Kennedy's birth we had several miscarriages, we knew this was going to be an uphill battle. We felt like having another child was what we were supposed to do, not to try and replace Kennedy, but to bring us joy again. Kennedy was so unique that we will never be able to replace her. In early September we found out that we were indeed pregnant! Labs were perfect, growth was on target, everything is perfect, it is meant to be. Our baby GIRL is due May 27, 2011 and although I am elated and happy for this new life I also find myself struggling with the delicate balance of grief and happiness.
In writing this blog I hope to help others while helping myself. Grief is ugly, that being said, unfortunately so are some of my days. I do not mean to offend anyone on here but be forewarned it may happen.