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.