Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Better



Breathe.
Breathe.

Listen to these lyrics...

Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell
Where can you run to escape from yourself?
Where you gonna go?

I dare you to move
I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor
I dare you to move
Like today never happened


It gets better eventually. It always does.

We learn to forgive each other. And eventually ourselves.

Kenny spent most of the evening curled in my lap. After he fell alseep, I spent the rest of the night figuring out how to clean up gross mop water mixed with cat litter on a garage floor. Let's just say it destroyed 2 dust pans, six towels, one mop, one pair of jeans and a pair of shoes. Don't even ask.

We're okay. Kate and Zach were both getting sick, that didn't help anything. They're feeling better now. Zach had a great game on Tuesday.

And I was so far ahead, pretty much done with my shopping after my annual Veteran's Day outing with Deb. I was feeling pretty smug. How is it that suddenly I'm so far behind? Bake pumpkin bread, make fudge, wrap last minute things, pack, arrange kennel for the dogs and caretaker for the cats and wrap up my old job and I feel like I've been chasing my tail all day. The good news is, all day I thought it was Thursday. So when Zach said, "Mooooom, it's WEDNESDAY!" I gained a whole day! Hooray!

A few pics:









I'm beginning to worry about Zach and his penchant for odd footwear. Note the Santa socks while he coaches. And the twin tube socks with ZachAttack2 during basketball. Your guess is as good as mine.














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"Dare You To Move"

Welcome to the planet
Welcome to existence
Everyone's here
Everyone's here
Everybody's watching you now
Everybody waits for you now
What happens next
What happens next

[Chorus]
I dare you to move
I dare you to move
I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor
I dare you to move
I dare you to move
Like today never happened
Today never happened before

Welcome to the fallout
Welcome to resistance
The tension is here
Tension is here
Between who you are and who you could be
Between how it is and how it should be

[Chorus]

Maybe redemption has stories to tell
Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell
Where can you run to escape from yourself?
Where you gonna go?
Where you gonna go?
Salvation is here

I dare you to move
I dare you to move
I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor
I dare you to move
I dare you to move
Like today never happened
Today never happened
Today never happened
Today never happened before

Monday, December 17, 2007

Awful

Tonight was awful.
Just awful.

We had another weekend of basketball. Getting up at 5am to get to the tournament. We're so exhausted.

We did some shopping. I find myself spending money I don't have to get the kids things they want. I know it's wrong, but I sometimes find myself wanting to make up for their loss, wanting to do something to make them smile. I think it's backfiring, as it was bound to.

I looked around our house. It's a WRECK. I mean, really. Horrible. We have 2 big dogs, 2 cats, a kitten, 3 kids and me and too busy a schedule. And we forgot to take the garbage out on Sunday, so our can is still full and there's no place to put the garbage. Straw 1.

Zach stayed home sick today. I got a report from his math teacher. He's getting a C in a class he should easily get an A in...because of multiple missing assignments. But he told me his homework was done so he could go to see "I Am Legend." Straw 2.

I looked around the house. You can see every little thing that Kate has done for the last two days. She doesn't pick up a thing. She leaves a little trail behind her. She needed new jeans, she's outgrown the old ones. But I look in her room and you can't even see the floor because of all the clothes scattered everywhere. Straw 3.

The dogs ate our tree. And several ornaments. And a basket. And drug the garbage all over the kitchen. And the dining room. And the living room. And the family room downstairs. Straw 4.

So I ask Kenny to unload the dishwasher. He cops an attitude with me. STRAW 5.

Enough straws. I blew up. I mean really. I told Kenny he was selfish. I told them all they were unhelpful and inconsiderate. I told them they were spoiled. I told Zach he'd never get a scholarship with C's and did he think I was going to be able to pay for college? And I told them that I asked for very little of them and I resented that they watched tv, revamped their MySpace pages and played Madden 08 for hours but couldn't seem to find time to unload the damn dishwasher, pick up their socks, feed the dogs or do their homework. Then I left to go to the store. Slamming the door on the way out. Saying something along the lines of, "We'll see how you do without me."

Sigh. Who told me I could do this? Obviously, today I can't. I just can't stand it any more. I can't stop crying. And I can't get past feeling "Why us?" and knowing that it would be different if Dave were here, and being so resentful that it's so unfair, so wrong and there isn't a single thing I can do that will make anything right again.

I'm just empty and tired, and there isn't anyone in my corner. No-one to back me up. Or take over for a while. Or just to be there.

So, while I was at Safeway picking up prescriptions and replacing the cheese Kate left out and the light bulb the dog ate, Zach punched the wall. And locked Kenny in the garage. And Kenny proceeded to destroy everything in the garage. And Kate got scared and called Tami, who brought McKenzie and came over to try to calm everything down. Thanks for being there, Tami and McKenzie, when I simply couldn't. I'm sorry. And embarrassed.

I just want to go to bed and sleep for a week and wake up to things like they used to be.

Not that there aren't some good things now. There are.

Zach did bake McKenzie a cake. She helped. Their first attempt turned out flat as a pancake (well, almost). But eventually he got it right and wrote her name on it and put candles on it and took it to her house.

And he also baked cupcakes for Kate's team. With their jersey numbers on them.

And Kenny bought Zach a WSU Santa hat. It's very cool.

And Kate and two of her friends bought these dumb purple hats that they were wearing all weekend. They were so cute.

And going with basketball friends to Starbucks and iHop and Red Robin.

Oh...and the laundry is caught up.

And the carpets are vacuumed.

Trying to breathe. Tomorrow is another day, right?

I'm not sure if that's good or bad. And I won't say it can't get worse, because it always can, but maybe it will be better. Zach has a game, and it's at home. That should be good, right?


Monday, December 10, 2007

Snow and Basketball




That's what we did this weekend.

Zach had a couple of games this week. His team is undefeated. He's having a lot of fun, although he sat out most of the last game because of foul trouble. He thinks he broke his finger at practice tonight. If you remember last year, his basketball season was cut short because he slammed his finger in a car door and the doc had to stitch it all back together. Tonight he refused to go to the ER for x-rays. He thinks it's "fine." Sigh. PS. Buy stock in Ace bandages or athletic tape is my advice.

Kate had a tournament in Richland this weekend. It was a lot of fun. They didn't dominate like they did the last tournament. In fact, they looked a little sleepy in a couple of the games, but by the end, they turned it on. Zach is helping coach the team. He calls them "my girls." It's very sweet. I love to watch Kate come off the court, looking for Zach, him putting his hand on her shoulder, talking to her earnestly about something she needs to do. It's the kind of thing that you want for your children...for them to grow up caring for and respecting each other. Almost makes you forget he threw a bagel at her head on the way in the car, you know?

The driving there and back was not, I repeat NOT, fun. Snow all over the place. Millions of cars in ditches. And a couple of horrible wrecks. One where we had to wait in a long line of cars and missed most of Zach's game. But we were grateful for the delay, because it meant that we weren't the ones being life-flighted by the helicopters. It was truly gut-wrenching to see the remains of those cars. I clenched my jaw the whole way and it's now killing me. And when I told Zach I was sorry we only saw the last few minutes of his game, he said, "I'm not. I'm just grateful God made you late so you weren't IN that wreck." Another teary mom moment.

Like watching Kenny cheer Kate on. And taking her team's loss to heart.

And seeing Kate and Zach tenderly bandage Duke's paw. Something entirely magical about that dog. If I believed in reincarnation, I'd think he was Dave. Truly. I know. No, I'm not crazy. Nu-uh.

And watching Koda hold down the kitten and chew on its head as it purrs contentedly. What a hoot!

And watching Scott's eyes as he talked about seeing Zach step onto the basketball court, looking so much like Dave, with the same bounce in his step.

And watching Kate...lovely and so confident...playing the clarinet and the snare drum in the band recital.

And listening to Zach talk his friend, McKenzie, into getting up at 5:00 am to go to the girls' early game. And promising her a coffee. And to bake her a birthday cake.

And Kenny...unloading the dishwasher without reminders.

And Zach putting out the garbage and scraping the windows for me, all his idea.

Zach wearing Dave's shirt and tie on game day.

Will, joining our family to cut down a tree, in the cold wind and mud. Somehow it just feels right to have him along.

Zach, hiding in the car while we cut the tree. What a whimp! (Wimp? How DO you spell that?) And Kenny and Kate agreeing on a tree right away so they could get in the car, too. Hmph! You'd think they were sugarcubes about to melt! Pioneer woman chops down tree and drags it home single-handedly. Almost. Okay. My teeth were chattering, too.

Decorating the tree. Finding McIllvaigh Man and Patrick from Spongebob, hanging them right together. I'll have to tell you that story again when the pictures get back.

There are a lot of moments, each one with a story of its own. Gotta hit the hay and take a pain med for my jaw, but I hope to post more later. For now, pics...but no pictures of the band concert or tree decorating yet...I accidentally grabbed my 35mm camera that day. You know, the one that uses FILM????? Now I have to go to RiteAid to get it developed. I know. I know.












Sunday, December 02, 2007

Slide Show

It's taken two years, but finally figured out how to get the slide show from Dave's memorial service on here. It's low-resolution, so some pics are kind of blurry, but better than nothing. And thanks again, again and again to Jeffrey Towsend.>

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thankful


Stand In The Rain




It's Thanksgiving. Our third one without Dave. The first Thanksgiving after Dave died was the first "major" holiday, and I remember driving to Denise's house, stuck in traffic on the freeway, crawling along at 10 mph, hearing Lonestar's "I'm Already There" and all four of us crying. Rivers of tears. Tears with no end.

There weren't any tears this year. My heart didn't simply break into a million piecese when I looked around the table and Dave wasn't there. I didn't expect to see him bounding around the corner, with that little bounce in his step, keys jingling. My eyes didn't fill when I saw Amy or Luke or Jake squeeze through the furniture and thought of Dave putting up his legs, setting up a "toll gate," the price of passage a big Dave-hug. Is that better? In some ways I think it's worse. To absolutely know he's gone. And to have become resigned to it. To have that missing him become part of the landscape. It's no longer jarring. It doesn't punch me in the gut (most of the time, anyway), it doesn't rip my heart out or make it impossible to even breathe. I've rubbed away the rough edges of this loss. Why does that feel somehow even worse?

There was much to be thankful for this year. Kenny, Zach and Kate are thriving and succeeding and meeting life's challenges. They're happy, for the most part. Denise and Darren brought Jake, Amy and Luke and the cousins were in heaven. It's been a while since we've seen Jake. He's been busy working and finishing his senior year at Kelso High and taking classes at LCC preparing to go to Michigan for college. I can't tell you how good it was to see him, to hug him. I got to spend a lot of time with Jake when he was a baby and his dad was in Iraq, and he's one of my own. I'm really proud of him. He's going to study fire science and paramedics. Growing into a hero. But I thought he was a hero, even in his days of blue mohawks and bass guitars. Always was a sucker for a rock star.

Amy and Kate did David's restaurant again. They rearranged the living room and cooked us all dinner. We ordered from handprinted menus decorated with turkeys. Even the brothers joined in which was amazing. Darren was quite the difficult customer, "Oh, miss....can I have more cornbread?" "Oh, miss...can I have more butter?" "Oh miss...can I get some mushrooms in my chili?" "Oh, miss..." But he did leave them a good tip!

I guess I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.


The boys.

The girls.

Kate and Duke...who is such a love.

Koda. Only 6 months!

Snickers...who rules the roost around here. Completely.

The whole clan.

Zach, sitting on my lap and squishing Kate.

Kate and Amy...up to no good in the kitchen.

Same story, different day.

Denise and Luke, waiting to order.

Evil Uncle Darren, the tough customer.

Jake.

Kenny. Ta da!

Me and Kenny...taking pictures of ourselves. Who better?

The aftermath.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bodega Bay


Wow. It was wonderful. Everything I thought. It was like meeting someone I'd always known. It was peaceful to be with Cheri and Cathy. The weather was cool and foggy most of the time and it was like a little cocoon surrounding us. We relaxed, drank lots of coffee and champagne and talked and talked. We stayed up way too late and ate way too much chocolate. We walked on the beach and watched the surfers on the waves. It was just like it should be.

As I was getting off the plane in Sacramento, I wondered....how am I going to recognize Cheri? I've seen some pictures of her, but wasn't sure if I'd know her. From the top of the escalator, I saw her in the lobby and just knew. We hugged and hugged, and even though I was tired, I couldn't stop smiling.

Then we embarked on a two-hour drive to the beach house. It was dark and foggy and Cheri hadn't driven there very many times. So we went in quite a few circles. "Right road, wrong way," she'd say. And of course, I had absolutely NO idea where we were. We got to the little vacation community, which goes in circles, even if you're sure where you're going. So Cheri reaches into her purse. For just a minute my niece Amy's warning about meeting people over the internet flashes in my mind...but whew! All she pulls out is the garage door opener and she starts pointing it at the houses, which really DO all look alike, especially in the dark. She says, "You thought I was kidding, didn't you?" So this is how we find our way home. What a crack up! PS. I'm really glad someone invented GPS.

Cheri is everything you would imagine. She's beautiful and incredibly smart and sweet and funny. She's the kind of friend you want in your corner when the chips are down. I thought she'd be a lot taller! She's both fierce and loveable at the same time. She has incredible insight and wisdom and she speaks the truth.

Cathy has a Chicago accent! Cheri and I were both somehow surpised by that! Duh. And she's so pretty, even prettier than her pictures. And tiny. And she talks just like she writes, which is amazing. She's caring and fun-loving, cute as a button and has a great laugh. Her eyes sparkle and when she curls up on the couch she looks as content as her kitties.

It was a relaxing, low-energy weekend. We talked about Fred and Lou and Dave. We talked about Walla Walla. We talked about Olivia and Kate and Drew and Kenny and Damon and Zach. We talked about grief and we talked about rebuilding a life.

I'm behind.

Not that it's a race or anything. It's not. And not that we don't move all at our own pace. I know all that. And I'm content where I am. But in watching those two faces...two faces I love...watching them light up with new possibilities, new plans, new excitement, I realized a few things.

I'm still alive.
Moving forward does not mean forgetting.
Opening myself to new possiblities does not lessen love.
I can't live completely for or through my children.

I'm making a start. I applied for a new job at WWCC and got it! Yay, me! It should be a good thing for me and for our family. And a step toward building a new life.

We'll see where we go from there.

Then we went home. Cathy threw up on her plane. My plane had turbulence like I've NEVER seen. People were bracing themselves on the ceiling of the plane and SCREAMING. The plane was lurching and falling more than any rollercoaster I've ever been on. It was frightening. The man next to me prayed out loud for us.

When I got home, Kate and team had won the tournament championship! WOW! They positively creamed every team in their way. I've never heard Kate so excited. And Zach was very proud of "his" girls.




And the football banquet was last night. What a night that always is. The senior players all had their picture taken sitting on Dave's rock together and pointing to the sky. They gave us a framed copy of the photo, and the caption reads:

Once a Blue Devil,
Always a Blue Devil.
Forever In Our Hearts
Coach Meyer



There really isn't any place like Walla Walla.

Except the next morning we woke up to this:

SNOW!!! I wanna go back to California!

Love you all,
Thanks Mom and Dad for running the kids.
Thanks Tami for helping out.
Thanks Wendye for the dinner out.
Thanks Dee for the chocolate.




"Who Knew"

You took my hand
You showed me how
You promised me you'd be around
Uh huh
That's right
I took your words
And I believed
In everything
You said to me
Yeah huh
That's right

If someone said three years from now
You'd be long gone
I'd stand up and punch them out
Cause they're all wrong
I know better
Cause you said forever
And ever
Who knew

Remember when we were such fools
And so convinced and just too cool
Oh no
No no
I wish I could touch you again
I wish I could still call you friend
I'd give anything

When someone said count your blessings now
'fore they're long gone
I guess I just didn't know how
I was all wrong
They knew better
Still you said forever
And ever
Who knew

Yeah yeah
I'll keep you locked in my head
Until we meet again
Until we
Until we meet again
And I won't forget you my friend
What happened

If someone said three years from now
You'd be long gone
I'd stand up and punch them out
Cause they're all wrong and
That last kiss
I'll cherish
Until we meet again
And time makes
It harder
I wish I could remember
But I keep
Your memory
You visit me in my sleep
My darling
Who knew
My darling
My darling
Who knew
My darling
I miss you
My darling
Who knew
Who knew