crochetmyheart

My life as I know it….

Easter

 

 

Well the Easter holiday is nearly upon us.  We have never made a big deal out of Easter because I feel it is more of a Holy holiday that should be observed quietly.  Don’t get me wrong, we’d dye eggs with the boys and of course the Bunny would make an appearance but we’ve always tried to instill the solemnity of what the holiday means in our faith.

The past two years, I think I’ve understood more than I wanted to.  Loss has a profound effect on you, regardless of what type of loss.

Loss in any form can suck.

I struggle more around the holidays with the loss of Charlie.  I guess it’s because we used to enjoy so much family quality time around the holidays.  And my parents always made such a big deal of the holidays when we were growing up.  We didn’t always have a lot but they made the most of what we did have and family was ALWAYS in abundance.

Later, they have spoiled their grandchildren and again, the stress has always been on family and that time that you spend with them.  It’s not monetary.  It’s not material.  It’s love.  And Family.

I’ve tried my best to make sure my kids get that.  That they remember spending that time with family and friends.  Laughing at each other.  With each other.  Telling stories of holidays long past.  I want them to remember, like I remember now at 40, the joy and wonder of having those memories.

Now, after Charlie, I think it’s become almost an obsession with me.  I know how things can change in the blink of an eye.  How time is fleeting and there is no guarantee of a tomorrow.  All we can do is live in this moment, right here, and make the absolute most of what time we are given.  Hug those relatives.  Forgive old grievances.  Laugh.  Love.  LIVE.

Spend your time in the best possible way.  Don’t let grudges or bad juju get in the way of you being the best that you can be.  You can’t change someone else.

YOU CAN ONLY CHANGE YOU.

You are only responsible for the impact you have on the world.  Let it be a positive one.

So, regardless of whether or not you observe this holiday, this is my advice.

Forgive.

Laugh.

Love.

Smile.

Be positive.

Live well.

It can be hard.  It can be a struggle.  It can seem like the hugest, most insurmountable thing you’ve ever come across.  But try.  I’m trying.  Getting up everyday can be a struggle.  Hell, taking a breath can be a struggle.  But I try.

I’ll never get over losing Charlie.  And I’ll forever miss those that have gone before him.  But I WILL see them again.  Until then, I have to push on. I have to move forward.

I have to live.

and apparently I am learning along the way.

Jeez.  I’m adulting my ass off lately.  And I don’t like it.  Doesn’t sit well  LOL

 

Happy Easter/Happy Spring

Farrah

 

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And my journey takes a turn…

I started with Weight Watchers in 2014.   I had initially lost about 10 pounds.  I will be honest.  I was never completely gung ho and faithful with it.  Not even a little.  I would do good for a month then go lax for two.  Then in June of 2015 when we lost Charlie, I completely just stopped.  I didn’t care about myself.  I didn’t care what I looked like or felt like because when you are engrossed in that kind of grief, you could care less about everything else.  In all that, the only thing that gave me any sort of solace?

Food.

I was a classic “eating my grief” kinda girl.  If it tasted good, I was there.  The worst it was for me, the better.  I didn’t care about calories or sugars or any of that.  All I cared about was getting Matthew to school then coming home and sitting on my ever growing ass and eating chips or bread or anything I had that I could put in my mouth.

One day in February, I woke up and looked in the mirror.  Really looked.   I was nearly 270 pounds.  I looked haggard.  I looked tired.  I looked unhappy.  I looked unhealthy.  I felt awful.  I had never been this big.  Never looked this bad.  I mean I was never a very thin girl.  I’ve always had curves and boobs.  But this, this was out of control.  I was out of control.   I realized I was killing myself.  Slowly but surely.   Suicide by food.

And that was unacceptable.

I was so angry with myself.  How could I let it get this bad?  How could I do this to myself?  I knew the answer though.  The last 15 years I had been wrapped up in raising my boys and taking care of Charlie.   I had put myself and my health on the back burner and left it there.  I used one excuse after another to derail myself.

I was my worst own enemy.

So I started to exercise and change the way I ate. I started back with my Weight Watchers so I would be held accountable for my actions.  It wasn’t easy.  It hurt and that damn stationary bike was the bane of my existence.  I craved real food too dammit and I wanted that second helping and that third helping and that bag of chips and all the bread and pasta…

But I said no.  I started taking vitamins and supplements that I know I needed in my old age.  And continued with the exercise.  And the eating better.  And I hated every single minute.  Then something happened.   The weight slowly started to come off.  Before I knew it, ten pounds were gone.  And I felt a little better. Was sleeping a little better.

Then Joe had to have surgery and his doctor told him he needed to go on a low sugar/low carb diet.  One, to lose weight.  Two, to stave off the diabetes that runs rampant in his family.  So, I started doing my research.  I started cooking better meals following his guidelines.  In teaching him about what I was learning through WW, I was getting motivated.  Determined.

We got Fitbits.  Another tool to hold us accountable.  It’s become a contest.  Did you work out today?  How many steps did you do?  How many calories burned?  We were on this journey together and holding each other up.  And I started to get better at my exercising.  I felt bad when I missed a day.  If I ate something that wasn’t good for me, my body let me know.  I was starting to crave good things.  I didn’t deny myself a treat if I wanted one but I didn’t NEED it.

I gave up caffeine for Lent.  Two days of headaches and I was good.  I don’t even miss it.  And trust me when I say I was LIVING off of coca cola. I’m surprised I have any stomach lining left.  But I gave it up, not just for Lent now, but for good.   And more weight came off.

I had to go buy me some clothes.  I hate shopping.  ABHOR it really.  But I didn’t really have a choice.  My clothes were falling apart and I just needed new stuff.  So off to Cato I went.  Shopping fat girl clothes.  Well, Joe talked me into buy a pair of capris (which function as pants on this short girl) and the only size they had was 24.  (that’s right, I just put that shit out there)  I said what the hell.  I usually were 26-28 but maybe it would give me extra incentive.  I also got some yoga pants (again 24 because it’s what they had but I thought hell they were supposed to be tight anyways) to work out in.  When we got home, I tried on the yoga pants.  They were big.  And loose.  I was stunned.  I showed Joe.  He said try on the other pants.  I did.

They were loose.  Very loose.  Like I kept having to hike them up.

I was stunned.  Back to cato I went.  I bought more yoga pants (the same size cuz I like them loose for now) and 22 size pants.  Guess what?  THEY WERE BIG TOO!  Not as big, but loose and I couldn’t believe it!!!!  I also had picked up a pair of yoga pants that were 18/20 and guess what?  They fit too!!!  A little tighter (more like what yoga pants are supposed to fit like) but they fit!!!  I was stoked.  I stepped on the scale, which I hadn’t done in a couple weeks and you know what?

I was under 250!!!  I don’t know when was the last time I was under 250.  Shock and awe y’all.  Shock and awe.

Right now I sit around 243.  My short term goal is to get to 200 but most importantly it’s to be able to walk into any store and buy clothes. Like a regular person.  I’m getting there.  Slowly.  And more important than the weight loss?

I feel awesome.  I feel so much better.  I have so much energy.  I want to do stuff.  Not just sit on my ass collecting dust.  I’m taking my life back.

Healthy.  Mind, body and soul.  For now, I’m working on the body.  I’m hoping mind and soul will follow along.  Wish me luck.  I’m determined to do this but I need the motivation.  I need the incentive.  I need all the help I can get.

Love and kisses,

Farrah

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Need to be better…

It’s been a long while since I posted.   I can say I’ve been busy and blah blah blah.  And while that would be true (we’ve renovated our bathroom and bedroom, Chew with school, Joe had surgery, holidays) it’s not the real reason.  I mean let’s be honest here.  This is me, I love to gab and I’ll find a way to blog if I really wanted to, busy or no.

I’ve had nothing to say.  And everything to say.  The last months since before the holidays have been hard for me.  For us.  Charlie’s absence was so keenly felt that I think it took us all by surprise.  You fool yourself into thinking that it will get easier, you’ll breathe easier, you’ll function easier and when it doesn’t and you don’t, it hurts all the more.  I wasn’t prepared for how difficult his 17th birthday would be.

Jeezum.  17.

On top of ALL that, Joe’s mom passed away in October after a nearly year long battle with cancer.  We hadn’t really talked to her since Charlie passed away. She sort of dropped off the planet with us but thankfully, she reconnected with Joe and we were with her when she passed.  I know that meant a lot to him and while their relationship has always had its issues, he loved her.  I worry about him sometimes.  The grieving process for him is different for me.  He still grieves inwardly for Charlie, but there are times he lets it sneak out.  Like when we cleaned out Charlie’s chest of drawers the other day.  We found some stuff he’d written and drawn and some of his favorite clothes…   Needless to say, it was difficult for both us.  But Joe cracked, just a wee bit, and I was happy to see it.  He tries so hard to be strong for me but he doesn’t realize, it helps me to see him grieve too.

So, the biggest news is Joe had hernia surgery.  In the midst of all that, Joe’s doctor told him to start a low sugar, low carb diet.  It’s been pretty good.  Joe’s embraced it and so have I.  In having to cook healthier for him, it’s really helping me get back on track with my “New Healthy Me” that I’ve been trying to get back to for so long.  It’s hard to eat healthy when the people in your house still want to eat like crap.  So,  we’ve been delving into cookbooks designed for his new healthy lifestyle and I’m back on my Weight Watchers. I’m taking vitamins and supplements that an old lady at the age of 40 needs.  I’m eating better.  I’m EXERCISING.   I’ve been doing pretty good.  Lost some weight, dropped a pant size and generally just feel better.

And I gave up caffeine for Lent.

That was the biggie.  I have been drinking so much coke that I’m surprised I didn’t bleed it.  It was becoming like a drug addiction.  I went cold turkey on Ash Wednesday on the caffeine.  After several days of headaches, I can honestly say I don’t miss it.  I was afraid that once Joe went back to work that I would be tempted to cheat, but no.  I am pretty proud of myself.  Will Power has NEVER been forte.

I’ve also been crocheting.  ALOT.  It’s been my savior since Charlie passed, taking up the time I would have spent with him, giving me something constructive to do.  I have no desire to work outside the home (not when there is a gagillion things to do around here with the kid, the animals, the hubs) and I enjoy being able to go to Matthew’s functions or go have lunch with Joe or my besties or go shopping or whatever.  BUT, I have finally decided to open my crochet etsy shop online to sell some of the things I’ve been making.  It’s starting to pile up and while I do enjoy giving stuff away, price of yarn ain’t getting any lower. LOL

A sample of what I’ve been working on…

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In a nutshell, lots has been happening.  And since I’m working on the outer me, I need to be better about working on the inner me as well.  And that includes blogging and venting and not holding all the toxic crap in.

Onward to a healthier me.  I’m determined.  I’m focused.

I’m being very adult here.  Adulting my ASS off.

It doesn’t sit well….

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What’s it Like?

I had someone ask me what is was like to lose a child.   They weren’t asking out of morbid curiosity but trying to understand the pain I was going through and in turn trying to be a better friend and help me however they could.  I couldn’t verbalize my feelings at the time but I think maybe I can now.

Losing a child is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.  It doesn’t matter that we knew that Charlie had a terminal illness.  It didn’t matter that through his fifteen years on this earth that there were several times we “prepared” ourselves for the worst to come.  It didn’t matter how many times you tell yourself this could be it…

It still stuns you to your very core.

Losing a child is like losing part of yourself.  You don’t walk away whole; at least I didn’t.  Everything you are, everything you’ve done, everything you’ve felt, thought, dreamt, spoke gets turned upside down, inside out and smashed back together but nothing is the same.  Your heart breaks into a million pieces.  Your brain loses the ability to function.  Your entire body reacts in strange ways.  Speaking hurts.  Thinking hurts.  Taking a breath hurts.

Even now, over a year later, I still stand in stunned disbelief that he’s not with me anymore.

There are moments that it all comes rushing in.  When I hear a song on the radio.  When I see his friends, growing, flourishing, existing.  When I walk into his room and see his picture.  When everything goes quiet at night and I listen to hear his noise, his cacophony of sounds that were unique to him.  When I see a gorgeous sunset or sunrise.  When I see my nieces and nephew.

Those moments are hard.  My arms ache to hold him.  I would give anything to kiss his forehead and cheeks, to tell him I love him once more, to see those smiling blue eyes and that beautiful smile.   To have him give me the thumbs up and tell me everything was okay.

I cry.  I rage.  I scream. I pray.  I bargain.  And I hope.

There are so many emotions that can run through me at any given moment that sometimes I have to step away from my family to shield them from the onslaught.  Those moments, thank God, are fewer than before.  I allow myself to grieve when I need to.  I let the emotions come, good or bad.  I learned early on in this process that if I held it in, if I didn’t let it out, it would explode and my family couldn’t survive that.

The grief can be unrelenting.  Now, so close to the holidays, I feel it pressing on me from all sides.  I have a hard time finding pleasure in the simple things I did before Charlie passed.  Those things that used to give me joy, only function as a chore now.  I need to find things that bring that pleasure.  Maybe in time I will.

The grief never leaves you, for me anyway.  I read somewhere that to love deeply is to grieve deeply.  And I believe it now.  I loved Charlie so deeply, so unconditionally, so completely, that my grief at times seems insurmountable.  I wake some mornings and wonder how I will find the will to get out of bed.  How I will find the strength to simply do the normal everyday things that people take for granted.

How I’ll breath through the pain.

Some days I function completely normally.  I go about my day as I normally would.  I do all the appropriate things.  I feel all the appropriate feelings.  I look and act like a woman just doing her thing, keeping house, doing errands, living her life.  BUT.  At the end of the day, when all is sleeping and I am fighting my neverending bout with insomnia, I feel guilty.  I feel guilty for living my life normally, doing all my stuff normally.

And he can’t.

I find that grief and guilt happily walk hand and hand down the beach, totally in love and in sync.  Having little griefguilt babies that plague me constantly.

I never expected this to be easy.  And I know my grief and the way this torment effects me is totally different than someone else who has lost a child.  But know, this grief is different than grieving for a friend, a parent, a grandparent.  At least for me it is.

I’m not just grieving for the loss of Charlie.  I’m grieving for the loss of everything he’ll never do.  All the things I could see in his future; graduating, falling in love, falling out of love, broken hearts, broken bones, driving, taking that first taste of alcohol, his first hangover, his first speeding ticket, his first car, college, marriage, children….

I mourn for every thing he’ll never get to do.  For every thing he did do.  For filling my life full of joy and pain, laughter and tears, for being who he was…

And for not getting to be what he could have been.

Putting your life back together, putting your family back together, is extremely difficult.  I still haven’t managed it and I’m not sure that I ever will.  I will never be the person that I was before Charlie passed away.  I never expected to be.  How could you be?   None of us will be the same.  We’ll go on, because that’s what Charlie would have wanted.  We will talk about him, laugh about the stunts he pulled, remember him in everything that we do.  That gives me comfort.  That gives me peace.

I have found in all of this, that Charlie touched so many lives.  He was an inspiration not just to us as his family, but to all that knew him.  And in that I am so blessed.  My boy was phenomenal.  To know him was to love him.  His light pulsated so brightly while he was here on Earth I can’t even imagine how brilliant it is now.

The last year and a half has been a journey.  An unpleasant one but a journey none the less.  I am an emotional wreck.  My heart is broken, never to be quite whole again.  I ache for my child.  And I tend to think entirely too much about negative things and lately my glass is half empty.  It is the HARDEST thing I will ever do.

But for him, I would do it all over again.

Even with all that, I would walk this same path, drive this same road, live this SAME life.

I had him for just fifteen years but in those years I had a lifetime of love that will carry me into the next existence where I’ll get to hold him again.

My family and that knowledge is what carries me through each day.

Losing a child will cause you to break into a million pieces.  You can pick up the pieces, put it all back together, but the end result is never as pretty, never as perfect as what it was before you broke.

You will never get over losing your child.  But you will learn to live around it.

 

 

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Survival…

It’s been six months since Charlie passed away.  My son, my sweet precious boy has been gone for six months.

Writing that is almost as hard as saying it.  I’m not even sure what I am hoping to accomplish by blogging but peace of mind comes first.  There is so much in my head and heart these days, things I can’t or won’t say, things I can’t articulate and if I did people would probably be scared to death.

How am I?  This is the question I get the most, the question I lie to.  I usually answer with an “I’m okay” or  “As good as can be expected” or “I’m hanging in there”.  None of these are true.

I am very much NOT okay.  Good isn’t even in my vocabulary and I think hanging sounds maudlin.

How am I?

I wake up everyday with dread and sadness squeezing my heart.  I face the day with a sense of melancholy that I cannot control.  I ache.  I ache so deep in my heart that it radiates the pain throughout my entire body until it consumes me.  I take a deep breath, a precious breath that my son would have struggled to take, and I let my feet touch the floor knowing that at any moment, at any given time, some memory, some flash of recollection could have me smiling or blubbering like a madwoman.

How am I?  I’d say not very good.

I can’t fully explain to anyone what losing a child does to you.  Whether it be by accident or by illness like Charlie, it is a loss that topples all others.  I’ve lost people in my life, but this….it has stripped me of my dignity, of my sense of self,  right down to my very core.

I am broken.

There are things I will never forgive myself for.  I will never forgive myself for not being there when Charlie took his last breath.  I will never forgive myself for being so angry with him for not waiting for me. For leaving me behind.

It’s the anger I most regret but I feel it none the less.  I was right there, RIGHT THERE.  He waited.  He waited until I left the room, waited until I had gone before he let go.

Because he knew that I would hold on, that I would NEVER let him go even when I said I would and in turn, he couldn’t let his grip on me go.  We were bound together, as mother and child, as fighters for the cause, as best friends and partners in crime.   So he waited.

And I am broken.

That last day Charlie gave me the greatest gift he could ever give.  Hope. Before the morphine, before he closed his eyes for the final time, he looked at me and his dad.  He told us he was ready. He told us he was ready to die.  He was tired.  He told us he saw Maw Beakie.  She had come for him.  He told us there were others, a man and another lady, they said call us Booger and Betty. (Paw Buddy and Maw Betty).

He said he saw God.

We knew in that instant time was of the essence and we told him how much we loved him. What do you do when your child tells you that he is ready to meet his maker?  You lose your shit.

And again, I am broken.

Finding our “new” normal has been hard.  Our lives, me, Joe and Matt, revolved around Charlie.  He was our center, he was our sun.   Between meds, doctor visits, hospital stays and sickness, we planned our life and what we would do.  We were okay with that.  I would give anything to have that chaos back in my life.

Now I have a quiet, somber home that the three of us just exist in.

I am scared.  So scared that I will never feel whole again.  Something broke inside me that day and I don’t think that anything on this earth could ever make it right again.  Things that I use to find pleasure in are just chores to me now.   It hurts to breathe.  It hurts to talk.  It hurts to think.

I fake it well.  I smile.  I joke.  I try to be the person I was before.  I am slowing starting to realize that I won’t ever be that person again.  She is gone.  I have to learn who I am NOW.  Without my precious Charlie.  We all do.

Our world imploded on June 21, 2015.  Heaven gained an extraordinary angel with an unending faith and humor.  A sweet, precious soul that left a huge hole here when he left.  A loss that is felt everyday.  A loss that will reverberate through the coming years and touch us far into the future.

Six months and it might as well have been yesterday.

How am I?

I survived. Survival is the best I can do right now.  In my grief, I did discover a talent for crocheting hats and scarves.  I am making it into a little side business because keeping busy is good for me.  The less I live in my own head, the better.  It’s a frightening place.  So be on the lookout for that.  Crocheting is my therapy.

How am I?  Sorry you asked yet?

If you see me, don’t stop asking.  Just know that when I say I’m fine, I’m not.  If I say I’m good, I’m not.  I appreciate you caring enough to ask.  I love you for thinking of me and I understand that you do not know what else to say.  And I know that crippling feeling of wanting to have the right words but knowing there are none.

In this blog, I am going to try to come to grips with my feelings.  You may come along if you want to.  I’ll understand if you can’t.

Broken or not, life has to go on.

But my life as I know it?  Kaboom.

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