Friday, December 10, 2010


Wow, it's been a while since I've written. For the most part that's a good sign. I usually write when I'm angry, frustrated, or excited about something. The past month has been very even keeled. The boys are all doing well. Chris is finally really making progress with reading. It's only taken years of time and effort and the work of a dedicated occupational therapist to finally get everything functioning properly for his eyes to see the words and his brain to process what he sees and turn it into language.

It's amazing how much we take for granted the complicated processes the human brain has to perform in order to do simple tasks (like reading and tying your shoe laces). I am continually impressed by our occupational therapist. In the beginning I thought the OT's were the most useless of all the professionals we worked with- which just shows how little I knew about what they really do.

We finally took our lamb to the packing plant. He was scheduled for the first of December, but we got 8-9" of snow the night before and the morning just fell apart- so we rescheduled and ended up taking him in this Wednesday. I'm looking forward to having a freezer full of lamb and Chris is excited to try making lamb sandwiches like the Basque dancing group sells at the fair. One of my favorite things to make with lamb is salami. We're going to have to make sure we have all the ingredients so that we can make a batch right away, once we pick up the meat.

Jake has written two letters to Santa. One letter lists the things he wants: Wooden stable for breyer horses, Hot Wheels, RC stunt rider car, Star Trek guys, Scentsy Buddy lion, dalmation dog like Fluffy, and Legos. The second letter lists the things he does not want. Apparently NOT getting gifts is just as important to him as asking for what he does want. The second letter says: NO BAKUGAN, NO PIGS. I'm not sure why he listed pigs, but he is going through a strange phase where he thinks all of his old loves (like bakugan and action figures) are scary. He's an interesting child.

Sam is talking really well and I understand him about 80% of the time now. He has interesting things to say and really is a gentle little soul. His only real wish for Christmas is to get a remote control monster truck. Otherwise he talks in terms of what his brothers want. All three boys speak in terms of what they'd like to do for their brothers much more often than they talk about what they want for themselves. I like that about my boys!

We're in the process of making snowflakes using popsicle sticks and glitter. The snowflakes are all assembled, this evening we're going to glitter them. The boys are really excited to make their own ornaments to keep. Sam and Chris love working with the sticks to try and build things. I had to hide them in order to keep enough to do some craft projects. Those boys sure are builders and tinkerers. As they get older I see more and more of their dad shining through.

Chris's feet are bigger than mine. It's not going to be very long before he's taller too. When he walks in from the garage he sounds like his dad. He was starting to sound like Dave, even when Dave was still here. There were times when I'd hear the door open as I was working on the patio. I'd have to listen for a little while to determine whether it was Dave or Chris walking in the kitchen. Chris is always talking or humming so he gives himself away pretty fast- but his footsteps and the way he moves sound just like Dave.

Sam's about to lose his second tooth. He always has his hand in his mouth messing with it. I can hardly wait until it falls out! Poor kid, I know it feels weird and that's why he has his hand in there- but it's kind of disconcerting to see his hand always on his tooth.

Jake's using foam snowflake stickers to make repeating patterns. It always makes me laugh when the kids spontaneously do something that would be in the curriculum of a regular school for other kids their age. Apparently people just naturally do some things at certain ages.

That's about all that's going on at our house. Nothing exciting, just general life. We're healthy and content. Life is good!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

My Honey

November 4th, 2000, I married David Anderson. Somehow in the years that followed that event he kind of lost his name. I called him, "My Love" when speaking to him, "My Honey," when thinking of him, "Daddy," when talking to the kids, and, "My Husband," when speaking to anyone else. I know his name is David, I just don't think I ever used it unless I was introducing him to someone new.

Marriage is one of those wonderful, mystical, blendings that it's hard to find the words to describe. While planning our wedding I thought I knew what it meant to be married. I knew that I was committing to spend a lifetime with this man I loved. I knew that there would be hard times as well as joyful times. I knew that I had to accept him for exactly what he was at that moment in time and not think I could try to change him later.

I didn't know that our wholly complete, individual lives would tangle around each other like plant roots in the garden. I didn't know that we would weave ourselves so closely together that it would be hard to see the lines dividing us as individuals. I didn't know that when someone slapped him I would feel the hurt, and that when something made his day it would make mine as well. In the beginning I thought I knew what love was, but love and marriage are different than I ever imagined.

After he died his last client came to visit me. She brought a sympathy card and came in to talk with me for a while. Dave had really enjoyed working for this couple. The husband was in his nineties and didn't get out much. His wife was a bit younger and she's the one who came to visit. She told me how much they'd enjoyed getting to know Dave and how much they appreciated his perfectionism. And then, she told me that the real reason she wanted to talk with me was to tell me about how he spoke about me.

Apparently they weren't sure I had a name for the whole first week he worked at their house, "My Wife," was a phrase they heard a lot. One afternoon I called and he mentioned me by name when the phone rang. Otherwise they wouldn't have ever known if I had a name. She talked about the way he'd light up when speaking of the boys and telling stories about the things they get up to. Her visit was an amazing gift that I still cherish. I knew that Dave felt that way about us, but I still love hearing it from other people.

This would have been our tenth anniversary. I plan to celebrate it even though he's not here to join me. For nine years I was excited to be David Anderson's wife. Ten years down the road I'm still proud that he chose me to spend his life with. I wish our story could have ended differently (or at least fifty years later) but I will never regret a moment of being Mrs. David Anderson.

Dave was nothing I was looking for in a mate, but he ended up being everything I needed. He was so kind and gentle, soft spoken but with strong opinions, accepting and tolerant of all kinds of people and situations, intelligent but slow to speak. He was a very simple man in many ways. Money and things never held a lot of appeal for him. His wealth was his family. Early in our dating lives he told me he really wouldn't ever consider moving away from this area while his parents were still alive- especially if he had kids. He felt it was important to stay close to family and see each other often. I've been so grateful that he made that stand. Our children know our families well and we have so many memories of Dave that overlap others- it's a blessing my children will definitely be glad for when they're older and their own memories of Dave may not be as clear. Our shared memories bolster each other.

I'm trying to look at our anniversary as a joyful occasion. My marriage is one of the greatest blessings of my entire life. Without it I wouldn't have had this wonderful man and I wouldn't have the kids that I love more than my own life. So, today- let's celebrate! My Honey, I love you and I miss you but I'm sure glad you chose me and that I chose you!

Monday, September 27, 2010

School time

I've neglected writing about some of the very normal things going on in our house this fall. The school year has started and we're still homeschooling. This week the boys start attending Montessori for a whole day and a half each week. I need a bit of a break and some time to do things without kids trailing me (like housecleaning and grocery shopping and... sleeping). The Montessori director seems to have an almost identical educational philosophy to ours. I think this is going to be a good fit for us- somewhere between pure homeschooling and full time private school.

Chris and Sam both have speech therapy and Chris also goes to physical and occupational therapy every week. We're still going to our homeschool co-op every Friday (and we love, love, love it!). The only days of the week we're not running to appointments are Tuesday and Thursday. So... Montessori all day Tuesday and in the mornings on Thursday. Thursday afternoons I've reserved for excursions into the mountains, sagebrush, visiting, and exploring. Those activities are our favorite part of homeschooling.

I think it's going to be so good for them to interact with other adults and children without my constant presence. They're not old enough that I'm ready for them to be gone several days during the week, but this seems to be a perfect situation for us. It's also terrific that the Montessori approach to reading and math are exactly what we're already practicing in our home. :-) This situation is better than I ever dreamed I could find for our family. It allows me some freedom and time to schedule my own appointments- but it doesn't turn over my kids education to someone else. This feels right.

Some days I can't believe I did that...

One of the girls I went to high school with, recently lost her mother to cancer. The celebration of her life will be on the 2nd of October. I'd like to go and offer support to my old friend, but my emotions have been so up and down and all over the place lately, that I'm not even going to try.

Dave's funeral was on the 5th of October last year (I think- my memory of that month isn't very good). His death was such a shock, None of us ever expected to be planning a funeral at that time or for that individual (we do have a few elderly relatives that we live in dread of planning funerals for too).

I worked hard on his funeral. It gave me something to focus on other than the massive hole ripped out of the fabric of our lives. In another world, a lifetime ago, before I was a mother (so I guess that's actually three lifetimes ago), I worked in a field that required planning and implementing events. The funeral was something I could work on fairly confidently (especially since so many people wanted to help).

We are blessed to have some amazing musicians among our friends and family. Dave's cousin Jennifer played and sang a medley of songs that have become an Anderson family funeral tradition. His brother-in-law Ciro sang one of my father-in-laws favorite hymns. Kathy Danner and her best friend Janell Carrol sang a duet of my favorite hymn (Simple Gifts- we also sang it at our wedding).

The pastor was very good at saying what I wanted to hear. It may have been partially because I handed him a written list of what I wanted to hear :-) I'm kind of like that. I forgot to write a time limit on the sheet of paper I handed him- so it was kind of long- but all in all, I received comfort from his message. My requested talking points were: We are saved through grace; We are promised eternal life; and... Love endures. He's a very kind and patient pastor and although it was our first time interacting with him (the previous pastor had just moved) he was amazing.

One of the strangest memories I carry from that day is this: I spoke at my husband's funeral. I really didn't plan to speak. Do you know any widows who've actually gotten up and talked during the funeral? It's kind of weird, yes?

I didn't sleep much that week between his death and the funeral. For some reason, at about 2 in the morning, Brandy and I were looking up something out on the porch and I found something related to Robert Service. Robert Service was one of Dave's all time favorite poets and authors. One of my favorite early memories of my time with Dave happened when we were laying on the ground outside looking at the stars. While cuddled there in the grass he started speaking... and segued right into "The Junior God"

The Junior God- by Robert W. Service

The Junior God looked from his place
In the conning towers of heaven,
And he saw the world through the span of space
Like a giant golf-ball driven.

And because he was bored, as some gods are,
With high celestial mirth,
He clutched the reins of a shooting star,
And he steered it down to earth.

The Junior God, 'mid leaf and bud,
Passed on with a weary air,
Till lo! he came to a pool of mud,
And some hogs were rolling there.

Then in he plunged with gleeful cries,
And down he lay supine;
For they had no mud in paradise,
And they likewise had no swine.

The Junior God forgot himself;
He squelched mud through his toes;
With the careless joy of a wanton boy
His reckless laughter rose.

Till, tired at last, in a brook close by,
He washed off every stain;
Then softly up to the radiant sky
He rose, a god again.

The Junior God now heads the roll
In the list of heaven's peers;
He sits in the House of High Control,
And he regulates the spheres.

Yet does he wonder, do you suppose,
If, even in gods divine,
The best and wisest may not be those
Who have wallowed awhile with the swine?

It was early in our dating relationship and I hadn't ever heard him recite before. I was quite pleased to find out for sure that he could read :-) He loved that poem because it gently poked fun at self-righteous, holier -than-thou people and hypocrites. It also glorified the pleasure to be found in wallowing in life's unexpected pleasures. I can still see the twinkle in his eye as he approached the ending of the poem.

So... at two in the morning, the morning of the funeral, it seemed like a good idea to make sure someone would read that poem for David. For some insane reason, I felt like it was something I needed to do. Brandy ( offered to be my back-up and we both carried copies of the poem into the funeral. This deviation from the order of events wasn't in the program. I'm not sure we actually told anyone official that we were planning on doing it- because I wasn't certain that I could actually get up in front of everyone on that day and recite Dave's favorite poem.

Yes, I am the woman who spoke at her own husband's funeral. I'm glad that I could give him that tribute, but there are still some days I can't believe that was me. My goal for the day was to keep the day as upbeat as possible, to celebrate a life well lived, and a man well loved. Dave deserved laughter and stories, not tears and sorrow. I miss him beyond anything I ever could have imagined. Before he was gone I knew I loved him and that we were very happy together, but I didn't realize how entwined we were in each other. For nine years of my life I was excited to be David Anderson's wife- and I used those exact words to tell him- every day for nine years. A year later I'm having a hard time finding the upbeat feeling and laughter that I demanded from myself in the early days. I'm tired and I'm lonely. I miss everything about him (and when I realized I missed scraping thinset out of my washing machine... well, I realized I'd lost my sanity).

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Almost a year

It's been almost a year since Dave died. It's getting harder.

I know that there are lots of other people in the world facing this same sort of tragedy. I know that there are people who's lives are harder than mine. I know that. Don't tell me about it. I'm aware that my life could be worse. That doesn't make this easier. It doesn't make it less difficult. It doesn't make me more whole and less damaged. It doesn't.

Don't tell me how strong I am. I know exactly how strong I am... and how weak I am. Don't tell me that I have to keep going for my children. I know that. It's not like I have a choice whether to keep moving forward or not. Don't tell me the stupid stuff I already KNOW.

Nothing changes the reality that on October 1st of last year our lives, my life, changed forever. Nothing anyone says, no pretty words, no comparisons to other people's lives, changes that Dave isn't here anymore. Sure, we're ok. We have our life here in Nampa, our family, our friends, a nice house to live in, food to eat, things to do, places to go. NONE of that in any way replaces Dave.

I'm tired of trying to look at the positive. Do you know how tiring it is to always be the one looking for the silver lining? Do you know what it's like to smile and tell people you'll be ok, when inside you're screaming with rage? Unless you do- don't tell me how to deal with it. If you cook dinner for your family, do their laundry, dry their tears, clean up after them when they're sick, help them with their school work, and frequently have to make some sort of response to a four year old who repeats, "My dad died," whenever anyone's father is mentioned- then I'd love to hear from you about how you handle your daily life without killing anyone or blowing up like a rocket. If you don't live that life, if your husband still comes home every night, or if you wish your husband didn't come home every night- just shut up or tell me that, "it sucks."

Life isn't horrible. My life didn't end because Dave died. I don't ever wish that it had, but that doesn't change that it isn't the same. I wish that I could say that the blessings we're surrounded by are an ok trade-off, but they're not. I miss my husband. I still love my husband. My kids miss their dad. They still need their dad. Does that ever change? This isn't happy and upbeat- but you know what? Life isn't always happy and upbeat. There isn't always a silver lining. Nothing about now is made better because my husband died. I miss him and I wish I didn't feel compelled to write how badly this hurts- but the reality is, this hurts more now than it did in the months right after he died.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I am...

a statistical anomaly. That's right. You heard me. A statistical anomaly.

Anomaly (as defined by merriam

1. the angular distance of a planet from it's perihelion as seen from the sun.
2. deviation from the common rule: irregularity
3. something anomalous: something different, abnormal, peculiar, or not easily classified.

(no comments from the peanut gallery about definition 3, please)

I am:

a 35 year old female (pretty normal so far)

the mother of three boys (a bit unusual, but not abnormal)

the mother of three boys who were born within less than 4 years (not entirely abnormal)

the mother of one and possibly two children who fall on the autism spectrum (looks pretty common in the Treasure Valley)

a widow (fairly unusual at the age of 35)

a quilter (pretty common)

the daughter of a man who died in his thirties (fairly abnormal for our age group)

the widow of a man who died in his thirties (when paired with the previous statistical group- this is peculiar, different and irregular)

ambidexterous (fairly unusual in any age group)

a woman with a chest measurement that varies by seven inches from band to cup size (not entirely unheard of, but not common- go ahead do the math, I'm not posting my bra size here)

an avid reader (more unusual than I like to believe)

a woman who has been pregnant four times, but only has three live children, early term miscarriage (pretty common in our age group)

an animal lover (very common)

an animal lover with two dogs who weigh 73 and 110 pounds, respectively (more unusual, but not peculiar)

an animal lover who in her lifetime has had horses, sheep, rabbits, guinea pigs, an umbrella cockatoo, two cockatiels, a dog, and way too many cats- all at the same time (getting peculiar here)

capable of passing biochemistry, trigonometry, and calculus- and not remembering any of it by the time I'm 35 :-) (you tell me whether that's normal or not)

able to kill an animal in pain (once again- you tell me how normal that is, I think it's normal)

a woman who is really attracted to men with muscular forearms- yep forearms- biceps are nice, but men who actually do work with their bodies- they have muscular forearms.

Who are you? What makes you unique? I think I'm enough of a statistical anomaly that perhaps I should invest my life savings in lottery tickets. Tell me your story and convince me I'm really not likely the be the one in 98070689780--65 who has the winning number :-)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pillsbury Sweet Rolls Contest

The other day I received the most amazing package in the mail. It came from Pillsbury and the folks at A plain brown box appeared on my doorstep. The children were quite excited. When we opened it--- Oh my goodness! It contained the most amazing delights!

First and foremost- at least if you're a 4 year old- it contained a plush, stuffed Pillsbury Doughboy. He even giggles when you poke him in the stomach or give him a hug. There were two amazing products by Orca- a beautiful blue spatula and a silcone pot holder. Two white dish cloths and a coupon for free Pillsbury Grands Sweet Rolls rounded out the package.

Would you like the opportunity to win a prize package of your own? Who can resist the idea of getting such a fun box of goodness in the mail? Leave a comment at the end of my post telling me your favorite Sunday morning memory. My favorite memory is of my husband cooking breakfast for all of us while I spent luxurious alone time reading in my room :-) Good husbands are worth their weight in gold- and he would have loved being able to put some of the easy rolls on the table with the bacon!

Facebook Page!
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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My Family

You hold me together :-)

By now I should've been broken
On the rocks arisin' life's ocean
Just another ship lost at sea
By now I should've been scattered
In the wind of my lonesome travels
Like a thousand dandelion seeds
And I should've come unraveled
At the seams like a well-worn sweater
But you hold me together

My hope should've been shattered
Like a bottle out behind some tavern
From a fight that you had no chance to win
My dream should've been ashes
Gone up in smoke like a book of matches
Tossed away and never gonna burn again
And I should've worn right through
Like an old cowboy's boot leather
But you hold me together

I feel your love surrounding me
Strong enough that I can believe
There won't ever be a storm that I can't weather
'Cause you hold me together
Together, yeah

I feel your love surrounding me
Strong enough that I can believe
There won't ever be a storm that I can't weather
No there'll never be a storm that I can't weather

I should've been long forgotten
Just a footnote down at the bottom
Of a page in the book of what could've beens
My heart should lie in pieces
On the ground like a goodbye letter
But you hold me together

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I have to smile at this song because it reminds me of my sister-in-law saying she's always been scared to pray for strength. I prayed for strength. Pam's right. Don't do it. :-) I'm strong- but if it's the pain that makes you strong, and overcoming fear that gives you courage, well- I'd rather be weak and fearful.


I had the worst dream last night and I just can't seem to shake it this morning- so I'm going to write about it :-) Luckily, I lost most of my readers when I took a few months off of blogging.

The gist of what happened is that I dreamed Dave left me- without saying anything- just packed up and left. He was gone for a fairly long time (a week, a few weeks- not sure) and didn't contact me at all. The man just flat out ignored me.

Then we were getting ready for a family camping trip and he came to load the Suburban and just acted like everything was normal. But I was so mad at him for leaving me and not telling me why or even giving me a chance to know that there was something wrong before he left.

It makes me wonder if that fear has been lurking in my subconscious all along- or was this just a new twist on nightmares. Either way, the dream is lingering. This is one I'd really like to forget in the usual fashion of forgetting what you dream within a short time after waking.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Interview Evaluations Today

Golds!!!! Chris was awarded golds on both of his projects. He could have cared less, really. I, however, was stressing- and stressing a lot. Last night I finally took a deep breath and told myself, "he's only eight, how bad can it be?" Still, this morning, I was stressing!

He looked so cute and grown up in his new wranglers and crisp white shirt with blue tie. He very carefully packed his record book into the suburban and then he really didn't care what happened next.

The evaluations took place in an elementary school gym in Caldwell. They were so well organized, I was impressed (and it takes a lot to impress me- I used to be a county 4-H director before I was married). We checked in at the livestock and family consumer sciences tables and then we could go sit in the waiting area or there were an assortment of judging activities around the room for us to participate in. Chris didn't end up having time to judge before his evaluations- they were very prompt.

His first interview was for his Foods of Pacific Northwest project. His evaluator was a special ed teacher and he seemed to enjoy working with her. I'm not sure who did his sheep evaluation but he has a gold sticker on his book- so I guess it went well. He was so matter of fact and ho hum about the afternoon that you'd think this was only as important as a trip to the grocery store. It's amazing to think that he's actually completed two projects and his first year in 4-H. We could skip fair and be finished right now!

Of course, we're not skipping fair. :-) Next Tuesday we weigh-in, and we can hardly wait! Stay tuned for more updates...

Sunday, July 18, 2010


I am so proud of my son! I haven't paid as much attention to his sheep project as I probably should have. It's been a hard year and I've been dealing with other things (and being lazy) so for the most part I just ask him if he's fed them and checked their water, but I haven't been out there working WITH him and the sheep.

Today he wanted to wash his market lamb for the upcoming fair. It's just a first bath sort of thing. The lamb still needs sheared and then he'll have to be washed before fair (which starts next week) and again right before the show starts. We've discovered over the years that you can never start too soon trying to wash a sheep and get it clean. Plus it helps tame them down if you tie them to the fence and wash them.

As we went outside and he caught the largest lamb I was remembering washing my own 4-H and FFA market lambs. I remember having to be careful about how I tied them so that they wouldn't get loose- and they wouldn't kill themselves when they went wild as the water hit them and then again when I started scrubbing. Those lambs would leap up into the air! They'd spin, twist, shake, if you tied their heads too low they'd even flip over and try to break their own necks. It was a sheep rodeo!

That's what I was expecting. I tied Chris's lamb for him so that it would be very secure and high enough. Then I turned on the water and warned him to stand close to his lamb when the water went over it's back (you know, so the lamb wouldn't end up hurting him when it went crazy).

Silly Mom. That lamb didn't even blink. He just stood there... Chris washed his back, legs, belly, neck, squirted cold water up between his hind legs... and the lamb just stood there.

Chris has obviously been working with his lambs. You don't even have to try to catch them. Just put your hand out and a sheep head appears in your palm. I have no idea why I was worried. He's been spending hours outside and I knew he'd been in the sheep pen every day. I just didn't know how much actual work he'd been doing with the lambs.

The kid is good. He's going to be fine. Maybe he'll forget to switch sides when the judge walks around his lamb. Maybe he'll miss a couple cues to move around the arena because he's not actually looking at the judge... but overall, that kid will be just fine :-) He's amazing! This has been a good learning experience for him- and for me.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hope springs...

Today's a new day and things are looking up this evening. Chris and I worked on his record books for half a day and now all that's left are filling in a few details regarding meeting dates and getting his story written down.

Tonight it feels as if a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I don't know if the books and interview evaluation were worrying me that much or if it's just my moods cycling again. This morning I was still a little stressed but generally in a good mood. We worked on his books, ate lunch, ran to town to buy a new door knob (because the other one unexpectedly fell apart in my hand), and then I took a nap this afternoon (I have been having a horrible time trying to sleep lately).

When I woke up I was feeling lazy so we ordered pizza and sandwiches from Domino's (you've got to try those sandwiches if you haven't yet. I had habenero chicken and it's amazing). Grandma joined us in the kitchen for a pizza party and the kids drank pop while Grandma and I each had a beer. It was soooo much fun! I haven't laughed and visited like that with the family I live with in a long time. It reminded me how much we enjoy each other. I think that a weekly pizza party (or some kind of party) needs to be fit into the calendar.

Tonight I feel amazing. The overwhelming sense of loss and anxiety is gone (at least for now). Outside the air smells like mint and green, growing things. The sheep are quietly munching. The dogs are asleep by my feet (and they're touching each other and haven't fought in days!!!). My oldest son is watching a movie with me and asking questions about canning jars. My youngest son is in Grandma's room reading stories. The middle child is camping up near Stanley with his Grandpa, uncles, and male cousins (I hope they're having a blast).

Chris is scheduled for his interview evaluations on Monday. The Snake River Stampede starts on Tuesday. We work the Stampede on Saturday evening, selling concessions for the county 4-H program (I have to add a note that this is the most amazing and generous gift from the rodeo to the 4-H program. We usually make a ton of money and it's all due to the generosity of the rodeo board and the hard work of our county 4-H members and volunteers). Next Monday we begin setting up for fair- and it's all a blur for the rest of that week!

I've been stressing so much, and now it seems that the stress is ending and the fun is about to begin. I pray (truly) that things are going to be as good as they seem. What a life we lead! We are so lucky to live where we do, surrounded by friends and family and in a community of people who care about us and forgive us when we're a bit off our game. :-) I'm so in love with my friends and family at the moment they probably wouldn't believe it if I told them! If any of you are reading this- thanks for being you and putting up with me! I love you all!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

There will come a day...

I so badly hope there will come a day when I can look into the part of me that houses memories of Dave and it won't be like looking into a black hole. It's scary, painful, intensely compelling, and swamps me with emotion when I look into that place. In some ways it reminds me of looking down into the Malad Gorge. The compulsion that pulls at you to fall into space, allow yourself to be swept along in the current of the river at the bottom. This past month has been like traveling along the edge of the gorge for miles and miles. Every day traveling the distance and never leaving the rim.

I've avoided looking into the abyss in the months since Dave died. It was too painful and honestly I just couldn't bear the emotion. The days pass fairly peacefully around here. I can keep us all occupied- heck, fair is coming, we're more than occupied. I focus on the moment and truly do feel peaceful and content most of the time.

That black hole is waiting under my bed. Inside my closet. In the dark surrounding the house. In the quiet moments and the lonely moments. No matter where I go the black hole is hidden, just at the edge of my vision. If I'm careful not to look at it, I can pretend it isn't there. But it's there. I know it. You know it. The kids and the dogs know it.

I'd love to start dating again. In many ways I feel ready to date again. I loved being a wife. It was my dream job :-) I loved pretty much everything about being married. Losing Dave was like being fired from that perfect employment. Of course our marriage wasn't perfect. We aren't perfect. We had our struggles just like most couples do- but we really enjoyed our time together. There's no one I'd rather spend time with than my husband and kids. We had so much fun together and were so comfortable together.

Everything starts to feel very normal and I think I am back to being myself. Then something happens that reminds me I'm not. I'm still injured, still not totally whole, still not totally Janet as Janet should (and will) be. I can read now, which I couldn't for a few months after Dave died- I just didn't have the concentration and short term memory to make it work. I can watch tv programs- as long as I don't walk away in the middle- if I walk away I forget what I'm watching. My short term memory is kind of back. I'm not as likely anymore to forget appointments and conversations I've had. But- it's still not totally right.

There's nothing I want more than to be a normal, whole, healthy, happy individual. I miss being healthy. Physically I seem to have recovered- haven't had anything since March, even though I was ill the entire fall, winter, and most of the spring. Mentally- well the jury's still out on that one. I'd have to say that my actions and reactions still aren't as healthy as I'd like them to be. Adding the stress of a relationship to my life- oh my goodness! I am capable of a major freak out! That's news to me. Totally unexpected.

So, here are the questions of the moment: Does the freak out occur because I'm just not ready? Is it too soon? Am I going to be this weird for the rest of my life? Will waiting longer prevent me from freaking out when I start a relationship with someone new? Or, will the first relationship cause me to have to deal with everything all over again- regardless of when that first relationship takes place?

I'm so frustrated with myself and with life in general at the moment. Anyone who has insight or ideas for me- I'd welcome them. :-) By nature I'm an insomniac and having all these conflicting thoughts and emotions whirling around inside my head is NOT helping. I just want healthy and normal (normal for me). How do I attain that?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Some days more than others I feel Dave with us. My life is moving forward and I was so blessed with the years we spent together. I think he's still here in a lot of ways. :-) There's one ghost I'll always be happy to welcome into my home!

By Skip Ewing and Donny Kees

Every now and then
Soft as breath upon my skin
I feel you, come back again
And it's like, you haven't been

Gone a moment from my side
Like the tears were never cried
Like the hands of time
Were pulling you, and me

And with all my heart, I'm sure
We're closer than we ever were
I don't have to hear or see
I've got all the proof I need

There are more than angels watching
Over me.. I believe.. ohh, I believe.

Now when you die, your life goes on
It doesn't end here, when you're gone
Every soul is filled with light
It never ends, if I'm right

Our love can even reach, across-
Eternity.. I believe.. ohh, I believe.

Forever, you're a part of me
Forever, in the heart of me
I will hold you even longer
If I can..

Oh, the ppl who don't see the most
See that I, believe in ghosts
If that makes me crazy, then I am
Cuz I believe.. ohh, I believe..

There are more than angels watching
Over me.. I believe.. ohh, I believe.

Every now and then
Soft as breath upon my skin
I feel you, come back again..
And I believe..

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A song for the new week

"You'll know just the moment when I've had enough. Sometimes I'm afraid and I don't feel that tough... but I'll stand back up!"

It's been a rocky month and I've been fighting anxiety for weeks now. I hate the anxiety. It wasn't there before Dave died. After Dave died I kept having panic attacks. They don't feel anything like I thought a panic attack would feel. I thought they were about being scared. They really feel like someone just shot you full of adrenaline. It's hard to breathe, my heart pounds, I start to shake, my concentration is shot, my vision is affected, and my body generally goes into fight or flight mode. This is highly disturbing when it happens and I'll reach out to anyone, anywhere, whoever can help me the fastest... just to distract me and keep me from totally freaking until the adrenaline rush is past.

I haven't had a really large panic attack since early January. In fact, the past few months have been pretty peaceful except around holidays. Holidays really are hard, and I tend to be moody and irritable, but they don't usually make me panic.

This month was something different. The anxiety came back like it was in December and January. There are a lot of things going on in June and July. I'm assuming that might have something to do with the anxiety. Fair is coming up, and it's always a stressful time- even when Dave was alive. We've celebrated several birthdays (including Dave's) and there have been quite a few "family" events. It's always bittersweet watching other families. I love my family and I'm very content with what we are- but I still have trouble being quite so complacent about not having Dave with us.

The anxiety kept building and building and I kept trying to defuse it. Something bothering me? I tackled it. Something needed to be done? I tried doing it. Someone confusing me? I tried asking for clarity. It didn't help. I did accomplish a lot of things that I just needed to get accomplished- but it didn't make the anxiety dissipate.

I try not to dwell on the panic attacks. That means I don't usually do a lot of reflecting about them once they're finished. I forgot that every time one's happened in the past it actually was a time of healing. I try so hard to suppress them- because I hate feeling weak- but they really do mark progress and healing. Maybe it's my body's way of breaking through mental/emotional barriers that I wouldn't tackle quickly otherwise.

On Friday I had a doozy- right before the party I'd been planning for weeks. Strangely, I don't think the party had anything to do with the stress and anxiety I was feeling. In hindsight I'm glad that the attack happened when it did because it meant there were a lot of people around me fairly fast. At the time, I thought the timing sucked! Today I'm thankful for the timing... and for the friends who made the evening so much fun.

Once again the panic attack seems to have marked forward movement in my journey. I will never say that I'm thankful for the panic or that I enjoy it's affects- but I can say that maybe next time I won't fight quite so hard to stave it off. They hover out there, just out of reach, until I break down and can't breathe. Once I've been through the worst I'm exhausted but the next day I feel fabulous. It's the strangest cycle I've ever been part of. In all actuality I will fight the next one just as hard as I've fought to prevent every panic attack.

So, after weeks of living with a horrible anxious, insecure version of me (I really don't like her- she should take her toys and go somewhere else), today I am ready to say, "I'll stand back up!"

Breathe, just breathe...

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Children and their questions

Today a new widow on facebook shared the following status update:

Katie asked - Will I die from a germ? Chloe keeps asking why Daddy isnt coming home.

I remember those questions. My boys worried about their hearts "blowing up" and they worried next that I would die. They asked if they were going to grow up to be old men. Jake asked when his Dad was coming home. Sam worried that Grandpa and Uncle Andy were going to have heart attacks. Chris just keeps asking WHY his dad died.

It's hard. It's so hard. Losing your spouse feels as if your soul has been torn. Dealing with the grief and anxiety your children are feeling is like having the heart ripped out of your chest in addition to the damage to your spirit.

There are no good answers. You really can't promise them long, healthy lives. Oh, I WANT TO! There is nothing I'd love more than to be able to guarantee that for my children. In all honesty I can't tell them that they will live as long or longer than their father. I also can't promise that I'll never die. I can't promise them their future spouses and children will outlive them.

Here's how we handled (and still handle) these questions. I wear Dave's wedding ring on a necklace. When they ask questions that have no good answers I remind them that life and love are both symbolized by that ring. Although our physical bodies have a birth date and a death date our spirits do not. Our spirits live forever with God. Love, like our spirits is not limited by the physical bodies that house us. LIfe and love are both eternal, no beginning and no ending- just like the circle formed by the plain gold band on my necklace.

This is the promise I make to my babies, "I will love you FOREVER. Your dad loves you FOREVER. God loves you FOREVER. Someday we'll meet again. For now KNOW that YOU ARE LOVED!"

Sunday, July 04, 2010

The Dance

"Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music." ~ Ronald Reagan

Finished with the crying for today, now on to the living. Happy Independence Day!

Holidays are the worst...

I thought today would be ok. June was an anxious month with Dave's birthday, Father's Day, and Sam's birthday all happening within a couple weeks of each other. I made it through June and really thought today would be fine.

My best friend is here (staying with her parents) with her family visiting over the holiday. We're headed over there for dinner and fireworks this evening. I'm still looking forward to it. Last night was just fine, anticipation of seeing my adopted family (we've been friends so long her family feels like my family), planning the food I'm making for the event (macaroni salad and banana dessert), thinking about another friend of ours who is flying out to visit while Amy and I are both here... I went to bed happy and expected to wake up just as happy.

As the day progresses I am feeling more and more sense of loss. The special summer potluck foods (we tend to usually bring some variation of the same theme) make me think of Dave and how much he enjoyed those dishes. I remember arguing with him about whether or not there should be eggs in the salad (I hate hard boiled eggs). I remember his pride in me and what I could do- because oddly he loved sharing my cooking with others. I remember him playing with the boys outside while I would cook in the kitchen- the sound of laughter drifting in the window.

I remember him always spending way more money on fireworks than I thought was necessary, lighting fireworks in the driveway while our kids hid in the house. My husband was a pyro- I can still picture the joy on his face as he lit the fuses. We'd put the kids to bed once our fireworks were finished and then we'd sit outside and watch all the illegal fireworks going up around us. Oh, and I remember a couple of very memorable 4th of July parties in the years before we married. We loved this holiday!

It surprises me every time a day spins out of my control like this one has. "Choose happiness," is my motto for the year- because you can choose whether to be happy or miserable. It's not your circumstances that dictate your outlook on life. However; I can't choose not to be sad. Some days it just hits- like today. I can't choose to avoid noticing the large hole left in our family.

My hope is that if I stop and take a moment to accept the grief I will be able to move past it tomorrow. This has happened often enough that I've seen the pattern: Grief hits like a truck one day, cry and grieve and drink a bit- then- the next day is actually better than the week before. It's as if I have to stop and cry and acknowledge the loss before I can go back to being my normal self.

:-) I live in anticipation of the holidays when I don't have to stop and have a little breakdown.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Just a reminder...

Today we live in one of the most free countries in the world. Many have fought and died for the ideals expressed in this simple letter. We read the Declaration of Independence in school but then many of us never read it again. Please take a moment this weekend and read the Declaration out loud to your family.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such disolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Nine months later...

Tonight I talked with a lovely young women introduced to me by my cousin LaDonna. We have a lot in common. She's a young mom of two beautiful children. Intelligent, charming, funny- and a new widow. Chatting with her tonight took me back to the week after Dave died (tomorrow it will be a week since her husband died).

I remembered Amy giving me a hard time for sounding just like the flight attendant on her flight to Boise. Everything anyone said I responded to by saying, "thank you." Thankfully Amy pointed out that I was sounding a bit false so I added, "that's so kind of you," in random rotation with "thank you." It was at least two weeks before I really used any other words with people other than very close friends or immediate family.

There was such ugliness inside me. I'd never felt that depth of ugliness before. "Until It Sleeps," was such a relief when I found it. It said what I couldn't say... because that was inside me. I smiled and thanked people and tried to look strong... but inside I was ugly. and mean. and I really didn't like people. and I REALLY was fighting a battle not to snap at people who said really stupid things (like comparing one person's depth of grief over the event to any other person's).

I'm not the first widow among my friends and I'm sure that I won't be the last. It was the other widows that helped me stay sane. They're the ones who told me I wasn't crazy when I had some strange, unexpected reaction to a word, a song, an event. One of the best things to come from the whole mess was renewing a friendship with an old friend from high school. When other people say, "I'd never feel like that if my spouse died," she says, "Oh yeah, that's rough." It's hard to predict what you will or will not do, what you will or will not say, and how you will or will not feel. I sincerely hope very few people will ever truly understand what it feels like to lose your love to death. Thank God there are others though. We should start a club.

It's been about nine months now and I'm pleased to say that I just listened to, "Until It Sleeps," and don't feel any sense of recognition anymore. It doesn't speak to me today. Of course there are still hard days. There are days when I'm a raging bitch because the sense of loss is so strong. Holidays are pretty much guaranteed to send me over the edge. I still don't do alone well- but I CAN do it.

My life is good. It's different, but good. I'll never forget Dave and I'll always grieve for him, but the grief is starting to mellow. It's not that sharp, peeled skin feeling it used to be. Now it's more like a scar that aches when you touch it. I smile when I think of the man I loved and married. I remember him playing with his children and the deep love he showed to them and to me. It feels good to think about and remember him now. In the beginning it just hurt beyond belief. Today I love what we had and love remembering the life we shared.

Here's my song for today- much more applicable to this stage of my life.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Spring Chores

It's a beautiful rainy day here. I should be working in the garden and flowerbeds but I'm declaring it a rain day and postponing until the weekend :-)

Chris got his market lambs the Monday before last. In our usual fashion we brought them home the day before weigh-in. There's nothing like the last minute for getting things done! He purchased the lambs from Ken and Claudia Brush. Claudia is our sheep leader and it's very convenient that she happens to raise some gorgeous lambs. I'm pretty impressed with the three we purchased.

The largest lamb weighed in at 92 pounds. I think he's going to be the one we keep to fill our freezer. The lamb that will probably sell at the Canyon County Fair weighed 82 pounds. Chris's smallest lamb is destined to sell at the Western Idaho Fair in Boise. He weighed 69 pounds.

It always surprises me when my kids do something that I'm pretty certain they don't have the skills and ability to accomplish yet. Then I feel bad for underestimating them. Chris's lambs are totally wild. Well, they've been worked in a bunch before we bought them, but no halter training or real effort to tame them (since they're from a fair sized sheep operation). When we went to weigh-in on Tuesday Chris led the largest lamb. That lamb weighs more than Chris does... and he doesn't lead. Chris not only managed not to lose his lamb, he actually got him through the line and over the scale. I am so impressed :-)

The little boys and I led the other lamb. That was an experience, let me tell you! I spent more time trying to keep the lamb from jumping over the top of Jake than I did moving it forward. Jake has a real knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Sam has this amazing gift for working with animals. He finally took the smaller of the two lambs we took to Caldwell and worked with it while I dealt with Jake. He helped me load the lambs in the trailer at home, unload them at the fairgrounds, took the smaller lamb across the scale, carefully watched while Trey wormed the lambs, and then raced to beat us all to the trailer in order to open the door so we could load the lambs. He waited for me to get the lambs loaded and then carefully closed the trailer door and on his way to the Suburban I noticed he checked our electrical connection and the safety chains. :-) I love that boy! He's so funny for a five year old.

After much deliberation Chris and I decided he should use a texturized, pelleted ration for his lambs this year. We don't have much pasture (because I haven't dug out the ditch through the four properties between us and the weir in order to irrigate) so I need to invest in some hay for roughage. Chris is going to be operating at a loss this year unless he makes some crazy money come sale time.

So far his expenses are:

$79.99 water tank
$85.00 x 3 for the lambs
$10.79 x 2 for feed
$16.00 halter and lead (luckily we found 2 more in the barn at mom's house)
$1.50 air to fill trailer tires

We'll need to buy quite a bit more of the pellets and hay before we reach the end of the project so I'm anticipating he'll be in the red by the end of the project. However, we'll have a lot of the equipment already purchased when he begins next year's project so he should make a profit every year after this one (barring unforeseen events).

It's exciting to watch the kids learn and grow. I am so proud of all three boys as they begin learning about something totally new to them!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

We are still here...

Silver City Idaho

The weather has been beautiful this week so we drove up towards Silver City on Thursday. That's a right of passage every child in the Treasure Valley has to experience at some point. The beginning of the road has a sign telling you that the road in is narrow, winding, and unpaved. It tells you that you won't make it in a big truck or with a long trailer. Then you go a bit farther and see a couple turn our areas... and then... you reach the sign that says something to the effect of, "If you proceed past this point you will be responsible for your own search and rescue expenses." Um... Chris did NOT think that was funny.

We did proceed past that point (despite some very vocal back seat driver telling me not to). The road really doesn't open until June 1st so we didn't expect to reach Silver City-just to see how close we could get. A few miles past the sign the slush got too deep and unpredictable to continue (and the back seat driver may have been threatened with severe, painful punishment if he didn't shut his mouth). We turned around and came home. First stop in town was at the car wash- when we stopped on the way back out of the mountains to go potty we realized there was no way in or out of the Suburban that wouldn't get you filthy dirty. We looked like we'd been four wheeling! Well, we did put the Suburban in 4WD, so maybe, technically we were four wheeling.

We stopped at a big sand pit near the road and the kids went out and climbed the sand mounds (huge sand mounds) and chased lizards for a while. It was a wonderful afternoon! I just wish I'd brought my camera. Next time I'll try to remember it and then post some pictures.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Please Vote!

Please vote for my cousin's scholarship entry! Check out the rest of the very talented offerings while you're there!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Have you ever been really sick for what seems like a really long time? You just want your body to get back to normal. When you can stand up without falling over again you think, "Oh, yes! I'm better!" and then try to get back to life like normal. Shortly into getting back to your normal life you realize that you're still sick. You just can just manage to leave your bed today. Going to work is probably still not an option because you get shaky walking to the bathroom. Every little bit of progress gives you hope that today is the day, this is the moment, when you're healthy and whole again. Unfortunately, it takes more than one day, more than one moment, to regain your health.

Grief is like that. When the crying mostly stops and the funeral is over you think to yourself, "Whew! The worst is over!" and you expect life to move forward and the grief to stop. So, you move on and expect to get right back to work and to pick up life as usual. Shortly into resuming normal life you realize that just like the days where you're well enough to get out of bed when you have the flu, today is not the day your life is once again normal.

Every time you have what almost approaches for a normal moment you once again hope that today is the day, this is the moment, when the grief stops. Someone compared grief to waves that crash and recede. This is more accurate. It doesn't just start and stop all at once. The worst isn't over when the funeral procession disburses. Grief builds over time- it gets worse before it gets better and the worst isn't what you feel at the beginning.

Shock is what you feel in the beginning. It protects, insulates, you from the grief. Even when you think you're fully in control of yourself and your emotions, the emotions you're feeling are blunted. If they weren't we probably wouldn't survive them.

As the shock wears off you feel more of the brunt of the emotions your body's been protecting you from. Because it happens gradually you build up walls that allow you deal with the emotion without going over into the abyss. I liken it to encapsulating the feelings inside a hard shell- kind of like an abscess (romantic image, isn't it?).

Yet, every day you hope that it will be better, you will be better. Until one day (or so I'm told) you really are yourself again and can move without the weight of your emotions crippling you.

Jake camping in the living room

Jake camping in the living room