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 :-)

Jake camping in the living room

Jake camping in the living room