Monday, May 23, 2016

I will always wonder

Disclaimer - there is some foul language ahead, just so you know.

I woke up this morning feeling shitty.  Just an overall, not-feeling-good kinda day.  I've been having migraines again recently and a couple days ago, my back decided to flair up and ache.  I didn't want to get out of bed, and I still regret that decision.  It wasn't until I was driving to my second job in Colusa that I realized why I feel so terrible, physically and mentally.


I read a post my best friend wrote on Facebook last night.  She's always been more of a writer than I, and she's been processing her grief over losing her son by following different pages on FB.  One page gives daily writing prompts.  The prompt for today, which she posted last night, was 'I will always wonder'.  I didn't remember the prompt exactly while I was driving; the words that haunted me were, 'what if'.  That got me thinking about my own what if's.

For me, the what if's go back further than just my son's death.  It isn't usually a 'what if Rodney hadn't died' thought.  My what if's go back to my pregnancy and his birth.  What if he hadn't had birth trauma.  What if he'd been 'normal'?  What if the goddamn doctor had done HIS. FUCKING. JOB. and tested me for gestational diabetes????? What if my trust hadn't been misplaced?

My son's 16th birthday is approaching next week.  16.  That magical age when you get your first taste of freedom.  When the world suddenly opens up to you because of one small little card in your wallet and keys in your hand.

You see, I could never really entertain 'what if''s' during Rodney's life.  We were too busy trying to keep him alive to have time or energy to think about all the what if's we were missing out on.  It was a door that remained closed to me...that path of 'what if all this hadn't happened?'  Now, after his death, I'm have the privilege and luxury of reflection.  Lucky me.

So...what will I always wonder?  I will wonder what kind of 'normal' life we would have had.  Would we have gone for a second round of fertility treatments and had our daughter?  Would I have stayed a music teacher? Would we ever have had our own business?  Would Rodney have been a pain in the ass kid or a wonderful kid?


What kind of vehicle would we have got him for his 16th birthday?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Back to Normal

Back to Normal.  Just ponder this simple little phrase for a minute.  For me, the only time this phrase really applies is after a vacation.  During vacation, you truly are out of your norm.  Returning home, you get back to the grind, back to 'normal'.  In any other situation, 'back to normal' is impossible.

The specific application of this phrase that sparked this blog post refers to the passing of one of my friend's sons.  After the funeral was over, and the weekend following, she was told, now it's time to get back to normal.  I'm sorry, but that's just not even in the same universe of possibility.  I've struggled with the term 'normal' in general for years.  I had a son who was not 'normal' by conventional standards, but 'normal' for him and our family.  Occasionally, he would do things out of his 'norm', but then we would have a new 'norm'.  'Normal' is so relative.  What's normal for me would have been complete chaos for you.  And this is just in every day life, not when there has been a death.  Death takes 'normal' to an entirely different level.

We are expected to bury our parents.  They came before us, they are older than us, they will die before us.  'Normal'.  Once you lose one, your normal becomes different.  Where you may have called Mom every day and talked about nothing, now you can't because she's gone.  Or, when you need help around the house and Dad was your go-to guy, once he's gone, you have to find another go-to guy.  It all hurts, but we've accepted this as a 'normal' progression in our lives.  Losing a child is not 'normal', not really anymore.  I'm sure people would argue with me about child mortality rates of old, but in this day and age, with modern medicine etc, we in America, are not expected to lose a child.  It does, however, happen.  Once it happens to you, your 'normal' is completely obliterated.  So trying to get back to it is impossible, because 'normal' doesn't exist anymore.

Me, being two years out from my son's death, I have a different perspective on 'normal'.  My friend's recent loss has brought back a lot of issues for me, and shone light on things I didn't know were in the dark.  I can look back and see that life does get 'normal'.  Maybe my main problem with the phrase is the 'back to' part.  You can't get back what is gone.  The 'normal' life you had with your child in it is in the past, never to be lived again.  Anything that happens after your child's death is part of a 'new normal', but not 'getting back to' normal.  Eventually, you will realize this.   'Normal' falls around you, without you even realizing it.  You look up one day and realize, "wow, six months, eight months, 12 months have gone by and I'm still here, without my child, but I'm still here and there's a routine"; your new 'normal'.

As I said, I've had an issue with the word 'normal' for years.  Now, I guess I don't like 'back to' either.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


I haven't blogged or really written anything in forever.  Life has changed dramatically for me in the last three years.  To start with, Hubby and I started our own business.  This caused him to move 30 miles away, to be with the business.  I stayed in our hometown, with the kids.  A year after we started the business, on June 23, 2013, our son passed away.  I stayed in our hometown through our daughter's sixth grade year, ending in 2015, so she could go to a special science camp.  This past August, our daughter and I finally moved back in with Hubby, in the town of our business.  

Drastic upheaval in my life.  This post isn't really about all of those changes.  It's about the most significant change, though.  A little over a month ago, my "oldest" friend, the friend I've known longer than anyone besides my family, also lost a son.  J has lived out of state since 1989, when she moved away from me and crushed my soul.  Just kidding.  She moved right before our sophomore year of high school.  It did crush me, as she'd been my bestest friend since 5th grade....but I digress.  This post is about our losses.  

Yesterday, I had the extreme pleasure and satisfaction of meandering through The Founder's Grove; a beautiful trail through some ancient redwood trees in N. California.  I had a very moving experience.  First of all, I realized my soul breathes in the mountains.  I have loved camping since I was a child and always enjoyed getting up into higher elevations and cooler temperatures.  It just occurred to me yesterday, though, that I find peace there as well.  Peace has been a difficult commodity for me these last three years.  It was a welcome epiphany.  

Something else struck me, as I strolled the path through those beautiful redwoods.  I found two trees, both damaged by fire, but with different wounds.  One is J's tree, the other is mine. These trees reflect the story of our loss.

J's tree 

J's tree is kind of hollowed out on the inside.  The outside bark of the tree goes all the way around and there is a massive, charred cave inside.  The rest of the tree grows up and out of it, reaching for the sun.  For J, it was a sudden loss, hollowing out her core. The rest of her children and family cause her to stay strong and continue to function, while inside, her heart is blackened with despair.  I spent a week with her between her son's accident and the funeral.  I have spoken with her often since.  She just came to visit me last week.  She struggles every day.  

My tree

My tree is also charred on the inside, and actually has a pass all the way through.  It is more like a tripod, with more of its core missing.  My loss was anticipated but completely devastating.  We watched our special needs son decline over three months.  With his loss, my entire life was ripped to shreds.  I'd been his primary caregiver for 13 years.  He was my life.  My husband and daughter are my other two legs, keeping me standing, but my life's purpose is gone.  When I saw this tree, I cried.  I touched it's core and saw myself, my life.  My life and my heart have been hollowed out.  I continue to function because we have a daughter and business to run, but that is all I do, function.  

J and are are both forced into the light by and for our families.  We are strong women.  We've had to be over the years, dealing with the challenges of our sons.  We both have faced circumstances most people our age haven't.  We've had to "grow-up" quickly.  We are strong and mighty like the redwoods, and equally as damaged as these two specific trees.  

In the quietness of the forest, surrounded by light and mist and trees, I saw a physical representation of my grief and loss.  This tree resonated deep in my soul.  The question now is, where do I go from here?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My first lace project

I started my first real lace project in April. It was the Knit Picks Spring/Summer Seasons shawl from 2009 (?) It was a kit order, and I believe sold out fast. You can look at it on Ravelry here. I ordered both the spring/summer and fall/winter. I just couldn't decide which I liked better.
I finished this near the end of June and just now got around to cleaning off my dining room table enough so I could block it. I'm hoping it dries by tomorrow night, so I can take it to my knitting guild meeting and show it off a bit. I'm just glad it's done.

Here are a couple before shots:

And during blocking.

It's always so remarkable how a lace project changes during blocking.

I also just got my very own swift.

As a thank you for helping with my church choir, they were nice enough to give me a $50 Visa gift card. I've had my eye on a swift for a while, just never had the funds. Well, I used that special gift card, from some very special ladies, to get me something I've been wanting, but couldn't justify. With my new found love of lace, I need to be able to turn my hanks of yarn into usable cakes.

This is some very lovely Alpaca Cloud, again from Knit Picks.
It will turn into a lovely birthday or Christmas gift for someone, depending on when it gets finished. Just in case she reads this, I'm keeping it a semi-secret.

Once my shawl is dry, I'll try to post a better pic of it in it's natural habitat.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A little yarn, but mostly water

I can't seem to find my camera. I have things that need to be photographed!! Ugh. I've been working on a mascot for myself as part of a Guild challenge for March. I would like to take pictures of it before I begin the felting process.

I also bought some beautiful yarn yesterday at Babetta's Yarn and Gifts and would like to upload pictures onto my Ravelry account. It's really yummy and I can't wait to find projects to make with it.

What I'm working on now is a little snuggly suit for one of my dogs. It's going along pretty well. I hope to be finished with it today. I got stuck with the directions, but worked my way through. Which is a good thing, since I don't have anyone I can really ask for advice.

The weather here is rainy. This is good, and bad. I live right against the Sacramento River, so whenever it gets high, there is some flooding, somewhere. Ideally, it happens where it's supposed to; in the weirs. I love this time of year for the new past time that is created: river watch. It starts with watching the river for debris. If you see debris coming down the river, that means it's on the rise. The rising waters have reached trees and such that were previously above the water line. Now they are getting carried away. Then there's Watching the River Level. There is a little building right next to the bridge that displays the current river level. People drive by all during the day, just to check the level. My dad started me on this when I was young. Once it reaches 63 feet or so, you don't just check the bridge, you also drive out over the Colusa Weir. There you can see more debris and admire how swift the river is. The third stage is when the Moulton Weir flows. Once the river hits around 66 or 67 feet at the Colusa Bridge, there is this additional weir that flows, blocking the road to Gridley.

All this is fascinating right? Well, anyway, it is to me; a native Colusan. So, if you'll excuse me, it rained all night last night, so I've got a river level to check.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Not a leader

At the beginning of February, I discovered the closest group of the Knitting Guild. It meets in Rancho Cordova, which is Southeast of me, out of Sacramento. It takes at least an hour and a half if not longer, depending on traffic. I made the journey, during rush hour, on the first Thursday of this month. It was great! I joined up with the Camellia City Stockinettes that very night.

Since then, I've been trying to figure out, and pin point, just why it was so fun. Besides being in a room full of knitting and yarn, what else drew me in? I came across the reason about a week ago. When I was there, I wasn't the teacher; I was the student. That doesn't happen very often for me. I have leadership-tendencies. This means, when I'm in any kind of setting, if no leader is apparent, I tend to step into that role. Partly because I was a teacher, in my former life. Also because of this wonderful organization I'm involved with called the International Order of the Rainbow for girls. Being in this group since I was 12, I learned how to lead. Also, in my church, I am the lead of our crochet group as well as co-leader of the worship committee. Not to mention that I am a stay-at-home mom of two children, one of whom is disabled. Now, I'm not an aggressive leader. I don't go out looking to lead. It just happens. So when I walked in to that school in Rancho Cordova, it was a relief not to lead; to just sit back and listen to others being in charge of things.

And also to learn. A knit-a-long started that night of the Clapotis scarf from This is my first and I was anxious to begin. The next day I ordered some yarn:

Malabrigo Worsted in the colorway Velvet Grapes. Super pretty. I haven't worked with many high-end yarns yet and this stuff is great.

I'm looking forward to taking my progress on the Clapotis to the next Guild meeting. The first Thursday in March cannot get here too soon.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Wow, I didn't realize it had been so long between posts. I've been sick the last week or so and just super tired. I also have failed on several occasions to take photos of my fabulous quilt. I can say that with confidence, as the recipient has told me repeatedly how much she loves it. She goes to sleep under it, wakes up and wraps up in it and takes it with her most every where.

The next project on my list is a stocking that has been five years in the making. I need to make my nephew a Christmas stocking. His sister has one and he doesn't. Top it off that he's my godson and it's just so much worse. His birthday is in two weeks. I have set that as my deadline. We'll see. It requires four items that are cross-stitched, then pieced together, with decorative, embroidered top-stitching. D'oh! I just packed up my daughters, that I could have posted some pics of. I also have a request from friends of ours to make THEM stockings. I started off making stockings for all the kiddo's in my life that were being born. Well, then, life caught up with me. Some have fallen by the wayside. The parents of one of my stocking recipients is placing a request on me to make some for them as well. I think this will be the year of the stocking.

We are also going to be starting on making hats and scarves for some local homeless as part of my knit/crochet group. One of the outreach programs our church is part of is providing lunches to some local homeless. Our church takes a rotating responsibility, I'm not sure how often, maybe every three or four months. Our little knit/crochet group likes to do charity projects. This winter has been pretty cold here in the Sacramento Valley, almost unusually cold. Tomorrow I'm going to work on a hat and scarf proto-type for my group.

Alright, enough blogging. Now, I've got to get down to some serious cross-stitching.