Friday, May 31, 2013

Flying Free

I woke up six months ago, on November 30th, with a smile on my face. Damond teased me there were only a couple of hours left until we would be in my beloved Phoenix. HOME, I was so excited to return home. Our plan: Travel to Phoenix and stay there for over a month. Damond would fly in and out for several interviews, while the boys and I would enjoy the sun, warmth, friends and family.
The icing on the cake? It was Damond's vacation month. He was basically done with all the requirements of 4th year. Once he finished interviewing, we would be coasting to graduation.
I got out of bed ready to finish all the last minute packing details and finish cleaning. Damond always gave me a hard time for wanting the house to be spotless before leaving on a trip. I would tell him, "you never know, someone might need to come in the house or borrow something while we are gone." (or in my case, pack your whole house) We decided the boys would go half day to school and we would pick them up on our way to the airport. We decided to go check in the bags while they were at school. Packing for a month long trip for five people is not easy. A weakness of mine? I am not a good packer! We usually fly Southwest because, "2 bags fly free" :) I usually maximize on that to the heaviest extent possible. Damond gave the curbside check in guy a really good tip. This is something he always did. He knew how important earning tips were. We lived off tips for several years and  he was grateful for that money. I don't really remember too many other details from that morning.
I woke up six months ago, on November 30, not knowing I would never return HOME. I wish I would have cherished that "feeling of HOME" a little longer. You see, for the last five months all I have wanted to do is return HOME, but I have no idea where that is. Indianapolis and Phoenix both no longer feel like HOME. I am on a never ending vacation gone bad. Until I realized that  
I struggle, because half of my heart is in heaven, and the other half is held by my three, beautiful boys. I am not really sure how to create a HOME without him. In fact, that HOME is a tender memory in my heart. The boys and I will have to be strong to define a new meaning of HOME. 
So, the boys and I will continue to "vacation" until we find the peace that enables us to find HOME. 


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Carry You



"See You Again" - Carrie Underwood
I’ll See you again, oh
This is not where it ends
I will carry you with me, oh
Till I see you again

I can hear those echoes in the wind at night
Calling me back in time
Back to you
In a place far away
Where the water meets the sky
The thought of it makes me smile
You are my tomorrow

I’ll See you again, oh
This is not where it ends
I will carry you with me, oh
Till I see you again

Sometimes I feel my heart is breaking
But I stay strong and I hold on cause I know
I’ll see you again, oh
This is not where it ends
I will carry you with me, yeah yeah

I’ll See you again, oh
This is not where it ends
I will carry you with me, oh
Till I see you again
Till I see you again,
Till I see you again,
Said goodbye turned around
And you were gone, gone, gone.


(hiking Camelback Jan. 1, 2004)

I heard this song the night of Thomas' Baptism (between the emotions of that day/event and the lyrics, I became a mess!)

Each night I go to bed thinking, "I don't think I can handle this anymore. I don't think I can go another day without talking to him/seeing him/holding him." But inevitably, the sun still comes up every morning. And with that sunrise, the thought that although
"my heart is breaking,
I stay strong and I hold on cause I know
I'll see you again, oh
This is not where it ends!
I will carry you with me!"

 (Hiking Camelback Dec. 24, 2012)

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Simple Answer

It's been 4 months.
For the last four months, people have continually asked me, "how are you doing?" and then proceed  to apologize for that question. I would always answer, "I'm ok."
I really don't mind people asking me that question, as I know that people love and care.
Unfortunately, the answer is a little too complicated. So, I answer, "ok." I explain that "ok" an average between the "awful, my life has turned into a nightmare" moments and the "wow! I cannot believe how how blessed we are moments."
Almost a month ago, I ran Color Me Rad with Yuma. Several members of Damonds' Family put together a team. Returning to Yuma is obviously hard for me. But remember, I decided to fight! So, when asked if I wanted to sign-up, I decided that although difficult, it would ultimately make me stronger. I knew I would still be training for the half marathon and that a 10K would fit my training schedule better.
I had no idea that it would not be the mileage that would almost bring me down, but the mental and emotional marathon I have been running for the last couple of months.
Again, I have been asked how my race went. The simple answer is "ok".
Here is the complicated answer:
It was fun getting ready to run the race with Damond's family. But like always there is always that gaping hole where Damond should be. I try to push it aside, but it follows me like a constant shadow. As I entered the race area I was slammed by a flood of memories, joyful family memories. The race begins near a river beach where we would bring the boys. We would play with cousins and Damond and his brothers would come up with different kinds of rock skipping competitions. Memories like those are moments that actually have meaning.

Everyone was having a good time and I was trying to stay in positive spirits and stay in the zone, but I kept getting pulled back to memories like that and why we could no longer make those memories with Damond. Most of my runs are similar in it's a constant battle between my brain and my heart.
I began the race bouncing from one joyful memory to another, longing to see/feel/hold/touch Damond. And this is where it gets complicated...
As my heart tries so hard to grasp the impossibility that the Damond of flesh and blood is no longer here with us, my brain counterattacks with its own factual memories.
Me, kneeling on the cold kitchen floor holding onto an enormous hand that will not grasp mine back
pleading, crying "Thomas, Alex, Jacob. Please stay for them. Thomas, Alex, Jacob. Please don't leave us. Thomas, Alex, Jacob. They need you! I need you"
A cold, sterile hospital room praying fervently for a miracle, but hearing, "I'm sorry, but he didn't make it.
Walking the longest hallway of my life, on legs that had absolutely no strength of their own. 
Feeling my arms were inadequate for the three beautiful boys that were crying with a sorrow that still haunts me to this day
Each step becomes staggering as these images flash through my mind, but my heart, ever the fighter, rallies back.
We are an Eternal Family! Damond loves us! Our dear Savior, Jesus Christ made it possible for us to see Damond again!
But unfortunately, the halfway mark of the race was the Castle Park.
(last picture I have of Damond, in green shirt at Castle Park)

The same park we visited with the boys and cousins the day before Damond died. The memories begin floating and the battle with my brain begins anew.
I runaway from the battle zone, in search of peace, but instead I find the finish line. I cannot approach a finish line without thinking of Damond. He and the boys cheered for me as I finished my first half marathon. This time, as I crossed the Finish Line, our song (from out wedding) began to play, "Forever and For Always" by Shania Twain. As others partied across the finish line, it was my undoing. But I realized that although, no longer "in his arms, I am keeping him forever and for always."

I was disappointed in my time, but I reminded myself that when you are in mental and emotional warfare, it can't really be about time. It's a little too complicated for that.