Sunday, September 14, 2014

looking for the bright spots...

Hard to believe it was 104 just a week and a half ago.  Hard to believe life was so different.

The past two mornings have been sweatshirt and jeans weather.  Chili and soups.  It's like someone turned the heat off over night.

It was 44 when I woke up this morning.  Snuggled deep in my king size bed with my old pup under that big down comforter.  It was exactly what I needed.

Yesterday I found myself struggling with all that has happened.  I am not so worried about the kids right now, I am worried about my girl.  She has a wonderful sweetie in her life that I know is keeping her sane and grounded.  For that I am unbelievably thankful and happy.  He brought tears to my eyes when I checked my phone this morning and saw the awesome pictures of their evening.  When I see him gently support my girls and goof around with the boys.  I am so thankful that God put a solid rock in her life to anchor to as she navigates this storm.

But she is like her mom and her grandma... she is going to make sure everyone else is okay, before she worries about herself.  I know she is struggling hard internally.  But she's still smiling as much as she can on the outside.

I see the stress and tension in her eyes.  I know that her heart is being torn apart.  The boys are her boys, she's been such a strong part of their lives for so long.  So when they fly out tomorrow for however long it might be another piece of her heart will leave.

I am sad myself too.  I wish that his service was going to be here.  With the people that have known and loved him for the past decade.  I wish that his friends, and he had a bunch, would get to attend.  That wish isn't going to be met. Once my girl can think there will be a celebration of his life, that is what he would have wanted anyhow.  He was always the life of the party, and honestly I have thought over the past few days that he's probably sitting up there watching the hoopla and laughing with that impish smile... he made the news!

Hubby and I are working on getting our house in order. He'd helped us so much over the past few months with moving and such, constantly saying that is what family does.  He was right.  It didn't matter that their marriage had ended, we were still family.  An odd assortment, but always there for each other.

So this is a strange and unwelcome world we are now living in... 2014 has been a rough year since it started. I am so thankful that it is almost over.  So glad that the cool air is blowing in, ushering this year out.  The coming year will be tough, it will be a year of firsts.  Those bittersweet days of remembering and moving on. The finality is so much harder than the end of a marriage.  It changes your perspective.

This is just uncharted territory for me... I am the kid that never dealt with death on a face to face basis until 7th grade.  And that was from across an ocean.  When my great grandma died.  The next time I encountered it, was my grandpa from half a country away.  I was in my thirties when I walked into a funeral home for the first time, and while it tore my heart out and was a horrible experience, she had lived a good life.  I don't know how to deal with this.  I don't know how to help my girls and the boys....

They say time heals all wounds... just have to find the patience to wait...

Friday, September 12, 2014

the end of perfection...

one last peaceful day starts...
It's been over 36 hours since the world tilted on it's axis for us.  Yesterday was probably the hardest day for me to witness.  It hurt me to watch the boys coming to terms with their Daddy's death.  Watching my girls, that killed me.

I was so blessed yesterday.  Even though I knew what I was hiding from a sweet little princess, she didn't. I work with an incredible group of individuals and because of that I was able to spend the last day of my grand baby's innocence with her.  While Mommy and Grandpa dealt with the horrors and sorted out the bits and pieces of death.  I was able to love, spoil and enjoy a Gramma and Grand Baby day.

I had the wonderful gift to protect and prolong the perfection of her childhood.  We giggled, laughed, created, walked, talked, dreamed and schemed.  All the things that my angel loves to do we did.
Might have missed this cake before...
We went to the doctor for her little ear, she is so mature and was able to answer all the questions a Gramma didn't know.  She was so patient as we waited for over an hour.  We schemed that she would be able to miss school for the day (yes, I already knew she wasn't going regardless, but she didn't).

Without knowing how long things would take for Mommy, not knowing how long she got to be untouched by the sadness that was coming, I planned a full and busy day.

Being silly with Scarlet
Being cute with Scarlet
She picked lunch... Doritos taco's at Taco Bell... she discovered she loves Dr. Pepper Vanilla Freezes and the cinnamon balls they serve and I indulged her just a bit more than I normally would have.

After a fun, silly lunch we headed home.  She let Gramma catch a quick cat nap while she enjoyed her cartoons (I'd had about 2 hours of sleep the night before and it was catching up). Thirty minutes later and we were back on the run.

Walking Gator on a crisp afternoon
We walked the boys together, my little old man is so gentle and calm with her.  They enjoyed the extra time in the cool weather that seemed to come rushing in with the tragic loss.  I enjoyed listening to her talk and share with me her hopes and dreams.  I almost started crying on that walk.

Tears threatened as she shared how much she loved her brothers and missed seeing them.  At that point it was still up in the air where they would stay.  I know my sweet girl was willing and able to have them move in with her and baby girl, but they do have a mother of their own.  I was praying they would stay with my girls, but fearful that they would be heading back to Washington.  That story is so deep and twisted that it breaks my heart...

I heard last night they will be heading back west, my heart is so sad.  My little angel will lose her Daddy and her brothers... sometimes I feel that people don't think of all the things that matter. Sometimes I feel adults are very selfish.  Those boys have lives here now, they have girl friends, friends, hopes and dreams...

We found the first red leaf of fall during our walk.

Fall was on it's way, ushering all of the changes in her world with it.

When Grampa called... I knew our timeline.  So we headed off to the store.  Chili needed to be made and she was certain her mommy needed caramel apples.  She didn't know what mom had been busy with, but she was certain that she needed caramel apples to give her energy for the rest of the day.

Wrapping apples takes a lot of concentration...
Did they really think this was easy?
The angel and I spent the remainder of the afternoon being domestic.  While I made the chili for dinner, she worked on the bird house for Scarlet (her mechanical bird). Her creativity and artistic nature fills my soul with positive energy.  As soon as she finished that, I washed and dried her apples and she prepared the caramel apples.  The wraps make it so simple and she was able to read the directions and complete the task without my interference. It was truly a gift of love from her to her Mommy.

Caramel Apples for the family

She was so happy when her brothers walked in with Mommy... she didn't seem surprised at all. She simply turned to me and said "Gramma we need to make two more caramel apples".  She'd made 5, one for each of the people she'd expected.

She'd needed a stuffed hello kitty while we were at the store, I wasn't sure why.  But I said okay, how do you tell a princess no, especially when you are guarding them against a horrible truth. I found out why when Mommy showed up.  She'd given it to mommy... without knowing why she knew mommy needed love and protection.

As we crowded around the dining room table, in between piles of boxes still needing opened and emptied, that little angel willingly gave up chair after chair to be surrounded by her family.  I was still in the kitchen, fixing a different kind of noodle for the boys - who preferred their chili mac with elbow noodles, when she came out to get a kitchen stool.  Telling me I would need to bring one for myself when I came out.

At one point she put both of her little hands on either side of her youngest brother's head and laughingly placed a big kiss on his forehead - that image is going to be in my memory forever! Right beside the sight at the other end of the table where her mommy's heart melted and eyes filled with tears at the same time - she knows the deep love those three share, she knew the pricelessness of that kiss...

She's ready to tackle the world!

A short time later, the world changed for that princess.  When we arrived at her home, she noticed both of Daddy's dogs, she had to have seen her brother's belongings... today in a clearer head, I realize she knew all day that something was going on, that we were keeping her in the dark about something.  She'd asked about him twice before we arrived back at her house. She probably thought Daddy had managed to end up in jail again, he had a rebellious streak that often ended him up in trouble. That was something she was aware of.

Instead of focusing on all of the things unusual around her, she focused on the bags of clothes I had brought over with me the night before for her and mommy to look through.  Things that predated the phone call.  She knew...

She knew mommy was waiting to talk to her, she knew...

As she sat in mommy's lap, as she waited to hear what was going on, her goofy little smile looked so much like her Daddy's... it wasn't a happy smile, it was something different.

In an instant I watched her world change.  I watched my sweet daughter, who's faced more challenges than most of us will see in a lifetime, find strength once again that I didn't know she had.  Calmly, gently, in the softest of voices she told that baby the truth, pure and unvarnished.

The night before, when we'd picked up the boys I'd noticed that Daddy had a strip of pictures of them on the fridge.  I'd taken it off and brought it with us... something told me she would need it.  As Grampa and I prepared to leave, we couldn't help as much as we would have loved to, Momma had it, and she was all the angel needed, I brought it in.

I had planned to leave it on the table, for momma to give her when she felt it was right.  I felt intrusive.  My girls and the youngest of the boys were cuddled together supporting each other as only they could do. Momma asked me to bring it over and when she handed it to the angel she clutched it to her chest, sobbing and but lovingly.

My heart is literally shredded.  Thinking of the pain my girls and the boys are going through is unbelievable.  I know there are thousands of parents and children dealing with these things daily.  My heart goes out to them, but they are not my kids, this has never entered into our world.  This is not something I even know how to understand...

It's true a child should expect to outlive their parents, as every parent wants to be the case, but it's so cruel and horrible for a child to not have their parent as they grow...

In time it will heal, the scar will remain, but it will heal...

Thursday, September 11, 2014


I haven't had time to write lately.  This move has sapped everything I have to give.  It all screeched to a halt last night at dinner.

I'm still sitting here surrounded by boxes, there is still a ton of work to do both at home and at work.  But my focus for the immediate future is my girls and my grand sons.

My son-in-law has brought out some incredibly strong emotions in me over the past eleven years.  He's mad me madder than a wet hen, he's terrified me, he's made me feel terror and pure joy. I have loved him and despised him  With him there really has never been any middle ground.  Now is no exception.

At dinner yesterday we got a call that we all expected to get one day, but prayed would never come.  I watched my girl crumple as she paced while talking on the phone.  Scurried around (over protective momma that I am) to get my grand baby safely away before any more words were said.  Grampa whisked her to our house for a night of movies and sillies.

I forgot the pain my body was in from my unceremonious fall down the two steps to the garage.  Still insisting I'd been pushed.  I forgot anything except my girls and grand son's and their immediate needs.

The call was from the oldest, the sheriff was at the house.  Their Daddy had died in a motorcycle accident hours before.  There was no one there to hold and protect them as they came to grip with the horror.  My girl was 40 minutes away.  I rushed her there.

We don't know any details except what was on the news... just that he died instantly, his passenger was fighting for her life in a local hospital.  We now had three kids (four if you count his daughter in Colorado) that were without a father.

There were times I truly, truly wished he'd leave.  I hated when he could bring tears to my girls eyes.  I hated the fear that he might hurt her out of anger one day. But mostly, I simply loved the crazy fool.  He'd been there for my girl when she needed him.  He was my grand baby's daddy and he loved her with as much love as he could give. ...

My heart is breaking for them all.  I know I can't fix it, I know I don't have anyway to protect them from the awfulness that yesterday brought. I am hating today when a beautiful little princess is going to have her whole world tilted upside down.  When the permanence, the finality of it all get's brought to her.  I hate that my girl will have to tell her such a horrid, tragic thing. And that I can protect neither of them.

I only had to tell my boy that his daddy and I were getting divorced and my heart is scarred from his reaction.  I cannot fathom this.  I can't even begin to put myself into her shoes.  I can't even begin to know how to support and love her through all of this.

I am thankful that he insisted on spending last weekend with her, and actually spent serious quality time with her.  My little one will have that to hold on to.

He loved family and family time... Even when he didn't know how to accept or deal with it. I know that he is watching over his babies... and that he will be there to help my daughter to raise them up right...

Despite his rough edges.  Despite his arrogance and bravado.  He was simply a wounded soul searching for the missing pieces.  I pray that at approximately 4:10 pm yesterday that he found those pieces.  That his heart was healed and found beauty waiting for him.  I pray that he finally stopped being tormented.

Now my prayers have to shift to the reality left behind.  Now my focus must be my girls and the boys.  I can't change the course we are on, but I can be a rock for them to anchor to while they weather the storm....

Rest in Peace... 
Softly held in Angels arms...
Dameian J. Daniels
1979 - 2014