Tuesday, April 29, 2014

You're gonna miss this...

Yesterday at this VERY moment, there were mothers and fathers everywhere filled with big dreams and hopes for their child's future.

Today, just a mere twenty four hours later, they are faced with cherry wood or oak...three songs or four? And the worst, picking out the location of where their child will be laid to rest...

No diplomas, no birthday celebrations or parties, no more "Hey Mom, I'm home..."

No more nursery rhymes or picking out pink or blue...

No more.

But just yesterday they had it all...

I had a yesterday once...nine years ago.  I had it all...and lost him the very next day.

I am always reminded no matter how much time you have, it is precious.  There are moments we just can't get back...like yesterday.

Some are staring at the very last text, or preserving the very last message...

Some are looking at messy rooms wishing for just one more mess...

Some are looking at empty cribs wishing to hear one last cry...

And most are probably screaming "WHY???" 

I have been there, done that.

Through the years grief has been no stranger to me..I miss my son every day.  I hate that I wanted my pregnancy to be over as quick as possible because I felt so fat. (gasp!)  I hate that I rushed the moments I would never get to have again.  I miss them...I miss Matthew.  I thought we had the rest of his life to look forward to, for our big dreams for him to come true...but we didn't. 

No matter your age, your child's age, or the circumstances, I think Trace Adkins says it the best...

You're gonna miss this...
You're gonna want this back...
You're gonna wish these days
hadn't gone by so fast...
These are some good times...
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
but you're gonna miss this!

Oh how that song stirs my very soul every single time I hear it.

Just the other day I was cleaning up our house and stumbled across this mess my boys made...I didn't complain about it being left behind by the boys as they hurried off to school...instead I sang in a quiet little voice "You're gonna miss this..." as big mama tears rolled down my face.

Wherever you are today, whatever your situation, I send you love and hugs today understanding some of you know exactly what I am talking about...and you miss it too!

My thoughts and prayers go out to all of mothers and fathers who have endured the heartache of loss and to all of those that are grieving their loved ones in the wake of the aftermath of the terrible tornadoes.  I am so sorry.  So very sorry.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

And they called me a "snob..."

This is going to be a blunt post.  Maybe TMI for some of you, but the fact is that this is real life for me.  And real life isn't always what it "looks" like it is...or even "acts" like it is...hang with me and I'll explain.

Hi my name is Lori and I have a neurogenic bowel and bladder due to trauma and complications from a uterine rupture.  I have multiple other injuries to go along with that, but today, its all about the bottom!

Did that scare you off yet?

If  not, hang on, I got something better to go along with that.

For the past nine years (in July) I have lived with neurogenic bowel and bladder.  Don't know what that means? Well, in a nut shell, I am numb and incontinent.  My bladder and bowel do not function as they should.  I don't feel when I have to go to the bathroom and I can't make myself go to the bathroom.

I have had surgeries, bladder therapy, bowel training...and all that pretty stuff through the years.  I have learned to do the very best I can and live life praying that God will help me moment by moment, place to place.  There are days I must avoid eating before I leave the house, watch my fluid intake and such.  I self catheterize about ten times daily to empty my bladder.  Glamorous, right?  Truth.  I know it's not pretty, but it's the truth.

So, as one may imagine, I have had many accidents.  Many.  Too many to count, but none I have forgotten. (big sad sigh.)

I am telling this VERY personal information for awareness...Some people just have NO IDEA what others go through and are very quick to assume or judge them based on their appearances or actions.

Here's what I mean.

I look so healthy.  Yes, don't I?  I look like I have it all.  (I am not talking about beauty, I am referring to physical health, stamina and endurance.)  BUT...I simply do not.  And unless you know personal details, you would never know it.

Years ago when I wrote my book, I swallowed my pride and shared with everyone about my injuries and the limits that I have.  But not everyone has read it or is familiar with my story.

Let me get to why I am really sharing this-

I was once to my face (probably more than once) called out on being a "snob."  Someone actually told me I was a snob and acted like I was too good to be sitting in the bleachers by the rest of baseball moms. GASP!

Yes, that is what I just said.  Me, a snob.

My son plays baseball, a lot of baseball.  And through the years, there have been some major ups and downs of bowel / bladder training.  Due to the epic failure of training, I often sit in the outfield, on the bleachers or in a chair closest to the bathrooms, sometimes consciously away from the crowds, NOT because I don't want to sit by them, but sometimes because I am too afraid to sit by them because of the possibility of an accident.

I have never distanced myself from sitting with baseball moms because I thought I was better than anyone. Period.  I distance myself because I have to do what I have to do and that is be comfortable in my surroundings if I have an accident and need a quick get a way.  Period.  I have learned to do what makes my body as comfortable as it can be so I can enjoy my son's ballgames and such.  I  adapt according to my stomach issues of the day, no matter where I am or where I am going.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to have your son at bat with two outs and not have any control over your bowels?  Talk about nerves getting the best of you.  Been there. Done that too many times.

Y'all, it made me sick when I was called a "snob."  I cried when I got home and just thought they have no idea.  Really, ignorance is what I have to chalk it up to to survive this world of people who judge my "cover" (my outside appearance) before they even know me.

I am going to go a bit deeper, if you can take it.

One weekend we were at the ball field.  I had mustered the courage to sit in the bleachers with the rest of the moms.  I held my breath a lot and prayed a lot.  I was terrified I would get sick.

The game was over...and as we were walking to the car it happened.  I had a sundress on and everything started to run down my legs.  I completely panicked and started running through the parking lot.  I was wearing flip flips and actually broke them on the way.  My son running behind me didn't know what was wrong and he was screaming "Mom, what is it?  Are you okay?"  I glanced behind me and there from our team were parents and one of my son's teammates.  I ran faster and the more I ran, the more came out.  BY the time I made it to the car, my husband and son were in tears with me.  Both carefully trying to tend to me and the mess that I was standing in.  Gulp.  I was so, so sad that my son had to see that.  So sad.

There was another game that evening and on the drive home, sitting on a garbage bag wrapped in a towel, tears streamed down my face.  I was embarrassed.  I was hurt.  I was mad.  I was so sad.

My son sat in the back seat doing his best to make me feel better.  It was then I was determined I was going back to the ball field for the next game.

We got  home, I took a bath while my husband cleaned the car and all that stuff and then I put some leggings and a long shirt on, added another coat of mascara and we headed out the door.

When we pulled up to the ball field, my husband grabbed my hand and walked right beside me.  He carefully put my blanket on the ground in the outfield where I sat there and watched my son play ball.

I was grateful God gave me the courage to go back out there and I was so thankful to have such incredible support from my husband and son.

Bottom line, it takes an awful lot of courage for me to go anywhere.  Through the years I have carefully learned to listen to my body and do what is best to help me navigate life with such extreme injuries that alter so much of life for me.

This post was really scary for me to share.  But I believe there is enough of a need out there to share this. Maybe you think the person you see at the ball field is a snob too...or maybe it is you that can relate to my situation.  Perhaps you have been judged by your cover too, and if so, I am sorry. Really sorry.

Either way, be kind.  Be kind to others and quit thinking things about them that you just don't know.

Let's  not assume things about people.  If you want to know why they are in the outfield or sit far away from the crowd, why don't you just talk to them.  Go out of your way to learn their story instead of jumping to your own conclusions.

To the person(s) who called me a snob because I wouldn't/ didn't sit by you... here you go.  You choose what you will do with it now.  I am going to recommend you look in the mirror and start there, being kind to yourself and to others.  Please know this post is written with love and harbors no ill feelings of any kind.

And for all of the lovely people that can relate to any of my story, hang in there!  We are going to make it!

There you have it y'all...more of my story.  It isn't always pretty, but I promise you it is as authentic as it gets.

Love to all!

*Please note, with all of these injuries to my body also came the death of  my son.  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Re-defining STRENGTH

Most everyone has their own opinion/ definition of strength and to be honest I was one of those that thought strength was all about the muscles in your body.  Matter of fact, back in the day, I worked out 6 days a week, kick-boxed, had a personal trainer, ran, and worked my butt off to be in my prime physical condition. I remember the day I weighed 124 pounds, I had gained 9 pounds of muscle working so diligently to build my body.  I was so excited!  I was strong!  At least that's what I thought then...before I buried my son and had to face life with disabilities.  

Suddenly strength had a much deeper definition to me.  Strength was  no longer the face of the most muscular person lifting the weight of a small village upon his/ her shoulders.

Strength was the face of the cancer survivor, the mother by her child's grave or the person in a wheelchair...

Strength was surviving and living after loss and tragedy...

I had to have a come to Jesus moment (or three or fifteen) when I had to let go of what and who I was physically before my injuries and learn to love who I was now.  I had to learn to love the weakness in my body, because there I would find strength.  Strength I needed to believe I was worth fighting for and that this new body of mine was still good and a treasure.  I had to learn to look at Matthew's grave site and cry out loud.  (For any of you that may think that crying is a sign of weakness, go ahead and leave this page now, I am not the person for you to be reading about).  I had to learn admitting my weakness was my biggest strength!

I had the muscles before...and I could run with the best of them...and I did for a season...and I am glad I did. But the woman I was then is nothing compared to the woman I am now.

In my weakness, his strength is always perfect, always has been, always will be.

If I looked at a picture of me "then" and me "now," and had to choose which one was stronger, I would *without hesitation* choose the me "now" photograph.  

I don't see weakness when I look in the mirror anymore- I see a survivor.  I see eyes that have known sorrow and joy, fine lines that show evidence of tears and smiles.  I see grace.  I see a miracle in my reflection.  I see hope, even in the scars that are remnants of my broken body and my son's death.  I see a picture of strength, not in the muscle tone of my legs like I used to, but in ways I would have never dreamed... 

I SEE BEAUTY IN THE ASHES and that my friends is the most perfect description of strength that I can offer...

I hope whatever you are facing today, that you too, can see beauty in the ashes when you are looking in the mirror and that you will find great strength in that! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I survived...

I am a survivor of a uterine rupture that claimed my son's life. I also survived Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (D.I.C.) and flat lined twice. For any of you in the medical field, y'all know that isn't something many people survive. BUT I did! I suffered extreme trauma to my body the day my son died and for the last nine years have been a medical mess!  I blog and write openly about the struggles of living life with disabilities.  Letting go of my pride was hard, really hard.  But necessary to tell my testimony.  

I may look healthy, but don't judge my cover, my outside appearance, until you have read my book or my story.  I was diagnosed a couple of years back with Posterior Cord Syndrome and every day is a challenge, but one I meet with God right by my side.  My injuries and my son's death are coupled together, so for me, every scar, every pain, every doctor's appointment and so on, are all wrapped up in the tragedy of my son's death. The emotional and physical pain are a unit.  There is no separation and there are some days it is just so doggone hard. My injuries are progressive and migratory, so I do absolutely everything I can to preserve what I have left.  Every morning I open my eyes and say "Jesus take the wheel."  And many days I repeat that over and over along with "I surrender all."  I couldn't do the hard without my faith.  But with God, I am on it!  He knows what is going to happen tomorrow and I rest in that.

My story is one big fat messy, medical miracle intertwined with things that will make you fall on your face and cry to things that will make you dance even without music playing! Seriously I am a hot mess one minute and then a put together princess the next!  Stick around, you will see that truth! 

When I wrote my book and started my blog, I vowed to be authentic and real, even on the worst of days.

And I am. 

God has given me the courage to be authentic and allow the tears to fall off of my cheeks and onto the keyboard as words are penned directly from my heart.  Sometimes it is scary to talk so openly about my struggles, but then I think if I didn't you all would miss the really huge miracle that my life is.  

Every day of my life, I need Jesus more than yesterday and I rely on grace to carry me through moment by moment.

I don't like to focus on my challenges, but rather overcoming them!  Side note here about challenges for me- I throw a fit with God sometimes and he lets me.  I get it all out and he gives me grace.  

I truly live life some days with mascara perfectly applied and some days with it smeared down my cheeks.  And guess what, that's  okay!  I cry when I need to and laugh a lot!  I live in the moment gracious for it.  I live for little moments with my family that will be sacred memories tomorrow.  I place worry back in God's hands 1000 times a day and then some.  In all of my life, all of my sorrows, all of my experiences, I can truly say God has given me joy in the midst of it all, but I had to choose it.  The days I don't choose joy are the days that end in the dumps.  I don't like dumpy days.

Life is a beautiful gift, a present I am grateful to open every single day...even with all of the physical pain and the struggles that I endure, it is a precious, precious gift! I am beyond blessed.

Thank you all for reading, for sharing and for being YOU! Wherever you are, thank you! XOXO!

Friday, April 4, 2014

It's real people...depression is real.

December 3, 2005- I wrote this in my journal, just five months and one day after Matthew died. It's real people...this is part of life and death; there is depression and pain and tears and fears...even with faith! If you feel like you have to be strong for everyone else, please stop! Words I don't remember writing but feelings I will never forget!

If you are depressed today, please talk to someone.  You don't have to be "okay" for them, like I "thought" I had to be!  PLEASE, don't do that to yourself!  

I did that to myself for too long and don't want to see anyone else suffer the way I did.  I am reaching my hand out to you.

I always tell others and often remind myself that "It's okay to be okay and it's okay to not be okay, but it's NOT okay to PRETEND you are okay when you are NOT okay.  Okay?"  

Healing for me started when I let God take the pain of losing my son and turn it into love for others who were experiencing the same.  I am no stranger to pain...but with God's grace and mercy, that pain is now a labor of love...Please know you are not alone...