Thursday, December 27, 2012

Life Goes On

Yes, more time has passed without writing. It's been a rough year and then some since my last post. It's been a rough time but I have made some progress on my journey.  Up until now I wasn't really ready to do this blog. Every time I tried to write I didn't know what to write. I'd sit and think about it and my mind would wander and the roller coaster would start again. If I did start writing it would just be a muddled mess reflecting my emotions and thoughts when trying to force myself into something for which I wasnt' ready.

I still have those moments and probably always will. However, I think I've made enough progress to try this again. Tonight as I re-acquainted myself with my blog and previous writings I realized I had not followed through on posting Facebook posts. So, I think I'll start there first. My idea was to copy and paste a bunch of my posts to Rochelle's Facebook page that I made during the last several years. I can then use these posts to expand on as a means of documenting my journey through the grieving process and the new normal of daily life.

As I begin using the blog tools I hope to be able to add pictures and links in the future. It may take me a while to learn to use the editing tools but I'm sure I'll be able to figure it out eventually.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friends in deed

In the initial weeks and months after Rochelle's passing life was quite a roller coaster emotionally. During this time I had several major eye-opening realizations. First and foremost was the immense and overwhelming sense of loss and confusion when trying to make it through the day. Every day was a challenge going from one task to another and realizing she was no longer here, it was just me and the girls. But the silver lining in the early days was the warm embrace of the friends in the local community. Friends and acquaintances that Rochelle had made during the 3 years we had lived in Camino.

Friends that brought meals, friends that hosted the girls for play dates, friends that helped clean the house, friends that helped sort through belongings for donation, friends that helped gather pictures and stories for the memorial service and the girls memory boxes. One friend in particular had her hand in all of the above and gave above and beyond. Annette, I will never be able to repay the debt for all that you did for my family, but I will try. Thank you for being a friend.

Friends made this time bearable when all I wanted to do was dig a hole and hide. It was Annette that also got me in contact with Snowline Hospice. They have what I found out first hand is an outstanding children's grief counseling program. During the school year the girls were able to attend the group counseling sessions every two weeks. They enjoyed the peer/group counseling meetings and the play therapy.

The girls were making progress while I was struggling through various anti-depressant medications. Some worked, some didn't. Overall they worked once the prescription and dosage was adjusted several times. However, the end result was that I didn't feel like myself anymore and too separated from my emotions. So much so that I didn't feel I was progressing in my grieving process, I felt stuck. I finally decided to stop taking the medications after about a year. I then had to deal with mood swings, but at least I didn't feel like I as living in a fog or walking around half awake.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Blogging 2.0, or Time to reboot this thing

It's been over a year since my last post but I never forgot how to find my way back to this place. I think it was little too early in my journey to try to pour out everything into my blog. What I did post before was helpful and meaningful, but was also painful. Not only at the time it was written but when re-reading it after posting and every time I logged back in to post again.

As the saying goes time heals all wounds. Not that I'm healed yet but after more than a year later enough healing has occurred that makes me willing to give this another go. I look forward to being able to use this as a way to put my feelings into words. Not only as a method to heal but to document thoughts, feelings, experiences that I will be able to share with my girls. Sometimes I fear the thought of having to have tough conversations with them about what happened and how I feel about it, but by thinking and writing about it I think I'm better prepared for those conversations. By taking time to write I force myself to think of the words I want to use to describe events, thoughts, feelings, etc. It's almost like a dress rehearsal for future conversations so I don't end up feeling so dumb struck and tongue tied.

I'm hoping to post at least once a month and for special events. I'll start by adding some previous facebook posts from the past year to help fill in some of the missing time.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Thanksgiving 2009

This Thanksgiving was the first major holiday in my "year of firsts". I knew going into the holiday it might get rough but wasn't too worried due to a lack of strong tradition as well as specifically planning to be with family all day/weekend so the girls would have as much continuity and support as possible.

I guess lack of strong tradition isn't exactly accurate. We've done nearly the exact same thing for the last 12 Thanksgivings, spent the day with Rochelle's family at either her parents house or one of her brothers homes. So there was tradition in that since but it never seemed to be a strong tradition for Rochelle and in fact she was frustrated many years in not knowing the plans until the last minute. Especially when it involved her bringing something and needing to plan around the shopping and preparing of her contribution. So there wasn't a deep felt conviction and/or expectations around Thanksgiving, that's what I meant by a lack of strong tradition.

Since this is also a year of firsts for my daughters and everyone else in the family I knew there would probably be some expectations others might have including my daughters. Therefore I had decided earlier in the fall that for the sake of the girls the holidays should be treated as much as possible like the recent past. So once again we made the plans to attend Thanksgiving at R&S's home with the rest of the family.

On the suggestion of the grief counseling group I tried to anticipate issues or triggers to try to help prepare for a tough day. Doing so triggered a memory of my first Thanksgiving with Rochelle before we were married. That first year the meal was taking longer to prepare than expected (the norm I learned over the years) so we took a walk around the block. R&S live in a nice neighborhood in the Arden-Arcade area of Sacramento. Just down the street is an elementary school. We walked the long way around the block to the school and along the way came across some tree trimmings in someone's yard. On one of the short branches was a clump of mistletoe so I picked up the branch and stole a kiss. We continued on to the school playground and spent a few minutes on the swings before returning to the house.

So this year, 13 years later, I found myself taking my oldest daughter B on that same walk. Her younger sister A was well entertained with her cousin L. B is more the thinker, the analytical type and holds things in. She's been doing well in her grief journey thus far, at least it seems that way. I wanted to have a moment to share with her one on one that would help her not only for the day but the upcoming holidays when I know she would be missing mommy. We walked the same route, I told her the story about the mistletoe, and we spent some time on the swings. We even said a little prayer together while sitting on the swings thanking God for the time we had with mommy.

B had been smiling during our walk, but on the way home both she and her sister broke down and cried. They were missing mommy and so was I. Soon we were all crying as we drove home. The girls were tired from a long day so they eventually fell asleep on the drive. That night we all slept together in mommy and daddy's bed, as we had every night for the first couple of months.

We slept together the rest of the weekend as well and we all seemed to be exhausted and just needing family time together. Normally this would be the weekend we would get our Christmas tree and decorate. It was one of Rochelle's favorite family traditions. I was too emotionally drained so I opted to wait until the girls asked about it. They finally remembered later Sunday afternoon. I told them we would do it the following weekend and make a day of getting the tree and decorating together. They seemed satisfied to wait as well. We all slept soundly that night having survived Thanksgiving and knowing we would have another family weekend with the tree and decorations.

Happy Holidays, sort of

It's Jan 3rd and I seemed to have survived the first holiday season. It was a bit rough at times and also provide some personal life lessons as well. As the grief counseling indicated it was rough and experienced several unexpected waves of emotion even knowing full well that the "year of firsts" will be a tough one.

I want to document all that I can remember for several reasons; to be able to reflect on my feeling and actions, to express my feelings and experiences without having to dump on someone, to share with others on their journey of grief, as well as to share with my daughters at some point in the future.

I know I have the tendency to ramble at times so I will try to compartmentalize with separate posts for separate events. This should make it easier for me to stick to the main point of the post and easier for the readers to follow.

Feedback is always welcome, so don't hesitate to leave a comment.
Thanks, Lance

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Let the blogging begin

Hello world.
I'm new to blogging though I have been an infrequent reader of several blogs over the past year or two. I'm not sure how often I will post or how long this blog will be operational. I do like to write and as I have recently lost my best friend with whom I would normally share my thoughts I'm guessing this will be a good alternate for me.