Thursday, August 30, 2012

The One Who Walked Through My Front Door

Today two years ago I met Zoe Jane's daddy. I was doing flowers for an event for TISD. I went to the Services Building for the school district about nine on that morning to work on some flowers for a luncheon. I had done several centerpieces the night before and I was just going to rework them for the lunch to help save on costs.

It was the first event of the new school year and at the time I was a Board Member for Partnership in Education, so I knew most of the staff at the building. I walked into the kitchen area and saw one of the ladies there that I knew. I asked her where my flowers were from the previous night and she told me they were in the back cooler... well...I had never been in their back cooler before, but she told me that Bryan would help me. I quickly told her that I didn't know who the hell BRYAN was... but I guess I would find him.

I walked into the back area and there he was... cutting limes into wedges.

That is what I remember the most. He was cutting limes. And...He was easy on the eyes....

I said "Hi. I'm Jennifer from Twisted Vines. I am here to work on the flowers."

He said "Hi. I'm Bryan. I'm the Chef."

I said something stupid like "I didn't know that we even HAD a chef for the district"

He went on to explain that he had been the Chef for the district but had been in Iraq cooking for the troops...For over two years.  OH..WOW. I am a huge smart ass and at that moment felt like a huge dumb ass. 

Anyway... I normally set up a table and just kind of worked in the corner by myself and talked to the ladies from across the room while they worked on food... but this CHEF guy wasn't going to have any of that. He started moving stuff off of his work table (it was a big table, plenty of room) and told me that I could just work right there next to him... I was like, OK.. if that is fine with you then it is fine with me... then he went to the cooler and pulled out all of these boxes full of flower arrangements and brought to me so that I didn't have to do it... and I got to work.

We chit chatted a bit and he was talking to the ladies that worked there and they were prepping for this lunch thing. I was reworking all of these centerpieces and there were about twenty of them so it took a little while. As time went on, all of a sudden he is standing next to me trying to feed me a bite of some strawberry dessert that he is serving at lunch... and by trying to feed it to me, I mean he had the fork AT MY MOUTH trying to put it IN MY MOUTH... I was like, "whoa, buddy, get outta my personal space there"... chef or no chef, I am not the kind of person who likes people to feed me when I have only been around you for 45 minutes... so I kind of grab the fork from him and taste the dessert. It was pretty awesome. 

Now don't get me wrong, I thought he was good looking. Really good looking. A little bit cocky... but in that good way... he was all muscled up and handsome. Clean cut with his starched chef coat on. Just yummy right there. And I thought to myself that it was going to be nice to see him from time to time when I had a luncheon there... and I would get to eat some gourmet food and he was eye candy for a single girl. But I never thought anything about dating him. AT ALL.

I had rolled up in the building that morning in some blue jeans, a black top, flip flops and I don't even remember if I had my hair fixed or not... it was probably in a ponytail. I know that I had makeup on because that is always the case... and I had on jewelry... but I had not put any special effort into my appearance, because hey, I was just going to be in a kitchen with a bunch of women reworking flowers from the night before... I didn't know there was going to be a HOT guy in there trying to feed me dessert.

Anyway... after I finished I left and went to work. I had a wedding that weekend and I went to the studio to start to work on it. It was just a normal day. But I did think about him a little. OK. A lot.

The next afternoon I was working at the studio and I looked up and who did I see?

The Hot Chef walking into my studio.

You know what I thought? "Shit. He is here to get flowers for his equally hot girlfriend."

He came in and said he just wanted to see where my place was and really, he just to get to know me. Ummm... excuse me, what did you just say???

He was there to see me. I almost fell over. I had to sit down. Thank goodness I had about fifteen corsages to make for a wedding. I told him that he was welcome to sit and visit and he did. I don't even remember what we talked about.

I do remember that Ms. Kaye Baxter came in to get flowers for her daughter because she was coming in that weekend... I told him to sit just tight because Ms. Kaye came in all the time and it wouldn't take long... I remember her winking at me... lol...

He left later that afternoon and we texted back and forth. Later that night he came back by because I was there late still working on flowers and we talked and talked and listened to music and he ASKED if he could kiss me and it was a horrible first kiss and we both thought that it was (because we were leaning across a table full of wedding flowers)... so we decided to try it another way... we moved in close and that worked much better... and were both relieved that the other could kiss.

The thing is... I had been praying that God would send me someone... but I was very specific. He was going to have to send someone THROUGH MY FRONT DOOR... that was the prayer that I spoke. I worked weekends... I am a designer and wedding planner... I don't have a normal schedule.. I needed someone who had the same kind of job that I do and someone who was artistic, creative and didn't get pissed because I work 60 to 80 hours a week.  I wanted someone with the same interests, who loved Christmas, who had the same values, work ethic, religious beliefs. I wanted someone who was a Godly man, who liked football, loved fall, Texas country music, Shiner Bock, held my hand and loved me more than anything.

And there he was. He walked in my door. Wearing a Texas Tiger Football shirt. We clicked immediately.

I didn't know that by loving so hard we would also deal with so much pain. Business, Kids, Cancer, Death, Betrayal, Moves, Losing our Zoe Jane. Two years later he asked me if I wish that I could go back and change things. Would I go a different direction?

No. There is no love without pain. People think that we lead a charmed life. It seems that we have it all at times...Sometimes from the outside people see what they want to see. They don't see the true essence of a couple. They don't see the ties that bind them together. Some couples have stronger threads than others. We make it because without the other we simply can't be.

When you meet your soul mate then you know it. I wouldn't have wanted Zoe Jane to have had any other man as her father. Bryan is a fair man. He is complicated. He has scars. He is strong because he has weathered many storms in his life from a young age. He loves deeply and he is loyal. He is as gentle as he is hard. His stare can intimidate you as much as the grin that spreads across his face can warm your heart.

So two years, new ventures, lots of smiles, tears, love and prayers later, he is my Superman... the one who wakes me up too early every morning just so that he can hold and kiss me... the daddy to my little girl in heaven and the one I blame for all this extra weight... My Chef. My Love. The One Who Walked Through My Front Door.

Monday, August 27, 2012

It's Time For Zoe Jane

I have tried to avoid it. I have tried to push it away and think about other things. I have tried to just make it go away. But it is here. It is inevitable. That number on the calendar. It is like a big red X on the wall...

This is my due date week.

I would have been huge. I wouldn't have been able to walk.

I can barely function. I am a mess. I am crying constantly. I don't want to be here.

And yet this is a huge week for us. It is the first week of school. We are moving to a new location. We are going to be closed for half of the week. Apparently there is a hurricane brewing so bad weather is on the way. It's just gonna be freaking marvelous. I just can't wait to move all of our crap in the pouring rain while hoping that the city gets our inspection done and we get everything in place and ready to go for next week while everyone else gets to enjoy their Labor Day weekend.  I get to unpack and dwell on the fact that I should be bringing a new baby home this weekend. Instead I will be taking flowers to her grave.

She doesn't even have a headstone yet. I can't decide on what to do. Do I get a marker? An angel? A bench with her name on it? Some days I am so pissed because I wish that I had her ashes so that I could just have her here with me all the time... just carry her from room to room. But she is in the ground in another town and I have to drive there. I wasn't thinking about it clearly when it happened but you really WANT your baby with you. She shouldn't be there all by herself. I hate that I didn't have her cremated. I just did what I thought I should do. The things that I would have done differently....

I would have been healthier.

I would have gone to a different doctor.

I would have checked my blood pressure every hour of every day just because.

I would have talked to her more when she was inside of me.

I would have prayed more.

I would have looked at the ultrasounds more intently and memorized every little movement.

I would have held her longer and kissed her from head to toe.

I would have dressed her and kept her with me in my room for as long as possible.

I would have told her more that I loved her while I held her in my arms.

I would have told that doctor to GO TO HELL.

I would have yelled and screamed and told people to be compassionate.... to show some respect.

There are still things that need to be done. I just can't do everything all at one time. I still need to order something for her grave, write the hospital, pay hospital bills, make sure that people got thank you notes, attend support group meetings, go to therapy, put all of her stuff in one place instead of having it scattered everywhere, get rid of all the clothes that I bought her, frame her pictures, go to the beach and write her name in the sand myself....

I swear that this is the worst year of my life. I am tired of being strong. I am tired of working all the time. I am tired of smiling and telling people that I am OK and that God knows what is best. I am tired of hearing that Zoe Jane is with Jesus and that she is playing with all the other children in Heaven. I just think that it is all bullshit. What comfort do I get in all of those words? They are just words. You might as well tell me that she is in Oz with Dorothy following the Yellow Brick Road. And yes... that just came out of my mouth. Ok.. I can hear my mother yelling at me right now... I can hear all of the intakes of breath at the sacrilege. But really... do any of you find it at all comforting when people say those things to you after someone dies? NO. A BIG FAT HELL NO.

You would rather that person be here with you. No matter if you never met them or if you had them here with you for a hundred years. You would rather them be here with you. It is selfish but it is human nature. We are meant to love and care and nurture. And I would be the worst mother in the world to say that I wanted my child in Heaven and not with me.

So I tell you what I am going to do this week. I am going to work and pack and move and get my step kids to school dressed well with fabulous lunches because that is my new thing this year. I am going with some friends tomorrow afternoon to get pedicures and then I may meet up with another friend for dinner. My hairdresser is back from vacation and I am having my hair done on Thursday... of course... when the damn hurricane is coming through. (which is a running joke because it rains every flipping time I get my hair done) I am going to have wine when I want this week, I am going to cry. I am going to yell if I want, throw things if I want and say exactly what I want. If you ask me how I am I will tell you that I am miserable, I miss my Zoe and I am furious that I am not bringing her home for Labor Day. Her Daddy and I met on Labor Day weekend and I remember how I felt back then. Life was full of possibilities and new love... we never thought that in just a couple of years we would experience such pain and loss.

Please understand that I do love my God. I do love my husband and his children. I do love my family and friends. One must understand that grief plays tricks with your psyche and it changes something within you. On the outside you are and can be the same person, but on the inside you are forever changed. I don't blame anyone for what happened. It is beyond our understanding.

It's time for Zoe Jane.. So this week remember that she would have been. She was. And is. And Always will be... So if you are raising a glass for anything this week, think about her for just a second... Our Sweet Zoe Jane would have come into this world around the same time that her Mommy and Daddy met two years ago. We are re-opening the Cafe in the place where we were married on Zoe Jane's Due Date, September 4th, at 1915 Olive Street. So if you don't have anything to do next Tuesday, then come see us and celebrate what could have been. What should have been. And what WILL BE. Because one thing is for sure.... her Daddy can cook and her Mommy knows how to throw a party. And I bet if you look really hard you will see butterflies all around us.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Grief Girl to The Rescue

The thing about blogging is that sometimes... sometimes... people write to YOU. I love when I open my email or my facebook and I have a message from someone. It makes me feel like I do this for a reason other than for my own healing. Since I lost Zoe Jane I have received letters in the mail, messages via email, text, facebook. I read and treasure EVERY ONE OF THEM. Just knowing that my random thoughts, fears and sometimes plain BS touches anyone is of great importance to me.

Getting letters from others and reading about their experiences, their opinions and their takes on what I have to say is uplifting... it helps me to heal even more. It gives me a reason to continue on without my sweet little girl. It means the world to me that people even read what I write.

Someone told me today that everyone has a purpose on this earth and that maybe mine was to experience loss. To feel it. To grieve it. To learn it.

I hate it.

I have definitely experienced it. It sucks. I want to beat it up... lock it up. Kill it. Burn it. Send it to hell. I wish I had a superpower. I would be Grief Girl. I could Face Grief for all Mankind and Banish it from their hearts.

I can't even remember who I used to be. Is that what God wanted? Did He intend for me to completely change? Did He intend for me to have sleepless nights and cry buckets of tears? Did He intend for me to question my purpose here on this Earth? The things that people have told me throughout this journey have helped me to seek these answers more fervently. I know that I am not in any way over this grief. I am not in any way ready for a "new" baby. I am not ready to lock the memory of Zoe Jane away and throw away the key.

I think that my family would like for me to. I think there are people who just don't get it and think that I should get over it. To those people I would like to say... try holding your dead child in your arms and looking at her perfect little face and knowing that you will never ever see her breathe. Try leaving the hospital to attend her funeral. Try standing at the cemetery to make sure that they are careful placing her casket in the ground. And THEN try to tell me that you can be over it in three months when everyone around you continues on with life and your best friends are bringing their babies home.

You really lose a certain sense of reality and you try so hard to grasp at little strings.... it is like trying to catch a balloon that is just right out of your reach. You know that you should be a certain way... but you just don't care, and you feel like you are entitled because hey, your baby just died and to hell with what other people think about you.

Today we were coming back from breakfast and we were pulled over by a cop on the Texas side. We knew it was because our tags were out. I had been telling Bryan to go and get them and he keeps forgetting and I keep forgetting, and it is just one of those things that we just FORGET. These days we are lucky to remember to put gas in the vehicles. Anyway, the officer gave us a warning and said "So, I hear you are moving the cafe to a new location..." Bryan told her that we were and then she said.... "Yeah, some friends brought me in one day but you only had three specials offered in your cafe that day, when are you going to have a full menu?" Bryan looked at me funny and asked me when did we only have three specials (because we DO HAVE A FULL MENU EVERYDAY) and I said.... "Umm... that was the day our baby died and Chef was back and forth to the hospital so there were just three choices so our staff could handle it."

Wanna know what this person said???

"Well, you would think that you would have a full menu and a staff that could handle it when stuff happens."

Know what I wanted to say???

Get the hell out of my FACE before I run you over in this Jeep with a HEMI.....

So you see, people are just people... they don't care that your baby died.. they just want a full menu... they want you at full capacity so that they can get what they want when they want it.

But I am not ready to let go. I am not ready to lock these feelings away. Right now I am going to miss her every second of every day and I am NOT OK. I am not ready for another baby. I don't know that I will ever be ready to try for another baby. If that happens, that child will know about Zoe Jane, just like all of you do.

If God means for me to learn loss and to obtain peace then I will do it. If it means not running over a police officer, then OK. If it means crying in the shower instead of in public, then OK. If it means reaching out to others who need help when they lose their little one, then OK... I can do that. But if you see me crying at a red light it is just because I am having a bad day. If I don't have make up on or my hair is in a pony tail, it is because it took every ounce of energy to get up, breathe and put clothes on to come to work... but don't judge me... I am here with a bit of a smile on my face, aren't I? Little by little I will get to that point of peace, but it is going to take a lot of tears, watching butterflies and prayers to get me there.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Odd Life of Timothy Green

I recently went to see The Odd Life of Timothy Green. I knew that it would make me cry. I knew that it would make me think of Zoe and how much I wanted to be a mom and a parent. But I wanted to feel the emotions and see the movie. I wanted to see just how much it would affect me.

So here is this couple that tries and tries to have a child and there is no hope of having one of their own. One night... for just one night they write down all the qualities that their kid would have... they put them in a box and bury them in the garden. That evening a storm comes and along with it a little boy that grows from the garden.

They are amazed. They are astonished. But they know that he is theirs. He possesses everything that is innately them. But he also shows them what it means to live. To love life. To soak up the sun and to actually possess the qualities that as a parent, you really want your child to have. So many of us say that we want to love unconditionally, yet when it becomes hard or affects real life, we reject unconditional for conditions. We say that we want our kids to be a certain way, but we end up showing them the short cuts in life instead of the slow and steady way.

This movie shows us that we are ready for more than we think that we are... the parents in this movie wanted their child to possess certain qualities and they ended up being things that were tough to have. The situations that we think we are not ever going to be prepared for are some of the things that make us the strongest.

In the end as Timothy fulfills each quality that his parents want him to have, he loses a leaf and he knows that he will be leaving them soon because his time with them was just to show them that they CAN be parents... even to a child that is not their own.

It did make me cry. It did make me sad. It did make me miss my Zoe and question why I didn't get to keep her. But it also made me want to make a list of all the qualities that I hoped that she would possess and plant them in a garden, wait for a storm and wake up to find a little girl covered in mud next to me in bed.... 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Day of Hope

August 19, 2012

Today is Day of Hope

Remembering All of our Angels in Heaven

Today I wish to remember every Mother, Father, Grandparent, Brother and Sister.

I wish to remember every lost child who now chases butterflies with my Zoe Jane in Heaven.

Join with me and take a few moments to say a small prayer for everyone affected by infant loss in any form.

 These are the people that I am thinking of PERSONALLY today.

Jason and Jessica Standridge
Keith and Katheryn Norwood
Jennifer Blake
Jennifer Crosby
Lara Martin
Zack and Katie Burns Stringer
Daniel and Kellie Schrader
Shawn and Monica Davis
Chris and Kali Bannon
Travis and Stephanie Desjarlais
Buck and Wendy Walton
Tarvia Rochelle Turner

These are just a few of the wonderful people that I know who have experienced a loss. These are people who are my friends through my angel and I wouldn't make it without them.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Stormy Night

Tomorrow is three months. Sometimes I feel like I should stop remembering how many months it has been... but she would have been here by now. My due date is a few weeks away and I know that I wouldn't have made it until that date...

Bryan and I have been keeping my sisters two boys for a few days while they are on a cruise. It has been pretty rough with a 5 month old and a 2 year old on top of his kids and our schedules. The schedule that we have to keep tomorrow is over the top and I hope that we get everything done. Bryan has been working on our new place non stop and so he has been home late every night. That leaves me to get everyone to bed and things cleaned up. I am exhausted.

We went out on a "date" the other night, and really it was just going out to dinner because we didn't have time to do anything else, but it felt weird. When something rocks your world to the core, it is hard to reconnect and find lightness in a world full of dark. There isn't much to talk about except work and the next business step. I get tired of those things and wish that we could remember the things we talked about back when we were just dating.

I told Bryan that I don't remember who I was before Zoe Jane and I am not sure how to be that person anymore. He said that he has watched me for three months and he doesn't know what to do either. Is there a magical day when you don't feel guilty for laughing or smiling and the sky is blue and you hear birds chirping? Is there a wind change that blows through you and gives you back a piece of who you once were? I am just different and I will never be the same.

I was talking to a friend this week who just lost her little ones heartbeat on Monday. She said that she felt an uncontrollable urge to completely change things. I related to that so much. You absolutely want to move away, get a new job, cut your hair, tell people to go to hell. She said that she and her husband painted their bedroom and moved things around. We did the same thing.

You know how you read novels where the main character was a doctor, or lawyer, or something very professional and all of a sudden they just quit their job to go to Ireland to live in a cottage their Great Grandmother left behind and "find" themselves all while living off of their hefty portfolio? Yeah... that is what I want to do. Except I don't have a cottage in a quaint Irish village nor do I have a hefty portfolio.

Well, I just want to remember my little girl. I want people to talk about her with me and love her too. I don't want to feel bad that I remember that she would have been here with us. I can hear the thunder in the distance and I see the big raindrops falling from the sky. I am glad that it is stormy tonight. It suits my mood and my thoughts. Maybe sleep will come easily.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Prayers and Dreams

I pray.. I pray a lot. People say that it helps. The Bible says to do it. I feel better when I do. There hasn't been a day since I lost you that I haven't prayed for you. I prayed for you before you were conceived, I prayed for you everyday that you were inside of me and I prayed that you would be my strong little girl and overcome the obstacles that were ahead.

God had other plans for you. He needed you. You were too beautiful for Earth and in some way there is a lesson to be learned here. I am not sure that I will learn what it is for a really long time. The first couple of months I was pretty numb and just threw myself into work so that I wouldn't think about not having you. The numbness wore off and the reality set in. The past couple of weeks have been the hardest of my life. I miss you.

This week would have been 36 weeks. I know that if you had made it, you would already be in my arms... even though it would have been too early.

I have prayed and pleaded with God to let me see you. Whether it were my imagination or in my dreams. I have begged Him to just let me see what you look like. I always think of you as a toddler because that is more realistic, but I feel like when the angels brought your spirit to Heaven and God touched you that you became the gorgeous adult that He had in mind.

Last night my prayers came true. I dreamed of you. You were about two...maybe a little younger but you were walking well...a tiny little thing with a pixie face and dark curls and you ran towards me with your arms held up high. You knew who I was and I knew who you were... You wrapped those arms tight around my neck and did not let go.

The sad thing is that is all I remember. I know that little girl could have been anyone... but I KNOW that it was you, Zoe Jane. I know that God allowed me to see you and feel the love from you for just a moment in time. I will never forget it. I will never forget how your arms felt around my neck, having that connection to you.

I'll never believe that prayer does not work. I know that it does. I am thankful that I asked God to send you to me and I am so glad to be your mommy.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Warning... OPINIONS that you may not agree with

When you lose a child you are overwhelmed with emotions and feelings that you have never experienced. You feel hate, anger, sadness like you have never felt before. You don't like people simply because they get on your nerves and you just don't know why. I don't like the way some people chew their food, or laugh, or constantly talk or ask questions, or take too long to tell me something.

This doesn't mean that I am full of hate. I am not. It is just that right now... at this point in my grief... there is something that is holding me captive and I can't quite break loose.

I was talking to Bryan yesterday about all of the research that I have done on infant loss. Some of us know that there is a possibility that we will lose our babies, but we don't know why. Others know the cause. It may be a disease or defect of some kind. Those are the people who are able to memorialize their children by supporting a cause. I respect these people... they can carry on with a mission and it is SO brave to me....But I don't have a cause. There isn't an "I don't know why my baby died charity" and it sucks. Actually, it pisses me off. I feel like there is nothing that I can do to keep her memory alive... because there were only a few people who held her, who saw her, who could envision her tiny little spirit in that precious, lifeless body.

I don't feel like I can talk about her anymore without people saying that I need to get over it. I don't want people to feel uncomfortable. I just miss her. I just wanted her here with me.. and the thought of never having her is unbearable.

Another thing that really pisses me off are all these fundraisers for the parents of a lost child. OK. I know that funerals/memorials cost money because WE HAD TO PAY FOR ONE. No one ever expects to have to buy a plot for a grave, or a casket, or talk to someone about cremation, or write an obituary, pick out a memory book, scriptures, poems, music... especially for your baby. But these parents who literally just quit going to work for a whole month because their baby dies and then expects the community to come together to pay their bills for them is pretty ridiculous to me. Now, this is just my opinion... and if you don't like it... that is fine. Don't get all up in arms about what I just said and think that I am the wicked witch... stop reading right here if you disagree. But what I am trying to understand is that when a normal service for an infant costs about $1500, and you have a fundraiser that generates $15,000, what are you doing with that extra money? Are you going on vacation? Because I would like to go on a vacation too...but I have a business to help run and I can't. If you are not donating that money to a charity in memory of your child, then I do not respect that. If you are not taking that money and giving it to the less fortunate, then I do not respect that. If you are putting that money in an account to get you through the next six months because you don't feel like working... well, I don't agree with that.

There have been people come in and ask for donations for some of these fundraisers lately, and whether or not they knew about Zoe Jane, I don't feel comfortable unless I know where the money is going. And hey, they weren't tossing money our way when we had extra bills to pay.

We were off from work for a few days when Zoe Jane died, but the day that I was in labor my husband went back and forth between the cafe and an all day catering job and took care of it all. He was still there when she was born and for pictures with her, and then he had to go back to work because there were other obligations. I was in the hospital until the day before her funeral. We only took off the day after so that we could try to get some sleep... and then we were back to work. We didn't have a fundraiser to pay for the lost business. We just pulled up the boot strings a little tighter and dealt with it. This is on top of raising two kids with NO child support and paying a staff. So just remember when you support small businesses you are not only helping the local economy, but you are helping to send our son to Arkansas Childrens for his check ups because he has bone cancer and his mother dropped his insurance, you are helping to pay for our little girl to take ballet because she loves to dance, and you are helping our employees do the same for their families. We don't have fundraisers because we work for what we have... and I think that Zoe Jane would be proud of her parents for not exploiting her death for money.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Unleashing the Monster

Some days are bearable. Others are not. Today is one where I want to get in my car and drive... and drive... and come back when I feel like it. I have this aching, crushing pain in my chest. I can't concentrate. I keep messing up things. I am sick to my stomach and I just want to hide from the world.

I have been brave. I have smiled and worked and done the things that were on my schedule. I have even directed a couple of weddings and designed flowers for several more... masking the grief, shoving the pain back down, hoping that one day I would just wake up and it would be completely gone. The problem with that concept is that it doesn't go away... it just stays down and grows into this monster that finally has to be unleashed.

If you know me personally then you know the issues that we have dealt with for the past month. We own a cafe and floral studio that is quite successful and we lease a building downtown and live in a loft above the space. A few weeks ago we submitted a letter to our landlord to renew our lease (as we were under a contract with a second and third year option), he responded by saying that he just didn't know why we would want to, and gave us a list of impossible stipulations for renewal. We had heard through the grapevine that he had a friend who wanted the space, but we never thought that he would execute a constructive eviction to get us out.

Last week the air didn't work for two days, so we had to close up. Lost money and time for all of us and our employees. When it was finally fixed (the landlords responsibility), he presented us with the bill. He then told us that all of his personal equipment that was in the building would be picked up in a few days even though the lease states that we can use it and we only have 22 days left on the lease.
Monday morning we came in and put all of his things out back to be picked up. He was supposed to be there at 2 p.m. to meet us to get the other things that were affixed to the walls (speakers, movie screen, televisions, etc) He never showed up.

So yesterday morning when we all came to work there was dust, dirt, grime and trash everywhere. Wires hanging from the walls where he had taken things down. He had come in without our knowledge and taken all of his things, but in his wake left a HUGE mess for us to clean up right before lunch service. Not only did he invade our privacy, but he created more work for all of us and did everything he could to make it inconvenient.

I lost it. This is a person who never told us they were sorry for our loss. This is someone who is vindictive and malicious and has TOLD us that he enjoys the fact that people don't like him. I was sick. I started having a major panic attack and it still hasn't gone away. I didn't sleep last night. I keep thinking about everything that has happened to us over the past year. We are good people. We work hard. We do everything that we can to make a good life.

We have secured a new venue for our business and we are living with my sister until we can get a place to stay. So here we are working all day with the kids in tow, then we go home to my sisters and I feel like such a burden on her. She has a husband, a baby and a toddler. I know that God has a plan. He means for us to be in our new location and away from dishonest people. He means for our business to expand.

I just don't know how much more change I can take. I need normal. I need peace. I need a break. Today I am trying to stay at home alone, unless it gets really busy at work and I have to go in. I haven't had time alone in months. I want to relax and breathe.

Please keep us in your prayers. We are excited about our new venture, but there is so much work ahead. One of the best parts of the venue is that it is where we got married. A lovely estate close to downtown rich with history. I can't wait to be a part of it.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Thoughts for a lonely day...

The days just carry on as if nothing has happened. Business as usual. People go about their daily business and do not have a tiny little thought about you. You work hard to mask the grief and be the person you were before, but it is impossible to do. You will never be the same.

The days of dreaming about a little one to watch grow up and have your qualities have vanished. You are terrified to go through it again, and why would you want to? Everyone expects you to say that you are OK when they ask. You do what is expected, say what is expected and then carry on with the blows of everyday life. Sometimes you think there is no way that your life could get any worse and then something happens that sets you off, and you think that people are stupid for not knowing that your baby just died. People are mean, they are unsympathetic to the fact that parents who have just lost a child have lost way more than that. All they have to cling to is each other, their jobs, their businesses. When things happen in everyday life they are a thousand times more terrifying. The effects of standing in the line at the grocery store can make you go crazy.

I think it's OK to feel crazy when this happens. You know that you are not, but you can't help but feel it. You don't find joy in the things that you once did. The foods or music that you enjoyed before do not taste or sound the same. There is not a day that goes by that you are not consumed with what your child looks like, how they smell, are they loved?

I know that people who read this will think that I am depressed. I am depressed at times. I feel guilty, I feel numb. Other days I am relatively happy and have something to do that keeps me busy. At first you feel guilty about smiling, or laughing or going out to dinner with your husband. You feel guilty about not being the partner that you should be, about turning away at night because the thought of being intimate some days is hurtful. You feel guilty because you are SO tired and you just want to sleep...but it is the middle of the day and you can't.

I wanted to take off from work. I wanted to sleep for days. I wanted to lay on her grave and ask God over and over why He took my little girl from me. But instead I cling to the little things. The baby steps that will get me to a point where I can feel like myself again. The key to our new house has a butterfly on it, my husband brought it to me last night... had one made special. My stepdaughter went shopping with friends last night and bought a pair of earrings for me. There is a bundle of calla lilies in the cooler that will be perfect to lay on Zoe Jane's resting spot.

Each day is different and we face challenges on the way, but I am firm in believing that God has control and He will guide my grief, my love and my life in the right direction. Loving my little girl is just a little harder because she is so far away.