Monday, November 22, 2010

This time...

is so very we continue to live each day without our Graham. With every day closer to Thanksgiving means a day closer to Christmas and a day closer to the anniversary of Graham's meeting with Jesus. None of which I feel like I can bear. My soul still hurts so deeply and longs so much for my Graham. It's so difficult to be constantly plagued with the "last year at this time..." thoughts. My life is divided into the before and after and I have to consciously work every day, often times every moment, to live the after. People have asked me how I'm doing...if things have gotten easier. Honestly, no, I don't think things have gotten easier at all. The biggest difference is that now I feel I've learned to manage my grief a little better. I've learned to control it a bit more...but I still ache for him in a way that words simply cannot describe. I've learned to be strong on the outside even when I'm a mess on this inside. I look at toddlers and I wonder what his laugh would sound like, what his cry would sound like, how much hair he'd have, what his little personality would be like, what foods he'd like, what toys he'd play with, how the kids would be with him. These are all things I'm left to wonder about and the farther we get away from his time with us, the more difficult it is to imagine....and that is more difficult than words can even describe.
I love the holidays. I always have, but this year is so different. It is so memories with James and Lauren and yet the ache of missing our Graham. Everyone wants to know our plans and quite frankly, I don't want any plans. It's almost like in my mind if I can avoid planning it, it won't come and we won't have to endure the pain of the days where the world seems to be celebrating while we hurt. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on how much we have to be thankful for and although I am SO blessed, I can't help but feel the bitter absence of our Graham. As I sit here with tears streaming down my face, I realize though that I am so eternally grateful for my 14 weeks of life with Graham. Although I wish with everything in me it were longer, I wouldn't trade this pain and grief for not knowing my son.
We are beginning to put together ideas for the kids for Christmas. James and Lauren both have birthday within 6 weeks of Christmas so we have to put careful consideration into what we get them simply because this is it for the year. It is so difficult to know we will have an empty stocking with Graham's name on it and less presents under the tree. I think about all of the things we would have gotten Graham this year and about the unused Christmas gifts we had for him last year. I want so much to be creating 3 wish lists for my kids this year. Again, a difficult reminder of what is gone. We have decided to "adopt" a child in honor of Graham this year and purchase gifts for the child in a family. We will wrap the gifts and deliver them as a family to the child. We'd like to have the kids help us choose the gifts. This is something we'd like to do as a family to keep Graham's memory alive and to honor him.
The Christmas lights are starting to go up around the neighborhood and each time I pass a house with lights lit, my eyes well up with tears thinking about celebrating Christmas without our Graham. James and Lauren are so sweet... especially when it comes to speaking of Graham. James keeps telling me how big he thinks Graham is now and still what he thinks he's doing in heaven. Yesterday he said, "Mom, I think Graham is probably as big as you because he's been gone a long time." That was so hard for me to has been long and I hate knowing that it feels that way for James too. Every time we pass the church where Graham is buried, they excitedly wave and say, "Hi Graham-Bam or Hey Wam-Bam..Miss you Grammie." Again, these are such precious, but heart breaking moments.

I've realized something recently....grief is such a private, isolated matter and yet a very public one as well. It has and continues to affect the relationships I have with my friends, family, and world. But it is in my solitude that I am most obviously affected by my loss. Although I know I will never return to "normal" it has still been difficult for me to accept what now is the new norm. I feel so different than I used to...physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. I'm certain I've aged 10 years in the past 10 months. I can't help but wonder how I'd be feeling if Graham were still with us.

We are continuing to try and leave our hurt and sorrow at the feet of Jesus. It's so hard not to question and wonder as we look around and see mother's who don't seem to care for their children. But we must remind ourselves continually that God is in control and this is ultimately part of His plan. Thank you for your prayers...please do not stop. We know that your prayers are the reason we can still get up and breathe each day. The next couple of months are going to be some of our most difficult. We again are so grateful for you....

It's Fall Folks....

I can hardly believe we are heading toward the end of November. This fall has gone quickly and our schedule has been full! James started Pre-K this fall and although the adjustment was very difficult for him (therefore for me) he has grown quite fond of it and his friends. His first exciting event was his school field trip to the fire station. Of course, he was dressed up for the part head to toe. He was almost as excited about riding the big school bus and not having to wear a seat belt as he was to go to the fire station. That's what it's all about... :)
These are his little buddies...the 3 will more than likely see all three of them together at school.
The Apple Orchard
We also got to go on a field trip with James to the apple orchard. I had a really difficult time because because a year ago we took all 3 of the kids there...Graham was just 2 weeks old and it was his first big outing. I really struggled emotionally ahead of time and as I was there with the kids, but am so grateful I got to share a fun experience with them both. It was a big step to overcome, but the payoff of making those new memories with the kids made it worth it.
Lauren loves that she gets to tag along on the field trips with us :)The kids learned how to properly pick an apple. Twist, twist, and pull up
to the sky. They were both very proud of themselves for doing it all on their own.
James gladly because a live scarecrow on the hayride as we journeyed back to the pumpkin field. I was picking straw out of his clothes for the entire day....

Mommy+Daughter=some pretty precious moments....

Lauren and I have enjoyed many quiet mornings together snuggling, having tea parties, coloring, doing puzzles, reading and even watching some Disney Playhouse. We also run lots of errands with random stops at Panera for a bagel or at Starbucks for a breakfast sandwich. Although the quiet mornings have been difficult for me, I have so thoroughly enjoyed our time together. These have been such special moments. We are both always ready to go pick James 10:30 Lauren is usually begging to get James.

Trick or Treat 2010

The kids enjoyed a great time of trick or treating this year and we actually did it twice. Once in downtown Goshen and then again in our neighborhood. James' fire helmet got a bit heavy, so it only lasted until the first house. I love that their costumes reflect their interests...a fire chief and a fairy princess (Lauren calls her wand her fairy it!)
What he does, work, work....Ever since James was a little boy he has enjoyed working...especially outside. He looks forward to going to Grandma and Grandpa Carpenter's house during the fall and helping cut and stack wood for the stove. We had a wonderful weekend working and making Carmel and candy apples as well as homemade Chinese food. We decided that needs to be a fall tradition!

We have had many more excited events, but these are just a few to keep you updated on the kids. Once again, I'm sorry I'm failing so miserably as a blogger these days. Life keeps getting
the best of me...I will update soon on Lauren's princess birthday party! It was lots of fun!!