Monday, August 31, 2009

My little singer...

A few days ago while I was driving, the new Miley Cyrus song "Party In The U.S.A." came on the radio. I, personally, am not a big Miley fan, but I decided to leave the song on because my kids would have wanted to listen to it. I could just imagine Kate in the backseat saying, "Mama, I like that song...don't change it." We often had a 3-way battle for control of the radio.

I was driving along thinking, 'well, the words are kinda cheesy, but Miley has a decent voice' when I suddenly felt like Kate was sitting in the car with me. You know how you can feel someone in a room with you without seeing or hearing them? It was like that.

As soon as I started thinking about whether or not it was real, the feeling went away so I tried to turn of my brain and just let myself feel it. Was it really Kate? I have absolutely no idea. It may have been wishful thinking. Maybe I was just remembering what it was like when she was in the car singing along. Regardless of whether or not Kate was really there, it felt good; I felt very closely connected to her.

I'm not sure what my purpose is in sharing this story, except that I wanted to share something good instead of always talking about the bad and the ugly. There was so much good in the last 7 years of my many fun and wonderful moments and memories. Truly the only thing worse than losing my kids would be never having them at all. I'm extremely grateful that I got to be their 'mama', even if it was only for a short time.

(Kate is 2 years old in this picture and she's singing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." I can't tell you how many times we listened to that song...or what I would do to hear her sing it one more time.)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

no air

in the midst of my day i feel ok. i'm distracted, busy, with friends. never still, always somewhere. suddenly reality barges in and i can't breathe. someone kicked me in the chest, hard. i try to inhale, to find my breath, but the air has been sucked out of the room, the atmosphere has evaporated. where is my breath? it's the one thing that's always with me, always present, but it's gone. i start to cry because i miss them and know i can't hold them - that i'll never, ever, ever be able to touch them again. it's not fair! things like this don't happen! i don't accept this, dammit!! if i refuse, maybe it won't be true. the lump in my throat chokes me and i wish it would all just end, that i could close my eyes and be done. can this please be over?!!

then, slowly, my breath returns. i feel the air around me. unwillingly, i'm compelled to go on.

Friday, August 28, 2009

What they told me...

Yesterday was pretty much a shit day. At least the first part of it was. It would have been their first day of school which made reality all too real. I spent the morning thinking about what we would have been doing...what they would have worn...what I would have packed in their lunches... if they would have been nervous or proud I would have been of happy and sad it would be to finally have both kids in school full-time. It was, by far, one of the most difficult days I've had yet.

Last night I went to see the movie "Inglourious Basterds" which proved to be a good distraction. In addition to feeling temporary relief from my sadness, I left the theater with a slight change in perspective. While I'm not sure a Tarantino perspective is a healthy one, it certainly is different from my usual take on things.

What I realized (once again) while watching the film, is that I'm not the only person in the world who has experienced a tragic loss (the movie is about the Holocaust). I'm not trying to minimize my situation at all, but it became clear to me that there are many, many people who have dealt with even greater tragedy and horrific situations than me, but have gone on living productive lives. Though this realization may seem fairly obvious, it's not usually in the forefront of my grieving mind.

As my outlook on my situation shifted I wanted to find some shred of positivity to embrace. If other people can deal with tragedy and loss, I should be able to as well. But I have to tell you, it's not easy to come up with something positive about this whole situation. Fortunately, that's when I remembered what they told me.

About two weeks ago I went to the site of the accident. I needed to spend some time at the place where my kids crossed over to the other side. It was interesting and difficult and helpful. At first I was struck by the quiet beauty of mile 476.9. There were trees and flowers and butterflies and a little stream, right next to the busy interstate highway. Weird. As I stood there and cried, I talked to my kids. I told them that I missed them, that I was sorry I couldn't have done something to prevent this and that I wished there was some way I could join them wherever they are. At that point I heard them say, "not yet, Mama, there's too much for you to do here".

Now when I say I "heard" them I don't mean that I actually heard their voices audibly, though I wish that was the case. It was more like listening with your gut, or intuition, if that makes any sense.

My immediate response to what they said was, "I don't care what I need to do here, I want to be with you!" They instantly replied, in a very wise and loving way, "you can't understand this from where you are now, but your time here on Earth is sooooo short in comparison to the eternity that you will spend with us." Those words came through so quickly and so clearly I know it had to have been them.

I miss them more than I can say, but I am fortunate to have had a few experiences where I feel them with me or "hear" them talking to me. It doesn't happen often and, because I am a skeptic, I sometimes doubt whether it's real. I know in my heart that it's real. It's obvious they have a much greater perspective on life than I do. When things get really bad I know that if I can hang onto what they told me I'll make it through.

Thank you, Kate and Peter. I love you.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Today sucks. I have no words.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Paris with Peter

I'm planning on traveling a lot in the next few months and this morning, while thinking about my future trips, this cute Peter story popped into my head.

On the way home from Pre-K one day Peter said, "Mama, can we go to Paris sometime?" I replied, "Maybe someday, but Paris is very far away. Why do you want to go to Paris?" In true Peter form he said, "I want to go to Paris to get a baguette. We had baguettes for snack today and they were yummy. That's what they call bread in Paris."

Those of you who know Peter know that he was one of the pickiest eaters ever, existing on a diet of only simple carbohydrates. He lived on everything beige...waffles, pancakes, cereal, toast with peanut butter, bagels and cream cheese (which he pronounced like creme fraiche), cookies, cake and the occasional chicken finger. Fruits and vegetables were nowhere to be found in his diet, unless they were baked into something else. It's no surprise he loved baguettes and wanted to find their source. :)

I told Peter that baguettes were available at Whole Foods, so we would get him one there, but that someday we would try to get to Paris.

Is this really real?

This is the first thought that enters my brain each morning when I wake up...and yes, it is 11:00am and I just woke up. I think 'did this really happen?' which usually leads to the more disturbing 'did Kate and Peter ever really exist?'. Then I look over at their pictures on my dresser and think 'yep, they were real...I didn't make them up'.

I usually lay in bed for awhile pondering the enormity of everything. I get very confused when I think, 'I have pictures of them, their clothes are here, their toys are here so they should be here too!' I can't accept that they're gone.

And then the downward spiral of thoughts begins: how do people just die...they were really young and healthy and they just hard did they have to hit their heads for it to kill them...did they know what was coming....were they scared...were they in could their dad let this could the universe or God let this happen? This thought process typically concludes with the question 'why' (which in my head sounds more like 'WHY WHY WHY?!!!!! I WANT TO KNOW WHY!!!!!!') followed by the extremely unproductive and somewhat haunting 'what if'...

Now I need to get myself out of bed and attempt to have a somewhat productive day. Ugh.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Back to school bites the big one...

This back to school business is killing me. It's everywhere, as it should be, because in the next couple of weeks every kid in the country is going back to school. Every kid except mine.

This picture was taken on Kate's first day of first grade, last September. She attended what I consider to be the greatest school ever - the Environmental Charter School at Frick Park. Tonight was the night all new and returning students and parents went to meet their teachers. Kate, Peter and I should have been there, but we weren't.

Kate would have been in 2nd grade this year and Peter would have started kindergarten. I wonder who their teachers would have been and what new friends they would have made? Guess I'll never know. For the record, Kate wanted to skip 2nd grade to be in Mr. Burke's 3rd grade class. I'm not sure what it was, but she loved Mr. Burke.

I walked into a grocery store a few weeks ago and saw a 'back to school' supply display. I wanted to take every notebook, folder, pencil and pack of paper on the shelves and throw them all over the store. Sometimes I think I should just do something crazy like that to see how people react. No one would ever expect that from me. It would be kinda funny, for a minute, until they make me clean it up, pay for everything or cart me off to jail.

I miss buying school supplies and uniforms and stuff to pack their lunches. I stocked up on uniforms last year when they were on clearance. I never plan ahead like that and the one time I do, I don't even need them. Figures. I bought Kate and Peter each brand new L. L. Bean backpacks last know, the kind that last forever or you get your money back? Never in a million years did I think they'd outlast my kids. That's just completely fucked up.

My kids were so smart and so talented and they absolutely loved school. I'm sure Kate would have been a wonderful artist and, most likely, a cheerleader. What's really sad is that I can't remember all the things she wanted to be when she grew up. I know at one point she wanted to be a doctor, an artist and a singer all at the same time. I know there were other things too, but right now I don't recall what they were. I'm so afraid of forgetting.

Peter was an unbelievably deep thinker for a 4-year-old and had a huge attention span. Who knows what he could have accomplished if he had the chance? He liked to build 'vehicles' (not cars) with his legos and play games on his Leapster. He always wanted me to watch him play his Diego math game and would show me which shapes he was fitting into his patterns, including parallelograms and semicircles. He could also turn on my computer, log on to the internet, open a browser and find his favorite games. Is that normal for a 4-year-old?

I hope that those of you who read this won't feel bad sharing your kids' school experiences with me. I still want to be a part of everyone's lives and am genuinely interested in what's going on with your kids. There's nothing anyone can say that can make this worse. It just is. And it sucks. And even after 4 and a half months I can't truly comprehend it. My brain still believes that if it thinks hard enough it can figure out a way to undo this.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Why Callapitter?

"Callapitter" is the word my son, Peter, always used instead of caterpillar. I love his pronunciation and, quite honestly, think it rolls off the tongue far more easily than the correct pronunciation. I hoped he would always pronounce caterpillar that he grew up, went to college, had kids of his own...etc, etc. Unfortunately that won't happen. He and his sister, Kate - my beautiful, amazing, intelligent, incredible children - died in a car accident on April 6, 2009. There are no words to describe the extent of my grief or the degree to which I miss them.

At this point I feel like a callapitter. From where I sit it absolutely feels like the world is over. How does a divorced stay-at-home-mom go on without her children? I have no fucking clue. This blog will be my story as I attempt to find some purpose and reason for living after my devastating loss. It may not be something anyone else wants to read, which is fine. Maybe it will help me. Maybe it won't. Maybe it will give me an outlet for the crazy spectrum of emotions I experience on an hourly basis. Maybe people will read it. Maybe their comments will help me and something I write will be meaningful to them. Maybe I'll find other parents in my situation who understand. I have no idea. I just hope that somehow I will become like a callapitter and will turn into a butterfly (not literally. don't worry I'm not smoking crack...yet). Is there a chance that something beautiful could grow out of a situation that seems so horrible? I guess if I didn't believe it was possible, I would have given up already. We'll see.

A few notes in case anyone does read this blog:

1. I am not a writer. I have never claimed to be a writer and I realize that what I write may not be eloquent or even grammatically correct. Please don't judge me on the quality of my writing.
2. I have a potty mouth. If you don't like reading profanities, please do not read any further. I do not plan to censor any of my feelings as I write so prepare yourself to read every bad word you've ever heard, as well as some I just may make up.
3. This blog most likely will not be a warm and fuzzy, make-you-feel-good kinda thing. It may be dark and scary. It may be sarcastic and mean. It may just be fucked up, like I am right now. It may eventually grow into something more positive...but I'm not making any promises.