Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mr. Yuk

I'm not very good at being a mess. There's this part of me that has decided to not hold it together anymore, the me who wants to shut down and no longer be a functional member of society, but to everyone else I still seem pretty normal. I just can't let myself be a mess. I don't have time, dammit! But I still want to...

This morning I woke up with my to do list in mind. I got as far as making breakfast when I decided that I don't want to do anything on my list - I just want to sit in my pajamas and play Bejeweled Blitz for the next six weeks. (I love that game because while I'm playing my mind is completely focused on the stupid little jewels. I can't think about or feel anything else. It's a HUGE waste of time, but the best escape I've found that doesn't involve any mind-altering substances.) At the moment, I would welcome another Snowpocalypse (did I say that out loud?!) so I'd have a good excuse for doing nothing for a very long time.

The way I feel this morning reminded me of an experience I had about a week before my kids died. I was in a bad mood, feeling sorry for myself (apparently this is a long-standing pattern in my life) because a guy I was dating was being a jerk (or maybe he just wasn't that into me - which, in my mind, makes him a jerk). I felt like I was gonna end up being single and unloved for the rest of my life so I decided to stay in bed and mope. This kills me now because my kids were alive then - they were there with me and I was being selfish. I was taking them for granted and now I would give ANYTHING to have that time with them back and to be focused on them and not on some dude.

Anyway, it was a Sunday...I got up and made breakfast for my kids and told them they could watch as much tv as they wanted because I was going back to bed. Every few minutes, one of them would come into my room and ask for something and I felt like saying, "can't you see I'm trying to be depressed in here?!" I don't think I did, but I really can't remember.

After about 45 minutes of my attempt to block out everything and disappear into my bed, Peter came in and said, "Look, Mama...I'm Mr. Yuk!" and he made this face:

He really did look like Mr. Yuk:

And that was it. The end of my moping and wanting to be a hot mess. I cracked up hysterically and got out of bed, thanks to my little man.

In the most difficult way possible - by losing my kids - I learned a lot from that experience. I know now that nothing is guaranteed. I would honestly do anything to go back and change so much about how I spent the time I had with my kids. I spent so much of that time focused on stupid, non-meaningful things because I took them for granted and just assumed they'd always be here. And they're not. And there's nothing I can do about it.

I can only change how I act from now on. I realize that sitting in my pajamas and playing Bejeweled Blitz for the rest of my life would be a dishonoring of my kids. In order to make their lives mean something I need to take what I've learned from them and use it to be a better person, no matter how much it hurts - because the pain is truly indescribable.

Even though I may not want to, I know I am capable of helping other people and so I must. I also need to be as present as possible and spend all the time I can with the people I love and who love me because, as I mentioned, there are no guarantees. And if possible, I don't want to have anymore regrets.

In a related story, at Kate and Peter's wake and funeral everyone - and I mean EVERYONE (even the priests, nuns and choir) - wore Mr. Yuk stickers in honor of Peter. We also handed out little princess magic wands for people to carry in honor of Kate. So I think for the foreseeable future, at least until I'm out of my current funk, I'm going to wear a Mr. Yuk sticker and carry around my magic wand to remind me that the present is all we have. We need to make the most of it.


  1. I can't thank you enough for this post today. The holidays sometimes have a way of consuming me with trivial stuff, and I need to remember to make room for what is really important. And I will never look at a Mr. Yuk sticker the same again - thank you.

    I wish I had some words of wisdom that would somehow help you. But this is all I have - a heartfelt thank you for the reminder to stay properly focused as much as possible.

  2. I know it doesn't feel like it, but your words are helping other people. Keep writing, Amy.

    I'm a friend of your friend, Jenny K. and I've been following your blog for awhile. I am so sorry that you are in so much pain. Your children are beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

  3. Amy, please don't be so hard on yourself. No one can live a life as if what we have today, might be gone tomorrow, because none of us would leave the house! We all (ok, at least I do too) have those times when playing Bejeweled (or in my case, Freecell) is the only thing we want to do, because those things truly do calm the mind. I can't count how many hours I "wasted" playing Freecell after my divorce, as my world was unraveling. But it was a welcome alternative to crushing depressive thoughts. I don't know if it's possible to live a regret-free life, but I'm inclined to think it's not. We can only do our best when we can, and if we can't do our best because we hurt too much, less than best truly is ok. The life you lead now is an honor to your children, so do your best when you can, but don't beat yourself up when you're struggling. You're already carrying a crushing burden. Be gentle with yourself, you are God's child, and He is holding you in the palm of His hand. I pray your pain may be eased.

  4. I have no words that can help but just wanted to tell you I am praying for you and I sure hope it helps!

  5. I think I need to wear my Mr Yuk sticker and carry around something sparkly today too. It is so easy to sink into that wallowing pit of despair.

  6. Mr. Yuk is on our fridge and will remain there as a reminder of that sweet boy. His beautiful face and spirit will never be forgotten in our home or or our hearts.

  7. I wish I had a Mr. Yuk sticker to wear... and a sparky wand to carry. Your kids were amazing - and so are you!

  8. I often get fed up with people when they worry over the mundane, get nasty or unreasonable over the strangest things, give people the silent treatment or otherwise exclude others, act mean or just forget to live. Since losing a number of people close to me, hearing about your tremendous loss and seeing some of the terrible things that happen in this world, I try to live every day to the fullest. Because of you, I remember, each day, to cherish my kids and what we have - the good, the bad, the happy, the trying and sad. Good thoughts to you (or Mr. Yuk thoughts, rather) on this day. I think it would be awesome if all of us who read this would carry a wand all day, btw :-). I know your pain is indescribable, and I also know that you shouldn't beat yourself up EVER for having a rough day or a couple of sulky moments to yourself. Being mom - and mom who holds it together all the time - is hard. You are a fantastic mother. Your little angels STILL know how lucky they are. I never met your little cupcakes, but I will never forget them. Never. You honor their memory so well and in so many ways.

  9. I need a line on sum of those Mr Yuk stickers....
    Anybody care to help?
    Amy, thinking of you.
    I hope your new hubby is being supportive and can understand.....
    Hang in there.

  10. Amy,

    After losing a baby cousin to cancer (only 18 months old) and my grandma (80 years old) within one week of each other, life can seem so random. I mean, how is that that someone who has lived a full life can pass away at the same time as someone whose life has not yet begun? I am sure you have asked yourself this question a million times.

    The only way I can reconcile these thoughts is to believe there is a plan, one which we cannot understand, but that is in place for a reason. I know that sounds cliche, but if you really believe it in your heart, it does help.

    I also believe that ones who have passed on stay with us, both in our hearts, and in some ways we can't quite grasp. All I know is that sometimes I can feel the presence of those who I've lost so strongly, I know they're still there.

    I hope you know that your children are still there too. Every time you think about them, their presence grows a little stronger. Every time you see something that reminds of them, whether it is a Mr. Yuk sticker, or a princess wand, or whatever the case my be, and memories come flooding back, they are there to share the memories with you. I hope that brings you some comfort.

  11. I have Mr. Yuk and the princess wand up on my bulletin board-to remind me that when I come into work every day bitching and moaning because of something or the other and maybe my three year old was being particularly difficult and the traffic sucked and I couldn't stop for coffee and the patients are piling up and bitch, moan. And I look up at their little tokens and think...I am here, my son is here, we are here-and I remind myself to slow down and hug the friggin tantrum out of him that night. I hope you dream of them tonight and get a little bit of "the present" with them in your dreams. I will wish and hope that for you.

  12. Amy,

    You have much to give. Even though you can't have what you most want and surely deserve, I hope and pray you will get exactly what you need.

    Keep swimming.

  13. I wish you weren't so hard on and impatient with yourself. Do others deserve compassion but not you? If you don't give it to yourself, others' compassion for you might not penetrate either. Please treat yourself, at least most of the time, with the tenderness I'm sure you gave your children most of the time. Patience, tenderness, compassion... they might slowly help you heal enough to get to a place where you're not so tempted to beat yourself up. Your pain is excruciating and it IS "indescribable" and the loss can't be undone - of course this is a long, hard, rocky journey and you lose sight of all light at times. One day you may well help many others get through the unspeakable as well, even more than you are now. You are beautiful, funny, articulate, loving, courageous. I don't know you personally but I like a lot from reading your blog and I have faith in you.

  14. Sorry for the typo above - I meant I like YOU a lot!

  15. I think you kick ass!