Thursday, December 22, 2011

still swimming...

I've had this song stuck in my head since yesterday. I think it's because that's exactly what I'm doing to try to make it through the holidays.

It's been a difficult year for a number of reasons, and December is never easy. I haven't written in so long (I didn't even realize how long until I logged in today) but so many of you are still posting thoughtful and encouraging comments. THANK YOU.

I wanted to let you know that I am still here and I'm swimming the best I can. I haven't had the energy to put my thoughts into coherent sentences in a long time which is why I haven't been writing. I'm always hoping that will change and I will be able to get back to doing this regularly.

Again, I thank you all for staying with me even when it doesn't seem like I'm still here. I wish you much peace, joy and love throughout the holidays and may we all have a Happy New Year!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

An update on surrendering...

In the weeks that have passed since my last post (it's hard to believe it's been weeks already) I've been struggling with the whole idea of surrendering, or accepting what happened to my kids. For the first two days, every time I'd try to get myself to make peace with my kids' death the resulting experience was anything but peaceful. It literally felt like someone very strong had kicked me in the chest, sucked all the air out of the room and then tied a noose around my neck. I'm not lying. I could not breathe. I could not think. I could not surrender.

After those first couple of days I sort of gave up on the plan and instead decided to accept the fact that I couldn't accept the facts. I decided that my version of surrendering would be to acknowledge what has happened and admit that I will never be able to handle it. I have come to the realization that I will never be ok with it. I even came up with an acronym for my condition. FFU. Forever Fucked Up. That's just the way I am and the way I'm gonna be.

I have to tell you something really weird. Even though this is a completely bass ackward way of surrendering, it sort of worked. I started to notice a change. Even though I can't accept something that happened almost two and a half years ago, I can accept the person I am right now.

I can't explain it completely, but in the past few weeks I've started being kinder to myself. Instead of constantly fighting my situation or trying to change what has happened I allow myself to "indulge" in my sadness - if I don't feel motivated to do anything, then I don't do anything. If I feel like feeling sorry for myself then I throw myself a pity party. If I want to be angry and jealous because my friends' kids are growing up and mine aren't, then so be it. After all, I'm FFU so I might as well learn to live with it.

This may sound like a great increase in negativity, but strangely it doesn't feel that way at all. Instead of putting all of my energy into trying to change things that cannot be changed, I have started taking care of myself. I find myself thinking, "well, this is your life now - what can you do to make the most of it (or at least make it bearable)". That thought has proven to be far more constructive that something like "this cannot have happened!"

I think I finally began to understand the changes that have been happening when I took some time to do yoga tonight. Yoga is something that was very important to me a few years ago. When I started freaking about the possibility of getting divorced, a therapist recommended I try yoga to help me stay grounded and keep breathing. Yoga truly changed my life. I became healthier, more confident, more calm and I experienced a peace I hadn't really ever felt before. Since my kids died I unfortunately haven't put forth the effort to do much yoga at all.

Tonight I decided that in order to take care of myself in my FFU condition and make the evening more bearable I would find some Netflix yoga and commit to completing one session. After I stopped beating myself up about how much strength and flexibility I have lost in the past few years, I allowed myself to breathe and actually feel my body. My energy and the energy in my house changed dramatically. I felt a peace I haven't felt in years. I am crying tears of relief as I type because finally, FINALLY I have found a little bit of peace! (non-substance-related peace, that is) It may be fleeting, but for now I'll take it.

I feel that I owe Shirley MacLaine a great deal of gratitude for sharing her idea of surrendering on the Oprah show. Her words really stuck with me and even though I wasn't able to surrender in the way I thought I should surrender, I was able to surrender to something. Just as she suggested, surrendering is very powerful.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I was just flipping through the channels when I decided to watch the last half of Oprah's most recent interview with Shirley MacLaine. I used to think Shirley MacLaine was a little crazy, but now I'm not so sure (though I'm pretty sure I'm a little crazy, but that's beside the point). She said a few things that really resonated with me. I felt I needed to share.

What first caught my attention in this interview is that Shirley mentioned she no longer attends funerals. When Oprah asked her why she replied with something to the effect of "well, none of us die so why go to a funeral?" According to her beliefs (in a nutshell), souls don't die, they just shed their bodies and move on to another state of consciousness. From there they can decide whether or not to incarnate again.

Anytime someone talks about their belief that souls don't die, I get a little excited. It's like somewhere in my deep pool of sadness a little bit of hope bubbles up. I don't really want to get into a full-on discussion of my feelings about reincarnation right now (maybe in a later post) but, suffice it to say, I've considered the possibility.

At this point in the interview I was somewhat glued to the TV, feeling quite emotional, hoping to hear something helpful. It's not that I think Shirley MacLaine is some "enlightened being" (who knows, maybe she is?) or guru I want to follow, I just believe that we can learn something from everyone.

After more reflection on Shirley's life experiences and accomplishments, Oprah asked her what her biggest life lesson has been so far. She replied that she has learned to "let life happen". Then she used the word "surrender".

It's hard to explain why the word surrender had such a huge impact on me, but when she said it I had a major realization. It hit me that for the past two years, three months and twenty-seven days I have used every ounce of energy I possess to fight against reality. Every moment of every day, both when I'm awake and when I'm asleep, I'm thinking "this didn't happen, my kids can't be gone, there must be some mistake!"

Hundreds of times each day I say to myself in my head or under my breath "I just want my kids back, please give me my kids back, I'll do anything - please!" All I do is fight, fight, fight and I'm getting angrier and more anxious all the time. Just this afternoon I tried to take a nap and woke up in a complete panic. It has to stop.

When Shirley said "surrender" the word sounded like a vacation (I know that sounds strange, but stay with me for a minute). Surrender, to me, seems like a land far, far away in which I might be able to rest. I thought, "if I could just give up this fight and accept what has happened maybe some of the anger, stress and panic will subside, at least temporarily".

I have to tell you that accepting what has happened to Kate and Peter is not something I want to do. It's not right, it's not the natural order of things and I fucking hate it. But I can't fight it anymore. I certainly can't change it because, let me tell you, if I could I would have changed it a long time ago.

So I guess my next step needs to be finding a way to surrender. I have a feeling I'll last all of five minutes and then be back to my usual fighting, but I think that's ok. Maybe the next time I try I'll be able to last six minutes instead. Maybe eventually I'll be able to find some peace . I'm not convinced, but it can't hurt to try.

Maybe if I can "let life happen" something will shift or change and I'll be able to move forward. Despite my best efforts to move forward, I'm currently stuck in some sort of holding pattern of relentlessly negative emotions. Something's gotta give. Maybe it's me.

Monday, July 11, 2011

I'm still here...

...which is the first thing I say to my therapist every time I see her. She always asks, "How are you?" and I always reply, "I'm still here" with a tone of annoyance in my voice, frustrated that some act of God hasn't yet taken me out. Typically she'll respond with something like, "well I, for one, am glad" at which point I roll my eyes and groan.

I have major guilt about the fact that I don't want to be here, but it doesn't change how I feel. I know there are many, many people who love me and are doing all they can to help me be happy, but I miss my kids terribly and each day seems to be more difficult than the last. Whoever said grief gets easier with time was full of shit as far as I'm concerned. Seems to me it only gets worse, at least that's how it feels at the moment.

I can't believe it's been almost three months since I posted anything on this blog. I'm sorry if I worried anyone and I appreciate all of your messages and support. At the time I wrote my last entry I had gotten so busy with school and work that I unfortunately had no time to do anything extra such as sleeping, breathing or blogging. Somehow I made it through and managed to do well in both of my classes. Since then I have reduced the number of hours I'm working and the number of classes I'm taking to preserve whatever sanity I can.

I'm fairly certain that, in addition to the fact that my kids are dead, my extreme busy-ness is the reason for my current funk. If you remember, a few months ago I declared that I was going to do whatever I could to try to "find" my kids and for the first time in a long time I felt hopeful. I was so hopeful I was almost excited. Sadly, my intense schedule squashed those hopes, at least temporarily.

Instead of doing something constructive, like reading, searching or meditating, I starting spending any spare time I could find in a less-than-sober state. Don't worry, I haven't become an alcoholic or drug addict and I'm a very careful and responsible person, but I have put a lot of effort into self-medicating and numbing out. I know some of you are probably horrified (especially my parents - I imagine my phone will be ringing in a matter of minutes), but I have to politely ask you to give me a break. I realize drug-induced altered states of consciousness may not solve any problems, but I do occasionally find a few hours of peace. I often feel like I'm living in hell, so it's nice to take breaks periodically.

For the past few days I've felt like I'm facing a decision, like I've reached a fork in the road and I need to choose a path. I can either continue doing what I'm doing - struggling through each day and rewarding myself by numbing out - or I can try to make some changes that might actually improve my life. I have to tell you that the first option sounds a whole lot easier than the second, but I know it's getting me nowhere and it's actually making me feel worse. I'm not exactly sure how to go about the second, but gradually I might be able to figure something out.

I am feeling good about the fact that, for the foreseeable future, my schedule will be much easier. I should have enough time to start reading and trying to "find" my kids again. As ridiculous and far-fetched as this whole idea may sound, it is the only thing that gives me hope. There HAS to be more out there, we HAVE to be eternal beings, or this whole thing called life is a bunch of bullshit. Just sayin.

I also hope to write more. I never make any promises because I know I could get busy again and not have time, and the last thing I want to feel guilty about is my blog. When I'm not writing, it's generally because I'm having a hard time and I feel like I'm only complaining. I don't want my blog to be one endless rant of "Woe is me, life sucks". I don't want to write if I can't say at least something positive.

But writing does help - it allows me to get my thoughts out of my head where they tend to bounce around and get distorted - and, thanks to all of you, it makes me feel less alone. It also makes me feel accountable. If I tell everyone I'm gonna make changes, I feel like I should do that.

So I am still here, wherever here is. And I'm hoping here will get better.

Friday, April 22, 2011

I'm trying to pretend I'm a normal person...

...and failing miserably.

I'm not sure what I was thinking a couple months ago when I registered for two classes (instead of my usual - one) and decided to get a part-time job. Most of the students in my program take four classes at a time (though they're all working toward a degree and I'm not) and work jobs, some of them full-time. I thought, "two classes and 20 hours a week - no big deal, right? Any normal person can handle that."

That's where I went wrong. For a moment I lost sight of the fact that I'm no longer a normal person at all. I don't know what I am exactly, I just know I'm not normal.

I love this metaphor written by another grieving mother and blogger, in which she compares the loss of her daughter to losing a limb, and her resulting state to that of an amputee. I don't want to convey that she means losing a child is like losing a limb - I can safely say both of us would've rather lost all of our limbs than our children - however she so clearly describes the fact that losing a child is a wound that will never completely heal. Though we may try to move forward, we will be forever impaired.

When I registered for my classes and applied for my job one of the thoughts I had was, "it will be good to be super busy in April." April is such a difficult month and I thought that by filling it with things to do I would be able to make it go by quickly, without having to dwell on the anniversary of the accident or Peter's birthday or Easter (the day of my kids' wake). Wrong again! No matter how I try to distract myself, I can't hide from or escape those difficult days. I spend just as much time grieving, only now I have 800 other things I should be doing.

What a mess I've gotten myself into. I'm not exactly sure how to get out of it.

What I've learned is that I can't take on as much as other people. Two classes and a part-time job may not seem like much, but for me it's more than I can handle. I just don't have the mental energy or life force or whatever you want to call it to get things done. So much of my energy goes into holding myself together so I'm not crying all the time, there isn't a lot left for everything else.

I hate admitting this. I hate feeling like I'm using my kids as an excuse for not being able to get things done. But it's the truth. No matter how much I hate it, it just is. I am impaired and I imagine I always will be.

I'm a perfectionist in a way - in the fact that if I can't do it perfectly, I won't do it at all - and I don't want to become a quitter. I will get through these classes (though I may not get A's -ARGH!) and I will not quit my job. I will, however, try to find ways to not get myself into this situation again. Maybe I'll ask for a reduction in my work hours and be more mindful when planning future classes. Maybe the title "grieving mother" would qualify me as a student with a disability and I could have extra time to finish my assignments. Probably not, but you never know.

For now I need to go finish an assignment that was due yesterday (as I mentioned in my last post, I didn't make it to class because I was too sad) and start a project that's due this coming week.

There is one small thing I have gained as a result of losing my kids that "normal" people may not have. That thing is perspective. I know that even if I dropped out of school today and quit my job tomorrow, none of that really matters. The only thing that matters is being with the people you love. Unfortunately, I learned that too late. I'll never forget it.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Happy birthday, Peter!

Well, I'm not in school where I'm supposed to be and I feel pretty bad about that. But it's Peter's 7th birthday and I just can't hold it together well enough to be there. So I'm home, looking through pictures and I found these two that were taken when Peter was 2 years old.

Happy birthday to my baby boy (even though I'm sure you're not a baby anymore)! I love you, Peter.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

If it fits, it's a carry on...

In June of 2007, Steve and I took Kate and Peter to Disney World as a surprise for Kate's 5th birthday. When we got to the gate in Pittsburgh there was a box showing the acceptable size of a carry on item. In true kid fashion, Kate and Peter both climbed inside.

Peter was eating a bagel with cream cheese (no surprise there) and had cream cheese all over his face:

Kate was just happy:

Here they are, complete with mouse ears and one of Peter's many silly faces:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Rub a dub dub...

Scooge in a tub.

Scooge (also Scoogie or Scoogie-man) was one of Peter's nicknames. I think I mentioned it before, but in case you haven't read that far back, there it is. I started calling him Scoogie Woogie the day after he was born (because I'm weird like that) and, for some reason, the Scoogie part stuck.

Anyway, this picture was taken when he was about 8 months old. Peter loved taking a bath. This child would have spent hours in the tub if I would have let him. He would just hang out in the water, playing with his toys and, as he got older, swimming in the tub. I so wish I could just pick up his chubby little baby self, wrap him in a towel and snuggle with him. At least I have the memories. And the pictures. They're far better than never having known him at all.

Monday, April 18, 2011

I should be planning a birthday party...

...but I'm not. This Thursday, April 21st, would have been Peter's 7th birthday. He didn't even make it to his 5th, though it had been planned and he was very excited about it. We were supposed to go bowling with his friends and we picked out Batman party invitations. I imagine we would have gotten a Batman cake as well.

I look at his friends who have grown for two years and are turning or near turning seven, and my mind can't reconcile why he's not here. I still cannot wrap my brain around it, even though it's the reality of every day of my life. I don't have the proper wiring in my brain for "my kids have died" and I'm guessing I never will.

Since I won't be celebrating on Thursday I at least want to do something to honor him. Thursdays are my busiest day of school (I have class from 7am to 6pm) so I'll be busy and distracted, but I'm hoping I can find a little time each day this week to share a picture of Peter that most people haven't seen before and maybe a quick story. It makes me so sad when I realize that the pictures I have of my kids are part of a finite collection - that I'll never be able to take another picture of them - though I'm grateful I took many while they were here.

Here's a picture of Peter when he was about two months old. I always felt he was wise beyond his years (or months) and this picture illustrates that completely. Maybe it's just because I'm his mom and I'm biased, but I think he looks like he's fully aware of everything that's going on around him and that at any moment he may start spouting off words of wisdom.

But he's still my baby, and I miss him.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

the anniversary, year two

So the day is here and so far I'm ok, though I've only been awake for 10 minutes. Right now I'm feeling an overwhelming sense of peace - I have no idea why but I'm going with it.

I remember last year on the first anniversary I had this compulsive need to relive all of the events of the year before. I kept looking at the clock thinking, "this time last year I was taking Peter to school" or "this time last year we were driving to Erie" etc. It's something I had to do for some reason, but in essence I was just reliving the tragedy of it all.

This year I don't feel the need to do that so I'm going to try to stay present in 2011. Instead of trying to remember every detail of the last time I saw them, I'm going to try to focus on the love that I feel for my kids and from my kids, no matter where they are. The love still exists and it always will.

And, if I relive anything this year, I want to relive some of the wonderful moments and memories I shared with Kate and Peter.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Where does the time go?

Last week was my week off and I had high hopes for blogging. Now the week is over and I completed almost one post (which I'll publish now even though it's sort of after-the-fact), but that was it.

Now the week of the anniversary is upon me and, though I will be starting my new classes at school and spending time working at my new job, I can think of nothing else. How is it possible that it's been almost two years since I've held my babies?! It doesn't make sense. It's getting difficult to believe that they were real. I know they WERE real and that they still are but somehow, in this physical plane of existence, it just doesn't add up.

I don't know what to do this year on the anniversary. I sort of want to crawl in a cave and hide until it's over however that day, the 6th, is my first day of class. I've emailed my instructor to let him know why I probably won't be myself that day, but I know it will be difficult to even be present in that class. I'm sure he would understand if I didn't come, but I hate missing the first day - I'll feel like I'm behind for the rest of the quarter. I need to find some super-human strength to get through it.

After class I plan to spend time with some good friends and I'd like to do something to honor and remember my kids but I have no idea what. None. Zippo. Not a clue. Maybe this year just getting through the day will be enough.

If you don't hear from me for a week or so, don't worry. I'll be ok. I may find that I need to write because often that's a good way of dealing with my emotions, but I have a feeling I'm going to be more quiet this time around.

Meanwhile back in the kitchen...

I'm happy to report that I have successfully completed my finals and my most recent class at school. I'd be happy to catch you up on what I've been making.

We'll start at the end and go backwards. Here's a picture of my final project:

It's called a Gateau St. Honore and it was created to honor the patron saint of pastry chefs. Who knew pastry chefs even had a saint?!

It's basically like a giant eclair filled with pastry cream and whipped cream. Those spherical things around the outside are cream puffs that have been dipped in caramel. It's a little over-the-top, but it's good and it got me an A :-).

Next we have a Napoleon. Layers of puff pastry filled with pastry cream topped with chocolate and fondant:

We also made cheesecake which I have to say may have been the best cheesecake I've ever had. For real. And I'm not just saying that because I made it. It was really, really good!

Here's a cherry pie with a lattice crust. It wasn't as difficult as I though it would be to make. It was actually a lot of fun.

Ok, I think that's enough. What I'm not happy to report is that I have eaten almost everything I've made this quarter so I have gained a couple of pounds. I'm working on some corrective measures - like eating so many vegetables I don't have room for sweets and getting to the gym more often. I've got to reign it it soon.

This class made quite an impression on me so I've decided to change all of my culinary classes to baking and pastry classes from here on out. I truly love to bake and it's more my speed than cooking. It's somewhat slower paced and more measured and scientific. I'm one of those nerdy types who loves math and science.

I also just landed a job at a bakery that will be opening next week. I'm very excited because I've never actually had a job in the food industry. I'm sure I'll learn a great deal.

I'm a little anxious for this coming month. It will be extremely busy - 3 days of school and 3 days of work a week - but I think being busy in April will be a good thing. If nothing else it will make the month go by quickly.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A whole new level of sadness...

I've been quite busy lately so, unfortunately, I haven't had much time to blog. I'm nearing the end of my quarter in school which means that this is finals week and I've overscheduled myself as usual. It's good to be busy, but only to a point. I may have crossed that line.

I'm still working on finding my kids and I've had a few encouraging experiences, but I don't have much time to write so I'll save that for later. After my finals, I'll have a week's break from school so I should have time to fill you in then.

One of the tasks I've been trying to accomplish this weekend is to transfer my home movies from a Digital 8 format to DVD. I've looked for someone who does this professionally, but I gave up on that search so, with Ken's help, I've been loading the movies onto my computer and trying to burn them that way. Unfortunately, Windows XP doesn't include a DVD burner so I either need to buy some software or just buy a separate DVD burner. Either way, it's a real pain in the ass.

When I first started importing the movies onto my computer I was excited to watch them. I've only watched a few minutes here and there over the past two years and I always thought that, while it made me sad, it was nice to see my kids having fun at Christmas or birthday parties or in whatever they were doing. In the past few days, however, I've watched a couple of hours of video and it's had a much different effect on me.

Instead of making me smile or laugh remembering how beautiful and wonderful Kate and Peter were while they were here, these videos have launched me into a whole new level of sadness. When I watch them, they look and sound so real that when I realize they're gone it's almost like living through the trauma of the accident all over again. Except this time I'm not in shock. I'm all too aware of reality.

After living through the experience of losing my kids, I've learned that being in shock is truly a gift. I honestly believe it's the only way a person can go on living and breathing after that kid of experience. The more it wears off, the harder it gets.

This is one of those moments when I just don't feel like I can do this anymore. I think "How much longer do I have to be without them?!" But I don't have a choice, so I have to keep doing this. I hate that.

So for now I'm going to take some Tylenol PM (don't worry - only the recommended dose) and cry myself to sleep - which reminds me: I had another dream about Kate two nights ago. We were together doing something, I don't remember what, but it felt so real. I do remember thinking, in my dream, "Is this real or is this just a dream?" Finally I decided, "Who cares! Just enjoy it!!"

So I'm going to bed and hopefully when I wake up tomorrow I'll hurt a little less and be able to do the things I need to do and move forward in my journey. Goodnight.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Another dream...

Lately Kate has been on my mind all the time. It's weird how sometimes I think more about Peter, sometimes more about Kate. I guess I go through phases. Sometimes I feel that one of them is around me, sometimes I feel they're both around. But for the past few weeks, it's mostly been Kate.

I've been hearing songs that remind me of her almost constantly, especially songs that were on the radio when I was pregnant with her nine years ago. (It's hard to believe she would be turning 9 in a few months - she didn't even make it to 7.) Over the past two weeks I've heard the song "A Thousand Miles" by Vanessa Carlton just about everyday - both on the radio in my car and on Pandora. I distinctly remember hearing this song on my way to a prenatal appointment when I was very, very pregnant.

It's not like that song is climbing back up the charts, so why I hear it all the time I don't know. I do have to say that as I listen to that song again, the line "If I could fall into the sky, do you think time would pass me/us by?" strikes me. I think there's something to that - but I don't know what.

Anyway, I've been thinking about Kate a lot and last night she was in my dream. I'm almost reluctant to call it a dream because it felt so real. She came to visit me for a weekend. It turns out that she hadn't died, but had been living in Buffalo with her dad since the accident.

I was so confused because how could I not know she was alive?! She had grown - she looked older and acted way more mature. She was different too. She had lost some of her spunk. She had been in the accident that killed her brother and she was afraid to be in a car. She was also afraid to upset anyone, and went along with everything everyone else said.

For example, I took her to get ice cream and she had no flavor preference. Whatever I thought she should have was what she wanted. I asked her if she wanted to see her friends and she said, "if you think I should". It was like she was afraid to have an opinion or a need. It was like my little girl had lost her will to live.

Regardless of her state of mind, I was determined to get her back and to help her enjoy her life again. I was going to call her school and enroll her the following day - I knew she'd be excited about that. I talked to her dad and he agreed that she should be living with me since he worked a lot and I was able to be home. I was so sad that she hadn't been able to come to my wedding, but so excited that she was alive! It was just so real.

I kept thinking about my blog and how it says that "this is the story of my life and journey after the death of my kids" but only one of my kids had died. How could I have made such a mistake?!! And what about Peter? How did he die when Kate hadn't?

Right now I feel like I'm in a fog, like I don't know what is real. This dream has thrown me off a little.

I guess it was bittersweet. It was wonderful to feel like I got to spend some time with my "little worm", but sad when I woke up and realized it was a dream. And sad when I realized how sad she was.

It felt too real to just be a dream. Maybe I need to go back to bed.

And Kate, just so you know, I would absolutely walk a thousand miles to see you again. I'd walk a million.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Here's a little something I found...

Last year, when I was in Australia visiting my brother, I had an interesting experience; yet another non-coincidence.

My mom, my brother, Ken and I were taking a train from the Syndey Harbour to my brother's apartment, just outside the city. I happened to look out the window and for a split-second saw this:

Peter *hearts* Katie

I kinda thought I was hallucinating. No one else saw it, but I could have sworn I had just seen my kids names painted, with a heart, on the side of some building.

A few days later we took the same train and I made everyone else watch for it too. Indeed, there it was. I wasn't hallucinating. Unfortunately, we moved by so quickly there was no possible way to take a picture.

I'm not saying that finding this graffiti is any sort of special sign or anything. I just thought it was pretty cool. And, honestly, I think the chances of me coincidentally looking in that direction at that exact moment were pretty slim. I'm sure whoever painted it was referring to a different "Peter and Katie", but it still made me smile.

You've probably never heard me refer to Kate as "Katie" because I never called her Katie. She didn't really like that nickname, although there were two people she allowed to call her that: her paternal grandfather, Dziadziu, and her Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. S. She loved when they called her Katie.

I have been wanting a picture of this graffiti since I was in Sydney, but I had no way of getting one. Last night I was randomly googling my kids - I mean, when you're looking for someone, isn't the internet the first place to start?! - when I decided to try "peter katie sydney graffiti pic". It worked! Thankfully, this person took a picture and uploaded it to Flickr. I don't you, but whoever you are, thank you!

So, while I haven't exactly found my kids, I have found a little something. Maybe that means I'm on the right track. Thank you all for your encouragement and advice about my journey to find them. I appreciate it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

a quick qualifier...

Sometimes it's difficult to share my true feelings without worrying what people will think when they read them. I know I've said I don't want to censor myself and that I want to keep it real, but I feel this strange responsibility to hide the really dark stuff because it might scare people.

My last post was actually written as something positive and hopeful, but I realize that some of the language seems very negative. I also realize that stating that I feel like I'm "waiting to die" might hurt some of the people that I love. I don't want to hurt anyone.

I'd like to take a moment to try to explain.

At times things are bad - really, really bad. Sometimes I do fantasize about "being done" and being with my kids again, though, as I've said before, I will not kill myself. Despite these dark and desperate feelings, I'm still very grateful for all of the good in my life. I have an amazing husband and wonderful friends and family who love and support me through all of the ups and downs. I don't want anyone to think that I take any of these important people for granted.

I also realize that I'm very lucky to have the abilities and opportunities that I do, and that not everyone is as fortunate. It's hard to explain, but I am in a constant state of simultaneous joy and pain. It's just the way it is. While on the one hand I'm experiencing happiness and love, on the other hand I feel that part of my heart has been torn from my body. Both are true.

Now that I've cleared that up, or at least attempted to, I'm gonna go to bed. Thank you all for your understanding.

I have to find them.

This is one of those posts which, after reading, you will surely think I've crossed the crazy line or lost my mind. Both may be true. So be it.

Here's the thing: every day I wake up and think "I can't do this another day. I cannot continue to go on without them. I have no real purpose or identity anymore and I just wanna be done." Then I get out of bed and try to find a way to pass the time (it's not like I don't have plenty of things I should be doing, I just don't feel like doing any of them). Inevitably I start feeling like my life is one big game of "waiting to die", which could take a long time since I'm only 36.

So today I decided I'm going try something else. I'm gonna try to find them. (hint: this is where the crazy comes in) But seriously, if Thich Nhat Hanh was right and, as quoted in my last post, "you have never been born and you can never die" then they have to be somewhere, right? I mean, if all of the non-coincidences that have occurred in my life since they died are real, then they are somewhere, trying to communicate, and reaching out to me.

I need to explain that on most days I do believe that all of the non-coincidences are real, and that people don't die, they just move on to a different reality. However, sometimes I'm a true skeptic and I worry that when you're dead you're just dead - which means I may never see them again. Those are the days I want to jump off a bridge.

In order to prevent any bridge jumping, I'm going to embark on a journey. I'm going to read and study and meditate and do whatever it is I need to do to find out where they are and how I can communicate regularly. I have to.

I mean, any mother who "lost" her children - like in the mall or the grocery store - would search until she found them, right? She wouldn't just say, "Oh well, I guess I'll never see them again." Well, I'm a mom and I'm going to find my kids. For me it'll be a little harder because as much as I'd like to periodically pretend that they're just "lost" or sleeping or at school, I know that in reality they suffered fatal injuries in a car accident. (I'm trying not to say they died - because if you can't be born and you can't die, then they didn't actually die. See where I'm going with that?)

I have to imagine this journey won't be easy and that sometimes I'll want to give up, but I've never been one to shy away from a challenge. And really, what other choice do I have? Bridge jumping. I'm just sayin.

As soon as I figure out what my first step will be, I'll let you know. I've read a few interesting books since April of 2009, so I'll probably go back and reread them. The one that sticks out is called "Love Never Dies" by Sandy Goodman. Ken gave me that book at a time when I wanted to throw any book about grief through the window or at the person who gave it to me. But that book was different.

From what I remember, Sandy started a similar journey and did whatever she could to find a way to communicate with her son who had passed on. I need to reread to remember the details; I'm one of those people who simply cannot retain information I've read, or remember movies for that matter. I could watch the same movie 5 times and be surprised, every time, by the ending. I'm kinda like a goldfish. But I digress.

I will be sure to keep you posted about what I learn and where this journey takes me. I'm a little excited. And I feel hopeful, which in and of itself, feels good.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A little bit of hope...

Yesterday I went to the library to return some books and pick up a book on Veganism that I had requested. (I'm not planning on becoming a Vegan, I'm just interested in learning more about alternatives to animal products.)

While I was at the library I looked randomly through some books on the shelf and picked out a book called "no death, no fear" by Thich Nhat Hanh. An hour later I found out that one of my best friends just lost her mom.

Saddened by this news and thinking of my kids I opened the book this morning and found this passage,
"Since before time you have been free. Birth and death are only doors through which we pass, sacred thresholds on our journey. Birth and death are a game of hide-and-seek. You have never been born and you can never die."
It gives me hope. I wanted to share it with you.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Can someone please turn off my brain?!

It's driving me crazy!!

Lately I've been a little obsessed with the accident. Obsessed in a really bad way. Obsessed in that I seriously can't stop thinking about it.

Most of the time it begins when I'm driving on a highway. I'm driving along, singing some Gaga and it hits me. I look at how fast I'm going, I look at the side of the road and I start imagining what the accident was like for Kate and Peter. And then I freak out.

I start crying and apologizing to them and praying to someone that they didn't suffer. I go over it and over it, and each time it seems worse. I think, "I NEED to know that they were ok - that it was quick and they didn't feel anything or that they were unaware of what was going on". Then I think, "THEY WEREN'T OK, OBVIOUSLY - THEY DIED, YOU STUPID MORON!!!!"

And then I lay in bed at night and it starts all over again. Or I wake up in the middle of the night. I don't know how to stop it and I know it's not helping anyone.

It's not like I can go back and fix it, though that's what I think my brain is trying to figure out a way to do. It's not like I'll ever figure it out either. So why can't I stop?


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

One good thing...

Before I begin this post I want to thank you all once again for hanging with me through all of the sadness. Your comments and encouragement mean so much. Hearing that this blog is helping people - instead of just being self-absorbed and negative, as it sometimes feels to me - is very important. As long as this blog is helping people (myself included), I will continue to write.

I promised to write as soon as I found something positive and, thankfully, I have. So here it is:

I'm back in school now (I took the fall off for my wedding) and this quarter is all about baking. I am quite surprised and very happy to tell you that I think I may love baking more than anything I have ever done in my entire life! For real. I mean, I love to cook and I have always enjoyed baking, but seriously, I'm enjoying this class more than I thought possible.

In the past I've tried to not spend too much time writing about food because I don't want Callapitter to turn into a food blog, but right now my life is kind of food-centric so I may have to go there for a little while. I also don't have a fancy camera and I don't know how to take the beautiful pictures you see in other blogs, but I would like to share a few of the things I've made so far.

I apologize in advance if you're on a low-carb diet, or any kind of diet for that matter.

French Bread

Spritz Cookies

Pecan Sticky Buns

Biscuits (They're heart-shaped because I was practicing at home and didn't have a round biscuit cutter. And it was almost Valentine's Day.)

My favorite so far: Croissants

There is a down-side to all of this baking which is the fact that I've been consuming all of these baked goods almost as fast as I bake them. I haven't stepped anywhere near a scale in the past few weeks, but so far my clothes still fit. I'm sure that soon I will have to take measures to counteract all of the butter and sugar ingestion that's been going on. For now I'm just enjoying the fact that for at least 10 hours a week I'm distracted from my pain and sadness and I'm doing something I enjoy.

Monday, February 7, 2011

My sincere apologies...

I just wanted to let everyone know that I am, in fact, still here and I haven't made any decisions to discontinue my blog. I'm sorry I haven't blogged in forever. I know everyone worries when I don't write and I feel very badly about that, but the truth is that I've been a mess lately and I didn't want to write anything that would make people worry more.

I keep thinking that the more time that passes, the easier it gets, right? Unfortunately that hasn't been my experience at all. I don't know why it keeps getting worse, but it does. I just really, really miss them and can't figure out the purpose of my life without them. I mean, I'm a mom without any kids. That kinda makes me, well, nothing - or at least that's how it feels.

I promise that as soon as I feel the slightest bit of positivity creep back into my existence I will blog again. Thank you all for you comments, messages and words of concern. Someday things will be better.