Saturday, December 31, 2016

Grief, Stress, Heartache, and Hope

Hello Readers,

It's been awhile since we have spoken- and honestly I am not quite sure where to start. 2016 has been a year of ups and downs- and more downs for that matter. Life has been overwhelming and hard to put into words. In an attempt to say goodbye to 2016, I think it's important to give it a shot. 

The year started out pretty well- school was stressful, but I was working hard and making it work. We had a ton of beautiful snow, fun family "field trips", and lots of cute photo shoots with Cordelia. I got the opportunity to have my cousin visit- which was really cool because this was our first time hanging out in well over ten years and it was cool to connect. I also took my first road trip all by myself- ten hours all by myself in fact! Luckily I had company for the drive back (my dear Aunt Alice) because ten hours not talking was hard on me.    

Shortly after that trip is when life hit it's first speed bump of the year. After almost two years of hard work- and nonstop studying, I applied to the training program I was working towards- and I didn't get in. Studying science and the human body was humbling, and in ways totally exciting. I am glad to have learned all the things I did, but not getting in felt more then a little soul crushing. It may not seem like it- but I always have a goal and a direction, something to work towards, and this has left me floating and more then a little confused about what to do now. There are a multitude of articles on the internet about how children who see their parents fail and keep going are more resilient- so hopefully Cordelia is at least getting something out of this. 

Cordelia helped keep me smiling, and planning and throwing her birthday party, and a surprise baby shower for my best friend kept me busy.

and then life flung a curve ball our direction- we found out we were pregnant. I've wanted a second baby for a long time now, there was no doubt in my heart that Cordelia should have a sibling- I love my brother and sisters so much and they are such a part of my identity I wanted that for her too. However, months passed, then over two years passed. So many hopeful moments turned into tears over negative pregnancy tests I figured it just wasn't in the cards for us. I had reached a level of acceptance and started giving away all our baby things- who knew finally letting go of the crib would have been what did it for us. It made not getting into school seem like it happened for a good reason too because I wouldn't have been able to start while pregnant. 

   Then the saddest day of my life (up until this point) came, the day we had to put Pig to sleep. He gave me fourteen years of companionship. He watched me put on twelve coats of eyeliner and lace up my combat boots before leaving the house when I was a teenager, he sat with me while I cried about whatever dumb boy broke my heart. He moved out of my parent's house with me when I left to "become a grown-up". He studied for thousands of exams and sat with me while I wrote multitudes of term papers (the night before they were due). He used to sit on my sewing desk and watch me sew for hours. And after all that he loved my daughter with all his heart. They batted toys back and forth and cuddled while watching cartoons together. He was our constant companion, and I still cry because he is gone. 

Shortly after, we got the news that my Granddad had passed. My Grandmother passed away about eight or nine years ago and Granddad missed her more than anything, so I try to remind myself how happy he must be to be with her again, but it's strange to think that I will never hear him tell the same off color jokes again. My Granddad loved to tinker- he could make or fix anything and he spent hours working in his shop. He loved nature, the woods, and hunting- and he celebrated his 60th birthday by shimming up the tree into his tree stand and doing a jig. Granddad was a character and I'm glad I was able to spend so much time getting to know him.

And during all of this I spent morning, noon, and night throwing up while expanding mightily in the midsection. 

In August Cordelia started Kindergarten! She was more than ready for this change- but I cried and cried and cried. Unfortunately, she also cried almost every day after school for two months because she was so exhausted. Despite the exhaustion she is doing great- she loves the work, she loves her teacher, she has made a bunch of friends, and every day of winter break she has been annoyed because there is no school. 

Then, one morning in September I got the worst phone call I've ever received. My Dad had passed away. My Dad wasn't in the peak of health- but I would have sworn we would have had a couple more years with him at least, I never would have imagined that one day he would just be gone, and that I wouldn't get to say goodbye. 

My dad was a big man with a big personality and a big heart. He never met a stranger, and would (and did) talk to anyone. He could sell snow in the middle of a blizzard. He was a very jolly Santa with his very own beard and enjoyed playing the part for countless children and families for 28 years. This year was the first year I went to see a stranger dressed as Santa- and it just wasn't the same. My Dad used to take me out of school to go to the movies (most importantly all three remastered Star Wars films), we went shooting, biking, and every year we went camping- I really hate camping, but camping with Dad are still my best childhood memories. 

I'm not sure how you move past the loss of your dad, I can't manage to write these words without sobbing. Dad was so excited to meet my new baby, he felt so strongly that I needed to have a second child, and he loved his grandchildren. As a working Dad he didn't get to see as much of the fun baby things as he would have liked, and he loved getting the chance to experience it all again. It;s hard to know that my baby will never get to know him in this world. Even harder knowing that I will never hear his voice again, I will never hear his stories, and I will never fight about politics with him again. 

After my Dad passed my blood pressure started spiking. I'm not sure if it was the stress and grief, or if I was bound towards preeclampsia anyways with this pregnancy but I kept getting sicker. My dr's appointments became weekly (then twice weekly), I had to monitor my blood pressure at home, and I got put on bed rest.

One day, unsure of how to cheer me up, Brendon took me to "look at cats". We came home with a tiny grey, female, kitten whom I named Tula. Tula is a little ball of happiness, she was the last of her litter left and she soo badly wanted a home. She loves to cuddle and play, and she has the loudest purr. 

I wasn't able to go trick or treating with them- but I want to just say that I still managed a homemade costume for Cordelia. She was Batgirl and Brendon was Inspector Gordon (Batgirl's father of course). I'm sure sewing a Halloween costume doesn't count as bed rest- but I wasn't prepared to let this go, and neither was Cordelia. 

I spent the last couple months of the year going back and forth to the doctor, feeling really sick, and trying to keep up with Cordelia while not actually doing anything. We got sent to the hospital five times, and admitted three times, and then on December 7th the doctors decided it was time and we finally got to meet our little Adeline. I love every bit of her, and she was worth all the discomfort and all the times I had to clean glitter off of the cat because Cordelia decided that was how she would spend her time while I was throwing up. 

It's a little insane how much a year changes life. 2016 has left me feeling like I need to find myself again. I've spent so much time grieving, or sick I'm almost not sure of who I am at the moment. 
There has been so much change, so much loss, so much heartache, but we are ending the year with a little bit of hope. I'm not sure where 2017 will lead us, or what I'll be doing, but right now I'm not going to worry about it- because the baby needs feeding.