Monday, October 8, 2012

Gratitude and Grieving ...

I wish there were a road map or perhaps a handbook to this grieving thing. Cuz this up and down, high/ low, swinging pendulum, is for the birds. And a chapter in aforementioned book on how to properly help my dad through these days, would be greatly appreciated as well. I am certain there really are great books and resources out there, but it seems to me, the best way just may be to move through it. Never quite beyond the pain and missing but maybe to a place where those heaving, out of nowhere sobs, don't come with such force and unpredictability. So, that's about all on the grieving. That and just the plain and simple missing her.

On to gratitude:

1. Birthdays. 48 came and went painlessly. Blessed to have another year. Surrounded by love. My youngest sister called my husband earlier in the week and asked what time I was born, knowing that I would be missing my on the minute phone call from my mom. He said around 10:30 am East Coast time. That morning, as I was finishing getting ready for the day, the phone rang, I picked it up and it was my sister. She said " Happy Birthday. Am I close to the time? " I looked at my phone and if you can believe this, she called, at exactly the right time. I mean exactly. 10:33am, on the nose. How weird is that?

My sister asked me to send her this picture of my mom and her. 20 plus years ago, but still, is it not just so darling of the two of them?

Joe had to be sacrificed in this picture because Zoey looked so cute. sorry Joe. Family picture, minus Taylor who had an evening class.

My future son in-law Matt, is known for his funny and creative presents and cards. He picked all of my favorites .... wine, chocolate and Adam Levine. Not necessarily in that order. I have been decorating the table for the kids, the morning of their birthdays, since Jess was probably 3. For the first time ever,  in 22 years, the morning of my birthday, Mark decorated the table for me. And spoiled me with another of my favorites. Several sets, 5 to be exact, of tickets to plays at the amazing Pantages Theater in Hollywood. Super excited.

2. Joes still so innocent school friends who sends him home with sticky notes with shows they want him to watch on Netflix.

3. My early morning and late night runs. Best therapy. At least in my book.

4. Zoey's school. She absolutely loves it and is happy each and every morning as we are getting her backpack ready for the day. She usually is frantically signing 'school' and cannot wait to get in the car and be on our way.

5. My hilarious son. Casually going about his morning before school, wearing these glasses.

6. Halloween. Love it. I must. I have 4, count them 4, totes of decorations. Little out of hand.

7. Evenings out to see my oh so funny and talented friend Elizabeth perform in 'Expressing Motherhood'.

8. Zoey's precious and perfect hands. Still so tiny and fragile at 5 1/2 years of age. I often trace her tiny fingers, just as we did with our newborn babies. I marvel in the miracle of her daily.

9. My beautiful 'bookends'. 20 years separate them. This was taken at Zoey's Children's Hospital of Los Angels NICU  reunion. Amazing to see so many faces that were literally responsible for my littlest love being here today. And, if things go as we hope and pray, Jess will graduate in December from nursing school and maybe, just maybe, have an opportunity to be part of the nurse residency program in the NICU, at CHLA.  How full circle and incredible would that be?

10. Darling Waldorf Dolls made with love by blogging friends. Zoey just loves this little doll. But then again, who wouldn't?

11. Engagement photos. So many beautiful ones. Here are just a few.

12. Joe. Doing what Joe does best. While out to dinner the other night, he jumped up from the table and ran outside. I followed and this is what I found. He seriously thought he could climb the thing. And me, I could not help but laugh. And then think, how will I ever make it through this child's teenage years??

13. Inhalers. All three of mine. Because, can I tell you, my asthma is causing me to struggle as of late. Big time. And what do I do, without a second thought? I go for an 8 mile run today. Through a local, breathtaking, no pun intended, canyon. And all those 58 out of 60 environmental allergens that I just so happen to be highly allergic to, those bad boys, are taking up residency in my lungs. So yep, really grateful for inhalers.

 14. Taylor. She soon will be heading into the 3rd and final interview for Teach For America. If chosen, she will go to live somewhere here in the United States, for 2 years, where she will be a teacher to children living in low income communities. The girl continues to wow me.

Pepperdine Teacher Education Board. Quite a milestone. So proud of her.

15. My husband. Who works harder then most anyone I have ever known. He just has been picked as editor on a show that will most likely find him away from home more, if that is even possible, but being chosen to edit this show is quite a catch and we are super proud of him. Not sure if I am able to share with you what show it is yet, so I'll just have to leave you hanging ... sorry.

16. A growing belly on my beautiful daughter. Baby girl McAuliffe number 2 is getting bigger by the day.

Gratitude continues to keep me grounded and allows me to pause daily and see, that even on those days, when everything seems to be falling in around you, there is always, always, things to be grateful for. Always.


Anonymous said...

Wow - this is my FAVORITE gratitude blog/pictures so far!!!

Love, love all the photos. Lovely of your dad, you and your sister. Awesome engagement photos - can see why one choice is hard. congrats to Taylor. Great photo of the soon to be parents!

and... of course congrats to you Mark! know that will be so many hours away from home (already over the top) but to be picked editor - AWESOME!!

Adore the doll photos - Zoey sure does love that doll. Who wouldn't?
That school pack - how cute!

and the boys! What can I say. They will keep you and Mark on your toes, especially that Joe! His mind is always thinking!

I guess if I had to pick only
one photo - it would be the "book ends" photo. Wouldn't that be wonderful if Jess could work in the same unit that Zoey was in. No matter where she lands she will be loved!

Hugs to everyone

PS Mark: nice job on Heather's birthday! You are tops in your aunt's mind!
(just saying everyone) lol

Cammie Heflin said...

I may have to stop reading your blog because I end up with happy/sad tears from missing you guys so much! Each and every one of you!

Lacey said...

My favorite with Jax are his tiny feet. Much smaller at nearly 7 than his 3 year old sister. I love to just hold them and kiss them!
So much to be grateful for, you have such an amazing family. Love you guys!

Anna said...

Heather, I love this post.
Time marches on doesn't it!?
The photos are so beautiful. I love Zoeys Waldorf doll and backpack! So cute! Your bookends and baby on the way photos are priceless. Just grieve. Don't hold back anything, it has a way of sneaking up unawares if you cram it. We don't want that. Just keep boxes and packets of kleenexes all around . ( I've found a sleeve works in extreme emergency!) it's hard, you are learning how to do life without her, it's all new, and hard........ Hugs.

Anonymous said...

Great gratitude blog. Congratulations Mark, that's an honor, well deserved I am sure. Your children are so beautiful on the outside and the inside. Congrats to both parents for a job well done.

Last but not least Heather, in the grieving book, all I can say is, "Take one day at a time". I was 6 months pregnant when I lost my husband. He was 29 and he was 41. It will be 34 years this October and I still miss him immensely, even though I have been remarried for 27 years. The hardest part is knowing his son, who will be 34 in January, grieves without even knowing his dad. Your dad, and your family, will always grieve just the tears will dry up.

Bluebelle's friend.

Elizabeth said...

I do believe you are building the map of grieving, and it's a beautiful, graceful one.

I love all the photos and the stories and your grace and gratitude, Heather.

Rochelle said...

Glad you are hanging in there with the gratitude posts. Lovely post my friend.

colleen said...

Your posts are so inspiring - everytime I see these pics I see the old neighborhood. What a circle...count the days as the year progresses... when 365 are done you will have learned how to go on.... if only because you have done so.... as will your dad.
Speaking as a former CHLA nurse, Jessica could do no better in choosing her first job!
What a beautiful life you have!

The VW's said...

Beautiful pictures! Beautiful life! (Even through tears...we just have to look harder for the beauty!) Love and Hugs!

Michelle said...

Really lovely post Heather. It always makes me take the time to think of all I have to be grateful for.

As for grieving...I lost my dad in 1997 at the tender age of 36. I was in no way prepared for what life without him would mean. Dear, kind friends trying to make me feel better would tell me "time heals all wounds." But what I have found to be true is that the wound never heals. The sharp pain that takes your breath away eventually, slowly, becomes a dull ache. But it is always there. I have learned to live me life without my dad, but I will never learn to stop missing him and his wisdom and guidance. When I am confronted with a situation I find overwhelming, I imagine what the conversation with my dad would be. Continue having those talks with your mom. She will always be in your heart. You and your beautiful children are her living legacy.

Peace my friend.

Carolyn said...

I just stumbled on your blog tonight and am sure to become a reader. I am a speech pathologist and was following a link from another blog.
Good luck to Taylor on her TFA application. My daughter is a TFA alumni (Boston) and is doing a third year witha charter school. Incredible experience for my Southern Calif daughter. She got her first choice city she went to college in Boston.
Your post about your mom was lovely I still have times when I want to call Dad to tell him something and it has been 10 years.

krlr said...

I love these posts, even if I’m behind in my reading. 1- I’m so happy you were loved & cared for on your birthday – you have such a beautiful family. 2 - You are not allowed to meet my husband because right now we only have three totes of Halloween decorations and I don’t want him to think it’s ok to get a 4th. 3 – I have often wanted to climb those horses myself. Did you ever noticed that by facing out, the people inside eating are staring at their butts? Cracks me up every time I go. 4 – Congrats on your husband’s job! Also sympathies. I’m the one with the long hours chez nous and I’ll tell you it’s no fun not being home. 5 - Dragnet?! Sweet, sweet kids!