Henry’s Hymn

My dear sweet boy,

In just a few short days you will be three! I can’t even begin to process where the time has gone. This is such an amazing milestone, wild man. You have tackled every obstacle that has been laid before you. I am so impressed with your skill to problem solve. I mean, dude, you keep me on my toes because if you want something you will figure out how to obtain it. You have NO FEAR. This is both an amazing quality and a potential character flaw, but it will make you a fearsome competitor in this world. You have taught me so much more that I could have ever imagined in just three short years. You have been the poster child on strength and fortitude for me these last several months. Although and am I so proud and excited for all that you have and will accomplish, my heart breaks for you. You are missing one of the most important people in your life, your daddy. I miss him so much its hard to put into words. But you Henry, you have shown me that and remind me daily, that daddy is in heaven and he is in our hearts. He is always with us. I think to myself…” How did I get so lucky?!?!?” I pray that you will continue to view the world as your playground, and continue to make your way in this crazy world. Son, you possess a strength that I can never hope to understand and for that I am incredibly grateful. I know your father is providing you with all the stubborn and pigheadness you need! I’ll have to have a chat with him about that!

Thank you for being the light in my life. Thank you for always giving the best hugs, just like your daddy! They just make me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. I pray that you will never forget how much I love you! I know sometimes I can be a little moody and tired, but you have always shown me grace. Your love and compassion is overwhelming in the best way possible. I’ll love you forever and always, to the moon and back, to infinity and beyond. Our love will only grow. Our bond will forever remain strong, regardless of the bumps we hit along the way! Happy Birthday My little Three-Rex.

Love,

Mom

Dark Matter

We are quickly approach the anniversary of Adam’s passing. The anxiety is high and the grief is extremely heavy. As I look back on all of the things that have transpired since that devastating day, I have a few thoughts I would like to share. For those of you who have experienced any loss of someone that you were extremely close with , the “first” of everything is the hardest…. or is it? I know you are thinking wait a minute…what are you saying Kari? Well, I can only speak for myself, but I assure you they are tough, but not as tough as the days/nights in between. I am hoping you will understand once we dive into it. It is easy to see the most striking details, however it is even more imperative that we understand the minute details of day to day life when dealing with grief and loss.

Dark matter is the absence of everything. Honestly, that is how it felt for a long time after Adam passed. I still have days/moments where the feeling creeps back up to the surface. I feel this the most when it is just me and Henry. Sure the first Christmas, Thanksgiving, and all other holidays were difficult, but I was surrounded by friends and family. That alone brought so much love and support to me. Even though we were missing the patriarch of our family, I couldn’t help but feel all the love and allow it to lift my spirits. It is the absence of that physical and emotional support, that the emotions run ramped and despair begins to move in. It is the late nights of wishing for his arms to hold me. It is the waking up and rolling over to an empty bed. This may sound silly, but having to make my own coffee. Adam always made sure there was coffee. Its the wanting to take a nap, but there is no one to watch Henry. Again, it is all the little things that we take for granted that become so huge when dealing with loss. Just think for a moment. When it is the easiest for your mind to run away and all kinds of thoughts and feelings cross your mind…when you are alone and not distracted by others or other things. For me personally, it is at night. I feel like this is a huge reason why my sleep patterns became so out of whack. I will not discredit the fact that every seizure Adam had was around 2am. The PTSD and the anxiety is what really causes the dark matter! I have to constantly remind myself that Adam is waiting for me, and we will meet again. Also, the fact that he is no longer suffering or feeling like he is a burden. As heavy as it is to bear, it will not break me.

In order for their to be dark, there must be light. Although it is difficult to see the bright side, I assure you it is there. You may only get a glimpse sometimes, but allow that glimpse to fill you with unfailing hope. As the days go by, we will be able to heal and move forward. Make the best of what you have. Hold on the memories that fill you with joy. Do your best to press on, and be okay when you have really crummy days. This is something that I working on every single day. I am trying to do better every day. You are stronger that you think you are. Don’t let the dark matter steal your joy or your soul. Yes, it is difficult, but healing takes work and time.

The Power of Will

If any of you read my post regarding how death changes you and enjoyed it, I certainly hope you will find this post enlightening. Death is extremely toxic to those who have to experience it, however our will power is our driving force to overcome. As difficult as it is to work through all the emotions that flood our thoughts, deep down a fire is kindled, and as long as it is tended to will grow. It so easy to succumb to the grief and despair, especially when the person lost is extremely close to you. As I was talking to another who was dealing with the same situation as myself, he said something that really hit home for me. ” try to take some time and really look at how strong you have been to get where you are now.” The more I thought about it, the more sense it made. Although the days are darker then when Adam was here, my drive has been stronger to press forward in order to make Adam proud at the strides that I have made to climb the mountain put before me. Even with him being gone from the physical world, he still helps support and inspire me.

The power of will is the strong weapon we have in our arsenal. This feeds our need to succeed and power through even the darkest of days. This is the fire that burns deep within your soul and as long as you nuture it… no matter how little it will continue to urge you forward. Let me tell you being a single mom has really tested my limits…along with my toddler! Nothing but testing the limits, he is. You like my Yoda-ism there? HA! I digress…but seriously though this has really put me to the test, and I sure will continue to do so in new ways as I continue on the journey. Not only is it taxing physically, but also emotional and psychological. The jury is still out on which on is worse! Physically, Henry wears me out! I do also work full time in a job that is extremely demanding. Not to mention the crazy sleep deprivation! PHEW! My daily routine is utterly exhausting. But wait, there’s more! Emotionally, I am just completely tapped. I have given everything I have to give and then some. Constantly giving and not seeing any return. I know that sounds really selfish, but its like a bank account. If you keep spending, but don’t have any income you will be broke. Just when you think “I am done, finished, too exhausted to keep climbing” and you sit down completed overwhelmed with all you have on your plate. If you stop your racing mind for one moment, you can hear your inner voice. You can feel that fire burning stronger. That drive pushing you forward. If you let it your will power will drag you farther that you ever thought possible. Are you hanging on, because things are about to get wild.

Our spirit and will are powerful forces and will move you forward if you let them. They will give you the drive to press on. Death is a difficult mountain to climb, and the grief that comes with it is a thousand pounds to carry while you climb up that crazy steep hill. Trust me, you can do it! You will slip back many time before you reach the top, but you will be a better person when you do!

K. Marin

Pappaw’s Present

I am no stranger to loss, but I have suffered another devastating blow. My mother’s father, to all grandchildren, Pappaw passed away on May 20th. This man was one of the most amazing people on the planet. To me, he was something really special! This man was the best story teller, fiddle player, and grandfather anyone could ask for. Although I didn’t get to spend as much time with him in his last few years, I am blessed with my wonderful memories of him. Unfortunately, he has been battling with Dementia for a few years, and we knew this day was inevitable, but I assure you it did not make it any easier.

I have so many amazing memories that I don’t even know which one would be best. So lets just jump in. Every Christmas, we would travel to Post, Texas to visit my grandparents. My dad, Pappaw, and I would go fishing at Lake Alan Henry! The thing I remember most about our fishing trips is the stories Pappaw would tell and his infectious laugh! This man had the absolute BEST giggle! I mean it was practically impossible to not burst into laughter when he got started. I also had the pleasure of staying with them when I attended summer school in college. At that time, they lived in New Waverly. Pappaw had a dog named Fritz 2. See Fritz had one heck of an underbite, and the most hilarious thing was to watch him attempt to pick up a piece of watermelon off the floor and eat. I laugh even just thinking about it. Our stomach would hurt! He even taught me how to say ” I like to drink beer” in Polish! It was the absolute best. When I was younger, he would come and stay with me at out house while my parents were at work. We would get into all kinds of mischief. Every time, he would leave to head home, he would leave a whole bunch of change behind to find! I mean this man would leave so much you wondered where he kept it all. This family was so blessed with him!

For those of you who have had family or friends that has suffered from dementia…it is absolutely horrific. There is nothing worse that someone you have known your entire life have no idea who you are. It is not me that I feel for, but my mother, aunts, and uncle. They had to see their father not even recognize them when they visited. I can’t even imagine that kind of pain. And then there was his wife of 67 years…He eventually had no idea who she was. His family had to just sit and watch him slowly lose everything. It is one of the most difficult things to watch. The worst part is there is no cure. So once it was determined that he suffered from Dementia he was given a death sentence with no hope of recovery. As hard it is to see him forget, there is a silver lining. We were able to keep our beautiful memories. You got to relieve them all the time! Pappaw would have been 91 this August so he led a full life. We are consoled with the knowledge that we will all be reunited on day! We will not say goodbye, but see you soon.

Through The Wormhole

It is so hard to believe that my kid is going to be three in just under a month. How is this even possible?!?! It seems like only yesterday I was holding him for the first time… EVER! Watching him hit all the milestones is quite extraordinary! I am amazed at how quickly Henry learns and grows. Time seems just zoom by in the blink of an eye. There are many things that have transpired since we first brought our precious boy home. Some of those have been difficult to take and made life a million times harder, but time marches on. From his first words to his first steps this journey has been exhausting but so rewarding. Year one flew by faster than the speed of light. I’m not sure if it was the long nights or the excitement of the having him in our lives that caused the time warp. Year two is quickly approaching its end, and then year three will begin. Its amazing everything I have learned from him, and continue to learn everyday.

Our days are our numbered. That is just a fact. It is easy to wish for more time, but the reality is you just need to focus on the quality versus the quantity. Unfortunately, this was lesson that I learned far too late. It is so easy to become complacent in our day to day lives. We are just going with the flow and following our routine. This is helps keep things manageable, but can also cause us to forget to use the time we have wisely. As A single mother now, I am finding that I have difficult choices to make regarding my time. Do I do the dishes that I have soiled while making dinner or do I just let them be to catch a few extra moments with my son? Honestly, I can say that is not really a relevant question for me. After Adam passed I had so much guilt regarding the quality of the time that we spent together. Determined to not make the same mistake twice, I am making the choice to spend all the time I have with my kid. Sure, that causes some anxiety as I look at the laundry that piles up or the kitchen that needs to be cleaned, but I never regret my choice in any shape or form. It won’t be long before he won’t want me to be play with him, watch a movie together, or read a book with him, so I am determined to soak up every moment that I am given! These last few years have really opened my eyes to how quickly time flies. I am not even considered “ over the hill” so shouldn’t time move just a tad bit slower… I’m still climbing that hill… DANG IT! HAHA YEAH RIGHT!

Life is fleeting and death is eminent. I know this sounds dark, but it is the truth. We have a choice to make. Will you be one of those that rejoices in their blessings and is content? Will you be one those that wallow in unhappiness to busy coveting what someone else has. You only have one life and you don’t know how long that will last. Live well, love often, and being thankful for what you have. Which person will you be when you enter the wormhole?

K. Marin

An Angelic Anthem

Hello my love,

I can’t believe that is has been ten months since you were ready to depart this life. I know you have been with us every step of this journey, but I assure it has been so incredibly difficult. Not being able to feel your touch or hear you voice has been down right torture, but I have to say your son is so incredible. Adam, I know that I may not understand why our circumstances are what they are, but I am trusting that there is a bigger plan. I am so thankful for all of the beautiful memories that we were able to make. I assure you that you will always be a part of our son’s life. I know you can see the life that we are working to build, and we are so blessed with the incredibly strong foundation you provided us. As I look back on different moments in the past, I just keep thinking about all the times you would ask me if I could do something( change an air filter, or use a drill , or perhaps any other task you could think of). I am not going to lie… dude it drove me nuts. However, today, I am so glad that you insisted on me showing you. You helped sharpen my ability to be independent. I also think you did this at times, to show how much I “needed” you. Sometimes, you would forget that I didn’t need you, but I wanted you. What we had was true and rooted deep, and that made you being called home and leaving us here so unbearable. When I feel overwhelmed I am quick to get upset at you for leaving me, but then I remember that it is not always up to us. So, I guess the whole point of this is to say thank you! Thank you for teaching me that I have my own worth and that I deserved to be loved for me. Thank you for always supporting me in all my endeavors. Thank you for never forgetting to tell me how much I meant to you. Thank you for being my other half for the time that you were here. I know you will always follow us where ever we are, constantly keeping an eye on us. I expect nothing less. I love you to infinity and beyond Adam. Although time will change the circumstances, my feelings and heart will forever be yours.

Kari

The Harrowing Antagonists

There is nothing more nerve racking, scary, worrisome, or daunting than becoming a parent for the first time. So many scenarios flood your mind while you are anxiously waiting the arrival of the newest member of your family. Of course for me it was no different! I was feeling a very interesting mix of emotions! Being a first time parent was the most exhausting and rewarding chapter and thankfully one I am still experiencing. However, it is certain not all unicorns and rainbows. In my beautiful and perfect life of Henry and Adam, tragedy struck and just destroyed my life. I had never suffered a more devastating blow to my psyche. As someone who was always pretty sure and confident, I found that I have begun to second guess all my choices. Living with anxiety and depression makes life much much harder.

I have never really dealt with anxiety in the past. I was always able to make decisions and to stand behind them with certainty and now that just isn’t even possible. I am constantly looking for reassurance from family and friends. This is way out of character for me. I get it… “Kari, you have been through something incredibly traumatic.” Yes, that is true, but anxiety does make tackling your loss that much harder. It is so debilitating! So my hat goes off to you who have had to deal with it daily for most of your life. I couldn’t imagine trying to navigate through life with this any less mature than I am now. The constant feeling of uncertainty. The dread looms over you all day. The nervousness drives you crazy, because most of the time you aren’t even really sure what is bothering you. Dealing with this day in and day out is an “energy zapper”. For me it makes parenting extremely difficult. I am constantly worrying about my choice when it comes to Henry? ” Do I let him watch too much TV?” ” Am I being too strict with him” Am I even a good mother?” “What if this decision scars him for life?” Infinite amounts of questions are cruising through my thoughts faster that than the speed of light. Before Adam was my reassurance and my equalizer, and now I am attempting to do all of that for myself to… did you hear that….BOOM!!! My head just exploded with emotional overload. Cue anxiety attack! These usually happen at night, which is typically when Adam’s seizures occurred. Coincidence…. I THINK NOT! In my case anxiety has a nasty older sister…depression. Again, I tip my hat to all of you who have been dealing with depression for any length of time. IT IS A BEAST!!!! As someone who could accomplish any goal that I set my mind to, having zero motivation more times than not is so frustrating to me. Yes, there are many factors that are playing into my feelings, such as lack of sleep, but the motivation issues is a really problem. As a mom and working full time, I don’t have time to be unproductive. Most of the time, I am able to muster up just enough to ensure that Henry is provided for and comfortable, but as soon as I can I just sink into my bed. But the day isn’t over. Now my anxiety goes into overdrive because I start thinking about the million other things I should be doing rather that laying down.

Dealing with any type of mental illness whether is it like mine (situational depression and anxiety) or something more difficult, there is not need to be ashamed. As tough as it may be you have to choose to rise above the stigma. Those who will stereotype you and look down on you are not worth your time. It is during these times, that you are able to weed out those who truly have your health and safety at heart. These are the sunflowers that you need to surround yourself with. The truth is you will never when every battle that you fight and that is okay. It is during our triumphs that we are comforted, but it is in our failures that we become wiser.

K. Marin

A Little Glimpse of Heaven

Dearest Henry,

I can’t even begin to put into words the joy and love that you bring to my life. You are the ray of sunshine I need each and every day. You have been the greatest thing that happened to our family. You possess the best of each of your parents. I am the one that is truly blessed. Although your daddy lives with Jesus now, he left me the best reminder of him, in you! You and your father share so many similarities. Your laugh is so intoxicating. When you laugh so does everyone one around you. Your charisma is unparalleled just like your father’s. Just like your handsome father you love your mom with the most unconditional love anyone could ever ask for. Son, you will never truly understand the comfort that you bring to me at this time. You’re the light in the dark! You are my glimpse of Heaven! Daddy knows that you and Mom miss him very much, but he helps me out, but letting me experience him through his legacy. I am the luckiest mommy in the world to call you mine. I am so excited to see the mountains you will move. You are a force to be reckoned with. Should you ever feel sad, alone, or just find yourself missing your dad, always remember how close he really is. You are able to take you daddy everywhere, because he lives in your heart. If you sit quietly and close your eyes, I promise you will feel him hugging you tighter that I ever could. Your daddy loved you when he first met you and I promise he loves you even more know. He watches you grow and learn with such pride. Knowing your father, I am sure he bragging to all of the family members and friends that he is with in Heaven about how amazing his son is. Although you will never feel the physical hugs, kiss, high five, or see your father smile when you accomplish your goals; I promise that you will meet him again. He will be waiting to wrap you up in the best bear hug that can ever be given. So you see, Henry you are my glimpse of Heaven. I see your father in you everyday and that is more precious to me that anything.

I love you to infinity and beyond,

Mom

The Good, Bad, and the Ugly

Our lives are full of mountains we climb and hills we fly down. There are times we are just moving along on cruise control. There are many things that happen in our days on this Earth that shape our personality and outlook. We should look at all things that happen in our life as mini destinations. With destinations we are able to begin again. Although the “ugly” times seem to be the end of everything, they are just the toughest new beginnings. Each experience is crucial to our growth.

The easiest to discuss is those good times. These are the hills we are speeding down with little resistance. I imagine a little kid sledding down a hill giggling the whole time. These good times are times of healing and self love. Whether you are celebrating a promotion, a new child, or even just accomplishing all on your to do list. Every little good thing is worth celebrating, no matter the size! We are blessed with many more good memories than any others combined. I have so many beautifully vivid memories that my precious family shared, even if it was short lived. I remember the day Henry was born, and the pure love I saw on Adam’s face when he first held him. The pride that beamed from his face at every little thing our son did. Adam’s unconditional love for all of us, and unfailing support throughout all my endeavors. He was my rock and my safe haven. Each memory I have shared with him will be passed on to our son. Although he will not make any more precious memories, I can ensure that his father’s memory lives on. These are the moments that make life worth living. These are the moments that can heal us. These are the moments that give us the strength to keep moving. These are the moments that give us hope for the future. Cling to those with all your might and you can overcome even the darkest of days. As much as our life is filled with light, it is also filled with darkness.

The darkness in our lives can be classified two ways…the bad and the ugly. My meaning is quite literal. Bad things happen everyday that provide minor mood changes or short lived feelings of negativity or uneasiness. Things such as a bad hair day or flat tire. Even though Adam’s seizures were draining on me emotionally, physically, and psychologically, I always got my husband back each and every time. This was the reprieve I was speaking of. This was the short lived struggles that made me appreciate all the wonderful things in life I had. All of these things are easily remedied and only have an effect on you in the short term. They are mere roadblocks that delay us from reaching our destination, but they don’t have the power to stop us in our tracks. However, it’s older and meaner brother can if we are not careful. Those “ugly” circumstances are ruthless and draining. They leave you feeling like you have nothing left to fight for. Negativity is in it for the long haul. The emotions and struggles are not for the faint of heart. I say that like we have a choice in the matter, but in reality we don’t.

Some of the most common “ugly” circumstances that are experienced would be death, terminal illnesses, etc. These moments cause much fear, anger, sadness, and a great many other emotions. It makes it seems as if the world has suddenly stopped. You feel this tremendous weight bearing down on you and there is no relief in sight. No matter how hard you try you are unable to rise above the pain that you are facing. For those of you who are religious, you might find yourself angered that this was allowed to happen. As someone who lost their other half suddenly, all of these things happened at some point or another. I want to say that it gets better with time, but really I am not sure that’s true. The weight lessens, but the hole remains the same. The sadness is overwhelming more days that naught. All you can see in darkness, no matter how hard you search for the light. Your fear begins to sow frightening and negative thoughts. If not checked these fears could become your reality. Here’s the catch… Although the “ugly” moments in life are difficult… they are a destination that has been reached.

We have many new beginnings that take place throughout our lives. The most impactful ones are when they are unexpected or hurtful. From the ashes of grief, you can rise a better, stronger person for your experiences. Destinations are where we are flooded with all the amazing possibilities open to us if we are willing to put one foot in front of the other and press on. Life is not meant to be easy, and we will always be left wanting if we do not focus on what we have. You will never triumph if you are not prepared to do what is necessary for the ones you love, even if that means letting them go. Unfortunately, that choice was made for me and I am forever changed by it…haunted by it. Even through the adversity of life, those who cling to the beautiful moments, peaceful encounters, and loving memories will always arise victorious…time after time.

n optimal user experienc

-K. Marin

Toxicity of Loss

Death doesn’t just change your circumstances, routine, or status…it changes you! I am still trying to determine if this change is for the better or worse. This complication of life really knows how to drag us to our lowest…or so we thought. Perhaps it is not the the situation that involves death, but the grief that follows which is the culprit. Perhaps they are a team and work together Like Joker and Harley Quinn. They embody so much negativity, fear, and guilt. It is so easy to become consumed by the emotions due to just losing the will to press on. Being exhausted from the constant flow of raw emotions. My Catholic faith tells me that death is not the end, and Adam is where he is free of whatever ailed him, but honestly that does not take away the hurt, anxiety, depression… Frankly, I don’t want it to! It is essential for my personality development. When you lose someone so close to you become a different person.

So let me elaborate on my thinking . Death is the creator of the black hole. It is what leave us needing one more minute, wishing for one more hug. This black hole is beginning. It forces us to begin contemplating our own mortality and planting the seeds of guilt. It exacerbates our insecurities and our fears. Guilt is the gravitational pull of this black hole. It takes hold of us and it is difficult and sometimes impossible to break free of. It all begins by just feeling the empty space that is now occupying your heart. Depending on how long and how much that particular person impacted you will determine how much you change. For my case, I was involved with Adam for eleven years, and of course, the relationship of a husband and wife it the most intimate relationship you have. Together we enjoyed many things that most young couples do…hanging out with friends, going on little excursion or trips, and so many other things. That did not change all that much when Henry was born. It just looked different. Now I have lost my desire for all of those things. My fear and grief have changed me. For someone who enjoyed being around people, I have alienated myself from many. For a person who enjoyed the outdoors and being active, I have become someone who would prefer to just exist on my couch. I choose to perseverate on the things that I wish I did. Did I press him enough about the doctor? Why couldn’t I figure what the triggers were for the seizures? Why didn’t I make him see his doctor regularly? What else could I have done to prevent this? How am I going to ensure my son’s success with a lack of male influence in his life? I spending hours and hours trying to find something to break me out of the gravitation pull. I find myself spiraling deeper and deeper. Just when you feel like you are making progress and you start to relax….BAM!!! It certainly does not help one bit, when your mind revolts and provides you a glimpse of what you desire the most in a vivid dream. You spend what seems like eternity in the most wonderful utopia with all you wish your life was, only to be abruptly awoken by reality. You have to wonder if the toxicity of these emotions will eventually overwhelm you. It is futile to even trying to fight your way through?

I know this is definitely heavy, but I have been thinking a lot about how this has affected me. I know that it will not feel like this forever, and eventually the guilt will become less and less. I will never be whole again, and learning to live with that will be the hardest hurdle. I’m just exhausted, but there is no rest for the weary. If only there was an antidote.

K. Marin