Sunday, February 22, 2015

8 Months Old | Benjamin Craig

I crawl.
I clap when I am happy or when someone sings!
I sit up on my own.
I eat fruits and vegetables, twice a day.
I like vegetables best!
I am very determined to get where I want to go.
I want to be held, but I also want to go play - what a dilemma!
I love songs with hand motions and being tickled.
I reserve my laughter for only the funniest things - you have to work for it.
I laugh the most when people scare me... peek a boo!

I also want to give myself a big high-five.
I have exclusively pumped for this little guy for eight months. I am a bad ass.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

shining through the darkness.

One year ago today, the worst happened. We were overwhelmed with darkness, but Dad's light shone through - even then. I spent two years living in fear, and then the scary, horrible nightmare happended. I lived in fear, and then I could rest - rest in the peace that the big question was answered - even though the answer was death.

That has been a hard thing to express and come to terms within the last year. I don't actually feel comfort in his death, but the fear is gone - and on some level, that brings relief.
The horrifying thing happened - and I survived it.

Pastor Nanette says not to run from the darkness. We could spend life distracting ourselves from the pain, but she says, "get in there" - let's show up to our own lives, even the dark stuff. Let's be courageous and brave and get comfortable with our heartache. Let's talk about it. Let's grieve. And, I think that's how we're supposed to be - present - existing in the dank, dark crap that happens in our lives and simultaneously accepting that there is something hopeful and powerful in this world connecting us to one another. You don't get over it, you get through it. And, not alone.

Thank you to so many of you who helped me through it.
I couldn't have survived this year without my family and friends.

Big thoughts after a year? I miss him.
That's all.
I just want to hear his voice,
and kiss his head,
and lean in on the couch,
and tell him about all the things he missed.

But, I am hopeful.
And, after the year I've had, I'd say that's success.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

f*** cancer

I wear a bracelet that says, "F*** Cancer." It doesn't actually say the word - it is an F with three astericks. My friend Nate gave it to me in solidarity. (Sadly, losing a loved one to cancer is now something we have in common.) I don't advertise it, but I have worn it each day since my Dad went into the hospital last year on January 25. It became a ritual for me. On the days I forgot to put the bracelet on, I wore it around the house at the end of the day. Call it cathartic, call it ceremonial, superstitious - it was a way to honor my father daily.

Last Saturday, it broke.

Exactly one year from the Saturday we took him to the hospital.

I wore it for 365 days.

I am still letting it sink in.

This entire week has been a trigger... board meetings, strange weather, snow in the forecast. All of it reminds me of last year. The day is coming, and I cannot run away from it.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Retracing my footsteps in grief.

“You will lose someone you can’t live without,and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.” - Anne Lamott


I see the day coming like a freight train. As we approach the year anniversary, I find myself retracing the moments of that day.

I remember feeling such relief when the first early phone call came - the office was closing for the second day in a row. The snow was still thick on the road, and I was excited to close my eyes and fold myself back into my bed.
We had been practically living at the hospital for the previous ten days. Now, Dad was finally back home, and I was safe and warm in my bed. I did not have to go to KU Med. I did not have to drive downtown in the 14 inches of snow. I could stay in my bed - safe from harm.
The second phone call changed my life. I made Evan say it at least three times. Come home, he said. The doctor called. And Dad has just days left. I knew it wasn't a joke, but I still kept making him repeat it. I made him promise me it was the truth.

The drive was a blur. The roads were empty, and the snow deep. I felt numb.

I remember kneeling next to the recliner and Dad telling me that he was done fighting. I remember holding his hand, and kissing his head, and crying. He seemed just as surprised to be saying it as I was to be hearing it.

He made jokes. He made requests. We planned his funeral. Together.

We made calls - frantic calls. We felt desperate for support.

We huddled in groups crying and tried to keep him from seeing how messy and unraveled we were all becoming. The house started filling with loved ones, and at one point he even joked, "Is this the pre-party?"

I spent hours listening to the instructions of the hospice nurse. She ordered medicine, she told us what to expect. I sat at the table trying to listening carefully to her instructions, even though I wanted to be in the other room with him.

Friends visited. Food was dropped off. Facebook statuses were updated. Love expressed. Tears shed.

And, even though it was supposed to be coming... we didn't see it coming that evening. They had said days. He was just making a joke, and then - boom. The house erupted into panic and disorder - screaming and sobbing and shock. He was gone. I heard him tell the dog to be quiet, and then it overtook him. Suddenly and without warning. Not like the quiet, painful death they had been describing to us all day. He was with us - and then he wasn't.

A couple images cross my mind daily - my brother screaming out the front door, Pam picking me up off of the floor, Gary yelling down the street for my cousins to leave the kids in the car. And then the look on Matt's face. He was too late.

It was one of the most painful experiences of my life, yet I find myself searching for details of the day in my thoughts regularly. I have to remember the order in which it all happened, or somehow I don't honor him, or care, or have control over it. And, I like control.

This year has been an unending spiral of events that have forced me to let go of my expectations and simply breathe.

One day at a time.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

7 Months Old | Benjamin Craig

I eat vegetables.
I am growing fast.
I sit now, and I love to roll across the room.
The only way I will fall asleep at night is relaxing with Daddy.
I want to examine anything new.
I am curious to the core.

Monday, December 22, 2014

6 Months Old | Benjamin Craig

Six Months!
Our litle guy is in the 5th percentile for weight, 
and 50th for height and head circumference!

Benjamin's sixth month was a busy one! We started eating rice cereal at the end of the month in preparation for veggies. He met Santa Claus and enjoyed Christmas celebrations with friends and family. Benjamin is rolling over and over and over... and practicing standing and sitting. He loves music and his dog and his parents. Mostly, he is just one smiley, happy kid. We are very blessed.