Wednesday, May 14, 2008
I know that my grandpa has made peace with the death and he is ready to travel on; however that doesn't make me any less sad to see him go... I can tell myself that "it is meant to be" "He will no longer be in pain" "this is what he wants" "he lived a fulfilling life" etc. But the deep sadness and loss doesn't go away. I didn't expect this to be this hard.
My grandfather is such an amazing man and I realize that life tends to get in the way of spending time with our elders... Hindsight is always 20/20 and it is always too late before we stop and reflect on the lack of time we make in our lives for those important to us.
"Time is precious" "You don't know what you have until it's gone" "Live for today, not tomorrow" - such stupid cliches each with such important meaning..... We hear these things so often that we forget why they are said in the first place.
My grandpa is stubborn and even in his adventure to death will not go easily. The hospice doesn't know how or why he is still alive. His pupils are now fixed and his body shutting down, but they have no idea why it is taking so long - I know why - Grandpa is always trying to surprise people and he is stubborn.
I have said my peace and so have Ron and the girls - but I know that once he has finally left us I will no doubt cry simply because the possibility of seeing him here on earth is no longer here.
I am thankful that he lived long enough for the girls to remember him. It is a sad struggle for Amber that she was so young when her grandpa Dave died. Memories are such an important part of life.
The other awakening for me is seeing a hospice/nursing home, so many sad faces, so many people that at one point were just like us - living life, raising kids, working jobs etc. I looked around and wondered - why aren't there more people visiting these folks... I wish that I could just go there and spend time with whomever is lonely... I also have a fear that someday it will be me, sitting alone in a wheelchair - desperately awaiting a visitor that doesn't come...
Saturday, May 10, 2008
I just got back from an interesting combination of activities. I went to the hospice and said goodbye to my grandpa. I am not sure what is harder...... saying goodbye after they are gone, or talking with them about the fact that they are going to die anytime.
My grandpa said "I tried to do everything right, I always tried to do the right thing," "Everybody has to die..... I am going to get to see a lot of people that have died; I have lost a lot of people". He asked me not to cry - I told him that I loved him and that I was sorry that my face was leaking on him... He told the girls that he loved pretty girls and that he would remember them always. Ron promised that he would forever take care of grandpa's ladies.
There were many tears - I have never seen my grandpa cry until today. Me - I hate crying especially when I can't stop it.... I am content that he will no longer be in pain, I just know how much I will miss his stubborn ways. What an amazing man..... We will love him always.. In the end we wished him a comfortable journey and a good trip. We promised that we would see him in a few decades when it is our time.
The irony of this trip to see grandpa is that we followed it by going to see my friend Traveler at the hearse convention. That felt pretty sick and twisted but we tried to have a good time. It was wild to see so many hearses in one place.
Traveler is so cool, she said that if Mallory needs a limousine for prom, Trav would drive her in the coolest limo in town - - her hearse..
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
The family - We have been having a fantastic time with the kids - we got an annual pass to the recreation center that has a huge pool and a great slide and diving boards. We are having a blast - Mallory and I are even working out while Ron, Tyler and Amber swim. We have been doing science projects at home as a family (not just the ones in the fridge). We have been growing crystals and planting an indoor garden. We also are amazed by our wonderful neighbors that feel like a second family. We do dinners together and frequently have cul-de-sac get-togethers that are just a blast. We feel so fortunate to be surrounded by such great people.
Mallory - She is meeting with her tutors this week, working hard on homework to pass the semester. She has her work cut out for her, but I am proud of her valiant efforts (without complaints). She is enjoying swimming as well - she does need a new swimsuit though - she has lost her top off of the diving board and her bottoms are practically see through... A couple of days a week she is working for my sister and brother in law - trying to save money to buy her own car since we have to sell hers to pay her medical bills. We would not be surviving this without them. They are such positive people and really have embraced the best of Mallory.
Amber - Amber is addicted to the water slide at the pool! It took 5 trips to the pool to get her to try it. Ron has an amazing relationship with her and has encouraged her to do some scary things (the water slide). AMBER EVEN JUMPED OFF THE DIVING BOARD! This is the kid that won't even ride a bike because it is too scary... Amber is blooming into a great little gal - she is excited to start volleyball again this season, swimming 3+ times per week, field trips every Friday this summer at camp and more.
Tyler - WOW! He is doing so well at school we couldn't be more proud. He plays outside with Amber everyday and has been enjoying his new motorized scooter. He is even attending school when he doesn't have to for extra credit. He did burn his arm in auto shop today on a motor - but he is fine. He amazes us every time he does his chores without being told, homework without being asked and just being a great kid all the way around.
Ron - Again WOW! I feel so fortunate to have Ron, he has embraced the kids like a Dad should. He is there to encourage them to do scary things, take them to appointments and love them in general. He is working a lot and keeping the house together while I am gone.
Me - I am in the middle of my statistics class, doing my internship which is going very well and work which is crazier than ever (of course - it is a mental hospital, so I guess it is normal.)
All in all - life is good amidst chaos...
Love you all!!
Sunday, April 6, 2008
In our time of need - our support system was shown and we still cannot believe the amount of love and kindness in the world from our closest friends, our extended family and even people we barely know. I found one supportive lady at the laundrymat when I was washing 24 loads of Mallory's clothes before she came home. Strange how good people show up out of nowhere when we need them.
Mallory is home and adjusting to her restrictions. She has been surprised at everything that is gone from her room, after we removed everything goth, dark, reference to suicide, reference to depression or just inappropriate in general - there wasn't much. We are asking ourselves why we allowed all of it to begin with... Unknowingly assisting her in slipping to what she calls the dark side.
We have decided with Amber that pink and yellow are the only colors allowed :)
Ron has arranged to work partially from home and his sister has been very kind in offering to hire Mallory part-time during the day to keep her occupied, supervised and allow her to save for a car, since Ron and I are selling hers to pay the medical bills.
We have had other rough developments that I will explain later in regards to Barry - tragic mistakes can lead to a lifetime of consequences...
Thursday, April 3, 2008
We cannot thank everyone enough for:
- The love and kindness
- The understanding without judgment
- The meals and hugs
- The babysitting & helping Amber and Tyler understand that we didn't all desert them
- The kind comments that made us feel not alone
Things we appreciate and tend to get short tempered about (Not meant to sound bitchy):
- People not saying "it was a cry for help" because it wasn't - she was ready to die...
- People not telling us that her liver will heal - because it can't... this is progressive damage
- Advice, right now we are following the professionals advice as they have dealt and learned from thousands of adolescents, if that doesn't work we will ask for advice...
- People not saying that it was "just" pot - she has an uncontrollable addiction that led her to feel depressed and hopeless. If it wasn't pot it would have been something else. She has been putting the "pot band aid" on her wounds of depression.
In our world of hopeless health insurance they will not approve Mallory going into the 8 week residential treatment until (unless) she "fails" at intensive outpatient therapy - hopefully this time it will not end with additional permanent damage or death.
Mallory's restrictions when she comes home as set by her Doctor and Social Worker:
- No cell phone (for at least 6 months and even then; no texting)
- No Computer access without a parent actually watching (no MySpace, Facebook etc.)
- No friends over without parents in the room
- No phone calls without parents in the room
- She cannot leave the house without parents or be left anywhere without sober responsible adults.
Mallory will go to Individual Therapy for 1 hour per week
Mallory will get 6 hours of Substance Abuse Treatment per week
Mallory will get 3 hours per week of Family Substance Abuse Treatment per week
Mallory will have random UA's and BA's to monitor her sobriety
And all of this will take place in Louisville Colorado (Over an hour away from home).
How do we plan to manage all of this? Ron is asking work if he can work from home for 12 weeks. Family and friends are working toward having Mallory stay with them during the day here and there (She can work for free and be helpful around the house...), Her Dad is also willing to take her to work with him (unless it is at a construction site-for god sakes).
Mallory's car will be sold to pay all of the medical bills which are already mounting. Not counting her upcoming treatment which will cost approximately $1,000+ per month.
Life as we knew it will be much different now - but if it saves our baby's life - it is worth more than anything in this world. Oh - and as we said everything has changed we even shaved her cat!!
We look forward to Mallory's progression and will never seek to find perfection...
We love you all!
Coni, Ron, Mallory, Amber, Tyler and Barry
Sunday, March 30, 2008
We got her to Swedish hospital at which time her pulse was averaging 40-48 beats per minute and her blood pressure was 80/40... again...... she was on her way... She had lost so much fluid that they were going to attempt an IV in her foot, but then got one into her arm. Unfortunately they had to run 2 IV lines at the same time - so in all she got 7 attempts and IV's this weekend.
She was transferred today to a psychiatric hospital in Louisville. She is on an involuntary hold - which means even as her parents - we can't bring her home.
We will be having her liver tested a lot in the next few weeks as her levels of enzymes are not right - they should be about 35 and hers are 90 (climbing from what they were yesterday - which is BAD). The bad news - if her liver continues to degenerate - there is nothing they can do... Which is the saddest part of all.
One of the saddest aspects of this is that she text-messaged 2 of her friends before taking the pills to say "good-bye, I love you and I am sorry, I am gonna die" - Both friends replied with "K"... Unbelievable! They came to see her at the hospital and I gave them an earful.
We are hoping for the best, but reality is reminding us to expect the worst.
I love you all so much - thank you for your support right now. I hope that we can help her live long enough to get through her teenage years.
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Update on the adults (or so we are called)
Ron - Ron has been working hard on his truck - He is so amazing!!! He changed out his transmission in his truck last weekend in 5 hours (by himself)... It kind of pissed me off because the last time I took a car to the shop for a transmission it took them a week and they charged me for 30 hours of labor (Oh and like $1,600). It is so exciting to see his project truck change like a transformer!
Me - Well, I hit my limit!! 22 hours awake in a 24 hour day does horrible things to your body and your brain... I was trying to drive home from work and I COULDN'T keep the car in the lane no matter how hard I tried. I was crying from exhaustion and pulled over to make a call that I HAD to make that morning and when they asked me for my phone number I couldn't remember it. I had drank so much coffee that I was shaking and it took me 3 tries to dial the phone. I made it most of the way home and realized I had missed to street to get to my house, so I turned at the next street right in front of a car... Luckily I made it home safe, slept and still have only regained limited functioning... THAT is what I call "Hitting your limit" or "Having your limit hit you".
The kids -
Amber - she is such a doll, she got another 5 green behavior cards at school this week, I am guessing due to one of the following:
She has worked really hard to stay out of trouble
The medication she is on is really working well
The fact that she has a substitute teacher that doesn't know about the behavior card system...
I am also wondering when Amber will get a sense of style if any. She is defying the odds of the color wheel in every way possible. Either she goes to school wearing Mallory's clothes which makes her look like the little girl off of the move Little Miss Sunshine OR she looks like a homeless kid with layers of clothes that don't match (I am talking like mint green, red and electric blue). In addition, we can't convince her to wear a bra and her little buds are shining through her clothes. We decided that working on her wearing deodorant was more of a priority than the bra since she smells like a busy day at the gym most of the time.
Mallory - she is doing so well, we have had a great week. She has been keeping herself in control and it feels like there is a new "aura" in the house... I find it amazing that just one person in the house improving their attitude can do for everyone!
Tyler - he is so quiet and sweet. It is hard for us sometimes because he prefers to spend time alone.... We are trying to get him more involved in the family but he just kind of goes his own way. Ideas?
Sunday, February 17, 2008
I woke up at 9:00am on a Sunday to take Amber to see Hannah Montana in the theaters. I really thought that it would rank right up there with getting a colonic. It was in 3-D and yes, it was annoying and terrible.... However, seeing Amber jumping up and down giggling and screaming was worth every bit of the pain and torture (and the $30 the tickets cost - plus $12 in popcorn and a bucket of soda). What a sight, she was SO excited...
Right now I am sitting here listening to torture; no not Hannah Montana - Mallory screaming and crying because she is sick of being grounded. It is a four day weekend for her and she is miserable... God I hate being a mom sometimes. Of course, we never believed our parents when they said that grounding us hurt them as much as it did us...... now we know; grounding does hurt us as parents.
I am going to get to escape to work in the next 2 hours and I can't wait. The pain of listening to her cry is unbearable.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
She has 2 brothers - one was born yesterday...
She also has a sister
They are all under the age of 5.
I am feeling a little better - Mally was on cloud nine, I am still nervous that she is going to get hurt...
Friday, February 15, 2008
I have always wanted her to be content in the "dad" department. I just worry that she will be disappointed. I was so crushed when Barry left and she was lonely and abandoned. When Ron came back into the picture she displayed some hope that not all "dad's" are bad... Ron is wonderful to her but she has always been searching for that "real dad".
Jason is a great guy - he actually wouldn't talk to her until he talked to me to make sure that I was ok with it. He also wanted to respect my wishes since he had signed away all rights. He sounds like he is doing well in life (married, kids etc.).
What is strange to me is that Mallory has siblings out there (a lot of them) that she doesn't know. It never really crossed my mind that she has brothers and sisters other than Amber.
I think what it comes down to is............................ I don't share well.
Not really an interesting blog - but I do feel better. Thanks for reading.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
I have found that my brain is purging everything that is not a part of survival, such as:
Blogging to update my friends
Passwords to everything I need
and - I can't remember if there is anything else
Yes, it is true - I am not quite sure of the last time I showered because I am not even sure what day it is... Yesterday I slept for a whole 3 hours of a 24 hour day... I am seeing wrinkles that I don't think were there a month ago, black bags under my eyes that are making me look like a raccoon and children that I can't remember if they are mine.
The good news is - I only have another 11 months of this before I can move on with my life, get to know my kids again and possibly get a face lift to repair the damage of this year...
What I find truly amazing is that when you don't have any time, you inevitably are able to find time for those things important to you (obviously showering is not very important to me - although I think those around me disagree with my priorities). I have seen my friends in town more, called more people that I know and I think it is because I am so frantically fearful that I will lose touch with the world. Did any of you know there was a tornado in Tennessee?? I didn't... I guess news is not important anymore either.
Here is what I "think" is happening with my family in the last couple of weeks:
Amber - she is learning life lessons on how to behave properly by watching other children's behavior and trying to reproduce it... surprisingly she is doing well with this.
Mallory - she is doing VERY well. Things got rough for her and she is picking herself up off the ground, dusting off the dirt, healing the bruises and moving on with life. I have high hopes for her abilities. She has signed up for Warren Tech to learn how to be a something I can't spell but it has to do with skincare... She is doing really well at work and even picked up an extra shift when someone called in sick. This is something that most teenagers don't sign up for - extra work!!
Tyler - Tyler was sick and was grounded to "staying home from school". He really wanted to go to school but with much protest he agreed to stay home and vomit...
Ron - oh Ron... he is trying so hard to keep up with his life at work, at home, as a husband, a parent, a computer programmer, a mechanic, oh and did I mention a parent. He has taken on so much of the duties that I cannot do and he is doing an incredible job. He is enjoying playing with his new motor from a Lexus that he is putting into his 4runner. Oh and he is soon to be quitting smoking amidst all of this....
That is all for now - I love and miss you all... I will be paroled from my internship in 11 months and hopefully I will still remember all of your names. Bye for now.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Sad news... My ex-husband Barry (Ambers Dad), his brother Greg died yesterday. Greg was a great guy always independent and successful. In the last few years things became tough. He couldn't handle how unforgiving and tough life could be. It is suspected that he accidentally ended his young life yesterday afternoon trying to numb the pain of misfortune. Please take a moment to send heartfelt thoughts to his 12 year old daughter and 8 year old son and his wonderful wife of many years.
This situation is so similar to many in this world; this is yet another reason I chose to go into the mental health field. I only wish that more people had the courage to get help.
Update on Mallory - so we have always talked about college with Mallory until about 6 years ago when I got called into her therapists office and asked to quit talking about it "Mallory is NOT interested in going to college". We were crushed and the only bright side we could see in it all is that we could use her college money to build an addition on the house - ensuring that she will have a place to live since without college she probably wouldn't be able to afford a place of her own.
Last week Mallory asked if I could look at the Metro State website to see what the admission requirements were (I assumed that she was asking for a friend). She then saw what the ACT/SAT scores need to be in accordance with GPA. It was one of "those" moments....... she looked at me and said "Mom, I need to get my grades up and get a study book for the ACT/SAT". It was every parents dream - that moment when your child makes an adult decision that you want them to make, but each time you bring it up, they are pushed further for it. I asked her what changed her mind and she said "Well, I can't live on minimum wage now can I?"
I went and bought her the book to study from and got that "I have a masters degree" attitude and sat down to read the questions in the book....... Oh my, we forget a lot...... I effectively answered about 10 questions out of 50 (and I guessing on 6 of them)...
We also need to some good thoughts sent Mallory's way - on Thursday she is having $1,900 in oral surgery done... She is getting 4 impacted wisdom teeth removed and some procedure to encourage her stubborn 12 year molar to make an appearance.... Yeah, I did say $1,900...
Talk to you all soon.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Me - I have been busy with my internship now for a couple of weeks and things have been hectic... I am treating domestic violence offenders and it has been interesting. Society has a view of these guys like they are all sitting around in "wife beater" t-shirts and hate women. NOT TRUE, most of these guys are normal guys that just need to learn proper responses to anger and frustration. There are some that society would mark as typical but most of them seem to be truly interested in changing their ways - I am excited to be part of their journey!
I am only working 75 hours per week - Yippee, only 50 more weeks of this and I will be graduated!!
I have also been running the kids to appointments and I got frustrated because nobody had convenient appointment times that fit my schedule. After getting mad though I realized that the only convenient time for appointments was after 7pm on Saturday nights. My doctors office and the dentist office tout convenient appointment times - but not in my book. I suddenly realized that there AREN'T any convenient times anymore.
I decided to take some time out and go get a manicure pedicure at one of the asian shops by our house, I was enjoying myself (not really, having someone rip your cuticles off is Not very relaxing). I was in a state of calm when the lady said "you wan eyebow wax? you uppose to hab two" it was at this moment I realized that I have been too busy for beauty regimine and yes... I had one eyebrow - not two... That's ok though, I will pluck them while in traffic on my way to work :)
Mallory - She has been doing SO well. She slipped up once and now if grounded for an indefinite amount of time, but she knows that she made some bad choices and just needs to do a little more work on herself...
Amber - Well, Amber started taking medication to lessen the anxiety that causes her to act strange when she is nervous. The medication works well, except for extreme circumstances such as the hamsters getting out... Mallory bought a new hamster that was small enough to get out of the cage. So we had 2 hamsters on the loose, with 3 cats in the house.
Amber was in the bathroom (going #2) and the hamster ran under the door of the bathroom. Of course the logical thing to do in Ambers world is to stand up tackle the hamster and squeeze it to her chest and run to Mom screaming (pants not quite up yet - oh and she didn't have time to wipe).
So she finds me in the garage and is screaming and holding her chest and crying - of course I immediately think she is hurt as she is grasping her chest. She finally says "hammmmster"!!!!!! So we get the hamster back into our smaller cage and set out to find the other one. As we are looking Amber peeks under the dresser - begins screaming, hits her head on the drawer and starts to hyperventilate. I could care less about the hamster, Amber was about to pass out, all I could do was tell her to breathe while I caught the hamster. Now we have both hamsters in a small cage and then realized we have now put a boy and a girl hamster in the same cage. I will look forward to blogging about our newborn dwarf hamsters....
Tyler - Tyler is doing really well, he is getting good grades and enjoying living with us (I think..). It is always hard to tell with teenage boys what they are thinking. They generally don't listen until you say something like "star-wars" or "transformers". He got grounded for the first time, which he handled well - he was grounded from video games and well without them - he went to bed at 6:00pm...
Ron - Poor Ron, he has been working his job and fixing every virus ridden computer that has landed in our bedroom..... Keep in mind he no longer has an office so he has spent a lot of time in Tylers room fixing computers. Ron has also had his hands full with the cars; he has replaced the "rack" of the focus (sounds like it got a boob job). I also took the Volvo in for an alignment and oil change and was informed that my car needed new brakes and rotors (no problem it's only going to be an extra $800). So, Ron being Ron is going to do the work himself, after all the parts are only $250.
OK - NOW the big news for Ron, he is so excited to have purchased a Lexus engine for the 4-runner, he is going to use a chevy transmission to make his Toyota capable of hauling a "truggy" which will be mine when we are 4-wheeling. Yes, this sounds insane to me too, a 22 year old truck with at least 1 part from every make of car BUT Ford. But this is what Ron enjoys doing in his free time. Truck parts are like crack cocaine for him.
Talk to you all soon...
Friday, January 11, 2008
Tyler: Playing Guitar Hero at full volume...
Mallory: Listening to AC/DC at full volume to drown out guitar hero
Amber: Watching 4,000 episodes of the same Hannah Montana show, giving her own concert..
All of them: Fighting non-stop at volumes above all items listed above
All of them: Playing World Wide Wrestling in my living room and then crying because they got hurt!
Although it is tough to sleep; I LOVE the sounds of a house full kids - at least they are home and not off getting in trouble.
Also, I am hereby toasting the teachers of the world that now have the children everyday until Spring break!!
Love you all...
Saturday, January 5, 2008
This is my best christmas memory for this year! A day with the girls in Conifer opening gifts, eating food, drunk roller-skating and just laughing, crying and having fun!
My best gift: A beautiful pink blanket made by Lance - a man who is redefining who he is, a master crafter! Not sure how to turn the picture - so turn your head...
LIFE SINCE CHRISTMAS!!!
OK so things have been interesting in the last two weeks.
I went to my interview for an internship at Parker, Froyd and Associates. They are a Forensic Psychology group working with Court Ordered Clients.
I was so nervous about the interview I actually pulled over on the way there and threw up EWE!! I was careful not to blow chunks on my suit jacket, but my breath was atrocious so I put gum in my mouth, forgot to take it out and almost choked on it in the lobby........... YIKES, I am dying for this internship but I was worried I was going to die in their lobby...
After I gained my composure I walked into the interview and I must say - the Gods are not crazy today - they are amazing. This place is an interns dream, they actually seem to want to help me go from a baby therapist to a big girl. They are going to help me get certified by the DVOMB (Domestic Violence Offender Management Board) which is no small task. They are willing to offer me the hours I want (2 evenings a week, all day friday and 1 saturday a month)... I am in awe of how things are coming together. Thank you to all of you who summoned whatever higher power you beleive in and sent good thoughts my way..
I am not being a narcissist by putting a picture of myself (a bad picture) on my blog - I am only letting you all see what I look like since you may not see me for a year (because of my internship) and I am sure the after picture will look like the next photo...
Oh my - I am going to be tired...........
SPLIT MY PANTS
OH MY! I went to get in the car last night to go to the chiropractor and the seat felt awfully warm (I have heated seats). I go into the chiropractor and lay face down on the table when my oh so smooth husband says "Honey you need new pants" what he failed to tell me was that my ENTIRE ASS was hanging out!!!!
After a bright red giggle or two the chiropractor says he has seen it all (You bet he has ALL OF MY ASS). So as he is adjusting me, they rip some more. My only saving thought is "Thank god I didn't wear a thong, or better yet, go commando." So I get ready to leave walking out of the building as proud as can be that I... am not afraid to let the world see my Hello Kitty underwear.
NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS
- Spend some time writing all of my Oh so fun adventures, so I may never forget them - and tell the world about them.
- Work my rear end off at my internship (Translation: See you all next year!).
- Spend lots of quality time with the kids (Translation: Room searches and discipline) - I am hoping to help Amber with her anxiety by spending more time with her...... when I can find some.
- Keep in touch at least over the phone once per month with every one of my friends.
- Thank my husband daily for taking me and all of my adventures in stride and loving me anyway!
- Be nicer to people (not nice..... just nicer).