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Showing posts from 2012

Reflections on 2012

As I sit here thinking back over 2012 I cannot believe how dramatically my life has changed in just twelve short months.We started the year on a frustrating note, by buying a “new” used vehicle and finding out that we had bought from a disreputable dealer and that there were thousands of dollars in issues that took six to eight weeks to mostly resolve.
When we sold our rental home in York Haven in 2010, we had put the money in the bank as a cushion when we left houseparenting at Milton Hershey.In 2012, since we both were working full-time, we decided that this money would benefit us better by paying off the mortgage on our house.This was such a freeing feeling for both of us, at our age, to own our home outright.
Scott was working a lot of hours at the beginning of the year, once working 80 hours in one week.At that time Scott was working PRN at Philhaven, just picking up open shifts.Later in the year, these hours began to dry up and Scott accepted a float position at Philhaven working…

Grief Share and Advice for Those Helping the Grieving

In my Grief Share class today, the video was focused on the loss of a spouse.I was caught off guard that I was more emotional today discussing the different things in the video than I was throughout the Christmas holidays.Maybe it was the culmination of the emotions from the holidays and maybe I am more relaxed emotionally in this group as everyone has suffered a loss.Most of the things discussed in the video I could relate to.We were discussing the fact that sometimes close friends seem to draw away after the death and how painful that is.I don’t think that I have experienced a lot of that, but I see things from a different perspective.Because I am faced with the loss every day, I am further along in my grief journey than friends and family who do not face the loss daily.As Scott was not part of their daily routine, it is easy to go along and not think about the loss, until they are around Jaelyn and I, then they are face to face with the loss that has not really been processed.
I th…

Rambling Thoughts about the House and Scott

I took the night off from working on the house.  My arm, back, and leg muscles are aching from painting at the house, up and down the ladder to get the edges and reach the upper part of the wall.   I'm very thankful for my dad being willing to paint the ceilings -- not sure I would have been able to paint two days in a row if I had to paint the ceilings! 

I can't tell you how many times I have wished for Scott to be here helping with the painting.  Scott was so good at edging, even after owning rental properties for eleven years, he never taped off rooms to paint.  He was so patient and careful.  I never had the patience to do the edging.  Although if Scott was still here, we wouldn't have been ready to buy a new house, thus not needing to do the painting.  Such mixed feelings.  I am excited about the house and the progress being made, but I also feel guilty for feeling excited.  I don't like feeling like I benefited from Scott's death.  I know Scott wouldn't l…

Thoughts of Scott at Christmas

We are home again after going to the cabin with my parents and spending two days with the Bradleys.Christmas was full of memories of Scott, laughter, and a few tears.Yet, in the quiet moments in the car driving and sitting here at home, I feel the tears coming.In the quiet moments it is hard to not think about all that we have lost this year with the loss of Scott.I miss feeling his arms around me, his laugh lighting up the room, him playing with Jaelyn, and rough housing with the dogs.It is still so hard to believe that he is gone.I still find myself relieving the moment I heard about his death, seeing his still body at the hospital, the difficult phone calls to his friends, and breaking the news to Jaelyn.
I am grateful that the holidays have not been somber and sad, but full of laughter – that is what Scott enjoyed the most about getting together with family and friends.I kept imagining his laughter ringing out over everyone else’s laughter.His mom and I were jokingafter all the pre…

Christmas at the Cabin

Sunday, December 23, 201210:00 p.m.
We are at the cabin to celebrate Christmas with my parents.This was something that we had planned before Scott’s death, but the change in tradition is helping to ease us through the holidays.It has been cold and extremely windy, so we were cooped up in the cabin all day Saturday, except when we went to Wellsboro for ice cream.We chose to open our gifts Friday evening after Jaelyn and I arrived at the cabin, so that Jaelyn could use her Christmas gifts the rest of the weekend.This worked out particularly well given the weather forecast and spending most of the day Saturday inside.We have spent a lot of time talking about Scott and memories of times with Scott at the cabin and during the holiday season.Jaelyn is doing better this time at the cabin, even though she didn’t have a great day on Saturday with her attitude.I think some of it was from being cooped up inside and part of it grief related.
This morning Jaelyn and I drove into Mansfield to the Wal…

Jaelyn's Christmas Philosophies

I find myself reflecting the last couple of days on Jaelyn and her attitude about Christmas. I think that I and other adults could learn much from her attitude.Of course Jaelyn is excited about Christmas, often pointing out items in commercials that she would like to have, and these ideas change daily or weekly.Yet, her focus much more often is what gifts I have picked for different family members or friends or what gifts she has chosen for them.
As parents Scott and I chose not to really do the whole Santa Claus thing with her.She has known from the beginning that Santa is not real.I think this has given her a different perspective on Christmas, in that it is not simply a day to get gifts from Santa, but a day to choose special gifts for those who are special to us.We have always celebrated Christmas Eve with Jaelyn as I did growing up with my family, by reading the Christmas story and praying together.
The last couple of Christmas’s with Jaelyn have shown us a side of Jaelyn that is u…

Swirling Emotions

I am feeling jittery and anxious tonight.I have been feeling more down since the Sandy Hook tragedy.It has brought all the grief emotions flooding back into my mind.This combined with Christmas getting closer and feeling overwhelmed with everything that needs done at the new house is causing a feeling of anxiety and of being unsettled.I think beginning to work on the new house, while taking steps forward, those steps feel like steps away from Scott.I know I need to move forward with my life and I am taking the steps in that direction.I also know that I am going to have to work through the guilt many times about moving forward.I have so much to do this week before leaving for the cabin and yet I feel like my feet are stuck in concrete.
Just working at the house yesterday with my parents brought up many conversations about Scott.As my mom and I were taping off the trim in the bedrooms, getting ready to paint, I wished Scott was there.He never taped off rooms for painting.Scott had an ama…

Thoughts about Sandy Hook and Grief

In the last day and a half, my thoughts keep turning to the families, teachers, and children from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.I’m sure that almost everyone across our nation and around the world has been thinking and praying for these families.I know that I am not alone in grieving with them.I find myself thinking back over my grief journey and cannot even begin to imagine the shock and grief that these families are experiencing.Everyone is asking the question why.And while the why is very important to know in order to prevent this from happening again, I find myself thinking that the why is not going to change anything for these families.The why is not going to bring their child or loved one back.The why is not going to take their pain away.In fact, the why may actually cause more pain, if the why is something had warning signs or was preventable.Honestly, there is no answer to the why question that would make everything all right.
I can only begin to imagine the anger…

HE IS NOT HERE

I was reading a post from a grief blog tonight that really summed up a lot of the thinking I have had since Scott’s death.I often hear people say that they can’t understand why Scott had to die so young and they wish they had the answers.I also cannot understand why Scott had to die so young, but I have not continually asked that question.Having the answer would not change the fact that he is gone and having the answer would not take the pain away.I have inserted a section of the blog post that I read because I think it so clearly explains what my grief journey looks and feels like.
A woman I have walked with following the murder of her daughter made one of the most profound statements about grief I have ever heard. She was telling me about all the answers and advice she was being bombarded with; How someone seemed to send her some spiritual inspiration almost every day and how they made great effort to explain and reassure her about the wellbeing of her daughter. She said, "They …

Buying a New House

Today I settled on a new house.This came with lots of mixed emotions.It is exciting to buy a new house and planning for all the changes in the house. Yet, there are sad feelings about moving on without Scott.It doesn’t feel right that these steps are only possible because of Scott’s death.I struggle with the concept of being more secure financially because of Scott’s death.My dad reminds me that I would be angry with him if he hadn’t planned for the future and we were struggling, that this is exactly why we got life insurance.My head knows that, but my heart struggles with the reality.All the things that are happening as we move forward are things that Scott and I dreamed about together.I would give it all up in a heartbeat to have Scott back, regardless of how tight our finances would be.I often feel guilty for being excited about the new things happening and moving forward.
Jaelyn is excited about moving and wishing that we were moving now.However, there is much that I would like to …

Basketball Practice

Jaelyn had her first basketball practice of the season tonight.As I was sitting on the gym floor at Lickdale Elementary School, a couple of thoughts were running through my head.First thought was how small the gym looked – when I went to school there the gym always seemed so big.It almost didn’t even seem like the same room.I have only been back to Lickdale a handful of times since I left there at the end of sixth grade.Everything just seems so much smaller.
The next thoughts that went through my head were that I wished Scott was there.He loved to play basketball so much and he would have loved to watch Jaelyn play.Scott would have been at the basketball net tomorrow practicing the skills with Jaelyn.He certainly would not have been sitting quietly watching the practice.He would have been calling in his own coaching of Jaelyn during the practice. Scott should have been a coach – he couldn’t just sit on the sidelines at any practice or game that Jaelyn was in.I wanted to sit there and c…

Firsts in the Steps for a New Normal

While I look forward to spending time with friends, it is bittersweet.Getting together last night with Bill, Laurie and Camry, Craig, and Bob was fun, but it was the first time that this group of friends has been together with us since Scott’s funeral. We try to go out to eat every couple of months to celebrate birthdays or just to catch up.The standing joke was how long it took Scott to decide what he was ordering.It was good to see everyone and have time to talk.A lot of time was spent talking about Scott, memories and looking at pictures.I don’t think there was as much laughing without Scott.His quirky sense of humor kept his friends laughing.It feels so weird without Scott.
Sometimes I feel mentally off balance when getting together with family and friends.I’m still trying to find my way and my place in relationships now that my “identity” has changed and the dynamics have changed without Scott.There is a different “flavor” and atmosphere without Scott’s presence.Everything is chan…

Health and Rest

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.”Psalm 62: 5-6
I was reading the daily devotional in my Grief Share Workbook today.Grief is exhausting and being a single parent is exhausting.When the two are combined, there are weeks when it takes all the strength I have to make it through the week to the weekend when things usually slow down a little bit.I must confess that for a while I wasn’t worried about eating healthy or getting exercise.Simply getting through each week took all the energy that I had.
I am thankful for my co-workers who are concerned about their own health and getting exercise encouraging me to participate in another Biggest Loser competition at work (I won the last one at work over the summer with a loss of 25 pounds).I have to admit that when we started a couple of weeks ago, my head was not in it.I have always been an emotional eater and was struggling to find an alternati…

Jaelyn, Sports, and her Daddy

I finally talked with Jaelyn’s basketball coach tonight.Due to some issues with my home phone, she was unable to get through to me about starting practices.Jaelyn starts practices next week and games start in January.It is so hard to think of watching Jaelyn play basketball without Scott.Basketball was one of Scott’s two favorite sports, volleyball being the other one.He would have gotten so much pleasure out of watching her play.It is particularly bittersweet since Scott was playing basketball just before his death.I’m glad that Jaelyn no longer seems to be avoiding sports and activities that remind of her daddy.It is going to be pretty busy until around the middle of January – now she has basketball practices two times each week, soccer games once a week until the middle of January.I think that the soccer games end in January the same weekend that basketball games start which then run through March 9th.I’m hoping there will be a break after that before spring soccer starts.
Jaelyn is…

Sneaker Waves

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.The Lord be with all of you.”2 Thessalonians 3:16

I recently read a story online about a couple and their son on the west coast that were swept away by “sneaker” waves while trying to save their dog from the waves.I had never heard of “sneaker” waves before, but when I read the description of them, it struck me how much like grief they are.When I am at the beach I enjoy walking along the edge of where the waves break on the beach.Sneaker waves are huge waves that come seemingly out of nowhere and engulf and swallow anything in its path.The beach on which this family was walking had warnings posted about sneaker waves and not to walk too close to where the waves break on shore due to the danger of being caught off guard and swept out to sea.I see grief very much as walking along the edge of where the waves break onto the beach, with the waves washing over your feet and ankles – making it more difficult to wa…

Marriage Vows

I, Lori, take you Scott, to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.
I’m not sure why, but I have been thinking about our wedding vows today.I think that it is so easy to make those vows and most people (including myself) think that they are going to be easy to keep.I learned that keeping those vows was one of the hardest things I have ever done.I know that on our wedding day, there wasn’t a thought of the possibility of being a widow at age 38 with an 8 year old daughter.I know that there wasn’t a thought of serious illness for me starting in my early 30’s.I know that there wasn’t a thought of one of us struggling with depression and anxiety.I know that there wasn’t a thought of the challenges of blending two different lives and two different ways of thinking.I think that most people say their marriage vows with hope and dre…

Messages of Encouragement

I am grateful for the messages of encouragement either by snail mail or email that always seem to come at the times when I need them the most.I am amazed sometimes where those words of encouragement come from – some from people I have never met or only met once or twice, from extended family, friends of friends, and friends of either the Bradley/Nottingham family or the Herr/Allison family.I cannot begin to express how much these words mean to me.Jaelyn has enjoyed receiving encouraging mail from our funeral director, Donna Buse, as well as special adults in her life.
I have saved every card that I have received since Scott’s death, and printed many of the messages received on email or Facebook.These messages are so precious to me and I do go back and re-read them from time to time.I find that often I find words that speak to where I am emotionally at that particular moment, even though I may have received them a few months ago.Words of encouragement are vitally important when going th…

Blessed by Jaelyn

There are still so many moments when this still doesn’t feel real.I still expect Scott to walk through the door.It is hard to comprehend almost four months later.I can’t believe Scott is gone and our lives changed completely in literally a blink of an eye, without warning.Thirteen and a half years of marriage is not enough.
I think about Jaelyn and what a massive loss this is for her.I cannot imagine who I would be without my dad and his influence on my life growing up.I cannot begin to comprehend how this huge a loss at such a young age has and will change Jaelyn as she grows up without Scott.I am beyond thankful and grateful that she had such a wonderful father who loved her so much and spent so much time with her.I am amazed at how “normal” Jaelyn is despite everything.She definitely grieves and misses her daddy, but she doesn’t allow it to keep her from connecting with people or having fun.I am thankful that Jaelyn seems to be working through her grief in a healthy way.She talks ab…

Alone and Tired

Today was one of those days where I just wanted to curl up and hibernate from the world.I am tired of riding this roller coaster called grief.I want to turn back time and change things so that Scott is still with us.I don’t want to be alone. I miss him so much. Don’t get me wrong, I know that I’m not alone, I still have Jaelyn.But when it seems like everywhere I look I see couples, I feel very alone.The holiday season is a very difficult time to grieve – everywhere there are reminders of families, thinking of loved ones, etc.I keep seeing Christmas ideas for men, which of course make me think of Scott.Six months ago I had already planned what I was going to get Scott for Christmas this year.This was unusual as he was not the easiest person to buy for and I usually had a hard time figuring out what to get him.
I forced myself to go to church this morning.I knew this was where I needed to be.The service this morning was about families, with child dedications.Although the sermon was about…

Someone is Missing

Someone is missing.
Wednesday night I decided to get out the Christmas tree and the Christmas decorations, since I knew that our weekend was going to be busy.When I went searching for the boxes in the garage, I couldn’t find them at first.Then I found one large plastic storage bin, on the top of the highest shelf.I found a ladder and climbed up to get it down.Within seconds, the bin slipped out of my hands and fell on my head.I managed to get the bin down to the floor.I located the other bin in another part of the garage on top of some kitchen cupboards installed on the wall for storage – had to stand on the countertop to reach that bin.I wanted to just sit down and cry.Scott was always the one to bring the Christmas decorations into the house from the garage and put them away once I was done decorating.He never liked to help with the decorating, but he certainly made things much easier for me.
Two people were missing from the table at Thanksgiving.It is hard to get use to only having …