"Grieving the loss of a child is a process, it begins the day your child passes and ends the day the parent joins them."

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

April sure seems to be coming at us in full force. It's hard for me to wrap my brain around the fact that the one year anniversary of losing Carly is vastly approaching. I don't want April to get here. And all I want to do, is throw the brakes on, like they do in old cartoons - like the Flintstones. Remember when they were driving their little cars, and their legs went around and around in circles while going so fast...and then, feet down, flat on the ground, skidding to a stop? Some of you are probably to young to have ever watched the Flintstones! But it's a great description of how I feel our lives have been going for the past 11+ months. Everything seems to have been going past so quickly. Now we face April. Head on. Face it. What else are we suppose to do? Well, I'd like to crawly under a rock.

We haven't decided yet, just how we are going to spend that gut wrenching day of April 23. Maybe do another balloon launch at Carly's grave site. Just not sure. And quite honestly, who wants to "plan" what you're going to do to honor your 8 year old who was taken away from her loving family? But in all honesty, we haven't even talked about. Maybe we think, don't talk about it..it wont happen.. I really don't know just what we think.

You wouldn't believe the things that go through your head at a time like this. The should have could have, the whys and why not. Why my kid, why not someone else. I know that sounds nasty and harsh, but I'm serious. Why not someone else?? Someone who was sick. Someone who was mean and hateful. Why my sweet little 8 year old? Of course, saying that to Ashleigh, who has the heart the size of Texas...always has this come back for us, "well, because God doesn't want evil and mean people in Heaven." I try to convince myself of that, I really do...but until you've been there - done that, you can't realize how hard it is to convince yourself of that statement of Ashleigh's being true.

Then, we come back to the whole God thing. Still pretty uncertain there is a God out there. As I've said numerous times before, "there was no God in the ER on April 23" Trust me on that one! If...and that's a BIG IF.. HE, does exist, HE left our girl just when she needed HIM most. And why did HE not show us any signs of trouble looming? A sudden dropping dead on your living room floor is not the way signs of trouble should be... WARNING signs are what I'm talking about.

The only time we may have seen a shred of help from, HIM on that horrific day..was while Paul was working on Carly in our living room. But even then we question, was that God who brought Carly back?? Or was that a daddy who was working vigorously on his baby girl? Screaming at her, in between breathing into her mouth..."stay with me Carly, stay with daddy." I think, and I know many of you will majorly disagree with me on this, but I think, it was a dedicated, loving daddy who worked that miracle and brought his baby back. A daddy who only had basic CPR training. A daddy who wasn't ready, willing or able to give up on his baby girl. A baby girl who had beat the odds time and time again. As I have said many times over the course of the past year, "there was no God that day...if HE was around...the only thing HE did was sit on his @$$ while our daughter died right before our eyes." Yep, I've said that a hundred times. And until you've been there and witnessed something of this magnitude, you will never understand my take on that day back in April.

Okay,,enough about God and me/us with all our questions/doubts of there even being a God. And before you all go freaking out on me. For the umpteenth time, I know what the Bible says. I had a grandfather who was a preacher. I know full well what we are "suppose" to believe. But trust me, if it were you, 11+ months later, you'd be doubtful too. Okay, maybe not all of you...but a great deal of you would be.

Another day that is approaching us rather quickly, is Easter. I think...we're going to skip the whole traditional Easter thing this year.

The following are pictures from last Easter. Did you catch that?? LAST EASTER! You can't imagine how hard it is for me to type, "last" anything when it comes to Carly? Probably not.

Carly had so much fun with her Easter basket, going to, papa and grandmas house. Having Easter dinner with my family. Who would have thought that only two measly weeks after these pic's were taken, that we'd be holding our baby in our arms for the very last time? I sure never dreamed it.

All her goodies!
I'm sad looking at the above picture. I just realized, she never got to use that bucket :(

She just had to try and fit handfuls of candy into those tiny little hands of hers.

Kind of blurry pic below...but she's searching for Easter candy and it's precious no matter the quality!

Fitting in some lovin' time with her "Paul"

The following picture rips my heart out.
Carly was so excited to wear this Easter dress.
She picked it out all on her own.
Actually, we gave her a couple of different choices.
I wanted her to pick a really cute little pink dress.
BUT....Carly, said, "NO!" "RED!"
Therefore, Carly had a "Red" Easter dress!

We buried our sweet baby in this dress.

Oh my gosh,,
I miss my sweet little girl so much.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March 23...

..is another gloomy day around our house. Full of much sadness and anger. Yes, we are still angry and we'll likely be for quite some time to come. As for the sadness, I'm quite certain it will never leave us.

Today marks 11 months since I've last held my baby in my arms. 11 months since I last heard her voice.

11 months ago, Carly first asked for "Paul"after she got out of bed, but he was still sleeping (he'd worked the night shift and was still in bed at 8am) and I told Carly that he would be up later to play with her.

We headed to the rocker/recliner, where Carly climbed up into my lap and fell back to sleep. She slept for 2 whole hours. She slept peacefully. With no signs or indications that trouble was brewing. As I rocked her, I did as I always did, I soaked up the scent of my daughter. And I'm so glad that I did that day too. I never wanted to forget her scent. You may think that's odd, but I did that with her all the time. 11 months ago was no different.

After napping those two hours, while sprawled out on top of me, (I'm short and she was growing-holding her like that was getting more difficult for me and for her, but we managed) Carly woke up. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Although I was a little surprised that she got out of bed at 8 and then went back to sleep till 10, Carly was a non stop kind of kid. She was up early and hit the floor running. Every. Single. Day. In fact, I had a twinge of " beware...sleep. Too much of it may mean cancer looming back" - a sign we had to watch for with that stupid cancer. And yes, I was/am a paranoid mom. But never in a million years did I think she was in cardiac distress.

The very last words that came out of Carly's mouth, were "more pink milk" aka, strawberry yogurt drink. I gave her one and she chugged down. Then asked me for "more" I gave her another one and she chugged that one too. I then headed to the kitchen to get her med's ready. She was on the tail end of a course of antibiotics. As I approached her with her med's she was still rocking in the chair, she sat up on her knees and screeched at me "NOOOOOOOOOO" and pushed me away. The tone of her voice, was one that I had never before heard come out of her mouth. At that point I told her we'd just wait till after her bath.

Leaving her sitting in the recliner, I turned to head to the bathroom, that's when I heard the thump. As I turned around I saw her going from sitting up on the floor, (remember, when I walked away from her, she was sitting IN the recliner) facing the recliner, but slumped in front of it, to falling over on the floor in a fetal position. I wasn't more than 10ft from her. As I ran over to her, I could see her lips were blue and her color was very gray. I started screaming for Paul. He and Brad both came running. I guess my tone scared the shit out of both of them. Paul started CPR and I was on the phone with 911. Brad was pacing the floor, completely freaked out.

Paul had revived Carly. Which we have recently learned, was an all out miracle in itself. Did you know that only 4% of people in a health crisis/emergency, who need medical intervention, actually survive with only having CPR being preformed? We did lose her on our living room floor, that's per her cardiologist..but her "Paul" brought her back. Sadly, we all know that in the end, she needed much more medical intervention than could be provided for her on that day. Which pretty much sucks because she didn't have what she needed in her time of crisis.

The following pictures were taken last March. She came home from school and ran straight to her swing set. I remember this day so well. Carly insisted on sitting in this particular swing, even tho she could swing in a "big girl" swing...for some reason she wanted to swing on this one.

And did she ever have a blast!

As you can probably tell, due to the very poor quality, these pic's were taken with my cell phone. I wish I would have had my camera out that day, but didn't really expect to be playing outside in mid March!

As we mark off yet another month without our sweet little girl, we head straight, smack dab into our 12th month. April. One year. Unbelievable. We fear the month of April. We fear the 23rd of April. And we fear that we will soon be starting our 2nd year without our sweet, sweet little girl. How can time pass so fast? I want it to slow down. I don't want to be facing a second year. I don't want to face another year without my baby girl. I'm still having a hard time trying to navigate through my days without her now. How will I ever get through each passing year? I don't want to be doing this anymore.

Okay, I'm done with this post. I can't even see the screen through my tears.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Anticipation ...

...of Spring, is an emotion that most people embrace. As for me and my family, not so much. Not this Spring. In fact, I think we all dread Spring this year. It makes us sad. It fills us with anxiety. And it makes us angry. Angry because this is yet another season without Carly. Spring is often thought of, as a great season. The season that we say goodbye to winter and the long miserable snowy, cold weather. The start of what is soon to become hot, sunny, swimming, golfing, boating and beach time summer fun. Most look so forward to this time of year. As for me and my family, we could skip it all together.

Today has been a nice sunny day. Well, not really a nice day, I don't have a whole lot of those, but it has been a sunny day. As I walked to the mailbox this afternoon, I had Carly on my mind. Truth be told, she is ALWAYS on my mind. I was thinking that the bus would soon be driving past the house, and then a stabbing piercing pain shot through me. That bus should be stopping and dropping my sweet girl off to me. I'd be standing at the door of the bus, and Carly would JUMP from the top step, into my open arms. Every. Single. Day. Oh how I miss my sweet, sweet baby girl.

As Spring approaches, I feel nothing more than an ever growing pit in my stomach. A fear of the dreaded 1 year anniversary of Carly's passing. Just typing that took my breath away. I'm not looking forward to Spring. In fact, I dread it so bad. I would just as soon slip back to bed every day and pull the covers over my head until Spring has long passed.

I find myself thinking back to what we were doing this time last year. Memories is all I have now. So I do a lot of thinking back and remembering. Just the other day, I was going through some of the pictures on my computer and sadly I came across a folder in my pic., file titled, "Spring Fun 2010" not many pic's ended up in that folder :*(

If Carly were still here today, I know what we'd be doing right at this very minute. We'd be outside playing. After Carly would have jumped from the bus, into my open arms, she would have jumped out of them just as quickly...and made a bee line to the swing set, where we would swing and swing and swing and swing. Finally, around 4:30 or 5, I'd be practically dragging (actually, I would be dragging) her into the house so I could start dinner. What I wouldn't give to have to drag her from her swing set to start dinner today.

As we continue to try and find our way through our grief, we find it more difficult. And of course, the anticipation of Spring arriving is about to do us all in. Any other year, we welcomed Spring time with open arms. We couldn't wait for the sunny days and playing outside. We did as other families with little kids do, we played outside. We enjoyed the days. And now, we having nothing.

Our life is forever changed. Never to be as it was before. We are not the same people. We have all changed, on the inside. Of course, we still look like the same people, but I'm betting that if you were to look deep into our eyes, you'd see, we are changed..heart broken, lost, sad. The eyes can tell a story - or so they say! There are many more sad times than there are happy times, which is a big reversal for us.

I've read so many books about grief and the process of grieving, written by the "experts". I've also read real life experiences of other bereaved parents. I've been to, one on one counseling and group counseling. I've been to a grief conference...and you know what I have learned?? I have learned that the second year is much harder on the parents than the first year. I have a hard time wrapping my brain around that. How much worse can the second year possibly be from the first year?? The anticipation of the second year is scaring the crap out of me. And it's coming at us just a bit to fast for my liking.

The "experts" say, that the reason the second year is worse, is due to the fact that the numbness is wearing off and the reality, of the finality hits. And most often, it hits hard. Very hard. We're about to find out, as there is no way around grief.

Paul and I were talking after dinner the other night. He was having such a bad day. It was another sunny day and of course his co-workers were happy go lucky, and anxious to get home and grill out or work out in their yards. For Paul, it was the reality of Spring time without Carly. And he was miserable. We talked for a while, after dinner. The only thing I could tell him about how he's feeling and how I'm feeling, was this; "We can't get around this, we will never get over this, but somehow we have to find a way to get through this."

As I'm about to click the "publish post" button, our sunny day has now turned somewhat cloudy. It's a little gloomy outside now and fits my mood more so than the sunshine..

Monday, March 14, 2011

Re-post from March 2010

March 14, 2010

As our hearts continue to break, we reminisce on what we were doing "this time last year". I'm happy, but sad that I can recall dates of what we were doing just one year ago. I'm happy that I can remember, but so sad that I have to remember. I shouldn't have only memories of Carly. I should be able to hold her, sing with her, dance with her, play in the sand box with her, swing, take her to the park, read to her, teach her to read and write, color, play games, ride bikes, go swimming...everything that she loved to do, - we. should. still. be. doing.

This post was written a few days after we had taken Carly to the Circus at Michigan State University's, Breslin Center. The date-March 14, 2010

Re-post from March 2010:

To the circus we went..

Sorry for lack of posts. I've been so busy the last week or so. Spring is vastly approaching and I've been trying to do some spring cleaning/down sizing.

We did take time out last Sunday to take Carly to the circus. She loved it. She was a little upset though, because she wanted to see "giraffes"! They didn't haven any. Aside from her asking a million and one times to see the giraffes, she enjoyed herself.

Carly really like the Ariel Artistry.
I was surprised these girls did this stuff without nets
under them.

This lady was really good.
When she was done, Carly wanted "more mama, more"!

This little guy was making his first Circus appearance.

Ahh, the dancing girls. Another of Carly's favorites.

These white tigers were beautiful. They had a female trainer. Which for some reason really surprised me. No way would I be in the ring with 6 tigers!

The pony rides. Carly was a little nervous getting on this pony. She refused to let go of Paul for one second.

We had a very good time. Carly really enjoyed herself. Paul and I were very impressed with the show this circus put on. It was really something! It lasted forever... close to 3 hours. But, Carly did just dandy. She sat in her seat and watched the entire show. Although, Saturday, when I finally told her where we were going on Sunday, she kept telling us we were going to the "zoo". I guess she figured, you see animals at the zoo... Silly kid!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Bruxism and Stress..

..go hand in hand...or teeth to teeth! Who knew? ! We didn't, that's for sure. Not until Ashleigh started having problems with her teeth hurting over the past couple of months. She has gone back and forth to the dentist, who filled a couple of teeth because the dentist, "thought" that was Ashleigh's problem. Back and forth a few more times, and then the dentist wasn't so sure. It was decided that Ashleigh clenched her teeth.

Ashleigh was fitted for a very expensive mouth guard device to where while she sleeps. However, her teeth began to bother her even more - in between the ordering of the mouth piece. So, I sent her to another dentist. Thought just maybe she needed a second opinion. The new dentist told Ashleigh that he really thinks the problems that she is having with her teeth are in fact, Bruxism (clenching-grinding). Ashleigh was asked if she had been under any kind of stress. And we all know the answer to that question was, "yes!" Ashleigh explained to him what the source of her stress was; the past 10+ months of losing her sister. BINGO! The answer to her problematic teeth clenching-grinding is STRESS! My words were, "it figures", after finding this info out.

Apparently, stress wreaks more havoc on a body than even we thought possible. Not only does stress cause your nerves to be on a constant edge and your blood pressure to go up at the drop of a hat and mood swings that you endure on a daily basis, sleepless nights and body aches/pains, anxiety attacks, etc, etc, etc...BUT...stress also causes a person to clench their teeth! The medical term for teeth clenching and grinding is, Bruxism.

The new dentist explained to Asheigh how clenching/Bruxism works. He told her that likely she is doing mostly grinding during night time, as she sleeps, but that a person under a tremendous amount of stress each day, will clench without even realizing that they are doing it, throughout the entire day time. Which we have since discovered, we are all doing. Did you know, that at no time during the day or night for that matter, your teeth are never suppose to touch..top to bottom? We didn't!

Now that we know this information, we are all realizing that we are clenching our teeth. Paul is now starting to have trouble with his jaws hurting. He has realized that he too, has been clenching during the day and he's been doing it a lot...he doesn't clench/grind at night while sleeping because he SNORES LIKE A FREIGHT TRAIN! I have found that I am clenching my teeth throughout my days as well. Now that Ashleigh's new dentist made us aware of the fact that stress and clenching go hand in hand..we are all guilty of doing it. Brad has been doing it too, but he snore at night so we only assume he's not clenching/grinding while sleeping.

One may not think this is a huge deal, but it is. Or at least it can be.

Bruxism may lead to:
  • Damage to your teeth (including restorations and crowns) or jaw
  • Tension-type headaches
  • Facial pain
  • Temporomandibular disorders — which occur in the temporomandibular joints (TMJs), located just in front of your ears and felt when opening and closing your mouth
  • Anxiety, stress or tension
  • Suppressed anger or frustration
  • Aggressive, competitive or hyperactive personality type- not us
  • Abnormal alignment of upper and lower teeth (malocclusion)- we don't have this
  • Changes that occur during sleep cycles-possibly for us
  • Response to pain from an earache or teething (in children)
  • Growth and development of the jaws and teeth (for children)
  • Complication resulting from a disorder, such as Huntington's disease or Parkinson's disease- not us
  • An uncommon side effect of some psychiatric medications, including certain antidepressants.- nothing we are taking causes these symptoms
Signs and symptoms of Bruxism may include:
  • Teeth grinding or clenching, which may be loud enough to awaken your sleep partner
  • Teeth that are worn down, flattened, fractured or chipped
  • Worn tooth enamel, exposing deeper layers of your tooth-yep
  • Increased tooth sensitivity- yep
  • Jaw pain or tightness in your jaw muscles- yep
  • Enlarged jaw muscles
  • Earache — because of severe jaw muscle contractions, not a problem with your ear- we're having ear problems (not my chronic inner ear infection tho)
  • Headache- could be the cause of some of our headaches
  • Chronic facial pain
  • Chewed tissue on the inside of your cheek- yep
  • Indentations on your tongue
Treatments and drug:

More often than not, cases of Bruxism correct themselves and no treatment is necessary. Especially in kids, they outgrow it..most of the time. However, the problem can be severe and if so, treatment options medications and even therapies will be needed.


  • Stress management. If you grind your teeth because of stress, you may be able to prevent the problem with professional counseling or strategies that promote relaxation, such as exercise and meditation.
  • Dental approaches. your doctor may suggest a mouth guard or protective dental appliance (splint) to prevent damage to the teeth.

    Splints are usually constructed of hard acrylic and fit over your upper or lower teeth. Some dentists may make them right in the office, while others may send them to a laboratory to be made.

    Mouth guards are available over the counter and from your dentist. Your dentist can make a custom mouth guard to fit your mouth. Mouth guards are less expensive than splints, but they generally don't fit well and can dislodge during teeth grinding.

    Correcting misaligned teeth may help if your Bruxism seems to be associated with dental problems. In severe cases — when tooth wear has led to sensitivity or the inability to chew properly (this is starting to happen with Paul, Ashleigh of course has this problem now — the dentist may need to use overlays or crowns to entirely reshape the chewing surfaces of your teeth. Reconstructive treatment can be quite extensive and though it will correct the wear, it may not stop the Bruxism.

  • Behavior therapy. For anyone who thinks they doing the clenching thing, this is a nice little tid bit of info. Once you discover that you have Bruxism, you may be able to change the behavior by practicing proper mouth and jaw position. Concentrate on resting your tongue upward with your teeth apart and your lips closed. This should keep your teeth from grinding and your jaw from clenching-at least while your awake.

Medications aren't very effective for treatment of Bruxism. In some cases, your doctor may suggest taking a muscle relaxant before bedtime. Botulinum toxin (Botox) injections may help some people with severe Bruxism who haven't responded to other treatments.

Self-care steps may prevent or help treat Bruxism:
  • Reduce stress. HA! Right! Listen to music, taking a warm bath or exercising can help relax you and may reduce your risk of developing Bruxism. Yeah, like that's possible in our house! NOT!!
So once again, we've had a ton of information thrown our way. Information we would NOT need if our sweet girl were still here with us today. We learn that stress can cause some major troubles. We know the mental and physical end of stress. We even know that stress can cause your health to go down the gutter, but we sure never in a million years could have guessed that the clenching of teeth was a sure fire sign of some major stress going on in a persons life.

After learning of Bruxism, I've been doing a lot of research on it. I found a ton of information from the Mayo Clinic (online of course). Like I said before, we never knew that clenching and grinding teeth were another sign of stress. It's amazing what stress can do to a person. From head to toe. Inside and out. Physically and mentally. Stress is like a poison. I would advise that you avoid it at all costs.


Friday, March 4, 2011

A Lil' Snowman

Last week, Paul and I headed over to the cemetery. We had the intentions of plowing the place ourselves, since the lady who is in charge of the upkeep, neglects it terribly. Paul had brought a Bobcat home from work with him, and we loaded it up and off we went.

Much to our surprise, the cemetery was PLOWED!!! We soon discovered it had only been plowed for a burial that would be taking place the very next day. But, nonetheless, it was PLOWED!

As we visited with Carly, we knew what we needed to do. Carly needed a Snowman. We made one every single year with her..well..every year that she was healthy enough (off chemo)to go outside and help.

We didn't have a hat, so we placed a bow on top.

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This Snowman isn't anywhere near as big as we normally would do for her. Paul always made gigantic Snowmen. But, this year, we thought it was just the right size. It's Carly size. A Lil' Snowman!

I think she probably loves it!
I hope so.