Wednesday, April 13, 2011

One Year Already

As the year anniversary approaches since Morin died, I find myself becoming a bit more sad and emotional.  and am surprised that I haven't made more progress.  I thought that by now I would have started to feel much better most of the time.  In reality, I know I have improved a lot, but still feel sad more than I want to and I am unable to get to a point that I actually care about much of anything on a daily basis.  I don't enjoy life as much as I used to and I still feel the need to avoid people a lot because I don't feel like socializing most of the time.  Tonight I got to crying and couldn't sleep, so I thought maybe blogging would be helpful.
One of the pictures Morin and I took December 2009.  We were trying to get a good one for a Christmas card using a remote for our camera.  Just thought it would be fun to include it here in memory of my sweetheart.
I spent a month in Utah, not three weeks.  I had a lot of fun with family there.  I spent a week in Bountiful with Scottie and his family, watched Gracee while Susie and Russ went to Las Vegas to watch BYU basketball, spent not near enough time with Star's family, had lots of fun game time with Susie and Russ and friends from their Ward, went bowling twice - once with Steve and his kids where I actually bowled and on my birthday we took Gracee bowling and I was a spectator. 
Ethan wearing the cool glasses they have for kids at Wingers' Restaurant
Scottie and family when we ate dinner at Wingers
Me with Scottie's kids, Aubrey, Jesse and Ethan
Steve and his kids on our bowling day.  We sure had fun!
Gracee had a blast dancing to the music while we bowled
Steve and Susie - cute picture
Aubrey with her piggy bank that she and I "Blinged Out"
That is certainly the nutshell version of the month I spent in Utah.  I had a few emotional moments while I was there.  Several times because I was missing Morin, but also I had some remarkable experiences.  

(1  )When Susie and a friend of hers sang "Did You Think to Pray" in Sacrament Meeting I felt Grandad Gillespie's presence so strongly that day.  He loved to sing and I just felt him there enjoying seeing his great granddaughter singing one of Grandma's favorite hymns. 

(2)  When Susie, Russ and I went to the temple to do sealings we sat in the celestial room for a short time before leaving.  While sitting there, I had a strong wave of emotion and felt that it was Morin there with me.  We had planned to attend a temple open house together.  It was on our bucket list.  He wanted to see what our temples are like inside.  We had hoped for the one that opened last spring in the Gila Valley here in Arizona, but he didn't live long enough to go.  When I felt his presence it surprised me because I figured that wouldn't happen until after I had his temple ordinances completed.  It was a really special feeling and I hated to leave.

(3)  I also had some really strong emotions during my time with Gracee.  It was the first time it occurred to me that my Grandmother must have suffered as much as I did when I had to leave her and move to California.  It was the heartbreak of my young life.  One day as I was playing with Gracee, I realized how hard it would be to go home and not be with her any more.  Then my thoughts went to Grandma Gillespie.  She was a mother figure to me for most of my first five years of life.  We lived with her for much of those years and my mother worked so Grandma took care of me all day while my sisters were in school.  I suddenly realized it must have been awful for her when we left.  I haven't had nearly that much time with Gracee, but I got a glimpse into what Grandma went through.  It made me appreciate and feel closer than ever to Grandma.

The family threw a really fun and yummy birthday party for me at Scottie and Alethea's. Everyone came except Zach. He was at Youth Conference.   Here are a few pictures from the party:
Me with Little Steven and Little Susie - Steve's  kids
Me with Abby and Stef Hall - Star's daughter and wife.  I am holding a gift from them.
Cute Jesse Hall, Scottie's youngest
Ethan Hall with a rare huge smile, Scottie's second child
Gracee having a blast on Jesse's ride-on toy (Susie's daughter)
Jesse and Ethan having fun
It brought me a lot of joy, seeing how much fun the kids were having.  They all enjoyed each other so much that day.  They always play well together and I just love it.  Time spent with family is such a treasure.

On the day of my birthday - March 21, I was sad because last year I spent my birthday with Morin and I was missing him so much.  Russ and Susie said I could do whatever I wanted to do that day.  Russ took off of work so we could spend the day all together.  So, we took Gracee bowling, ate lunch with Star and in the evening we ate at Star's and played games after.  Here are some pictures from that dat:
Susie and Gracee getting ready to bowl
Gracee loves the camera!
Getting ready to roll the ball down the dinosaur's back.  She almost got a strike several times. Cute!
Gracee loved it when her ball hit the pins

The bowling was a hit but Gracee eventually had enough. Nap time!
I forgot to mention Sus and I got pedicures during Gracee's nap.  Fun!

Star getting ready to serve my yummy birthday dessert - Ice cream pie. Two kinds!
Cute Sammy made sure there was a large variety of game choices.  He went to a lot of work!
Millie loves to carry Gracee around
Gracee dancing for us - she loves to dance!
Playing games at Star's
Abby and I snuggling under the blanket they got from Aunt Sandy -Abbs's favorite

Millie and Sus

When I grieve it seems I have to find something to escape with.  This last year has been filled with all sorts of things to take my mind off my feelings of sadness and loneliness.  I don't know if that's the right way to do it or not, but what I am hoping is that time will help.  Obviously I need more than a year since I still experience a lot of grief on a daily basis.  It seems I feel the need to try and act normal because I know other people probably think I am or should be fine by now.  Sometimes I can and other times I cannot pull it off. 

(April 13, 2011)
I had planned to invite all of Morin's family that live in AZ and any of mine that wanted to come - over tonight to reminisce on the year anniversary of Morin's death.  I was going to make a big dinner and make a nice time of it.  However, I am unable to pull it off.  I'm just not up for it.  So instead, Jaysin and I are going to just go to an early dinner and reminisce and I will have everyone over soon for the big get-together.  My thinking feels pretty disorganized about what I should be doing or feeling right now, so I am just taking one day at a time and trying to be as productive as possible.  Lately I have been doing some crocheted easter eggs.  I don't know why - probably because it's something new I can do to keep my hands and mind busy.  Here is a couple of pictures of my eggs;
Last Saturday Steph came down with some of her Anatomy and Physiology classmates and we went to see Body World at the Arizona Science Center.  She surprised me with this new short hair.  I really like it.

Okay, I know this is another really long blog.  I wish I knew how to do shorter ones.  I hope you all will still take time to read it so my time has not been wasted.  Until my next blog........

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Time Marches On.....

I have kept as busy as possible since my last blog post.  I came home from Snowflake determined to make the costumes requested by Steph's little boys.  I spent every minute until I went back - around October 24th or so - working on costumes.  I finished up Noah's Link costume, made a Ghilly suit for Forest (never again), a Michael Jackson costume for Joey and a Caillou costume for Little Slade.  They were so cute and loved them so much!  It gave me something to focus on other than my grief.  Good, but not really, because sooner or later I have to feel the depth of my grief for long enough to work through it and move on. Running from it or hiding from it or numbing out won't change a thing, although those could all be harmful.  If grief is held inside and not worked through it can show up in unhealthy ways for a much longer period of time than otherwise.  I have learned that much.  Here are some cute pictures from that visit:

Forest in his Ghilly suit.  It was very time consuming to make, but he loved it so much.  I was glad I made it.

Little Slade as Caillou.  What a cutie he is!

Joey - or should I say Michael Jackson?  I made the arm band thing and searched long and hard for the white v-neck t-shirt, hat and wig (not to mention the sunglasses).  He enjoyed it a lot.  He still wears the hat sometimes.

This was initially the only costume I intended to make, but once I got started I caught the vision of what they wanted and was off and running.  It turned out great in the end.  Sadly, the hat got lost at a Halloween party.

This picture was taken when we went to the pumpkin patch.  Steph let them each choose a pumpkin as big as they could carry.  Noah wanted the biggest pumpkin and tried so hard to carry it, but alas, he had to settle for a smaller one.  The next few pictures are of the day at the patch and the carving of the jack-o-lanterns the next night.  I was impressed because they did the carving all on their own!  They have been taught well in the art of jack-o-lantern carving.

So, Halloween was fun. Steph and David both had deer tags so they were hunting that week.  I was there to keep things going at home and they came home to sleep each night, so I wasn't totally on my own with the boys.  It was a lot of fun but I was glad to get home.  I do enjoy having my own space.

A few days after I got home it was Cameron's 20th birthday.  He asked Sandy for a dragon cake, which led us on an internet search for how to make one.  It was a joint effort and we spent easily a whole day making it.  Here are a few pictures of that cake and Cam's party.

 Cameron with his daughter, Joselyn,  Cute!
 Keir and Ellanie
 Cam's friends. Wow!  I lost count.
 Slaying the Dragon :-)
Cam and Ell
Once I was home and the activities wound down, the reality of Morin being gone hit me hard again.  It's hard to think of anything else when I am here at home by myself.  Then Susie called and told me the news that she and Russ and Gracee were going to come for Christmas.  I had been dreading Christmas without Morin.  I had already decided not to decorate or put up a tree this year.  I wasn't sure what I was going to do other than that.  I was so pumped for them to come!  It changed everything! 

I started thinking Christmas ideas right away - what to have for meals, how much decorating to do, what gifts to make or buy etc.  This provided me with a lot of opportunity to focus again, outside the grief issues.  I had the spare bedroom to transform from a storage area to a guest room, decorating to do, shopping for food and what gifts I could afford.  Most time consuming of all - I thought of some sewing projects for Christmas.  I spent a lot of time on all these tasks and managed to get done just in time for their arrival on Christmas Eve. 

Russ, Gracee and Susie ready for Christmas Caroling
Silly Jarom, Randy and Joselyn ready to go Caroling
Gracee busily opening gifts - note the cute apron I made for her :-) and Uncle Slade handing out gifts.
Gracee modeling the tutu Susie made and her Dora hat.  Cute!
The Hannig's on Christmas morning
It was so great!  We had Slade and the Stokers come over for Christmas eve with us and again on Christmas day when we had a nice turkey dinner.  We had a game night while they were here too.  Of course, Christmas morning was so much more fun with Gracee here.  There were all sorts of things to stay busy with during their week here. 

We had a fun lunch at Mattas and took a few pictures there.  Then when we had game night, Bri slept over and we all did our nails. 

 Susie and Russ with Becka and Brad
 Sandy and Randy and Marilyn holding Wyatt I think.
 Cameron, Jarom and Sandy
The above pictures were taken at the Mattas luncheon
 Bri and Gracee at game night
Bri, Gracee and Jarom 
The above three pics were taken on game night
 Then there was a New Year's Eve family event planned by Scott for the kids to all get together with him and Diane in Pinetop at a resort up there.The plan was for me to drive my car so Slade would have a way there and back and so I could see the Utah family while they were here.  We planned to go early so I could have time with them before it actually started.  However, the weather turned awful and all the roads were closed when we were planning to go.  I was going to spend the weekend at Steph and David's home in Snowflake, spend time with the Utah family as planned and then drive back down with Slade on the 2nd or 3rd.

We finally managed to get up there on New Year's eve after it was already dark and the roads were so awful I had to stay in Pinetop and feel like a party crasher.  Nevertheless, it was fun being there with the family.  We played lots of games and had some group meals.  It was freezing cold - below zero cold and there was sheets of ice everywhere, but it was fun. 

I really like this cute picture of Scottie and his family

Nice one of Susie and Sandy at the resort

Forest, Susie, Gracee, Jarom and Joey at the resort
Great picture of David, Gracee and snow in flight
Gracee with Aunt Steph, playing in the snow.  Cute.
Most of the clan. Minus Cam and Slade who were missing in action for this pic

Really cute of Noah and Slade

I'm not sure if these guys are finishing up a snowball fight or what.  It was one of the few pics of Cameron at the resort, so I wanted to include it.

Since I returned home I have struggled a lot.  I think I went over a week without leaving home or getting dressed except for Church on Sunday.  I have been much more tired than usual, sleeping either way more than necessary or staying up all night because I can't sleep.  I have - for the first time probably ever - been existing in a continual black pit for long periods of time.  I don't really know how else to describe it.  I have felt completely powerless and helpless to change it.  It scared me and I managed to pull  myself together and go to a grief group on the 17th of January.  It is on the first and third Tuesday of each month.  It was a big group - almost 20 people shared that night.  I cried all the way through because each person's story overlapped part of what I was feeling.  I shared a bit of mine (I was next to last) and then I cried all the way home.  I think I needed to do some solid crying, so that was actually a good thing.  I came home and wrote in my journal and felt better. 

I have entered the pit and also climbed out several times in the last two weeks, but overall I think I have seen improvement.  I am eating more healthy foods and forcing myself to get dressed every day.  I have been spending a little bit of time each day sitting on the swing Morin and I used to sit on together.  It is on the patio in the sun, so I just go out there where the sun is shining and it's nice and quiet and sit there trying to feel his presence.  If nothing else, the sunshine should help lift my mood.

That's about it for now.  I will be going to Utah on the 23rd of February. I'll be there three weeks.  Hopefully I will make a bit of progress before I blog next.