Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Okay, now what??

We had a quiet Christmas. Brianne & Justin came over early in the morning,( in their pajamas !), to have Christmas morning with us. The twins & Hunter seemed to enjoy themselves with all their new toys. Everyone has been so kind and generous. We feel like there are so many families in more need than we are, so it is difficult to accept the generosity being given, but it is much appreciated and we are making sure the kids needs are all met. As usual they seem to like the bins & boxes more than the presents! I fixed a small dinner and we all just hung out in out in our pajamas all day. There were some times Brian & I had to take a break outside, but all in all it was a good day. As good as it could be with her not here. Even words have different definitions for me now.. Good: Not Horrible, Bearable, etc.
We celebrated with our friends and some of our family on Hunter's birthday, the 22nd. It was a really nice time. We were able to truly enjoy being around people again. Probably because they know us and love us so well, there were no expectations of any kind.
Then we went to my sister's, Greta's, for Christmas Eve "lunch". She & Randy out did themselves as always. It was a good time as well.
We made it through the Holidays, so now what? It is hard to imagine the new year ahead. Each day there are things to do and to deal with that really aren't new, just so different now. It is like visiting a place for the first time, you don't know where things are, or what the people are like. I feel like an alien in my own skin sometimes.
We should be hearing soon about the State filing charges against the guy involved in Kierra's accident. Maybe that will help bring some closure as well, although it won't change our loss.
I am busy with the kids and trying to find some state of normalcy. But each day dawns as something unfamiliar to me and I am not accustomed to it. It is like learning to walk all over again. And I yearn for the day when I can walk even a small distance without falling..

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Tristan & Alexa 2004

This is last year's photo, they would not have anything to do with Jolly St. Nick this year!
Kierra 1986, 5 1/2 years old. We were in Plattsburgh, New York.
Kierra, 3 1/2 years old. We were in Florida while Brian was in Belgium.

More Christmas pix

Kierra at 2 1/2 years, 1983, in Cheyenne Wyoming, our first Christmas with Brian.

Kierra 6 months 12/1981

This is just way too hard!

I really can't describe what the past couple days have been like. We have tried to do all the Christmas stuff for the kids, but my emotions are all over the place.. so I will post some of my favorite pictures from when Kierra was little.. hope you all enjoy them..

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Like Mother, Like children..

Kierra was just a baby, not more than about 3 months old. She was so tiny. She kept getting sick and the Dr. couldn't figure out why. She would throw up alot and was slow to gain weight. This went on until she was about 10 months old. I was willling to try anything at that point and a neighbor mentioned just trying to give her some whole milk instead of her baby formula. I did and it worked. It turns out she must have been allergic to the formula, and I was a naive new mom and her Dr. was an old quack! She thrived after that and gained weight quick.

Alexa & Tristan have the reverse. They had problems when they went off formula and started drinking milk. It turns out they are allergic to milk, and anything with citric acid.. tomatoes, chocolate, juices. They are gaining weight, but slowly. they are on Pediasure instead of milk and are being monitored closely by their pediatrician. Kierra had Hashimoto's Thyroid Disease and it can cause some problems with the babies as far as Thyroid, or metabollic disorders, so we are keeping a close eye on things. Kierra had flat feet and inverted ankles too. Tristan seems to have the inverted ankles, but they won't do anything about it until he is older. He will probably have to have shoe inserts like Kierra did when she was young.

Alexa has more hair then Kierra did at her age, but it is wispy and very blonde like Kierra's was when she was little. I see alot of her in both of them. Her smile and the infectious laugh they have. It is fun to watch and listen to them. They have their own language between them. Sometimes they will sit close together and gibber jabber to each other and then laugh so loud and hard. It is so much fun to see and hear. Kierra always laughed out loud, with her mouth open and a smile that spread accross her whole face and into her eyes. Tristan & Alexa both do that.

Kierra and I met Debbie Ficocelli and Becky Guilliame when I worked at Zayre's department store for a while when she was about a year old. They both were a big part of our lives then and when we lived there while Brian went to Belgium after Brianne was born. ( They remain very dear friends.) Brian was gone for over a year. Both my girls did what we called "the Becky look". It is when they tilt their head downward, but lift their eyes upward, then add a scowl.. Named after what Becky always did when someone made her mad! Both Tristan & Alexa do that too. Kierra also perfected rolling her eyes at you when she didn't like what you said.. she still did that.. I am sure her children will too.

I am hoping to avoid Kierra's old temper tantrum trick with Tristan & Alexa tho.. Kie would hold her breath when she got mad, to the point of passing out. Her Dr. told me to make sure she was safe and couldn't fall on anything hard, and let her pass out, she would then automatically start breathing. It only took a few times of me letting her pass out for her to realize it wasn't working to her advantage. The twins haven't tried that one yet!

I see so much of her in them. I wonder sometimes how I will ever do this.. then I remember I have done this before, at least the part of having 3 small children to care for.. of course I was alot younger then, but maybe not as experienced at it as I am now. And we lived far away from family and friends, although we made some great friends along the way.

Brianne pointed out to me the other day that I have some serious gray hair showing on my temples and in the front of my hair.. I laughed.. Kierra finally did what I was always telling her she would do.. she gave me gray hair!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I feel like "Old Faithful"..

You know, the Geyser in Yosemite Park.. the one that blows hot water into the air every so often..

That seems to be me today(Wednesday).. I am fighting a persistent sinus headache, which doesn't help. And I know there is more to my frustration than just the specific things that annoyed me today. But some days it doesn't build up as much as it seemed to today.

I pulled apart my kitchen and cleaned it this morning.. really cleaned it. Of course, with the twins & Hunter under foot and wanting my attention, it took 3 times longer than usual. I tried to get rid of anything non-essential to help downsize all the "stuff" we have no room for. It feels like the house is shrinking.. no matter how much I clean or organize or get rid of, things are still all over the place.

I loaded up the twins & Hunter and took them to have lunch with Brian at the credit union where he was working today. Traffic was horrid and the fast food place where I went had some kind of system failure and it took forever. The tellers and women who work at the credit union have always been so nice to the kids. One of them, Tara, had gotten some gifts for all 3 kids. Brian shut an open door in the breakroom to keep the twins from getting into things and it turned out no one knew who had the key because it automatically locks when you close it. I forgot to ask him later if anyone found the key.

We went home and the twins took a nap so I made a list and headed to the grocery store... 3 stores and hours later I was finally done! I usually shop 2 weeks ahead at Christmas so I can avoid going into any stores this close to the Holiday. It was crazy.. Traffic, crowds, out of items, a royal pain! While I was in one of the stores Brian called me. We talked about the schedule for our pre-Christmas/ Hunter's birthday thing at Terri & Dwight's tomorrow. Brian has to work so I will go early and Brianne will pick him up and come down after he gets off work at 5. I thought he should come straight down from work and we would pick his car up later, he wants to go home and change there them come down, no biggie, but for some reason it turned into a major discussion.

Then he dropped the bomb that HE would be talking to the state attorney tomorrow about the pending charges. He said to let him know if there was anything I wanted him to say. It struck me wrong that he thought because he had to work and would have to call from there that I wouldn't want or be able to be there. I told him as aggravated as I already was it was not a good conversation to have with me in the middle of a grocery store. He said as frustrated as I was with the state attorney's office he didn't think I would want to talk to them. He said I could go to the credit union about 9:30 in the morning and we could call together.

As well as my husband sometimes knows me, sometimes he doesn't know me at all! It was a dead end conversation when he got home later too. He had called our attorney and now will wait until he talks to him about 11 am tomorrow before he calls the state attorney, again making plans without even asking me if I want to be involved. He will call me a dozen times a day about nothing important lately, but something this important he doesn't. It is a mistake for him to place himself in my "strike zone". I am angry and frustrated about alot of things right now, and he just added himself to the list! I try to rationalize why he is thinking the way he is, but it just doesn't matter to my emotionally overloaded, exhausted mind.

So I cooked, he watched TV & fell asleep, and now I can't sleep.. again. I didn't sleep alot before, but now I am up all hours, then get up early. Not intentionally, but my mind just won't rest. I won't take medication because I need to be alert enough to hear the babies when they wake up sometimes at night, and I have never been a pill taker anyway. So it becomes a vicious cycle.

I guess I will worry about it tomorrow (actually now today.. it is 2:30 am), for tomorrow is another day... oh boy!

Monday, December 19, 2005

There are moments..

Moments are just a fraction of time, an instant that is gone just as quickly as it came. Yet some moments are more powerful than you can imagine..

Greta, Brianne & I took the twins to Downtown Disney in Oralndo. We were hoping to get the twin's picture taken with Santa Claus like we did last year. No such luck! They both were okay from a distance, but when it came time to get close to the jolly old man in red, they were not having it. Alexa pulled her limp rag routine and tried to slide off his lap, and Tristan just got loud and cranky. We may try again with Hunter at the mall later this week, we'll see.

On the way there I played a song I recently found for Brianne.. it is called "She's a Butterfly" by Martina McBride. I played it for Brianne in the car. It is so "her". She cried when she heard the words. I heard Brianne sing in Church last night and was so proud of my baby girl. She got that whole church up on their feet. The Martina McBride song is about a girl finding her wings and getting her colors when she learns to sing.. Brianne shone brighter than I have ever seen her when she sang last night. I have seen her sing before , but this was different.. this was the "moment" my little girl became a passionate woman in my eyes. Passionate about her singing and passionate about her faith. She was beyond beautiful.

We did some shopping and had lunch at the Rainforest Cafe. Alot of things reminded me of Kierra. She loved going there, but they were good thoughts, and I did okay. Then we went into a candy shop and I decided to get some things for Christmas stockings.. I started to grab some little bags of chocolate coins. I reached in and grabbed four, mentally counting how many I would need. Then came the "moment".. my hand froze and my throat closed.. I realized I would not need one for Kierra, not this year or any other year. My heart sank and I swallowed hard. A few tears came and I moved forward to something else. Greta was there and saw I was upset, I told her it was a habit to grab 4 of everything, I did it almost without thinking. Then my thoughts reminded me how different things are now.

We had a long drive home between traffic, dirty diapers, hungry babies, and lots of pitstops, but it was a good day. We put the babies to bed when we got home since they fell asleep in the car. Hunter was already asleep on the couch so I got him settled too. As I put him in bed he hugged my neck and said " I sure did miss you today Mom, but I did what I do when I miss Kierra.. I just closed my eyes and I saw your face, just like I see hers." I told him I missed him too and I loved him sooo much. He told me he loved me, gave me a kiss and then fell right back to sleep.

All was quiet for a while, then Alexa woke up crying. I went in to settle her down. I tucked her back in and reached down to kiss her good night, and then came the moment..

For people with children and even some without their own children, you will understand..
there is a moment when you cradle a baby or hold a child in your arms... you lean down to kiss the top of their head.. just as your face touches them, you close your eyes and take a breath as you kiss them. That is the moment.. that instant when you take in their scent, absorb their essence, and for that brief instant time freezes, the bond is tangible, you can feel it. That moment came when I kissed Alexa. Now I have had that moment with her before, many times, as with Tristan, Hunter, all my children. What made this moment different was the flash of Deja Vu..of time gone by. In that instant, it was Kierra's soft hair, her smell. Now my logical mind knows it wasn't, but my heart broke just the same. I gently touched Alexa's face and left the room before I broke down. It came to me after awhile that I have dreamt about those moments with Kierra alot since she died. Usually just before I wake up. The mind is a powerful thing. My dreams seem so real. I have kissed Alexa's head many times since Kierra died and never had that reaction. And I will continue to do so, because that is what I do. But these are the moments that suprise me, that catch me off guard. The moments that remind me the pain is still there, still strong, and I can't stop it.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Kierra & Alexa

Originally uploaded by mommanana.
Another favorite.. It was the day after Christmas 2004 when my Mom & Dad came to visit.

Kierra & Tristan

Originally uploaded by mommanana.
I will have more recent photos to post later.. this one is one of my favorites.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The makings of a "normal" day..

It is quiet, almost too quiet.. the twins are at Auntie Terri's and Hunter is with Brianne. I am sorting through some of the boxes of Kierra's things and trying to get some Christmas gifts finished and wrapped. The house is so full of our things, Kierra's things, kid's things.. this house isn't supposed to be this full! We got a smaller house because all the kids were older and we didn't need so much room.. then along came Hunter, and now Tristan & Alexa. Chad is still home, along with 2 dogs and a rabbit.. our house runneth over.

Brian & I had dinner together tonight. He is acting supervisor at work so he gets to decide when he wants his dinner break. It was nice, although we tried a new place and it was mediocre at best. But the company was superb. We have been warned that grief can pull people apart. Brian and I have been drawing toward each other so much. We don't even need to speak and we can see when we need each other. It isn't always easy, and I know it won't always be, but I know I could not bear this without him.

We had Hunter's birthday party at Dave & Buster's today. He said he doesn't want to have anymore parties because Kierra can't come to them. I told him she would want him to have fun and enjoy his birthday. Like with us, it comes and goes with him. He did have fun and got some cool presents. His Nana & Pop-Pop were there, my neice Jennifer and her two boys, Katie & Cody with their mom, Lisa, came too. We had lunch, cake, and played games until it was time for Hunter to go to his dress rehearsal for the church Christmas play.

It is hard to answer some of Hunter's questions about Kierra's death and his concern and confusion about God. He doesn't understand why she went to Heaven when she wasn't old or sick. He is seeing a therapist for grief counseling and we are trying to let him talk about it whenever he needs to. This has changed us all, and even the simplest things are different. How we see things, how we feel about everything..

There are a few songs that seem to tug at our hearts the most.. of course the song we played at her memorial, "Fly" by Celine Dion, "Who would you be today" by Kenny Chesney, "When I get to where I'm going" by Brad Paisley & Dolly Parton, "I'll be Missing You" by Sean (P. Diddy) Combs..definitely a Kierra version! Then there are songs I can't listen to at all yet.. "In my Daughter's Eyes" by Martina McBride, & "Butterfly Kisses".

I bought the newest CD by Kierra's favorite artist, Usher, and play it sometimes in the car. The babies enjoy it, and there are a few really good songs on it.. I got the edited version! She would get a kick out of that.. I try to do things with the babies that I know she did.. Hip Hop Music.. belly raspberries.. splashing until we are all soaked when they take a bath.. laying on blankets on the floor surrounded by pillows to watch disney movies.. reading books.. acting out the itsy bitsy spider.. and singing off key.. there are lots more, and I will remember more as we go. They are my link to her, and I will be theirs.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Where & How do I Start??

I have always thought myself a pretty "together" person.. I am not even sure who I am anymore.. I have done many things and been many places, but this is such a foreign place to be.. I don't know the language in this new world, and I definitely don't want to be here!!

Kierra was born on June 9, 1981, a Tuesday at 7:10 pm.. after a very long labor of 18 hours. I was young, the Dr. was old.. natural childbirth was the only option offered. She came screaming into this world at 6 pounds 10 ounces.. born with dark hair and almost olive skin, not the normal red and wrinkly stuff.. she soon lost all the dark hair and had white blonde silk fuzz until she was over a year old. Her daughter, Alexa looks just like her..

My daughter had a daughter, and a son.. Tristan, 22 months old now. I struggle with the knowledge they are too young to have a lasting memory of her. She fought for their lives from the moment she knew they were within her. She put herself at great risk to carry them to 37 weeks.. they were born at 37 weeks 1 day gestation. She insisted they wait to be sure the babies had the best chance. The Dr. finally insisted on a c-section due to Kierra's declining health. Alexa was first at 5 lbs 14 oz, Tristan 1 minute behind at 6 lbs 2 oz. It was a good delivery. They were strong and healthy. It wasn't until a couple hours later we noticed Tristan was breathing harder than his sister and he was admitted into the Neonatal ICU. He had fetal pneumonia. They assured us it is common in both boys and the 2nd child born, Tristan got a double whammy and 11 days in the NICU. It killed Kierra to leave him and bring Alexa home, but she went to be with him at least once a day, usually twice.

Those babies changed her life, and ours. Just as she changed mine over 24 years ago. She & I had a rough time her first year of life. Alot of changes for us. I struggled as a single Mom from the time she was 10 months old until we moved to Wyoming when she was almost 2. When we "married" her Daddy, Brian.. she called him that the day after we met him. It all seems so long ago and far away now. Time moves with the strangest of paces. I can't believe she has been gone over a month now.. yet the hours seem to be insurmountable to end this day.

I can't promise what you will find here.. I know I have always written, journaled, let things pour out of me onto paper or computer.. rarely do I share.. but Kierra's life was so full, both of bitter and sweet, and ended much too quickly. It can't just be snuffed out like that, to be gone with no mention.. so I will mention her here.. share my thoughts, memories, and what our lives and her children's lives are like now. I am sure there will be happy & sad, intertwined like so much of our lives are now, with what should have been and what we can't imagine it will be....

without Kierra..