Sunday, January 29, 2006

From Thursday, Jan. 26th....

Not guilty.. That is what the lawyer entered for Salim Ghazi's plea in court today. We knew he would. Ghazi didn't show up for court, he got a waiver. I didn't go to see him anyway. I don't feel the need to ever see him. Not in person. His face is in my night mares, I 'll never be able to forget what he looks like. His attorney wouldn't even look at us. It could have been the large buttons we wore with Kierra's picture on them. The hearing was a formality, we didn't have to be there, but we both felt like we wanted to represent Kierra, even if just by our presence.
It left me in a funk for the rest of the day. Brian & I went to a Phillipine Bakery and got soem steamed rolls (Shopau?). We used to get them from a woman in England when we lived there (Hers were better!). The kids used to love eating them. Hunter has never had them before, I will let you know what he thinks! We wanted some Lumpia too so the Bakery guy recommended a Phillipine Cuisine place accross the way. We got the Lumpia and some noodles (Pasau?). I guess it was our form of comfort food.
I picked Hunter up from Pre-K and we delivered invitations for the twin's birthday. Just trying to get back some type of "normal". But the day seemed clouded over, even with the sun shining.
I can't get used to the ever present pain of it. It may seem dulled at times, but it is always there, just beneath the surface.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The 3 Musketeers!

Misc Kids December05 003
Originally uploaded by mommanana.
When I think I can't go on.. these are the reasons I do! They make me laugh when I would rather cry, they make me see through different eyes. Hunter was almost 5 in this picture and the twins were 22 months old ( the next day, 12/4)

Friday, January 20, 2006

Patience has never been one of my virtues!

I am not so patiently waiting. Waiting for my mind to come back from "mush land", waiting for my mind to allow me to sleep, waiting for my daily life to have some semblance of order, waiting for the wheels of justice to do their thing, waiting, waiting, waiting. I am not just sitting here waiting, I am actively trying to push things along their way, with no noticeable results!
I will never be "over" this, never be "normal" again, but I have to hope for something other than what life is right now. It feels chaotic..I know alot of you are chuckling.. my life is always chaotic! But this chaos is different. And I have no motivation to do anything. I tell myself I have specific projects to do, things to get done. But my brain doesn't seem to relay the message to my body in a strong enough voice to actually get anything done. Yet I feel like I am scrambling and "doing" all day long. Therefore I should feel some sense of accomplishment, right? I can't really see the results of my labor, or at least not the results of anything I can scratch off my never ending to do list.
And I feel like I am becoming a whiner.. I don't like whiners! I don't think I am usually a whiner, so this is driving me crazy too. ( No not REALLY crazy you worry warts, just annoying crazy..)
So enough whining..I have managed to start a Ballroom Dance Class at FCCJ with Brianne. I have decided what to do for the twin's birthday, and I have decided Brian & I are going away by ourselves for a few days in February or March. That doesn't get my house clean, or the kids playground done, or the boxes out of my bedroom, but it is a start!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Those who still don't know..

There have been a select few who we were not able to get in touch with about Kierra's accident. For any one I could not reach by phone I sent a letter and a memorial card. There were a couple I did not have an accurate address or phone number for. Jezell was one of those "lost". She was looking for our information on the internet the other day and saw the news stories about Kierra.
I wish I could have spared her finding out that way..
Jezell came into our lives through a program in New York called "The Fresh Air Fund" They send inner city kids to volunteer familes throughout the state to give them a break from the city and an opportunity to see what life is like some where else. It was the summer of 1989 I think, or maybe 1990, I will have to check the dates on our pictures. I don't think she was very happy at first, but Jezell & Kierra clicked right away and she settled right into our family. It was hard to send her back to her family in the Bronx, but we kept in touch by mail and phone calls.
Then in July 1991 we convinced Jezell's mom to let her come visit us in England. We took her to castle ruins and sight seeing, and all too soon we had to send her back home again. It was 1999 or 2000 before we saw Jezell again. She came through town when her cousin was moving and spent a few days with us. The kids and I took her to Universal Studios and she & Kierra went to Pleasure Island the night we stayed over. It was strange to see them all grown up!
Then Jezell was moving between New York and her Aunt's in Connecticut and the Bronx. We moved as well, so the communication got lost in the process. I had been trying all the phone numbers and addresses I had for over a year now to let her know about Brianne's wedding, but her Mom & Aunt had moved too. We have all missed her. This is a hard way to have her come back to us. It is hard to have her so far away..
She calls me Momma MJ, she is my Peurto Rican baby... Welcome home sweetie..

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Things that make you go Hmmm...

Hmmm.. it is 3:58 am, for me still Friday the 13th, with Saturday creeping in on my horizon. Today was long.. 2 months ago seems so far away, yet just a moment ago. I don't actively try to think about it, or "dwell" on it. My mind brings it forward whenever it chooses to.
Random thoughts weave in and out of my daily routines and the many things that keep me busy. There are times I turn them off and times I let them come, and times when I can't stop them from coming. This isn't every minute of every day. I have longer and longer periods of time when I am so busy doing all the things I have to do that my mind stays on track.
I have noticed lately how differently people interact with me, especially when I am with Brian. Do I seem so fragile to them? Do I seem unable to handle myself? I know part of it is his job and the assumption he has been trained to handle these things, and I am just a "civilian" woman. No one can be trained to handle the loss of their child. He is no more emtionally stable at this point than I am. Although he may get more sleep than I do! Just somehting I have noticed, another Hmmm..
I kept busy today, took Hunter to school, ran a couple errands. Took him to Terri's after school so he could have a sleepover with no babies. He was soo excited. I took the babies for the ride down, then took them to the mall. We did some shopping and I let them play at the indoor play ground. They had so much fun. It was busier than I thought it would be. Several people commented on them being twins, and how cute they were. I kept to myself and avoided socializing. One woman did come up and offer her condolences, she recognized them from the news. She asked how long it had been now and I told her Kierra was killed exactly 2 months ago. I thanked her and said I really didn't want to talk about it. I realize how much easier it is for me to say Kierra was killed, or died, than it is to use the phrase "passed away" or we "lost" her 2 months ago. Both of those are less harsh than the others. Is it my usual bluntness or do I want to express the harshness of her death? Hmmm...
Hunter has been asking alot of questions about growing in my belly,and what it was like when he was born. At first I put him off and didn't really answer his questions. I never lied to Kierra when she was young and started asking why she had so many grandparents. I never told her anything negative about her biological father and answered her questions as she asked them. She was about 7 years old when she first got inquisitive. I talked to Hunter's therapist and she said the younger you are honest with them the less difficulty they have later. So the next time he asked I told Hunter he grew in another woman's tummy. He asked why she wasn't his Mommy and I told him because she couldn't take care of him and we loved him and wanted him to be ours. I told him he would always be our special son and we would love him forever. He seemed satisfied with that. He asked where the woman was and I told him she doesn't live here and he doesn't know her. That seemed to satisfy him for now. I can't teach my children to be honest, yet lie to them. It doesn't protect them, it protects me from being uncomfortable talking about it, or worrying about being hurt. He made the comment to me yesterday that "since he was my special son, and since you didn't have to grow the babies your self to be a Mommy, then it was a good thing Tristan & Alexa would live with us now, because I knew how to do this. I could be all of their Mommies, couldn't I?" I told him he had been good practice for me, and with his help I could do anything.. Hmmm... It is amazing to behold the hope and wonder of a child... I wish I could see myself through his eyes...

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The thoughts and changes keep coming..

When I was pregnant with Kierra I prayed for a girl. There were a number of reasons. I did not want my oldest child to be a boy. My childhood memories of older brothers were not good ones.
I also did not want a "mini-me" of her biological father. I knew a boy would mean more to my husband and father-in-law at the time, which would mean a harder fight when I decided to leave. I think I knew even then our future was not in Indiana.
It seemed Kierra blossomed after we left Indiana when she was 10 months old. Other than her infamous temper tantrums she was such a happy go lucky child and never met a stranger. She carried that personality with her throughout her life.. even the temper tantrums!
She was quite the social butterfly throughout her school years, even though we found out early in pre-first ( like headstart after kindergarten) that she was dislexic. She spelled alot of things phonetically because that is how she learned to read. She was in Daisy Girl Scouts, but lost interest when it was time for Brownies. She loved dance. She took Ballet, Tap , and Jazz. She was disappointed to find out she couldn't continue to Point Ballet because she had flat feet. She got involved with Cheer/Dance in New Mexico and was thrilled to make the JV Cheerleading Squad in high school. We always joke about the semester she was in ROTC because she thought "Naval Science" was like Marine Biology and she would be learning about Dolphins! She only stuck with it because changing her course would put her in a different rotation with her other classes and she wouldn't be with her friends. How she hated the uniform and having to wear her hair up! We only have 2 pictures of her in her ROTC uniform, and I had to hide those so she wouldn't destroy them!
I am glad we have so many pictures. I can't imagine family pictures without her. I am having a hard time thinking of taking the twins for their 2nd birthday pictures in a few weeks. She was always so proud of how Tristan & Alexa took such beautiful pictures. I had tried to get her in their 18 month pictures, but she was dressed for work and said they would all get pictures together for the Christmas ones. I could not bring myself to get the Christmas Pictures professionally done. My sister, Greta, got a great picture of Darnell and the twins at the big Pre-Christmas dinner we had with everyone. I enjoy looking back at her childhood pictures. It is hard for me to look at the pictures of her with the twins because it glaringly reminds me she will not be there for the rest of their lives.
I knew it would happen, but it is still hard to hear.. Alexa has started to call me "Mommy". I try not to correct her because I know how confused she will be. Their doctor says it is impossible for them to understand and is a natural progression. I use Nana & Papa when I am talking to her and let her call us whatever she needs to. She still calls Brian Papa. Tristan doesn't talk as much or as well, but I know he will follow her lead as he always does. I know I need to make this as easy for them as I can, but it is so hard not to tell them "No, I am not Mommy, I am Nana."
Their Doctor says it will be more stressful for them to constantly be corrected, especially when they hear Hunter call me Mommy and can't understand the difference. I feel like this is just one more loss. Their last connection to her is fading away. I want them to know her, to know she was their mother and how much she loved them.
So this is another thing I have to learn to deal with in our life without Kierra...

Monday, January 09, 2006

Relaxation Therapy!

I am blessed in so many ways. I know I have alot to be thankful for. I appreciated many things before Kierra was killed. I now cherish them all so much more.
One of those precious things is friendship. I just spent Saturday, Sunday, and over half of today, with Dori, Nancy, & Terri. It was a weekend trip planned before Kierra's accident to go to Savannah, GA. We stayed at the Mansion at Forsyth Park. It was such a great time. I had some moments where I felt guilty for having fun. My rational mind knows it is okay, but my little voice still tells me I should feel guilty.
I am too tired and too busy to go into too much detail now, but it was a really fantastic weekend. Greta watched the kids with help from my neice Jennifer and Brianne. It helped to know they were in good hands.
We toured the town, ate great food, shopped, (and yes, drank!) One shop we went to had very moving photos accompanied by quotes. Dori bought me one that is particularly special to me and I wrote down a couple more that really touched me. So I will leave you today with those quotes, with the one from Dori first; "There are times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. Elie Wiesel" "The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had shed no tears. Unknown Author" " Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain.. but for the heart to conquer it. Rabindranath Tacore"

Thursday, January 05, 2006

What is "Normal", "Average", "Ordinary"?

I think back to that Sunday, November 13th, and what a beautiful day it began to be. Hunter & I went out on the water in a Kayak and were joined by a single, playful dolphin for several minutes, and then it swam into the bayway and was gone. I thought it was unusual there was only one. Of course later I thought that single dolphin may have been Kierra saying goodbye to us in a way she knew we would cherish forever.
She loved Dolphins, and it still strikes me odd that throughout her life I could sense when things were "wrong" with her. When she had trouble at school, when she would get hurt, when things in her life were not going well, even knowing she was pregnant before she told me. She always asked how I knew things like that. I told her my grandmother and my mother were the same way. It must be a connection we share. But on that terrible day, I did not sense my child's death, I did not sense her leaving this world when I had been able to sense such trivial things throughout her entire life. I have been told by more than one person it is because she did not want me to sense it and did not want to bring me pain when I was far from home and with Hunter. That is why she came to us as the Dolphin. I have some belief in things beyond our human existence, but the thought still comes to me that I should have known, I should have sensed it.
These are the thoughts that come to me at night when I am alone and the world is silent. These and so many other thoughts I can not hold at bay any longer as each day ends. There are times during the day that things strike me, but I can usually move forward to other things, distractions which demand my mental attention, even if it is just long enough to ward off the endless emotional well I feel myself falling into from time to time. Even on nights when I am not bombarded by my mind & memories, I still can not sleep. If I am lucky I sleep from 1-3 am or 2-4 am. Some nights I am up til 4 am and get to sleep til 7am. I do try to sleep, it just will not come. Or the kids wake me up and I can't get back to sleep.
I am reading a book.. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. It is about her experience with Grief from the loss of her husband and the illness ( and I think eventual death) of her daughter. She has done research of other books about grief and the physiological changes it causes. Memory lapse, insomnia, muddled thinking, poor rationalization, & manic depression are just a few. It helps to know it is not just me losing my mind.
It quotes a book on etiquette from Emily Post 1922... anyone over emotional or over dramatic should be barred from the bereaved for as long as necessary as to not further upset the emotional state of the bereaved person(s). To some degree, I agree, although that would cut out half the people I know between friends & family! I expect people to be upset. I expect people to cry. I understand they all have their own relationship with Kierra to grieve for. I know the people in my life well enough to know who is sincere and who is more involved with the drama and attention of it all. There are very few who can truly "know how I feel". My own husband has a different grief than mine. He is the closest person who can truly know how I feel. I appreciate how everyone feels and know this is a hard thing to know how to deal with. Most of the time people don't know what to say, so they stay away and don't say anything. Those who know me well know that words are not necessary.
We are trying to get our lives back "on track", to some state of "normal". I don't know what that will be like or how long it will take. We take each day as it comes. And so it goes...

Monday, January 02, 2006

A New Year..

December 31st was my friend Terry' s birthday. So we went to visit her Mom for lunch over in Lake City. Then we bought some munchies, rented a couple movies and stayed safley at home for New Year's Eve. Nancy came over and we had a quiet night. It has been a while since I did the big celebration for New Year's. It is just too crazy out there! I used to set up a party at home for the kids & I. Brian usually works. We would make popcorn, drink soda and watch the festivities on TV. The kids always thought it was great because they got to stay up late.
2005 was a hard year. Brian's father passed away on April 1st, then Kierra was killed November 13th.
I am glad we had a big wedding for Brianne in June. It helps keep it from being overshadowed so much by all the sadness. I know there are good memories from the year past, but it is hard to see through the pain right now. Brianne & I went on the Geronimo Slingshot at Wild Adventuers. She got to pull the rip cord at 380 feet in the air. It was a fun experience and it was great to share it with her. I am trying to "live" along with the rest of the living. Some days it is easier than others..


On December 30, 2005 Dr. Salim Ghazi was arrested for vehicular homicide. He bailed himself out of jail less than 2 hours later with $10,000.00 cash ( for a $100,000.00 bond).
I was asked by the media how I felt about the decision..I told them that regardless of anything they do, it does not change my life. It does not change what I have to wake up to every day..raising 2 children without their mother, realizing every day I awake is another day that my daughter is dead. There is no peace or closure from anything the justice system does.
I can't live for vindication through the courts. I don't have the emotional energy for it! Whatever happens will happen..
I spent the day with Hunter, my sister, Greta, my daughter, Brianne, and my friend, Terry. We went to Wild Adventures in Valdosta, GA. I am glad we were away from the media zoo for the day. I got a few calls, but told them I was spending the day with my son and had no comment. So of course there were some inflammatory comments about Kierra's driving record. I am not fighting this case in the news. No matter what her driving record was, his actions caused her reaction and now she is dead. Nothing changes that..