Sunday, October 29, 2006

That was then, this is now..

What a difference 25 years can make! I am at my friend, Regina's, in St. Pete. It was just a quick overnight trip to attend our 25th High School Reunion last night. I head back home today. Mary came in from Ohio and stayed at Gina's too. It was good to see some people who weren't at the 20th reunion. I never went to the 10th. It was a good time. Of course, just like high school, it was the company that made it fun. There were still the "clique's" there were back then, but almost everyone mixed and mingled. I won the prize for having the most grandchildren, and for being married the longest. That was pretty cool. We drank and we danced. We touched base with old friends. For me 1981 wasn't about high school. It was about moving to Indiana, starting what I thought was a new, good life. It was about the birth of my first child. It was desperately wanting to give Kierra a happy, healthy life. High school took a back seat to all that. So when I think of 1981, the nostalgia of high school really doesn't do much for me. I was invisible in high school. Other then the select few friends, most of whom are still in my life, I didn't "know" anyone. I didn't join any clubs or do much of anything. So it was the same as back then.. being on the outside of the little groups looking in. But it was interesting for me. I used to look at them 25 years ago and think I wanted their life. I wanted better than what I had. As much as I would give not to have Kierra gone, I would not give my life to anyone. I would not give up loving the people I love. I would not give up being who I am. I was a meek young girl, too unsure of myself to be my own person. Too unsure to speak up for myself. Too invisible for most people last night to remember who I was. A far cry from who I am now. I found myself looking at the small photo book I brought of the kids, and it made me smile. I called Brian twice to dance with him over the phone. I stood there moving to the music with his voice against my ear. They are what is important to me, they are the biggest part of who I am. Not the only part, but the most important. So I look back as if standing from a distance, not yearning to go back to what some consider the best years of their lives. The "best" years started for me after that, with the birth of Kierra, then along came Brian, then Brianne, Chad, Hunter, Alexa & Tristan. It wasn't always easy, but it was what it was... my life. Just as it is now. Not always easy... but mine.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Holding Hands

"The spaces between our fingers were made so that another person's fingers could fill them."
My hand fits perfectly in Brian's. It is as if it was always meant to. I held his hand as he held mine in court on Monday. I held his as he held mine today as we spoke to the media. I have held his hand throughout our life together. It has given me strength, comfort, & support. It has given me tenderness, love, & passion. It has held mine through happiness, sorrow, and pain. His hand has held mine through marriage, birth and death. When all else is dark around me, I remind myself ... to just hold on.

Monday, October 23, 2006


I am not sure how I feel tonight. Ghazi pled Guilty, by convenience. Which means he pled guilty because it was in his best interest, but he still maintains his claim of innocence. He pled that to 2 counts of reckless driving. Adjudication was withheld. He will have 150 hours of community service working at a free clinic, and a year of probation. That resolves the criminal case. He would never have gone to trial on the Vehicular Homicide charge, it would have been lessened to what he pled to, and he probably would have had adjudication withheld then too. It just would have taken longer and they would have dragged Kierra through the mud numerous times and made our lives hell in the meantime. We had to agree to the plea. The specifics weren't up to us, and it was an all or nothing situation. So we had to decide what was best for us and for the kids. There will never be closure, but at some point we need to be rid of this albatross and move forward however possible. I guess today was a start. The civil settlement still has to be resolved, hopefully this week.
Brian & I feel we chose the lesser of two evils. If it was just us to worry about, I would have pushed it to the max, no matter what they said or did. But we have not just Tristan & Alexa, but Brianne, Chad, & Hunter to think of as well. We all have to live here, and find whatever state of normal we can to keep going. The deciding factor was when the state attorney and our attorney went over the options with us and we realized the outcome would likely be the same, it would just prolong our pain and grief being public fodder. We are not "happy" with the decision. It was not what we wanted. It was what we agreed to because we feel it is the best disposition we could get considering all the factors involved. It sucks, no matter how you slice it. There just aren't any road rage laws in Florida. No law is specific enough for this to have come out any different. I hope Citizens Against Road Rage can help change that.
We declined comment to the Media after the court hearing. They have respected our wishes to be left alone for now. Our attorney warned us it is not over, and they will say plenty of things that we probably won't like because it was a plea bargain. They don't have to live our lives, so I can't worry about what they think. I know every one has opinions. I have some myself. In an ideal world it would be very different indeed. But reality bites and we have to deal with the here and now. As well as the future. We have to be able to explain to Tristan & Alexa what happened to their Mother, and why we made the choices we made. They matter, what they will think matters, that is what is important to us right now. Our attorney told us, despite the technicality, guilty is guilty, at least we have that. For me it is not worth the paper it will be printed on. It is a meaningless plea. He never has, and never will, feel truly guilty for what he did. Nothing will change that, just as nothing will bring my child back to me. No conviction would bring her back, so does it really matter? There is a means to the end, and I have to focus on the kids and my family. And hope Kierra understands and knows we are doing what we feel we have to do, for her, and for her children..

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Problem with Pain.. that you have absolutely no control. Wether it is emotional pain, which can also be physical, or the physical pain of a migraine, broken foot, pinched nerve, torn ligament, etc.. sometimes, even the medicines don't work and you are at the mercy of your pain. I don't usually give up control without a fight. I hate giving in to something and letting it take over. I missed the Florida Twin convention activities today (actually yesterday) because of this stubborn migraine. I made it to our bi-monthly get together at Terri, Dwight, & Savannah's, but this damn headache drained me of my "fun factor", and I couldn't enjoy everyone and everything like I normally do. I didn't even get in the pool with the kids.. Thank you Greta, Savannah, Dwight, & Terri for doing that for me! The food and the company were great, I just couldn't relax & enjoy it like I wanted to.
Emotional pain can be like that too. It drains you and steals your ability to do things, to enjoy things, and to be yourself. I had been visiting a blog about a young boy and his Mother dealing with multiple surgeries and a heart transplant. He had been doing okay, but had some complications and sadly, died (Saturday, 10/21). What a strong testament to love. And of faith, which I am still lacking, but that is another blog.. sad things happen every day to everyone. Not always as tragic as death, but emotional pain has it's own scale, it's own weight of measure. Not to be underestimated.
This damn migraine, which is 2 days going now, may be a more dominant pain at the moment. And at times it may seem like a greater pain, but it isn't. Brenda told me I was a trooper for cooking and going to the party with my migraine. I have forced myself through other things with my emotional pain killing me inside, so it wasn't such a big deal to strongarm myself through this migraine. I hate giving in to anything, so I am sure I will fight through it again. Like now, when I refuse to let my pain keep me from typing this.. when I refuse to give up control. If this pain insists on being unbreakable, I will suffer through it. Given the choice of giving in and letting it get worse as I cry over it, or fighting against it and still doing what I feel I should.. I will fight the fight. I make that choice almost daily with the pain of my grief. It is familiar to me, it is my life, it is what it is..

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Beef Stew

I am up late cooking for a get together tomorrow. I was planning to do it today, but my migraine had different plans! I am fixing autumn stew. It is the same as beef stew, but you add fresh pumpkin to it. Kierra loved beef stew, and autumn stew. She also loved corn chowder. She asked me once how I learned to cook. I told her those were staple foods growing up because we had such a large family. Stew & chowder stretched more than meat and potatoes did. Kierra, Brenda, & I took a trip up to Tennessee when Kierra was pregnant. It was the beginning of November, so the weather was just getting chilly up there. We were at my parent's house and my Mom asked her what she wanted to eat. Well, before I could warn her, Kierra got all excited and said Beef Stew and Corn Chowder! I tried to shake my head at her, but Kierra didn't notice. Later I explained to Kie that although I learned to cook some things from my Mom, I had improved upon them over the years. My Mom's version of both of those dishes were quite different from what Kierra was used to. My Mom & Dad like their food simple. Which sometimes means bland. My Mom's beef stew is with the broth from the beef and potatoes & carrots, and I think celery. I add some onion and spices to mine and make a gravy type broth for it, so it is quite a bit thicker. And generally has more flavor. My Mom's corn chowder has potatoes, and corn, evaporated milk and the water the potatoes were cooked in. I use evaporated and whole milk after most of the water is drained from the potatoes. I use whole kernel and cream style corn, real bacon bits, and green onion. Needless to say they were not what Kierra expected. But she ate them like a trooper, and told my Mom how good they were.. then got a burger from McDonalds on our way back to the hotel! I don't think I have fixed either one since she's been gone. So I will share the beef stew, and the story, with everyone tomorrow.

Migraine Pain

Not quite sure what the deal is, but I will have to give in and make an appointment with my doctor. I used to get Migraine headaches alot. There were numerous tests done and alot of speculation, but nothing conclusive. I dwindled down to an occasional migraine and have been blissfully without them for a few years now. I have had 4 in 2 weeks. Two of them knocked me down so hard I couldn't function for the whole day, the other two knocked me down for a few hours. If you haven't had a migraine, you are blessed. They aren't just a bad headache. They are painful to the point of making me physically ill. And throwing up only makes the pain worse instead of better. Your eyes hurt, everything echoes, and you cry every time you move and your head splits open. I have had my vision black out from a migraine before and it is scary stuff. Usually a dark, quiet room and sleep will help. There are times medication works and times when it doesn't. I know stress is a big trigger for me. Honestly, the past couple weeks have been almost as stressful as when Kierra died. The past 11 months have been stressful as well, but not like this. So bear with me if I say I have a headache. And let's just hope it is from the stress, I can't handle anything else right now!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sea World

Sea World
Originally uploaded by mommanana.
This may be a true sign of insanity, but I took the three munchkins to Sea World by myself on Sunday (yesterday). I took them down to Orlando Saturday night, then we did Sea World until they got tired, swam in the hotel pool and stayed over last night. (Hunter had no school today.) We got home about 1:30 today. Hunter & I have yearly passes and the twins are free.. until they turn 3!
I thought I needed time away, time to be around other people and time away from the kids. I couldn't figure out why the cruise wasn't all I had thought it would be. You would think handling all three kids by myself would have the opposite effect, but it really recharged me. It helped me refocus and force all the other crap out of my head. You can't be worrying what might happen in court next week when you have 3 kids in a swimming pool with you. You can't stay depressed when you have 3 kids laughing and running around you while they chase water geysers in a play ground splash zone. Or the excitement on their faces when they see a clydesdale up close and are in awe of it's size. To see and hear the joy they get from seeing penguins swimming in the water and waddling in the snow. To see the moment of wonder when Alexa touched the glass and a dolphin swam up to her hand in the underwater viewing area. She would have stayed there all day if the boys hadn't been so impatient to move on to the next adventure.
To sit in the quiet and listen to them sleep. I took my insomnia with me, but I wrote a 5 page letter to a dear friend who doesn't get online to read this, and I read another Nora Roberts Novel.
I realized how much Hunter is growing up and what a great kid he is, although I already knew that! He was so helpful and so patient. He was okay that we were limited by the stroller and the fact that I was the only adult there. Little things constantly amaze me with him. I carried his back pack on the stroller on the way to the car this morning and when he offered to carry it, he said.." Thanks for carrying it for me Mom, I hope it wasn't too much trouble." Where does that come from?? He was quick all weekend to open doors for me and pick things up the minute Tristan or Alexa dropped (or threw!) them out of the stroller. I am so proud of him.
I didn't have anything or anyone else to distract me. My entire focus was on them. Everything we did was at their pace. I am amazed how much better I feel today. Things are still crazy here at home, and they are bound to get crazier. But I am reaffirmed in my mindset that what we are doing and all we are going through will be to the benefit of these children someday. And I will not question if it was all worth it when it is all over, because nothing will bring Kierra back to me, nothing will ever make it right again. But I will give her children a better future and I will give them all the love I have. Insanity included.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


I'll be offline until Sunday night or Monday. I am taking the kids to have some fun. I will have pix and stories to tell when we get back!


Too Much Information! I have always felt knowledge was better than ignorance. I never understood "ignorance is bliss". Because Brian is a police officer we were given alot more information and details of Kierra's accident than the average person would have. Because I insisted, we have copies of all the reports, depositions, & evidence from the case. I have googled Kierra's name and come across articles and message boards about her and about the accident. Some of the comments are more offensive than I can mention. I am appalled at the judgments people make without any true knowledge of a person or a situation. I am as offended, yet not surprised, by the slant the media puts on things and how quickly it sways public opinion. I am sorely disappointed in the justice system and how the machinations of the process dehumanize the victims. I know more than I ever wanted to about the pain of grief and the darkness of depression. Ignorance would be bliss, but once known, you can't "unknow" and the knowledge can be what hurts you the most.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

So Much..

Cricket had this posted on her website. It didn't make me feel like a bad parent, as she claimed it did for her, but it defintiely makes me think.. what do I have to bitch about?! I wonder what will life be like for this boy when his father can't run for him anymore... the sacrifices we make for those we love come in all shapes and sizes. What a testament to love.
Right now all I want is for Kierra to rest in peace. So much is going on and so much I can't really get into because everything changes from one minute to the next. We are emotionally overwhelmed and overwrought. I feel as though I am barely hanging on.. then one of the kids calls me, needs me, and I grab hold for just a little longer. I can feel my fingers slipping, grasping for a ledge to hold on to. I will find one, I always do, until I am here again, dangling..

The Cruise..

It was a break. It wasn't bad, it wasn't great. It was good. I know that doesn't explain much, but so much is going on it doesn't seem important right now. We enjoyed the time with Greta, Terri, Uncle Bobby, and Robyn. It was fun to see some of the Hodges group people we know. The weather was beautiful and the food was great. I don't feel re-charged, and I desperately want some time alone with my hubby. I think we expected too much of ourselves, and no matter where we go, our emotions go with us..

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Bad, Bad Blogger!

Sorry! I have been a bad blogger and not kept up. I promise to be more detailed tomorrow, but for tonight I have caught up on e-mail, and everyone else's blogs and I have a splitting headache! We made it back from the cruise in one piece and without a quickie divorce, so all is good! We did have a good time. Sorry, no, not great, but good, for the most part. I slept more than I have in a long time, so that part was a bonus. Now we are back home and balls to the wall. So I will try to catch up more tomorrow, okay? Love ya'll..

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Shattered Glass..

I have tried before to verbalize what it feels like when your life is changed forever. It isn't just a feeling really. In that moment you can actually hear and feel something break inside you. The closest I can come to describing it is.. shattering glass. An explosive, expanding, shattering of glass. It isn't always just from major events like Kierra's death. Sometimes it is the unexpected. Sometimes it is a simple knowledge of someone or something that catches you from left field. And in that moment of knowledge, you can feel something inside you shatter. Into thousands of pieces of broken glass. And with it comes the knowledge that it will never be whole again. And I have to wonder, how many pieces of me can be broken before nothing is left? I can replace that part of myself with something else, something false, something that appears to be mended. But it will never be the same. I can keep trying to pick up the pieces in the hope that somehow the shards that cut me can heal me too, but I don't believe they will.....

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Smoke gets in my eyes..

It actually did at the disco the other night, and it is getting under my skin as well. Brian has smoked for years. He smokes at work, and some at home. He has always smoked outside because Brianne, Hunter, and now Tristan, have asthma. He has quit before, but started again some time back. His reasoning was because he works nights and it helped him stay awake. I bought that because way back when I worked nights at a convenient store in Wyoming I smoked as well. And on intermittent occasions I have smoked when out drinking with friends. So I know first hand what an addiction is. I am not without guilt of it myself. There are enough addictions between my family and friends for me to be affected on various levels. From cigarettes, to alcohol, to drugs. It isn't what a person is addicted to, it is how inconsiderate the addiction makes them. It is that sometimes the addiction is more important than anything, or anyone else. I have noticed over the past months that Brian smokes more often at home than he used to. I have used the excuse of Kierra's death and him working so much to try and abate my resentment when I am balls to the wall with the kids and call our for his help only to realize he is outside and can't hear me. When he gets a phone call and I am in the middle of something and have to go find him because he is outside. It used to be only when he was first waking up, or when he was getting ready for work. Lately it is alot more often.
I am not sure if it is that we don't spend this much time together, or if it is because my sister Robyn smokes as well, so he has a smoke buddy. But it is becoming a bone of contention for me that he is smoking like a chimney on this trip. The other morning we were out on deck for breakfast. He & Robyn stepped away to the pool area of the deck to smoke. I didn't realize Brian chain smoked. I sat there waiting while he had 1 cigarette, no problem. I got a bit annoyed sitting there while he lit and smoked a 2nd cigarette. I was done waiting when he lit the 3rd. I went over and told him I was tired of sitting alone waiting while he chain smoked, I was going back to the room to change. He said they got talking about insurance. Whatever. Then that night at the disco he was sitting next to me and didn't even move away to smoke, it blew right past my face. When I said something he said it wasn't because he blew it the other way. Whatever.
Numerous times he just leaves where we are, or leaves the cabin to smoke. He doesn't say, Honey I will be right back, nothing. I just look up and he is gone, or I am watching his back as he leaves without saying anything. Yesterday were getting ready for dinner. I had literally just stepped into the shower, I said "hey baby, we can actually take a shower together.. no kids..come on in!" I got no response. I stepped out and opened the bathroom door.. "hey babe".. no response.. he was gone. I finsihed the shower, got out and was getting dressed when he came back. I told him earlier in the day it was my birthday, it would be nice if he cut back. He didn't, and as the night wore on it really annoyed me. I told him how much it was upsetting me, he said "then why are you counting my cigarettes.. I am not counting I told him, every time I turn around, you are gone." This morning we got woken up by a wrong number phone call. He got dressed and asked if I wanted to walk the deck and get coffee. I couldn't stop myself from asking, "so you can smoke?" He got mad and said he wasn't a kid. He may not be a kid, but he is like every other addict.. inconsiderate about how his addiction affects other people. Inconsiderate about the priority his addiction has over whatever else is going on. And I resent it coming between us when we were supposed to use this time to be together. It may not be a big deal to some people, but right now, it is a big deal to me!

A jawbreaker broke me..

Yesterday was my birthday.. woo hoo~. First thing in the morning Brian and I went to get coffee at the gourmet coffee shop, (the ship's coffee is awful!) While we were standing there we noticed some candy that they sell. One of them is a huge jawbreaker. Kierra use to love those things, she would eat them for days. You would open the fridge and there it would be wrapped in a paper towel. Then you would see her with this huge thing half in her mouth and her lips all white while she sucked on it. I had to step away and go look out the window at the ocean and cry where no one would see me and ask questions. Brian was upset too. It is always with me, but things like that trigger the pain and make it hard to act normal. We thought we had gotten it under control untilwe went up for breakfast and Greta, Robyn, and Uncle Bobby tried to sing Happy Birthday to me. I had to walk away. At that moment I could not think of it being happy. I could not imagine celebrating anything when Kierra was gone. I felt bad, their intentions were good. I just couldn't do it. By dinner I was able to control it better so they could do the cake and singing. I got some great gifts, we drank Asti, amd went dancing. It was all good. Some days are just easier than others. I guess this was a warm up for the pending Holidays. I'll take it as it goes..

Update on Tristan

I can't remember sometimes what I have blogged and what I haven't, so bear with me if I repeat myself..
For some time now Tristan has been doing a gasping type noise at random. We thought he was playing it up because it didn't seem to be serious. He didn't do it more than once at a time, and it didn't cause him to turn blue or slow him down at all. It became a concern when I was putting away laundry and noticed him do it in his sleep. I asked the pediatrician about it and as I was describing it, Tristan did it. She said it was a Stridor, it is like a spasm of the pulmonary muscles, an intake of breath when he is trying to breathe out. She said it can be a red flag for something else. She sent us to an ENT specialist. I took him last week, they numbed his nasal passages and did a scope. He had 100% obstruction on the left side. His left ear was full of fluid and his adenoids had a major infection which had been there a long time and looked like it was eating away at them. (Sorry that was a bit gross! trust me, I saw it through the scope and it was!) He is on a 6 week course of antibiotics, then we will recheck it and recheck the hearing in his left ear to see if there is permanent damage. He can't, and hasn't, been able to hear out of his left ear in quite some time, if ever. That is why he doesn't talk much or well, and some of his development is affected. The ENT doc said it is hard to catch. Alot of kids, especially twins and preemies, have chronic ear infections like Tristan has had, and until something flags a closer look, most docs don't do a scope to see what is really going on. A lot of times Tristan didn't act sick or like he had an ear infection, the doc said it is probably because that side is so damaged he didn't really feel it. So I will update you as I know more. The Pediatrician and I also found 2 referrals in the records for an allergist for Tristan & Alexa, and a speech therapist for Tristan. I didn't know anything about them, it was from the end of October last year when Brian, Hunter, & I were on vacation. I don't remember Kierra mentioning it and didn't see anything in her belongings. Any who, the Doc's office never followed through about it with me either, so now we will get those appointments set up as well.. Never a dull moment!

Monday, October 02, 2006

What it takes to take a break!

Brian & I are on a week long cruise. I was amazed at the amount of work/planning that it took for us to do this! We had to find someone to take care of the kids.. Thank You Brenda, Brianne, and anyone else who helps out this week! There were transportation arrangements for Hunter to & from school and to & from karate, Thanks Brianne, Brenda, & Rita!! There were daycare hours to buy.. Thank You Kids By The Hour. There were groceries, diapers, and dog food to buy to last a week. There were Dr. appts to schedule & go to to take care of Tristan and his recent issues (that's another blog), and get him medicine for this week. There were travel arrangements to make for Brian since his job gave him the 1-8th off, but not the 30th. So I drove down on the 30 th to Miami with Greta, Terri, & Uncle Bobby, and Brian flew in the next morning so we could catch the boat out. Robyn met us at the hotel in Ft. Lauderdale. (Terri got to go in place of Greta's husband Randy, who decided not to go.)
So here we are sailing the ocean blue. We are at Carnival's private island today, half moon cay. Been here before.. it's a biggie. Could have gone horse back riding, but didn't bring closed toe shoes! So I am not sure yet what we will do today. Formal dinner tonight, day at sea tomorrow, then on to Puerto Rico, St Thomas and the Grand Turks. ( in whatever order we get to them!) More later on all that. I hear the spa calling my name....