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New Year, New Chapter

Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve. A time for the year to end, and for a new year to start. Many people make resolution this day – decide to go to the gym more often, diet etc. Many people do not keep those resolutions.

For us, 2013 will be the year we celebrate Julia’s first birthday.  Richard and I will have our 7th Wedding Anniversary. I will turn (gasp!) 40, and, we will start living more of our lives with OUT Alexander than we had WITH him. Yes, on January 1, 2013 it will be 21 months since our beautiful boy took his last breath. It is hard to believe it has been that long. It still seems like yesterday in many ways.

In these 21 months we have said good bye to several of Alexander’s friends – some we knew well, some just in passing at the clinic. All lives cut too short. My friend Rosanne also died last year after a 5 year fight with stupid cancer. I went to 2 funerals for two men that died unexpectedly, one while participating in a charity bike race! I went to the funeral for a friend whose son was born into the arms of Jesus, never even taking his first breath outside of his mothers womb.

It has not been an easy 21 months for us in a lot of ways. The sadness I feel on many days is difficult to describe – only those that have lived the horror that we have gone through can understand.

Tonight I was texting with a friend (yes, I have become a text chatter like a crazy teenager!) and I was mentioning what I just said – how we will start to live longer without Alexander than we did with him. Ever the positive person (and she is one person that DOES get it – her precious girl died the month before Alexander), she helped me to turn my sadness around – to look at this new year as a new chapter in the Julia files. I also think, I need to look at it in the positive that at least we HAD Alexander for 21 months! The first child that we knew from the hospital that died lived just over 1 year. Another mom I have since met, lost her daughter who was younger than Alexander. Another mom I met only had her son for 3 days (he did not die from cancer – doesn’t matter, it all still sucks) .

So my resolution for the new year, is to try to focus more on the POSITIVE. To remember all the GOOD times we had with Alexander. And despite all the STUPID CANCER stuff, we did have a lot of good times! The last month we had with him was wonderful! I also find myself the happiest when I am helping others – reaching out to other families that are going through stupid cancer things, doing things for them, raising money and awareness for childhood cancer (and off course making Pillow Cases!)

As you think about a resolution you might want to make, consider not what you can do to better YOURSELF, but what you can do for OTHERS – those around you – your friends, you family, strangers in need.

And in the last words of Cole, whose 1 year Angel Anniversary is coming up in January,

SMILE – BE HAPPY!!!!!!

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A bearable day

So I made it through the second Christmas without Alexander.  It was an okay day with happy moments.   Julia slept in which was lovely, but then I woke up at 7am thinking I heard her, and I couldn’t fall back to sleep.  My brain was just going – thinking about how much I missed Alexander.     When Julia did get up, we opened presents with her.  She was VERY excited by them which was a lot of fun to see!   We went over to my mom’s house and opened presents with her and my sister.  It was nice.   Richard’s  mom and sister came to join us for lunch.  Julia did NOT nap at all during the day but was still very happy!  Later in the day we went to visit my Aunt and Grand Aunt.  Julia had a very nice visit with them. My Grand Aunt is 93 years old and has good days and not so good days.  Yesterday was a GOOD day.  Julia sat with her for quite a while and they had a nice visit.  My Aunt gave me a present for Alexander – it was a beautiful Crystal Angel!  I will be sure to put that in a special place for all to see.

Julia took a brief nap in the car on the way down and back, but never did have a proper nap!  Thankfully she did fall asleep pretty quickly once we came home.  The mid part of the day I was very happy, and had a very nice time.  By the evening however, I was feeling sad yet again.

A snow storm is heading our way, so it was decided that the plans with Richard’s family would have to change.  We had planned on getting together with them on Thursday, and I took the day off from work.  However, with the snow, it was better to do it today, and I had to work. Richard took Julia off without me.  He did take pictures and it looked like they had a very nice time.

As I have read the posts and blogs of families that have been at this “Christmas without their child” thing longer than I have, I see I am not alone in my feelings.  People that are working on their 5th year without their child, said that it wasn’t any easier – perhaps harder!

Some might think that this year would be “better” for us because we have Julia.  But really, I think it was harder because we have Julia.  I was missing Alexander so much – wishing he was here to teach Julia about presents.  Wishing we could have been baking cookies to leave out for Santa.  But he wasn’t here and never will be.  We will make these new memories with Julia as she grows older, but there will always be a hole in our hearts that will never be filled.

So over all – it wasn’t a bad day, it wasn’t a good day.  It was a bearable day.

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Not the end of the world afterall!

So it looks like the world won’t be ending today after all!  Oh well such is life!  Take a moment to PAUSE and be grateful for all that you HAVE – your health, your kids, a job (even if it is a crappy job!).  Say some prayers and send good thoughts for those that are suffering – the sick, the homeless, those in the military that can’t be with their families this year.  Remember those families that are spending Christmas without their loved ones – especially those that it is their first year.   Worried about baking all those cookies? Don’t – who cares – you don’t need the calories anyway!  Worried about wrapping all those Santa Presents? Don’t – have Santa write a note telling the kids he is “going green” and not wrapping presents this year (Santa never wrapped his presents in our house – just mom and dad)
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, and a bearable one to those that are hurting!

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Beyond anything I could imagine…..

When I first heard the news that there was a shooting at a school, I quiet honestly didn’t listen to hard.  I was going about my day.  But, as the day went on and more information came out I did start to listen.  When I turned on the news, I could only watch for a few minutes because I was getting sick hearing that is was CHILDREN that had died.  Not that the adult lives taken were any less important or signficant – but as the parent as a child who has died I started to feel for the parents of those precious children.  When I was going out later that I night, I heard that they hadn’t even removed the children from the school yet, because they were waiting to identify their beautiful little lifeless bodies.

I thought about our last moments with Alexander.  As you know, it was very sudden and traumatic. However, unlike the parents of these children, we DID get to hold him – we got to say good bye to him. We got to pray with him as he took his last breaths.  These poor parents did not have that chance!!  They had to wait!  I can’t even imagine that!  It is hard enough to lose a child – but to not be with them as they lay dying is just so tragic.  My biggest fear for Alexander was that he was scared when he was dying.  I did come to peace, that he was already with God when they were working so hard to save his life.  However, these children – the fear they must have faced when that man came into their classroom, is beyond anything even want to think about!

As often happens in the wake of a tragedy like this – people voice a lot of opinions. As I head someone one say on the radio today, the internet has given people the “freedom” to speak more freely – often anonymously through comments  – but not always.  I have heard =about the need for “gun control” (the guns he used were bought and owned LEAGELLY – he used them ILLEGALLY!) – “That is why I home school my children” (okay – so then maybe you should lock them in your house all the time because shootings have also happend recently at the mall and the movies!) “it is because we took God out of the schools” (tell that to the parents of the Amish Children that were slain at their school – I am sure THEY had prayer in school!)  and yes, even someone compared this tragedy to the “tragedy” of all the abortions that happen every day, but never make it into the news. (Now, I am very pro-life – but now is neither the time or place for such a discussion – or even a time to make that remark!)

The one topic you DON”T hear about a lot right now is that of Mental Illness – the man that did this was clearly mentally ill – perhaps in the days/weeks ahead, more will come out about that – perhaps there were “signs” of his illness – perhaps not.  I don’t know – but we need to STOP making mental illness such a “secert” disease and talk more about it – not make it so shameful – because like other diseases, it IS a sickness!  I am no way going to excuse this man for what he did – but perhaps if had gotten HELP this horrible thing wouldn’t have happened!
But, now is really not the time for any of these topics.  Now is the time for supporting those families in need – for showing them love and compassion, while respeciting their PRIVACY!

You NEVER get over the loss of a child – and as I said earlier, to lose a child in such a horrific way, is just unimaginable.

These families will be forever changed – and people are going to SAY a lot of things to them.  I found this blog, that gives some good suggestions of what NOT to say and what TO say to people in a time of grief.

http://www.missfoundation.org/professionals/articles/effective

Of course the best thing you can really say – is just to say “I am Sorry” and then keep your mouth shut!
Praying for all those involved in this terrible terrible event.

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Tough Days

People told me that the second year is harder than the first year.  I couldn’t imagine that could be true – but yet, I am finding it to be very true.   The first year without Alexander was such a blur – I was just so numb most of the time.  Of course I was pregnant with Julia so I was also sick for a good part of that time!   Every time I had my “morning sickness” – I wondered if that was how Alexander felt most of the time!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have started a job at the mall.  It is a fun place to be – but lots of moms and dads come in with their children.  I interact with the children, and ask how old they are.  Whenever I hear “2 or 3” I get sad thinking about Alexander.  Wondering what he would have been like had he not died.  Perhaps I will stop asking….

I use to love Christmas – I loved to decorate my tree!  I would get everything out right after Thanksgiving!  Now – it is just all so sad to me.  Alexander had a wonderful 1st Christmas.  But, his second Christmas he spent in the hospital.  He was recovering from a major surgery as well as yet another line infection.   An Angel Family brought breakfast into us, and Santa came to visit.   My mom and sister came on Christmas Day and we had a nice meal that they brought in.  Richard’s family came a few days later – but because of the rules, we couldn’t have more than 4 people in the room at a time, so everyone had to take a turn visiting.   Things were made as nice as possible, but it is just wrong and sad to have to be in the hospital for Christmas.  We didn’t know it then, but it would be his last Christmas with us

Last year at this time, our friends son Cole, went into the hospital for the last time.  He died on January 20th.  His last Christmas with his family was in the hospital.  Again, just wrong.

Last week was the 1 year anniversary of another friends daughter going to Heaven, and today another.  Another friend spent her sons 16th birthday without him as he died earlier this year.  Someone else remembered a surgery for her daughter who would die not long after.  I know others whose children’s “Angel Dates” are approaching.   It is not an easy time for any of us.

If I could crawl into a hole right now I would, but I know I can’t.  I didn’t really care if we decorated or not for Christmas this year, but Richard took everything out.  I did decorate the tree with Julia and talk to her about each special ornament that we have.  It was hard though putting up Alexander’s special ones.  I had made him one that said “Alexander’s First Christmas” on it and I put a picture of him inside of it.  I had intended on making him one every year.  Because he was in the hospital, I never got around to making it  for the 2nd year – and now we have no more to make for him.

So – as you go about your shopping and being busy this season, please take the time to STOP and just ENJOY life – enjoy your children.  Don’t worry about getting all the cookies baked, or the presents wrapped.  If you are stressing about anything – just STOP and be Thankful for all that you have.  If you come across a “Grinch” say a little prayer for them, because they might not have a heart that is too small, but rather a hear that is BROKEN.

Alexander's First Christmas

Alexander’s First Christmas

Alexander's 2nd Christmas

Alexander’s 2nd Christmas

 

 

 

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The Truth 365

This video is an hour long – but please take the time to watch.  The children need us!

 

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