Archive for the 'Reflection' Category

January 2nd 2011

New Year’s Reflections

It’s been quite some time since I last posted here.  Of course, the earth continues to revolve around the sun and the days still come and go.  …and I still struggle with posting because I don’t want to be the downer in anyone’s day.  Being a new year, however, it seems like a reasonable  time to reflect.


Kai is growing like crazy.  Though in many ways I wish he would stay a baby (as any mother might), it’s actually been a lot better for the both of us to have him grow.  It turns out that it is much easier to handle a 4 year old than a 3 year old.  He is very smart and is willing to reason much of the time.  He understands the difference between right and wrong.  His independent nature, which he gets from Mommy, helps him to be entertained on his own and also to not feel lonely.  The year had ups and downs, but we got to share many adventures.  His birthday party was a big hit.  Thanks to all who participated.  We also had the good fortune to go on our first camping trip and to jump around in the ocean.  We spent some time “on vacation” at Lake Havasu, played the new Kinect video games together, and even started some new traditions like Taco Tuesday.  There are so many wonderful memories over the last year that I will always treasure.  The one thing that stands out to me as the most noteable happened just a few weeks ago, though.  Kai caught me visibly upset (read sad) and asked me what was wrong.  I’m not sure that he had ever “caught” me like that before.  Anyways, I told him that I am still very sad and asked him if he still gets sad.  He said he “doesn’t get sad anymore”.  He said that he knows Mommy is in heaven and that she is an angel and that she is always with him.  It was one of the happiest and saddest moments of the year for me.  In one sense, it was a very sensitive moment and full of sorrow, but on the other hand, as a dad, it pleases me to hear that he is healing and learning to deal with his reality.  He still asks about Mommy regularly, but he doesn’t ask about where she is or whether she’s coming back.  He wants to know what she was like and what she would think about things. 

So, Kai is beginning to move forward and is growing emotionally as well as physically.  I, lamentably, have not been so fortunate.

I guess for the last year and a half, I have been desparately running from the hurt and loneliness to distractions rather than healing.  I finally had to realize the hard way that it was an unsustainable way for me to live.  The sadness kept catching up to me even with my best efforts to distract myself.  Now I’m on a mission to heal.  I’m desparate for it.  Even though it means I will have to face the hurt and loneliness, I believe that it is necessary for me to even begin healing.  I can’t believe I still have to begin healing.  It seems that until I make some progress in this area, I won’t be able to really enjoy or appreciate life.  Things I used to love and need currently are lackluster or even painful.  Places I cherished, people I loved, and things like music, which I used to need like food, no longer provide joy.  Hope has been replaced by confusion.  God has been silent.  Goals and dreams have become like legends; not knowing if they ever really existed or not.  I want to be able to live and love again; healthy and stronger.  I believe I can do it.  I must try…

I guess it comes across so melodramatic and maybe even cheesy…  What can I say?  It’s the way I feel at this particular moment.  I may be reaching out to some of you this year.  I pray it’s in an attempt to heal and not hide.  Keep me accountable (but gently please).  I’m not sure how I’m going to do it.  I just know that I am at least conscious of the need, and have the emotional desperation leverage to truly seek it.

Here’s to a better 2011.

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July 7th 2010

I Chickened Out (and other notables)

July is another “difficult” time of the year.  The 3rd is Monica’s birthday, and today is our anniversary.  It would have been 9 years today.

I thought it would be nice to start a tradition of spending the 4th of July with Monica’s family from now on and also celebrate her birthday, so last weekend I went up to Paradise, CA which is up north by Chico.  We’ll see how that develops (’cause traffic on the 4th of July weekend is worse than I expected and it’s already an incredibly long drive…).

I still think the idea was a good one, but the reality didn’t quite turn out how I thought it might.  I ended up feeling really conflicted about taking Kai to the cemetery, since in his mind, Mommy is in heaven.  Would it be too much for him to process?  I decided to just tell him that it was a special place for us to remember Mommy.

…the problem was that I chickened out.  :(  I just couldn’t do it.  Even now as I write this that huge lump in my throat grows to a point that it seems it might burst.  I hope over time I can gather the courage to go there.  In the mean time, I just felt like I had to confess…

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June 16th 2010

Some Positive Notes :)

It’s been a while since I posted.  The simple reason is that life is hectic as a single dad.  Not only do I contend with the “tyranny of the urgent”, but if you know Kai, you know that he is one of the most energetic kids you’ll ever meet.  That being said, probably the greater truth is that I’ve struggled with the realization that most of the time I feel like posting, it has been about something kind of negative.  I don’t want to be the downer in someone’s day, so I usually just skip the posting.

The weeks leading up to the anniversary of Monica’s passing were the hardest yet.  It was almost unimaginable to think that after almost a full year of grieving I was still finding new lows.  There didn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel.  I decided to take the day off on May 11th and just spend some “me” time.  I turned my phone off and didn’t check any email or FaceBook messages (a quick thank you to everyone who did try to reach out to me and Kai on that day.  I apologize for not getting back to you all, but there really were an overwhelming number of people to get back to. I just skipped it all.) 

Something interesting happened… I spent the day playing and writing music, and by the end of the day I really felt a lot better.  It was the first encounter of “joy” I’d had in a long time.  It was such a contrast to the lows I had been feeling, that I felt like I was soaring or something.  It was really encouraging to realize that I could still experience joy like that.

A couple of weeks later Kai and I received another gift.  Our church, Whittier Area Community, was doing its annual serve weekend and our back yard was one of the projects.  We ended up having so many people come to help and show their love, that not only did the backyard get a total makeover, but many of the projects I couldn’t get to inside the house got done too.  It was an incredibly humbling experience that we will be eternally grateful for.  If you were one of the many people that helped out at our house for serve weekend, please know that you really made a difference to us.  During a time of faith struggles, sadness, and a blurry outlook on hope, you guys represented the love of Christ and the church with elegance and grace.

I’m so pleased to be able to finally post something positive.  :)

Backyard

After serve weekend, our backyard looks amazing!

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April 30th 2010

Kai Hates “The Sky”

Kai’s teacher pulled me aside this morning because she’s concerned that Kai has been very sad at school.  I’ve noticed it somewhat too, but it seems that the topic comes up more often at school; I guess because the other kids talk about their moms and their moms come to pick them during earlier parts of the day.

He still asks for mommy almost every day after a whole year.  You’d think he would have given up by now, but he’s got his mom’s determination.  Lately he’s been trying to think of ways that Mommy can come back to Earth.  The other night he was up late in bed talking for a while, so I finally went into his room and asked him who he was talking to.  He said he was talking to Mommy and to God.  He asked God to make a cloud with a slide on it so Mommy could slide down to Earth to see him.  He said that Mommy then told him that she was already an angel and that she couldn’t slide down the slide, but that she might be able to use her angel wings to fly down to Earth to visit him in the summer!  Either he’s got an amazing imagination for an “almost 4 year old”, or she really did tell him that…

Apparently Kai’s teacher is feeling acutely aware of the fact that Mother’s Day is coming because their curriculum will center around Mother’s Day.  She said she was hurt the other day because he mentioned he “hated the sky”.  She asked him why, and he said he hates Heaven too because his Mommy was stuck up there.

It crushes me to know that he is hurting, but I don’t know what more I can do for him.  I’m not in any better place myself to help…

P.S.  Sorry for another downer post…

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November 17th 2009

5 Reasons I’m a Great Dad (but not a Great Mom)

I was reflecting on this a bit, and I thought it might make an interesting post:

1)I’m a great dad because I play and wrestle with Kai.  I’m not a great mom because I don’t have as much patience to sit and read to him as often.

2)I’m a great dad because I take Kai fun places like Disneyland and soccer games.  I’m not a great mom because when I go I typically forget something like his sippy cup or a jacket.

3)I’m a great dad because I let him wear whatever he wants.  I’m not a great mom because by the time I realize either of us is out of socks (or chonies) I have to scramble to do laundry.

4)I’m a great dad, because I lay down with him when he goes to sleep so that he is not scared.  I’m not a great mom because when he does wake up scared and cries out, “I want my mommy!” I just don’t suffice.

5)I’m a great dad because I encourage him to get up and keep going when he falls down and it makes him feel strong.  I’m not a great mom because when he does get an “ouchie”, my kissing it doesn’t make it feel better like when mommy kissed it.

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October 4th 2009

It’s Been Two Years Since We Found Out

I’m currently still living the vagabond experience and writing this from Chicago so I haven’t made a lot of extra time to write new posts, but I have a ton of pictures and good stories so I’ll make some updates next week when I’m back in Whittier.

This weekend I wanted to take a moment and reflect a little though.  October 2 was the two year mark of Monica’s original diagnosis of breast cancer.  I remember it like yesterday.  She was so brave from that very first day.  I think I was so scared that I was in denial.  I didn’t want to make too big a deal out of it because I didn’t want to scare her any more while she was being brave.  Besides we figured breast cancer was beatable; especially at her age.  We never thought for a moment that the news could get worse than it already was.  Unfortunately, her diagnosis was wrong.  Five months later, we found out after her bilateral mastectomy that what she really had was angiosarcoma.

Well, it’s been two years since my heart first fell into the pit of my stomach.  It seems to live there now.  Days like Oct 2 are sad days.  I don’t mean to finally get around to posting something and have it be negative, but that’s the reailty of it.  Hopefully, getting it off my chest like this will help in the healing process.

I’ll update about how Kai is doing and some of my adventures next week.  :)

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July 27th 2009

Post Office Surprise

I got an interesting surprise from the post office the other day.  Apparently, an envelope we sent was destroyed in the mail.  This particular envelope had a check in it which was still intact, and included our address. The post office scanned it and sent us a letter explaining that the envelope was destroyed, but that they were sending us a copy of the contents. 

To my surprise, the check was written and sent by Monica back in February.  It was a check for a 2 year magazine subscription to Wondertime magazine, a parenting magazine.

It was another little insight into Monica’s will to live and fight.  Even as late as February, she was planning on being around for a long time. 

I admire her so much.

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July 21st 2009

Slowing Down

Today was the first day in a long time that I didn’t have something specific planned or something unfinished that couldn’t wait.  I left Kai’s sippy cups unwashed.  They can wait ’til the morning.  I’m even writing this post at a decent hour.  It was nice, in a way, to have a free moment.  As things start to slow down and life starts to seek its equilibrium, I wonder what’s next. 

Most of my life has been blessed to a point where I never really felt penetrating, genuine sadness.  Sure I had a few low moments in life, but never anything that didn’t pass quickly.  Obviously, this is different.  Since Monica passed, I have been experiencing that deep sadness.  Somehow I’ve been able to manage it though.  I’ve been able to justify that, since anyone would be sad in this situation, it’s ok to allow those emotions in.  It would be more troublesome if I didn’t allow myself to feel those emotions.  It isn’t always comfortable or “fun”, but I’ve decided it’s healthier to feel the sadness than to repress it.  That cerebral justification has allowed me to cope with the depth of the emotion.

Recently, though, I realized the recipe has changed.  A new ingredient has been added and it changes the flavor of the entire mix.  Recently I’ve felt loneliness.  I’ve experienced loneliness before in life, but it was never mixed with sadness; certainly not deep, genuine sadness.  It’s a potent mix. 

How are you supposed to not feel lonely when you still feel lonely around other people?

The rest of this week I’ve got a lot of plans, so I’ll be keeping myself busy.  That seems to help in the short term.  Beyond that I have to decide whether I want to continue slowing down, or keep my schedule packed tight.

Since I know everyone is wondering how Kai is doing, I would say he is doing better.  His temperament is evening out a bit.  He still talks about Mommy a lot and he says he misses her, but he doesn’t seem to be as emotional when he talks about her.  He has been asking me lately if I will go to the clouds with him so we can see Mommy in heaven.  It makes me smile and cry at the same time.

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July 1st 2009

Kai Caught His First Fish!

They get so big so fast!  Grandpa Spence (Monica’s dad) took Kai fishing this week and he caught his first fish.  I can hardly believe it.  I hope they took lots of pictures.  Kai was so excited about fishing with a “real” pole.  I wish I could have seen his face when he caught it.

We’ll be up in Paradise for the 4th of July this weekend.  Actually, we’re going for Monica’s birthday.  It is this Friday, the 3rd of July.  Her parents got tickets to the local minor league baseball game and they will have fireworks.  I’m sure Kai will be excited to see the fireworks.  One of the cutest stories Monica ever told me was that when she was really little, she used to think that she was special because on her birthday they always had fireworks.  She didn’t know anyone else who’s birthday had fireworks.  :)

I think she deserved fireworks.

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June 11th 2009

It’s Been a Month

Today marks the end of the first month after Monica’s passing.  I can’t believe it.  Of all the things I could be feeling (and most of them I am feeling), the one that has stood out the most for me today is guilt.  I feel really bad that a whole month has already passed by.  It’s as if, 30 whole days is an eternity and I should never actually get there.  Instead, I ought to experience each day in longing waiting desperately to be reunited with her; each day itself an eternity of waiting.  How could I even think of moving on to another day.  How could I give up on her like that.  Don’t I even care.

…Yet a month has passed.  It’s passed quickly in fact.  What happened? 

Of course I care.  I realize that those feelings of guilt are in many ways unreasonable and irrational.  The problem is that, though they may be unreasonable and irrational, it doesn’t make them any less real. 

Many of you who I spoke with today about it being a month had different feelings and experiences.  We all loved her in different ways.  My final conclusion about today is positive in the sense that  whether the emotions today were of guilt, loss, grief, confusion, fear, heartache, relief, hope or anything else, they were all because we love her so much.

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