Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Fresh Start

So much to update, so little time. Last week we experienced the annual International Balloon Fiesta for the third year in a row since we moved back to Albuquerque to years ago (we made it just in time to see it when we got here). What a fun adventure the balloon park is---so many colors and shapes, it's such a blast. The funnest part of the Balloon Fiesta is watching your children marvel in the experience, how simple and amazing life is at that age.

This may in fact have been our last Balloon FIESTA for many many years to come, since (I know some of you may still not know this) we received an assignment for England! We could not be more thrilled to be able to experience living overseas again. This is something I have prayed for my entire life (at least since I was twelve and fully grasped the fact that the world consisted of more than New Mexico, Colorado, the distant lands of California--ahem, Disneyland-- and Nebraska. I have always loved the idea of LIVING, not just visiting, in Europe so this is a true dream and prayer come true. What more could a History major want? Not to mention this new opportunity to live in and Old World gives the blessing of a fresh start.

Try as we might, this place is just haunted by shadows of grief, heavy memories, and what-should-have-beens. We moved into this house just before the twins were born, and our household goods arrived from Japan 4 days after we held our stillborn son in our arms. Needless to say, this past week I started going through boxes and closets that had been filled during those first days that I never got around to unpacking or sorting. Losing a child, having a preemie in the NICU and then at home just doesn't give you a whole lot of opportunity to have any energy to do those things----heck let's face it, I just didn't give rats rear-end about any of that.

So here we are....October. Two years have gone by and I'm approaching an anniversary of loss and a birthday. Two years later and I FINALLY feel like I have a soul again. Strange as it may sound to some, those that have experienced grief, loss and subsequent depression know what I am talking about. It's not willful either, it just is how you are---who you are. Soul-less, lackluster, foggy, in a daze....I didn't feel like I existed as a real person, I was just a shell of a human who did things but didn't know what was going on, had no sense of time, just did what I had to, and tried a little bit to look forward to things (like our cruise) to keep me going, but it still didn't really fix me. I was still broken.  Now I can say I am passed that phase, for about a month now. Suddenly I am able to comprehend the time of year, upcoming events, and get this---get excited about planning for holidays! Last year every holiday came and went like just another day---I didn't even listen to Christmas music and hung about 1/3 of our Christmas decorations. I was blindsided by every holiday, birthday, anniversary, you name it, I just was unaware or able to process anything. This year, year 2012, I have even decorated my front porch with pumpkins, hanging bats, a broom and some pumpkins! I still have two weeks until Halloween---and I don't even like Halloween! I'm so proud of me haha. You bet your butt I will be decorating for Christmas BEFORE Thanksgiving, something I have never done, but I need to make up for two lost Christmases and our last Christmas in our first home. For the first time in 2.5 yrs, I actually feel like this house is my home. Weird right? That's just what grief does to you. Grief hacks you off at your knees, crushes your heart, fogs your brain, and drains your spirit, oh and kicks you in the ribs a couple times and throws dirt in your face. You can't fight it, you can't stop it or fix it before its time...it has a mind of its own and the only thing you can do is prolong it by not allowing yourself to properly grieve. Given my situation I was NOT able to properly grieve---I still had the blessing of a new son, a surviving twin. So all the while I was supposed to be grieving the loss of a child I was carrying for and cooing over our (very premature) newborn blessing. Each sentiment/state of mind hindered by the other---polar opposites. So you can't blame me for living in a legless (funny but that's how it felt), broken-hearted, foggy, and soulless daze. In fact I think I grieved and was more deeply depressed the second year than the first---which was something I was warned about from those who had lost a twin.  Once your survivor is a year old life gets a little easier in that department so grief taps you on the shoulder and says, "My turn."

Well my friends, God answered our prayers for a breath of fresh air and England seems like the perfect answer. I can picture it now, God picked me up of the floor (where I am laying like a limp and lifeless dummy, lying in a puddle of my own drool) holds me up by my shirt, gave me two slaps (as if to say "WAKE UP CHILD!"), pours water on my face, shakes me a little and pats the dust off my shoulders and then points me on my new path. "Off you go now!" That's how I feel, by sending us to the UK He is giving us the wake up call and most of all HOPE for a better change.  Knowing we get to leave and start fresh gives me renewed joy and refreshes my soul and my heart. My brain is considerably less foggy and I think I've been given prosthetics for my legs (lol--).  Yes, there is a good chunk of me that is sad to leave my new friends, old friends and family. We will surely miss every single one and we fully expect to have visitors!

As far as the actual assignment goes, it's not 100% official until we get our orders which doesn't happen until a few months prior to our leaving (which we have a good time left here). The biggest hurdle will be having the doctors at our receiving base in the UK approve him coming there, based on their availability and ability to give him the support he needs. Fortunately he is very healthy, medically. He requires physical therapy most of all, but we have heard they have therapists there that he would need.  We are also in the process of trying to get Micah to have a surgical procedure called SDR which will help him with his muscle spasticity. The best place to get it down is in St Louis Missouri, and in order to get our insurance to approve him going there we have to run him through the local specialist channels first, hopefully we can get this done soon. So pray for the right people to be involved in Micah's care so he can get this procedure done in a timely manner, it will do so much for him!
Micah J


Right now Micah is busy with Physical therapy, Occupational therapy, occasional Cranial Sacral work and infant massage, and yesterday he started his first ride for hippotherapy! More on that in another post, but Micah is doing well and growing to be a big boy. He will be 2 yrs old in two short weeks and my mind can't comprehend that just yet. :)


  1. I could not help but tear up a bit when I read this post. Tears of sorrow, joy, healing and excitement all wrapped in one!
    Be well and be joyous, dear Maddie. Happy HAPPY holidays ahead. You are all, of course, in my thoughts and prayers. <3

  2. So incredibly happy for you all...and happy we'll be on the same continent three times in a row! It makes my heart sing that you are in a place of hope and lifted spirits. England is going to be amazing!