This blog is an uncensored look into my soul. I am writing this as part of my healing process, but am leaving it public so others can follow me through my journey.

If you'd like to start from the beginning, click on the beautiful, adorable picture of Hailey on the right hand column.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Another Halo!

I am so proud to announce that we have given out another "halo" last weekend!  This one was very special to us because it had to do with horses, which Hailey absolutely LOVED!

A friend of ours called us a few months ago to tell us about a young boy, Christopher, she had been working with at her horse stables.  He is 14 years old and had severe bipolar disorder.  His illness was getting so bad that they had to pull him out of regular school and his mother had to quit her job to stay home and take care of him.  He had been on every drug possible, sometimes many at a time, however nothing was helping.  This poor child struggled so much because he knew he was sick and just wanted so badly to feel "normal."  

His mother decided she needed to find something for him to do during the day when she wasn't schooling him.  She had found our friend who is very passionate about horses and gives lessons.  After only a few weeks of working with the horses, this young boy started to change.  One of the horses, Journey, fell head over heels in love with him, and apparently the feeling was mutual!  This gave Christopher a reason to "be."   The unconditional love and understanding that Christopher and Journey share is helping him to start healing and is also giving him a purpose in life.

Our friend decided she wanted to give Christopher this horse, so it would be all his!  Unfortunately, due to these horrible economic times, his family was unable to afford the boarding for Journey.   That's where you all came in.  Using your generous donations we were able to help them pay for the boarding for Journey so that Christopher can continue to heal and work toward a fulfilling and happy life.

If you would have seen the look of gratitude in that precious boy's eyes, it would have been life changing.  I know it was for me.  When we got to the stables to present him with the check he came running over to us and gave us a huge hug and thank you.  He was so grateful and excited to have Journey!!!  

His parents were just as gracious.  They asked all about Hailey and looked at pictures of her as I told them her story.  I could see the concern and unconditional love in their eyes for their son.  I personally know how hard it is to have a child who is struggling with something that cannot just be "fixed."  It is one of the most difficult things for a parent to deal with.  What an honor it was for us to be able to do something like this in Hailey's name.  We cannot thank you all enough for your donations to make things like this possible.

Hailey LOVED horses!  I have some great pictures of her at the stables when she was younger.  We always thought that when she grew up she would be a horse lover.  Before she passed away, I was actually in the process of looking into starting her in a horse class so she could be around them more.  It's known that horse therapy can be miraculous for people, as it has been for Christopher, which is why this halo was particularly close to our heart.  We were able to give Christopher what we weren't able to give Hailey before she passed away.

Christopher and Journey

Hailey loved horses!

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Melancholy Moment

Well tonight was a little melancholy for me.  I don't usually use the word melancholy, by the way, but for some reason it really describes my mood right now.  Anyways, tonight was Lexi's school carnival, which was a little tough for me to attend.  Last year, I remember so vividly taking all 3 girls by myself!  I was so proud that I did it and not only did I survive, but I actually had a really good time with them.  Lexi was 5, Hailey was 2, and Ava was 6 months, so I definitely had my hands full, but they were all so good.  

I still have a little ceramic animal that Hailey painted that day.  I remember how she sat and painted for seriously almost a half an hour.  Her precious face so intent and determined that you could see her little tongue sticking out from between her teeth as she bit down on it and concentrated on each and every brush stroke.  In fact, she made sure to use every single color and every single one of the different paint brushes they had.  She was so proud of her masterpiece and had a fit when I told her she had to wait for it to dry before we could take it home.  When we walked by that station tonight, my eyes welled up with tears and I had to hold back my emotions as I relived that moment over and over in my head.

Picasso...Eat your heart out!

Lexi decided she wanted to get her face painted like a cat because last year her and Hailey both got their faces painted together and that's what Hailey picked.  I have the cutest picture I took of the two of them when we got home.   

Nope...they aren't professional painters!  
But Hailey LOVED it...and meowed at many passerbys!

Lexi decided to stay a little later with one of her friends.  When she got home she came running upstairs crying her eyes out.  She proceeded to explain to me that they both played a game and won an eraser.  Her friend got a rainbow crab one and Lexi got an orange letter 'B'.   Apparently, the color orange is her most un-favorite color and the letter 'B' is her most un-favorite letter of the entire alphabet!  Who knew?  As she sobbed and sobbed I began to think there was a little more going on than just an orange 'B' eraser.  So I questioned her for a few minutes and she ended up bursting out that she was so sad because Hailey was there with her last year and she missed her so much tonight.  Now, although that just about ripped me to shreds, I was glad to know that my daughter wasn't that spoiled to melt down like that over an eraser.  Anyways, I just sat on the floor and held her as tight as I could while she buried her little face into my shirt and sobbed.  My precious little girl...I am so very sorry.

All in all, I did pretty well and managed to remain upbeat for Lexi (and Ava).  Ava put on her own little dance show tonight for all to watch.  She was hilarious.  For only being 18 months old, that girl can shake it!  Some lady even came up and gave me a brochure for her children's performing arts team! 

I still have trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that I had no idea that night last year that my little girl would only be around for another two and a half months.  It is so shocking and scary how life can change so drastically in such an instant.  A friend of mine who is the mother of one of Lexi's friend's at school gave me a charm the other day for a bracelet I wear that says, "Relax, God's in charge."  As much as I would like to be the one in charge, I am at peace knowing how much He loves me (and Hailey).  Just as Hailey is my daughter, we are both His daughters.  And as much as I love her, He loves us both even more.  He knows what He's doing so I try to remember that and rely on my faith in tough times like these.  It's literally all I can do.  

That same friend of mine gave me a keychain today that is silver with footprints etched on the front and the last couple lines of the poem, Footprints In The Sand, etched on the back.  Little did I know how much that would mean to me tonight as I rubbed it between my fingers and thought of Him carrying me through these rough moments.  

I know more of those rough moments will come, however I am strengthened and find comfort in knowing that, "God's in charge," and "It is then that He'll carry me."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The "Feeling" Doctor

So, I did it!  I finally went to see a therapist to discuss my grief.  Lexi calls them "Feeling Doctors."  Anyways, in all honesty I feel like I'm actually doing fine in my grieving process, but I just wanted to make sure I was on track and not holding anything back that would come and attack me 5 years from now!  

I loved the therapist and according to her I'm doing a great job at grieving!  If that is possible.  I attribute that great job to two main things: 1) my faith and 2) all of you who have walked beside me in my journey and given me more love, support, and compassion than I could have ever imagined possible.  So, I have to publicly thank my Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ for literally saving me and each and every one of you...thank you, thank you, thank you!

Lexi is still seeing her "feeling" doctor once a week as well.  It's quite obvious that she doesn't like to talk about her feelings because as soon as the topic of Hailey comes up she starts getting very restless and jumping all over the place.  She also often changes the subject or just says she doesn't know.  Today we had a little breakthrough though. She admitted that, "Hailey broke my heart when she left."  That was extremely difficult to hear, but also a relief that she is starting to open up.  It was also a relief to hear that she didn't think Hailey meant to break her heart and she's not mad at her.  

Sean is also considering seeing the same therapist I am, so I think our family is going to be increasingly on the mend.  We felt that it was better to go individually because we have remained very strong in our marriage and don't feel we really need a lot of help there.  But, Sean, being the wonderful, caring husband that he is, often tries to keep his feelings and worries to himself in order to protect me and not make me worry.  Therefore, I think it will be great for him to have someone who isn't emotionally involved in losing Hailey to talk too.  That way he can be open and honest without having to worry about upsetting me or another family member.  (By the way, nothing would upset me though!)

Anyways, that's the scoop here on the home front.  We also gave out another "Halo" last Sunday, so stay tuned and I'll update you on that too.  It was so cool!!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mother's Day

I have to say that this Mother's Day wasn't as difficult as I had originally anticipated.  Lexi's Mother's Day program at school was adorable and she was so proud!  Of course, I was too!  However, I couldn't help but wonder what Hailey's would have been like this year in preschool.  What little thing would she have made for me?  I pictured her sparkling eyes as she showed me around her classroom and her teacher telling me what a delight she is to have in class! :)  

I try my best not to make up experiences that would have or could have been, because even if Hailey were still here, there's no guarantee that that's how it would have been anyways.  But, even though I'm fully aware of that, it's hard not to sit and imagine who she would have been and what she would have done.  And, of course, when you go that route, you always imagine the absolute best for your child!  I mean, I KNOW if she were still here she would have been the first female to walk on the moon and become president of the United States!

Anyways, back to my Mother's Day.  Even though I sat and imagined what it would be like with Hailey here, I'll never forget or take for granted the fact that I still have my wonderful Lexi who made me a rockin' pop up card, beautiful pin, and sang her heart out for me!  And Ava, who never ceases to make me smile and laugh!  I am still a very proud mommy! 

On Sunday, I went to church to watch Lexi sing with all the primary children.  That was tough because Hailey would have been up there this year too.  The entire time Lexi was singing I had tears streaming down my face, which is very rare for me in public.  I could just see my little Hailey standing right next to her, singing to me with this huge smile of pride on her precious, beaming face. (There I go making up experiences again! Truth be told, she probably would have been out in the foyer having a tantrum about something and missed the entire production!)  Anyways, then I realized that even though I couldn't physically see her, I was certain she really was there!  

After church I went to Hailey's Place and visited her for about 2 hours.  I sat and cried my eyes out and talked to her and felt her presence.  At one moment I sat back in my chair and closed my eyes.  All of a sudden it was as if a movie of Hailey and me together was rewinding backwards in my head, but I could see the pictures and hear the sound.  (Does that make any sense?)  I re-lived all my favorite memories with her as if we were right there at that moment.  It was the weirdest thing I've experienced in a long time, kind of surreal.  Gosh, I miss her so much.

Even though Hailey isn't physically here, I know that I am still and always will be her mother for eternity.  According to my religious beliefs, when Christ comes again, I will have the chance to raise her here during the Millennium.  (The Millennium is a 1,000 year period, before the final judgement, where Christ will reign on the Earth and Satan will be bound.  The good and righteous will be resurrected to live here during that time and teach those who never learned about Christ. Afterwards, we will return to Heaven again to live as an eternal family.)  I know this may sound totally crazy to some of you, which I completely understand, but it actually gives me a lot of peace and comfort, and honestly, something to look forward to.  I know that I won't be "jipped" of the chance to raise my little girl just because God needed her right now!  

Anyways, back to reality!  I had to remember too though, that I am still the mother of two beautiful girls who are physically here with me and need me.  So, Lexi and I ended up going in the jacuzzi and then she suckered me into swimming with her.  It was freezing out, but the pool was like bath water.  For the first time, in a very long time, I was able to just relax and enjoy her.  We had a blast together!  

I would say, all in all, this Mother's Day wasn't nearly as bad as I had thought it would be.  It definitely wasn't the best I've ever had, but it was survivable.  It's amazing how the Lord will carry us when we need it.  Sometimes I really don't know where I get the strength to survive this, however it's always there when I need it!  That's what faith is all about.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Emotional Breakdown

Well I debated whether to put this on my blog or not, and then decided that I've been very honest and candid since I started writing, so I might as well continue.  I am officially in the process of an emotional breakdown. 

I've finally hit my breaking point.  I am so emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted I almost cannot function.  I really haven't take the time I should to grieve my immense loss, and it's now taking a serious toll on me.  

Trying to help Lexi with all her emotional issues and deal with mine and keep up with family and friends and facebook and house work and church and Lexi's school and the list literally goes on and on and something I just cannot handle right now.  

All of you who are reading this who either know me personally, are family, or my friends, please, please don't take any of this personally.  I promise it has nothing to do with anyone else but myself.  I have just over exerted myself to a point that I can no longer function.
This morning I honestly thought there was a chance I might end up in the hospital.  I'm unable to sleep at night, have raging headaches, a sore throat, burning stomach, body aches and shakes, racing heart, etc.  I can no longer think straight or focus on anything.  My memory is horrible.  Every little thing overwhelms and angers me...from my phone ringing to seeing a spot of dirt on the counter.  Every call I don't answer, message I don't respond too, etc. overwhelms me beyond explanation.

Sean came home early today and took tomorrow off so I could get away to my parents' house for the weekend.  As difficult as it is for me to just shut down and tune the world out, I'm forcing myself to do it.  I've decided that for the next two weeks I will not answer my phone, messages, emails, facebook, etc.  I am shutting down all contact to pretty much everyone, unless it's absolutely necessary. 

I'm hoping this will help me to decompress and clear my mind and just calm down.  I knew this was coming one of these days.  Everyone has warned me to slow down and allow myself to grieve or it's going to catch up with me, but anyone who knows me knows that I don't listen!!  Well, now I have no choice.  

I'm begging all of my family and friends to please not be offended or feel hurt.  I promise it has nothing to do with any individual person or group of people...It's all me.  I just need to finally tell myself, "NO!"  

I will keep updating my blog and fill you in on my first Mother's Day without Hailey.  This is something I'm really struggling with because all the primary children at church will be singing to the mothers and Hailey should have been up there with Lexi.  I'm not so sure how I'm going to deal with that, I'm just hoping that since I'm at church the Lord will give me an extra boost of strength and comfort.

Thank you all again for your continued compassion and support and also for being so non-judgmental of me.  You are my saving grace.

P.S. I'm also going to call that grief counselor first thing tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Rough Week, Getting Better...

Sorry, I'm a day behind...

Yesterday didn't start off so great.  :-(  Lexi was in a great mood before school, very excited about me coming for lunch!  When I dropped her and her friend off, she jumped out of the car and yelled, "Bye Mom, I love you!" So I drove off thinking all was well. 

Not so much.  Only 5 minutes later I get a call from our neighbor, who's in 5th grade, telling me that Lexi was crying and saying she didn't want to go to school.  So I asked to speak with her and she kept telling me how much she missed Hailey and needed me to come and pick her up.  It took all the strength I could possibly muster to not turn that car right around, peel into the parking lot, jump out, grab her in my arms and whisk away to the safety of her home.  But I knew that I just couldn't.  She needed to go to school.  If I went and brought her home today, after doing that on Friday, it would be all over.  I'd never get her back to school again.

I kept trying to rationalize with her, as if that actually works with a 6 year old!  I told her how much I loved her and how she needed to go to school.  I reminded her that I was going to bring her McDonald's for lunch and eat with her, but if she continued this I wouldn't be able to come.  Nope...nothing worked. 

So then I started to panic.  I mean, seriously, what was I supposed to do?  It was 8:10 now (school started at 8:00), I'm already home, and she's still out in the courtyard crying.  She also refused to give the phone back to our neighbor boy.  

Finally, I told her that I loved her very much but I was going to have to hang up on her because they needed to get to class.  I told her again, really nicely, that I loved her with all my heart, held my breath and hung up the phone.  It literally KILLED me to do that.  My heart broke into a million pieces and fell to my feet.   

As soon as I hung up I called the school office and told them that Lexi was in the courtyard crying and how she lost her sister, etc.  The office staff was so nice and said they would go out and get her. 

I called back several minutes later and they told me she was in with the school psychologist.  They said she was calming down, but she was initially really upset that I was supposed to have lunch with her and now I wasn't coming.  Great...just call me Mother Of The Year!  My 6 year old daughter is at school crying because she misses her sister who died and is now thinking I'm not coming for lunch and I go and hang up on her.  Nice.  There goes that awesome macaroni frame she probably made me for Mother's Day!  I sat down on my couch not knowing what to do, so I called my mom.  I swear, no matter how old you are you always need your mom!  If anyone knows my pain in watching Lexi grieve, it's my mom because she doing the same thing with me as her daughter.  We talked for a little bit and then the school called back.

My heart was racing as I answered the phone.  It was the school psychologist.  She was absolutely AMAZING!  She told me that Lexi was feeling better and in class.  One thing she said that really touched me was that she had never lost a child, so she wouldn't even pretend to know what that's like. However, she has 4 children of her own and therefore, knows how much a mother loves her children.  So she promised me she would treat Lexi as one of her own.  

I guess they sat and talked for a bit and she offered to have lunch with Lexi that afternoon.  She said she had a Lego game in her car so they were going to play that and eat together.  I filled her in on everything going on with Lexi and also decided to drop off McDonald's and an "I Love You" note so she knew I wasn't upset with her.  She also had me bring a book of pictures of Lexi and Hailey that I made for Lexi at Christmas so she could have Lexi tell her all about Hailey. I was so comforted at how understanding and compassionate she was.  

After lunch the school psychologist called me back and let me know that Lexi was feeling much better and that she offered to walk her to class today and Friday morning and eat lunch with her again both of those days.  She won't be there on Thursday, but that's Lexi's early day, so I think she'll be fine. 

I'm now trying to take this just one day at a time.  I tend to live in the future and forget about the "now," so that's something I'm working on.  If I can't somehow master the whole "taking one day at a time" thing, I'm seriously going to end up with a nervous breakdown!

Anyways, Lexi still went to her friend's house swimming after school.  Imagine that, she can't be away from me when at school, but at a friend's house it's perfectly okay!!!  That's where the difficult part of my job as a mother comes in...trying to determine when her behavior is motivated by her sincere grief and when she's trying to pull a fast one on me!  So I've resorted to a lot of prayer and just hope that I'll be guided when necessary.

Well today was amazing!  She went to school happily, actually ended up walking to her class with her friend and not the psychologist, and came home saying she had the best day ever!  Go figure!  One day at a time, Wendy.  One day at a time!

So I'll keep you all updated!  Thank you again for being so compassionate and supportive.  I love my little Lexi more than words could ever describe and I will do ANYTHING (as long as it's the right thing) to make her happy!!!  We've started having Mommy/Daughter Day every Wednesday after school and also every night after Ava is in bed, from 7:00-7:30 is just Mommy/Lexi time.  Although I'm well aware that it's going to take quite a while for her to be truly happy after all she's been through, I'm still doing my best one day and sometimes one minute at a time.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Rough Week

I know it's been a while since I last wrote, so I really hope you all haven't given up on me.  This week has been very difficult.  Lexi is really struggling now with her grief, which in turn literally causes me to die inside.  We've come to figure out that one of her major issues is separation anxiety.  She's always been a "Mommy's Girl," but lately it has taken on a whole new meaning.  She doesn't even want to go to school anymore.  She begs me everyday to homeschool her.  Apparently, she finally admitted to my sister that she wants me to homeschool her because that way she would never have to leave my side and could be with me every second of the day.  

I can definitely see the issue because of how Hailey passed away.  Lexi went to spend the night at a friend's house and came back the next day to her sister being gone.  I think that traumatized her a LOT more than we were aware of.  On Friday, she freaked out when I dropped her off at school and started crying and begging me to take her home.  It literally just about broke me in two.  I was so torn.  Do I give in and bring her home or do I make her go to school?  Well, I ended up bringing her home because I couldn't stand the thought of pulling her off my leg and dragging her into her classroom crying her eyes out.  I didn't want to put that burden on her teacher or distract the entire class and most importantly, I definitely didn't want to humiliate Lexi.  

She's also been a lot more emotional and ready to break down at the drop of a hat.  Anyways, I talked to her a lot on Friday and didn't let her do anything fun.  She basically had to play by herself or read the whole day since she didn't go to school.  

Last night I was so sick to my stomach thinking about this morning and how I was going to handle her if she melted down again.  I mean, I was seriously sick...nauseated, burning stomach, heart racing, etc.  I know she has to go to school, there are only 6 weeks left and I'm not going to pull her out this close to the end.  I feel that she needs to learn that even when times are tough, she needs to finish what she started and do the right thing...which in this case is going to school.  Plus, I don't think homeschooling is going to help her at all with her separation issues.  (I'm definitely not a therapist, so I'll be sure to run this Lexi's next time I take her, but I do feel good about my decision.)

Feeling as sick as I did, I also couldn't sleep.  So I got down on my knees and prayed.  I told my Heavenly Father how sick I was and worried I was about Lexi.  How much I adore her and want to do what's best for matter what it is.  I just need to know!  She is His daughter too and He knows her way better than I do, so I begged Him to help me to know what to do, especially if she melted down today at school.  Well, that's when the idea of having lunch with her came to my mind!  Her biggest problem, she says, is being away from me for so long everyday.  So this morning I asked her if it would help if I came and had lunch with her one day a week.  She was very happy with that!  She has early day every Thursday, so I decided to make Tuesday our lunch day.  That way she still has three full days of school, away from me, but also has a break every other day.  Thank you Lord for answering my prayers!

We'll see how it goes tomorrow.  I told her that if she melts down when it's time for me to leave then I can't come eat with her again, to which she agreed.  So I'm reeeeeeeally hoping that all will go well and she'll remember that promise.

Sean and I also have a few other ideas in the mix on how to help her, but I'm going to wait to write about them until we've made some official decisions.  

For those of you who pray or believe in prayer, I'm just asking that if you remember please, please pray for my little Lexi.  Her pain is crushing me.  Seeing her sad is so very painful for me that at times I feel like I almost can't go on anymore.  Carrying my grief and pain is almost too much to begin with, so when you add hers on top of it, the weight on my shoulders is ridiculous. It's more than I've ever experienced before in my lifetime.