Thursday, December 29, 2011


We grow up believing our parents are invincible, almost superhero like. We know we can go to them for anything, bad or good. That they somehow will heal our wounds and give us the encouragement we need to go back out into the world.

Then one day we become parents. The excitement in their eyes is enough to make you beam with pride. Then you lean on them for a whole new realm of issues. You call them in a panic because your baby has been crying for hours and you don't know what to do. You cry to them that you feel you aren't a good parent and you are ruining your child forever. In return they always lift you up with the knowledge you need and the reassurance that they felt the same way you did. Of course you don't see how they could feel incapable the way you do because in your eyes they were the perfect parents.

But what about the day when you see them hurt and broken? When you can tell in their voice that they need reassurance or encouragement? When they need someone to talk to?

My parents for me have always been rocks. Strong as a fortress. Although some signs have shown of defeat from time to time, never were they shaken. Although there are few things that could make me worry about my parents, I know the one thing they hold dear to their hearts is their family. I saw this when I lost my husband. My parents still my rocks, suffered. I could see the pain in their eyes. As much as they were there for me I knew in their hearts they felt they weren't doing enough. However they were doing everything I needed.

Now I seem to be in the position that my parents were in four years ago. As they watch one of their parents slip into dementia, I can't help but want to take away the pain from them and my Grandmother. I want to hold my mother and tell her everything is going to be okay, like she would me. I want to help, but what is there really one can do. You can help physically by running an errand, taking lunch/dinner to someone, but nothing I do can heal the heart and shield it from the pain.

There comes a time when the roles are reversed and your parents become the ones that need protecting, healing, and words of encouragement. There comes a time when you too want to shield them from the harshness of the world.

Monday, November 21, 2011

How much life changes in a blink of an eye. It has been four years since Brian has passed but it seems as if it was just yesterday he was here. At the same time I feel like my life has changed so much since then that the girl I was that day is a distant memory.

As I always tell my fellow widows/widowers...the anticipation of the anniversary is always worse then the actual day usually turns out. Which in normal fashion I have had anxiety all this month, sometimes about normal everyday stuff and sometimes as I thought about my late husband and that day. Today, although nothing like I had planned it to be, was just like any other day. I had hoped to make it to the zoo, but with the weather and how I have been feeling being pregnant and all the zoo will have to come another day.

I still can't believe that in four years I have remarried and am now expecting a little girl with my recent husband. I look back and if you would have asked me a few years ago if I would ever love again and get married, I would have told you I might love but not the way I loved Brian, and marriage was never going to happen again. Funny thing is, I love so deeply for my now husband and feel lucky that God has given me a second chance with the whole family thing. I use to feel robbed, but now I feel blessed. Blessed that I have grown and learned from that tragic day. Blessed that instead of letting that day/moment define me, I let it mold me into a better person and bring me closer to God.

They always say that every situation is what you make of it. Well I find that saying very true. Although I still miss Brian dearly and wish he was here so that Brandon could know his daddy more intimately, I know that everything is going to be okay and that life really does go on.

These past four years I have cried, been broken, laughed, and put back together again. I have leaned on my family members more than I would have liked to and many friends who didn't have to be there for me wiped tears from my face. I know that not everyone is as blessed as I am and I thank God everyday for each and every person who is and was in my life. I also thank God for all those who loved Brian dearly whether they were family, friends that felt like family, or acquaintances.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Almighty Healer

It was brought to my attention that I have not updated my blog lately about our precious Bryn...

When you are pregnant and you go for the ultrasound where you learn the sex of you baby along with how he/she is growing and that all is well. Really the only emotion that ever came to mind was excitement. So when I was told the next morning that they wanted to take a better look at her heart I felt like I was hit by a truck. Then instead of getting the relief that all was well, I was told that she may need surgery right after or soon after she was born due to a significantly large hole.

For the next two and a half months I went to doctor visit after doctor visit waiting for someone to give me an answer or a plan on what is going to be done and when. However instead I got one doctor telling me one thing and another telling me something completely different.

So, for my latest Cardiology appointment and Perinatal appointment they finally both agreed. The hole was gone.

I didn't understand. I still was a little scared and really didn't know how to feel. As I broke down in the doctor's office and asked him "What does this mean?" He simply replied with, "This means it is time for you to stop worrying and to start enjoying being pregnant and start getting excited about your little girl." The tears were part relief and part frustration all in one.

There is only one explanation that I can come up with, God. How can a hole that large suddenly disappear? I had two doctors see it and then the third couldn't see it. It was if it had never had been there in the first place. I know some may say that it could have been a mistake, but I'd rather think of it as an act from our Almighty Healer. Sometimes science can't explain everything and I am fine with that. Sometimes an explanation really isn't needed

I hate to admit this but until that news I was having a hard time being truly excited about being pregnant. I couldn't bear the thought of our little girl needing surgery or even the possibility of loosing her, so I was a bit disconnected. I was afraid to love her too much and then loose her. I didn't want to buy clothes or get her room ready. I didn't want to really do anything to prepare because I was scared. My husband had to push to start getting her room together.

I will say, as sad as it was for my husband to hear how I was feeling and how I had a hard time connecting, he never made me feel bad about it. He just encouraged me to have faith that everything was going to be okay. I didn't really tell anyone but him how I felt, and I am so glad that my husband was all I needed to get through those feelings. He had more faith than me, and I love him more because of that.

So now I am super excited about our up and coming gift even more than I was when I first found out I was pregnant. Plus I was taught a valuable lesson. Just because I have been through some bad things in my life and I have suffered great loss, that doesn't mean I should loose all faith that something that starts off sounding bad can have a good outcome. He will take care of us, even when we feel like there is nothing that can be done. You would think I would have learned that lesson already, but sometimes we need a little reminder :)

8 more weeks till Bryn makes her debut!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Trusting in Him

Our church is doing a 4 week series on the book of James. I was definitely looking forward to it because the series is all about Jesus being a part of your everyday life and not part of your life when you go to church or when you say your prayers at night. This is something I fell all of us could improve on, no matter how wonderful of a Christian you are. And well I definitely need help in this area in my life, so off to church I went on Sunday...

During church Pastor Mark said something that really hit home with me. He said, "Don't base your relationship with God on what is going on in your life." Wow, I thought. That is exactly what I have done in the past. When things were great I praised God for all he had given me in life and when things got hard, I shied away from him a bit. Don't get me wrong, I still believed in him and I still knew this was all part of his plan, but I didn't trust in him. Because I didn't know why the things in my life were happening I felt as if he didn't really have my back.

By the end of the service during the last song we sang I was brought to tears. I have been so upset with God about the troubles that have come to our attention with our little girl that I couldn't trust in Him. I thought, "Seriously! Again? Enough already!". Instead I should have praised him for all the wonderful things that I have in my life including my baby girl and trusted in Him that everything is going to work out just matter what.

It is a concept that I would guess that most people who go through difficult times have a hard time with. I know I have had my share of trials and I definitely questioned the Big Man Upstairs many of times and wondered where he was.

We all know that all bad in the world, disease, death, all the work of the devil. And although God has the power to shield us from these awful things in the world, he sometimes lets these things into our lives to teach us something. Kind of like when your mom or dad lets you fall every once in a while so you can learn about life on your own. Although I wish bad things never happened, I will say I have learned something about each and every mistake, wrong turn, and tragedy in my life. I am not the same jealous insecure girl I was in High School, I am not the same selfish woman I was 5 years ago. I am ever evolving and more and more becoming the woman that God intended me to be.

So i would like to take this moment to Praise God for all the wonderful things in my life:

Thank you Lord for...

My loving family, husband, and son.
This beautiful baby girl growing inside of me whom I know is your perfect creation.
My friends. All of them.
All the things you have blessed me with in my life.
The lessons you have taught me.
The lessons you have yet to teach me.
Giving me more than one chance to know you.
Always loving me, no matter what I say or do.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Matters of the Heart

The human heart. We not only refer to the heart physiologically but emotionally as well.

We have scientist, doctors, surgeons, nurses, and anyone else in the medically field study it. They study how it works and how sometimes it doesn't work. And when it has an issue we try desperately to fix it. Because without your heart, the rest of your organs can't function.

We refer to the heart with emotional ties. When we face upsetting times we call it heart-break. When we miss someone desperately, we say our heart aches. When we fall in love our heart leaps.

I have had the pleasure of experiencing the heart in many ways. I have fallen in love, had my heart broken, and my heart has ached. I have also become very aware of how the heart works and how it sometimes fails to work properly. It seams lately, really the past 4 years my life has been burdened by matters of the heart.

During the experience of the heart break of my husband passing away, I was told that the cause of his death was a congenital heart disease called myxoid heart disease. I was also told that I know had to have my son checked every year to make sure he doesn't develop the same thing his father died from. So, once a year I stress over his appointment with the pediatric cardiologist praying he hasn't developed any signs. Matter of a fact, we just had a check up on him on Monday and all was well. Whew! Now he can play soccer without me worrying about him dropping in the middle of a game. Which believe me, as time passes and we get closer to his annual appointment I often think about.

Now being the positive person I strive to be...I was sure that my run in with heart problems was done. At least physiologically. Well, as we all know, life is not a road that is straight and narrow. Life throws us some curves, bumps, and sometimes mountains to climb in the road.

A few weeks ago I went for my monthly OB check up. I was excited because we got to get an ultrasound and see our little one growing inside of me. We also found out the sex of our baby as well, which we didn't know if we were or not, but we found out it was a girl :) Everything looked good, she was the right size, healthy heartbeat, ten fingers, ten toes, all looked it seemed.

The next morning, early, 7:30am early, I got a phone call from our doctor telling me that he wanted to send me to get more ultrasounds done. He said he wasn't sure if he got good views of the heart. So, off I went that day to see another doctor to get more ultrasounds done. Then, what every pregnant mother fears, I was told that our little girl had a significant hole in her heart called ventricular septal defect (VSD)and that I needed to see a pediatric cardiologist because it was very probable that she was going to need surgery after birth.


So, today was our appointment with the pediatric cardiologist to get more ultrasounds done. Of course Bryn, that is what we named her, wasn't cooperating very well. However, he feels he was able to get some good views of the heart. He couldn't see the VSD. Which means two things. One its not there anymore, or two he didn't get the view he needed. So good news considering two weeks ago I was told the hole was a significantly big hole. Unfortunately, there was a small caution sign to go with it. He also saw extra fluid around the heart. Everyone has some fluid around their heart, but there was more than she was suppose to have. Which means one of two things, one she is just fighting off a virus that I might have caught, or two, signs of congestive heart failure.

My hopes going into this appointments was to either have a game plan of what to do or have definite relief that she is perfectly fine. I didn't get either one of those and I left feeling the same way I went in, confused, worried, and a heartbroken.

I am starting to realize something, no matter what, matters of the heart surround us. In some way or another we are feeling our heart, whether it be emotionally or physically, our heart has a large presence. I pray that our little girl is just having a little hiccup in her development and in two weeks we will get a definite answer that she no longer has a hole in her heart and in four weeks we will be told that he fluids are at normal level. Because to be honest, as far as the matter of heartbreak goes, I don't know how much more i can take. I just know that no matter what God will take care of me and my baby.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Tough Love

When I thought about having children I remember people telling me how hard it was. How it was mentally, emotionally, and physically draining. How my whole world would shift and my priorities would forever change. Now, I believed them. I knew in my head that it was going to be hard and that there were going to be sacrifices made, made the reward was so much greater. One thing they forgot to mention is all the heart break you go through as a parent. I remember the first time I dropped him off at daycare and how I pretty much cried every day that week. How every time he gets sick I wish I could take it all away for him. Then there is the heart break because of the lessons you have to teach your child.

About a month ago we really started having some issues with Brandon. He actually almost got himself kicked out of school, and now we are still on probation. This is preschool people, so it wasn't like he was setting things on fire on Science least not yet anyway. To me it was much worse than that. My son had no respect for authority. None. Which as a parent is one of the big lessons you are suppose to teach your child and I thought I was doing that. I guess I was wrong.

So about two weeks ago we had to take things to the extreme and for the first time really knew what tough love was. Even though I thought tough love was for when they are older and you have to send them out into the world and let them try to figure it out on their own, I was giving my four year old a different kind of tough love. We stripped his room. He had nothing, no toys, no stuffed animals, no books, no pictures on the wall, and no bed frame. His room consisted of the essentials...a bed on the floor and a plain white t-shirt and some plain shorts for him to wear. Yes one outfit that I had to wash every night. No more desserts and no more going out to eat. He did receive love and care, food, baths, you know, the stuff we need to live.

Once we took everything away and he saw what we had done, well the inevitable happened...a holy temper tantrum. One of epic proportions. A few hours to be exact. We explain what was going to happen, but he didn't believe us of course, until he saw his empty room. So after he had his melt down and I had mine we had a talk about why things were happening and what behavior is expected of him. We also explained that if he behaves the way he is suppose to then each day he can earn one thing back of his choosing.

Okay, some of you might be thinking I am crazy and that this is too harsh for a four year old. I want to remind you I still loved on him, feed him, and gave him baths and clean clothes. He just didn't have the fun things we give our children today. He had what is all some kids have in this country. He needed to learn that things in life don't come free. That with the right behavior we can earn things that we would like to have. Simple building blocks that some of us never learn and expect the world to hand us everything or that we are owed something. These are lessons that our parents instill in us from the day we are born.

Granted, I was worried about it not working. That we were going to go through all of this and we would still have the same behavior from him. Well, I must say, the first few days were rough...and he didn't earn anything back. Then there was a shift. It was like he got it, finally. He realized that if he just respected his parents and teachers and did as needed than he got good things. Now don't get me wrong he still has a few hiccups in the road, but after two weeks of tough love I think we are getting somewhere with him.

My heart was broken through this process and I cried almost every night wondering where I went wrong. I though I was a bad mother, and I wondered how God could trust me enough with raising another one.

Now I sit here this morning feeling like we did the right thing and that sometimes the hardest things for a parent to do is the best thing for their child in the long run. No matter how much your heart breaks through the process. Especially when the reward in the end is being able to enjoy your son and all his wonderful qualities :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

It is a parenting thing...

I have been feeling lately I have nothing to blog about because my blog is suppose to be about my journey through life as a young widow. Well, since my husband passed I have been through a lot of bad times, trying times, desperate times, and after a while good times. I am not remarried and am expecting my second child with my now husband.

So, what do I have that is relevant to being young and widowed? After months of thinking about it it dawned on life didn't begin when my husband died and my life didn't end when I fell in love again. It is all relevant because it is all part of my life. Maybe my story is no longer a tragic one, but I am who I am and I am where I am because of all of the events in my life.

With that being said, here is what I am blogging about today. My son.

My son is an amazing little boy. He is full of wonder and excitement. He is very mischievous, strong willed, loving, and hard to handle all wrapped up in one wonderful little boy whom I love with every bit of my heart. After my husband passed and I pulled myself out of my fog he became my reason for being. A lot to put on a child if you ask me, but he loved the attention. Which also proves my theory that he requires A LOT of attention. Maybe I created it, or maybe it is just who he is, but either way attention is all he needs.

Recently my husband and I have been struggling with behavior issues with him. Which in turn provokes a lot of opinions from surrounding people on why he is behaving the way he is and how I should deal with it because apparently I am not doing a sufficient job.

Some people say, "Oh he is just being four." or "He has been through so much." Then there are the suggestions on how to punish him, like "He just needs a good beating." or "Have you tried taking things away?". Then some people say, "You just need to talk to him." Than when I tell them what I am doing I get the disagreeing faces and how I could do things different and apparently in their eyes better. Like I don't feel insufficient enough as a parent already.

Here is a little background on me...I HATE confrontation. I hate yelling, hitting, I hate anything negative. I LOVE love. I wish I could just hug it out of him some days, okay, all days. So discipline is probably my weakest attribute when it comes to parenting, but I give it my best.

Believe me, I know my son has been through a lot of changes in his life...but I would like to think most of them are positive changes. At this point I would like to add that he did not have to go through the experience of loosing his father because he was only one when he passed. So there was no real grieving process that he had to go through. He has however experienced a father-figure entering into his life that later on became his daddy. Positive in the fact that he now has a loving daddy in his life a change in the fact that it was no longer just mommy and Brandon. I got married, again positive and Brandon saw it as just a big party and nothing else. I am now pregnant. This again can be a positive and a negative to a child because they get excited about having a sibling, but also worry about the split of love and attention...please refer back to paragraph four. Lastly, we move into a new house next week. This Brandon has only seen as a positive because now he gets a house with a pool.

Children all deal with change differently I get this, however, through life children need to know respect. Respect of their parents, teachers, and well...all adults. This is something my son seems to have not learned or forgotten, one of the two. He thinks he is the boss. He thinks he can just throw a temper tantrum and kick and hit and he will in the end get his way. He thinks he doesn't have to listen and he can just do whatever he wants. Now this is where all parents tell me, "Oh he is just being four. I have the same problem with my child." That is where I get annoyed. If their child was on the verge of being kicked out of daycare then maybe I would listen to them, but their child isn't, mine is. I understand children don't listen, it is all a learning process, but for some reason my son is above average in the not listening category.

At the moment we are trying a discipline technique given to us by the director of his daycare. This technique is hard core and I will not explain because I have already gotten dirty looks and negative comments from people and well I am tired of it. I have tried everything I can possibly think of and I am at my breaking point. So if something drastic is what he needs, well I will give it a try.

However, I am breaking down myself. I find myself crying almost every night to my husband telling him that all I want is to be able to do things with him like other parents and not have anxiety over whether it is going to be a good day or not. When we have bad days, which lately has seemed to be more than not my anxiety goes through the roof which in turn is not good for the other child I am growing inside of me. I then worry about my baby and what all of this is doing to it. I have already lost one and I couldn't bare loosing another. I would like to say though, the baby so far is doing great.

So, since I am not sure how this parenting tactic is going to work out, I have decided to do my research. I went to Barnes n Noble tonight and got myself two parenting books. One is titled, "Becoming The Parent You Want To Be" and the other "If I Have To Tell You One More Time...". I don't know if either book is going to have the answers I am looking for but at least I am trying. Not only that I have decided that I too need to make some changes. Obviously my son needs something I am not giving him and I too need to make some improvements. I definitely am learning a lot about myself through this process that is for sure.

Oh, and no, I am not looking for anyone's parenting advice...I have heard enough. Although I know it all comes form a loving place, there comes a time when you have to just pray and listen to God, and work things out the way you seem best fit.

So, this might not be a widowed thing, but this parenting thing is very relevant to my journey through life.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Daddy and Mommy Game

"Mommy. You want play the Mommy and Daddy Game?"

"Sure Brandon. How do we play?"

"Well, you are the Mommy, I am Brandon, and Daddy is dead because he isn't here."

You can imagine how I felt when my 4 year old son said this to me. It eventually turned into a talk about his Daddy in the Stars. He said he wanted to throw a party because maybe he would come down from Heaven to visit if we threw him a party. I had to explain that it wasn't possible for him to visit that way, but he can always visit us in our dreams.

I always knew the day would come where he would start asking about his Daddy in the Stars but because I am remarried and he has a Daddy here on this Earth I didn't think it would be so soon. But he has been talking so much about death lately and his Daddy in the Stars, I knew a conversation that a 4 year old could understand needed to happen.

I never really told him his father was dead, I have always said that he had to go up to Heaven and be with God. However, we do go to church every Sunday and I am sure that the subject of where someone goes when they die has come up. Thankfully you don't have to tell a 4 year old much for the conversation to be over, but it was still hard, very hard.

As a parent you never want your children to feel pain or their feelings to be hurt. But when one of the parents dies, it is almost inevitable. No matter what age they are when their parent dies they will experience some sort of hurt from it. I consider myself lucky in a sense. Even though my son wasn't able to build a bond for very long with my husband and doesn't remember him, I am glad he didn't have to experience the pain when his father died. He was oblivious. He was almost one at the time and about a month or so after his daddy passed he stopped asking for him and saying "dada". The pain he will experience is more of a wondering pain. Wishing he knew him. Wondering if he is just like him. I am hoping how my now husband and I are handling things will ease that a bit. We show him pictures, talk about him, and always welcome questions. We even tell him things like, "Your Daddy in the Stars use to do that", or "You look just like your Daddy in the Stars".

I always want his memory to be alive in my son and want my son to know just how much he was loved by his Daddy in the Stars as well as his Mommy and Daddy here on Earth.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Out with the old...

Well it is that time again. Time to take down the lights and the silly blinking figurines outside, put away all the Christmas trinkets and decorations, delicately put away all the ornaments and take down the tree. For most people this is a chance for a fresh start and with the New Year at hand they look at all the possibilities the year may bring.

For a widow, at least for this widow, taking down the decorations can be just as sad as putting them up. To top it all off, I also always take this time to clean out the closets and get rid of the old that is never used anymore.

As I took down the ornaments I came across an ornament that was given to me and my late husband shortly after we married and on it was written "The Stiles". Then another ornament that said "Always Remembered". I remember when I hung ornaments on my tree when I was younger all the ornaments, well most, had a story and they were all told with a smile. So many great memories of the past years and Christmases. Even though I do have wonderful memories of the few years we were married and the Christmases we had, it saddened me a little and made me miss him.

As I started something I always do after taking down and putting away Christmas, I started to go back to a few months after my husband passed away. See I was getting rid of all the toys my son doesn't play with anymore to make room for his new toys. For some reason this took me to when I first started to have to get rid of Brian's things.

I was moving out of our house. I knew I couldn't pack it all by myself so I called in reinforcements. My orders were to pack everything, I refused to get rid of anything. However, as I stood in our closet my mom asked what I was doing with his clothes. "I'm taking them", I said. Then she gave me the look. The look I am sure every widow has seen from another loved one. The look that says...I am so sorry, are you sure sweetie, and maybe it is time to let go a little...all rolled up in one. "I'm taking them, and they are going to my closet at the new house." I demanded, as I fought back tears. Then she came to his sock and underwear drawer..."I can get rid of these, right?" Then I just fell to the ground and started to cry. If I got rid of his things then that meant he was REALLY never coming back. He was never going to complain about not having any clean socks to wear, he was never going to come home smelling sour and sweaty after a soccer game, he was never going to complain that the clothes we folded but not put away, he was never....never again. I couldn't bear it.

Even now I am brought to tears thinking of it. I know to some people getting rid of old socks is a no-brainer...but when those socks are a reminder of what you had, it makes your heart feel as if it is tearing to shreds inside.

So I guess, I am thinking of all of my widowed friends out there. Are they doing some cleaning of the closets after taking down Christmas? Are they crying on the floor not wanting to let go and feeling like their spouse died all of again?

Sometimes "out with the old, and in with the new" is a harder concept to wrap your heart around when you are a widow.