Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Telling Madison

Madison and my Dad had a special bond. They were great friends. When Madison was about 4 or 5 we started going to home depot on the first Saturday of the month to do a building project. James started out going with us, but then he was working on Saturdays so Madison had asked my Dad to come with her. It became their thing. We didn't make it all them. Being sick, busy, soccer games, basketball games and such there were some that were inevitably missed. But Dad always made an effort to come. Even on days when he was sick and not feeling well or tired her still came and did his project with Madison. We tried once with Eli to. Eli is bit young still. Dad left Eli up to me. But we would all do them together and my kids were always so proud of their projects and getting to show grandpa what they built. And show Grandma their project when they were done.
We sent Madison to school that Monday morning. When she woke up James had explained that I had gone up to Grandma's to help out up there. Madison didn't think much of it considering my Mom had just got home from her surgery.
When I went home that day when school was getting out. I dreaded having to tell Madison. I remember waling in and seeing her sitting on the ouch with James eating a snack. I let her finish it. I walked away and was gathering my strength for it.
James sat next to her. I sat on the floor in front of her. James told Madison he hadn't told her the whole truth about why I had gone to Grandma's. I did go up there to help. Wanted to make sure she knew just how much Grandpa loved her. But it was because Grandpa had died. I remember seeing her whole body and soul crush before her. The wail that came out of my precious baby girl still haunts me. I couldn't do anything but hold her and tell her how much she was loved.
I remember my  mom calling sometime during this and talking to Madison. She wanted to check on her and us. I remember people coming and dropping off food at the house. I remember driving up to my Mom's and Madison walking in to my Mom and the tears.
I remember being so angry! yet having no one to blame. No one to yell at. Not being able to make it better. I remember Eli walking around looing for Papa. Not understanding why everyone was so sad. I remember Eli latching on to my Uncle Don and calling him Papa. At first it hurt. It hurt so bad. But in a way it was healing to know that my Uncle was there.
That night I remember literally passing out in bed with my kids in my arms. All in our bed. Madison informed me she had to leave because I was punching her and everyone in my sleep. I have no memory of this.
The next few days were horrible. Throw in James birthday a few short days later. Trying to still celebrate him. James is still important in our lives. His family not even knowing that my Dad had died till that day. We had been in a fog. I remember siting at my table and James and Maddie reading James' birthday card from his Dad out loud. I don't remember what it said. But I do know it said Love Dad at the end. Because at that point I was done. I couldn't hold it in and went outside and cried. Got myself back together again.
James' birthday is the same day as my Grandma Wagen's. I remember thinking at least Dad gets to be with his mom on her birthday this year.
The next few days were such a blur. Family was coming and going. We had Dad's service. There was a work party to fix my Mom's floors. Something Dad was going to do that week on his vacation.
I still don't remember much from that time. Or the service.
I thank God I had James. Without him I don't think I would have made it through. I still struggle. I fight so many emotions and thoughts and some days I just want to disappear into a cave and never come out. But I fight that each and every day and thank God for that day with my kids and husband. and my family.
We will get through it. But our family will never be the same. Life isn't the same. I know there is a divine plan out there, but really really hate it right now. But keeping the faith that this too will make us stronger. We are only given what we can handle... right?

Hardest day of my life

That Sunday night I was having a hard time sleeping. When I had finally fell asleep I heard my cell phone ring in the kitchen but it wasn't set to a ringer of someone I knew.  Figured sales call. and ignored it. Awhile later my house phone rings. Its the middle of the night. About all I remember about that phone call was Dad's tool box fell on him the ambulance is one its way. Then having to get off the phone. I screamed and cried. I knew then in an instant that Dad was dead. I didn't need a confirmation. I knew. James quickly took Eli out of our room. He has been sleeping on the floor. I sat there in a stunned ball of a mess with one the house phone next to me and my cell phone next to me.
I remember being on the cell with Melissa and dropping the phone and throwing it at him as my house line rang. It was Felicia. I don't know how else to say this but Dad is dead. My next question was mom. How's mom? She had just been released from the hospital. The paramedics were with her in the house. she was having trouble breathing. Please come as fast you can. I can't do this by myself.
I got off the phone with Felicia and had to tell Melissa who was on the cell still waiting. As soon as I heard the truth from Felicia. I reached a subdued silence. There was no more crying. There was no more anything. Just this numb feeling of ..... still not sure how to explain that feeling.
I got ready. James helped me get the car seat out of the my car and made sure that I was ok enough to drive. I still not sure how I got there that night. I remember stopping at Daybreak when my cell rang. I pulled over so fast. Terrified it was Felicia calling to tell me they were taking Mom to the hospital too. Luckily she was just calling to see how much longer till I was there.
When I approached my parents house seeing the flashing lights, the cars, the police and investigator. I was pissed. I remember thinking so help me if they don't let me in the driveway.
The next few hours are still a blur in my mind. I do remember the silence after all the vehicles left. After Dad's body was taken. The quiet was terrifying. I remember my Mom breaking down. Her anger, Her sadness, Her moment of guilt.
Later I remember some one. Maybe mom even. Saying that some one had a plan out there with mom's heart surgery. Because her heart would not have been able to handle Dad dying had she not had the surgery.
I remember the next day standing at the kitchen sink I think I was doing the dishes. Anything to keep busy. Crying. Mom coming behind me and turning the water off asking if I was alright. Almost yelling no in her face. The strength my Mom showed in the those first few days I still can't understand. I remember my Daughter asking me why the other people at the house weren't crying. Weren't  they sad that Grandpa Dan was gone too?


Three months ago my world was thrown so far out of whack that I have struggled to get it back on track. Even further back it had started to crumble.
It started when I learned that my Mom had heart problems. Scary enough that there was going to have to b some sort of surgery done to make it better. While we were waiting for detail and timing of a surgeon Dad was starting to have some of his own problems. Eyes twitching nerve pain and the lot.
I was not a happy daughter. Concerned for  both my parents health.
But still trying to live the life that my parents raised me to. To enjoy my family to be responsible for my actions and to raise my children to the best of m ability. Yes, this means that I don't get out and visit as much as I did before. With only James working, a tight budget, and one kid in sports and school and the other growing faster then our wallets can afford, we don't have a lot of spare change floating around our place. Which means the days we can visit people because we aren't working, at sport events or school, there's not much money left in the budget for extra gas, movies or other activities.
Not to mention whenever we did find the time to go and visit we always felt like it was a n inconvenience that we did come to visit. Because we didn't come on a regular basis. Which never helped with wanting to go back up again. I didn't live at home, I didn't have a complicated marriage, and I didn't need someone else's help to get by from day to day. It became the hardest part of going up there. I don't know I probably read to much into these things. I still do and probably always will.

In May my Mom was finally scheduled for her surgery. Should have been a fairly simple procedure only lasting a few hours. I kept calling my Dad for updates and then got one from my mom quickly saying that she was going in for an emergency heart valve replacement. Talk about panic attack. I called my Dad to get a better update and of course he says no no you don't need to come down here, we will just be waiting anyways. Stubborn. Not wanting to be needy. Nothing you can do. Like hell am I not going down there. After a gazillion panicked phone calls I get both my kids figured out for who is going to watch them.  I rush down to the hospital, Eli still in tow as James is going to meet me as soon as he can to take him, I wait with my sister and brother in law and Dad. That day and the following days were the days that I saw the most worry, the strongest amount of love and devotion from my Dad in all my life.
Pacing the halls, Quietly talking with us. Consistently checking his pager, checking the time.
I remember sitting there talking with Dad and him telling me about his mom and how his life was just going to be taking care of people who were one medicines there life. His mom had been on the blood thinners too. How he missed his mom. I remember thinking it was kind of odd how much he was talking about Grandma. But at the same time being in a hospital, waiting. Being the week before his Mom's birthday I didn't think to much of it. He just wanted Mom better. Hated not knowing how the surgery was going. If everything was going to be alright.
The moment we found out she was going to be alright, the surgery was successful, a big weight came off his shoulders. Meeting with the doctors and finding out how bad mom heart valve had been. How glad they were that they had gone ahead with  the valve replacement that day. The doctors said it had been really bad. But most importantly she was going to be just fine.The next step, which I think might have been the hardest was ting turns seeing mom on the ventilators. She had to be on the for a few hours to let her body coupe and build strength before being taken off them. At this point we had been at the hospital all day. We pried Dad away from the hospital to go a couple blocks away to get something to eat. Let me tell you if it wasn't for the fact that all three of us were there pulling him out to make sure he ate, he would not have left Moms' side for any reason.
Mom and Dad had only had their charger for a little while at the point. Dad was loving it. Told us about it. Even had to show off some of it power on the back road and give it a quick burst of speed. Chuckling the whole time. Just like Dad.
As soon as we got back from dinner straight up to the room he went. Promising to call once mom was awake and off the ventilator. Which he did. He was so relieved. And so were the rest of us.
The next few days mom was making incredible strides in healing. I went on of those days to visit. Dad was sitting there with his glasses on reading mom's book of what to expect for her surgery and the recovery. Since they had just got it. Even chuckling about the fact that it says carrot cake is not something you should be eating. All the sugar and all. Mentioning that maybe we will have to have something else for his birthday cake instead since I usually had been making him carrot cake the past few years.
All in all everyone was doing good considering. I went and visited my Mom that Sunday when she had been released home. Dad was working on building mom a step so she could take a shower. Was worn out from the stress of moms surgery and the back and forth. But was in pretty good spirits. We visited for awhile. Watched a movie with mom and Dad took Felicia to work. We waited till he came back and stayed for a bit longer and then the kids and I went home to have some dinner and meet James after working at Dozer Days. I remember leaving that night from their house. Mom was in her corner on her computer resting watching and movie. We all gave hugs and kisses. I remember getting the kids out the door and saying by, stopping and then coming back in and giving both Mom and Dad hugs and kisses. Dad sitting in his corner of the couch relaxing. Smiling.
Little did I know that was the last time I would ever see my Dad.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Getting Away

James is getting ready to go into busy season and already was working 60+ hours work weeks not including the time he is putting in on the weekends doing bids and proposals. So we decided we needed to get away. It also ended up being the end of Spring Break. Which I love my kids but I was glad to have us all together and away for a bit by the end. It was a little over an hour away up by ZigZag on Mt. Hood. But It was nice and quiet. They had some wooded trails, a nice playground, indoor activity room, a really nice workout room, pool, hot tub. It was a great find. Not to mention relaxing. Even better- James' phone didn't get service which meant no phone calls, emails or work! He went back caught up on sleep and ready for the start of busy season. Granted here soon I will be luck to see my husband at times and will definitely need to do some stuff at the end of summer as well. It was nice being away as a family without all the distractions of our busy lives for a couple days.

Nerf Rebelle

 I was asked to host a Nerf Rebelle Party and do a review of the product afterwards. We were so excited for the girl line of Nerf's . The fun part was being able to shoot each other and each girl who has boy siblings were excited that they can have "their" guns to play with their brothers now. It was very rainy that day, but luckily we just played between the downpours and wind. We were true North westerners that day.


Family is important to me. I recently took my niece and nephew with us to get their pictures done. I had a nice big picture made up for my parents as well. I'm so glad that they have cousins near by to hang out with and have friends with. I am so grateful for everyone in my life. My sisters, my parents, my brother in laws, my sister in laws, my nieces and my nephew. My husband and my kids. Of course grandparents and cousin and aunts and uncles too. But you get the point. I'm so glad that I have family. We may be a little off, crazy and a lot complicated but I wouldn't trade them for the world.


Chloe Ann Marie 4 Landon Michael 5
Madison Grace 9.5 Eli Maxwell 2.5

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Christmas 2013

Part of the fun crazy Christmas Eve festivities

Enjoying their new toys


Tree hunting

Visiting Santa at the tree farm