Saturday, September 13, 2008

Grief...It's What's For Dinner.

Note to self... Do not put anything on your blog, even as a comparison, that you might end up needing. This is why, in the future, you will never see this, this, or this here at the eyes of my eyes.

So where are we on the Kubler-Ross graph? Who knows.What I do know is that people deal with grief in different ways. Some cry. Some are too stoic for crying. For some people, grief manifests itself in the sciatic nerve, the stomach, and in a 60 hour bout of the hiccups.

Sometimes people turn to new, strange hobbies...

That's where Steven is today, beekeeping.

I am okay. I am okay until little things creep in. Like overhearing this...

Steven, to his brother Mark who is in Phoenix cleaning out the house: "Yeah, those are African animal cookie cutters. She must have just bought them."

All I can do at that moment is whimper softly from the couch,"Please hold on to those."

Or reading this in a card," You took such good care of your mom just as she took care of you."
That one really gets me. I can't even type that without crying.

There has been a big hullabaloo lately over at my adoption agency's online forum. For a lack of a better phrase, people are losing their shit. There haven't been referrals for months, and people are panicking. Wait times have been extended, and families are abandoning ship for agencies that promise faster placements. I am avoiding the chaos. There is less of a sense of urgency now for obvious reasons. I realize that there were three of us waiting. This is the excitement order: Me, Chris, then Steven. Now that my co-captain in waiting is gone, I think I have lost some of my enthusiasm. Part of it is a fatalistic, "It is probably not going to happen at all," feeling. I guess that would put me in the depression stage huh?

One morning, before Chris died, Steven and I had the following conversation. It was 6:00 am.

Steven: I'm wondering...Nah, never mind.
Me: What?
Steven: It's too early. Never mind.
Me: No, go ahead. What were you going to say?
Steven: I was wondering if we should just print up a picture of two cute Ethiopians and show them to mommy.
Me: I was thinking the same thing! But then I worried, what if there really is a heaven, and she knows we lied to her?
Steven: I was thinking the exact same thing.

In our house this is big. For a lapsed Catholic, and a lapsed Jew to suddenly have a strong inkling that there is indeed a heaven, it's a big thing. Maybe we were just trying to make ourselves feel better. Nonetheless, we agreed that although it was tempting to show Chris a fake 'proposal' and make her a grandmother before she died, it wasn't a good idea.

There are things that have helped in the past couple weeks:

A day with this guy...

A musical package from a friend...

All of your prayers, thoughts, comments, poems, and quotes have been extremely helpful. This one in particular from Jana...

"This may seem weird but I couldn't help but think that having the sweet love of my life singing and whispering in my ear while I passed away would hands down be one of my biggest "dreams come true". People spend their whole lives chasing after that kind of intimacy and Chris had it."

I never really thought about it that way. Maybe Chris was lucky in that she had an intimacy most people crave and don't receive.

The greatest solace of all, I think, is a new image that I have created in my mind. It is of Chris finally joining her soul mate again after many, many lonely years.

He is waiting for her. The door is open. She climbs in. They sit together coffee in hand, and watch their grandchildren's story unfold. They aren't worried that it is taking too long. They have faith that it will happen. They know that someday their son, his wife, and their Ethiopian children will use those cookie cutters. They are omniscient and beautiful. They suffer no pain. They are together at last. It is a heavenly day.


That would be nice wouldn't it?


  1. Julie,
    Your thoughts are such poetry. They are very moving to read. Thank you for letting me get to know Chris through your blog. It continues to be a joy.

    I loved the picture you closed a recent post with. It had Steven and Mark lying together with their parents looking down at them with smiles on their faces. It seems so fitting to me.

    Thinking of you all.

  2. Wow! You write so beautifully and from the heart that I could cry. I am glad you didn't lie about the kiddos ... they wouldn't be her grandchildren. I am glad you are staying with WH - they are coming! I am so glad I found your blog.

  3. that is a beautiful thought about heaven-- it really is how it should be-- reunited with people who you have loved throughout your life. Your co-captain is still there with you- just some place different than before. taking a break from the forum is never a bad idea. we could set up a system that when there is any thing of note on there, I'll send you a signal. Take a deep breath, give yourself & steven a big squeeze and know your children are out there-- waiting for you.

  4. Amazing post. You are obviously so raw, but somehow willing to be so open at the same time. Truly inspirational.

  5. Oops! I thought you were with WHFC! Sorry for the goof, but still glad we're both waiting for our children together :)


  6. I should never sit down to read your blog without tissues... Chris truly was blessed to have such dear family supporting her through her final days. Grieving the loss of her is raw and real, and, sometimes those waves will be overwhelming. Torturous. But, that is the cost, the risk of loving, isn't it? Oh, she will be so moved to watch you (hand-in-hand with her DH) welcome two little ones into your hearts and lives and will rejoice with you. What more could a mama want for her lapsed Catholic and a lapsed Jew than to welcome all of heaven into that beautiful experience? So lovely.

  7. I am so, so, sorry for your loss. Thank you for this honest, beautiful post. My heart goes out to you both.

    I agree with Laurie: it is such a risk to love deeply. But love is the stuff life is made of.

  8. That was really beautiful. I have complete faith that your children are out there, and though it might not seem like it right now... they will come at the perfect time.

    And I agree with not posting the Preparation H on your blog. Don't do that.

  9. This is such a great post, you amaze me how you share your feelings so openly. It shows how strong you are.

  10. Thanks for the image for Chris joining her lover. I feel really blessed to know this part of your story. If the Bee hobby develops you could have some sweet honey from your sweet honey!

  11. thankyou so much for sharing. Your writing allows us such true glimpses into your life.

  12. So beautiful. It makes me want to believe in heaven again.

    I agree with others—your clarity and presence in the midst your grief are a true gift.

    Keep writing.

  13. Wow, you are so sweet. I don't think I've ever been quoted before. :) Just like everybody else, love the post and thoughts.

  14. I'm glad to read you feel that you might be somewhere on the Kuhbler-Ross diagram (did I spell that right?) because that means someday you won't be on it anymore. This will pass, not forgotten of course, but pass. Thanks for sharing Chris and her beautiful spirit with us.

    I'm keeping you guys in my heart and thoughts during this difficult time.

    You must keep us updated on the bees...



  15. Danm, I was really hoping you might do a preparation H cream post soon. Sorry, lame attempt at humor because I don't know what to say. Its just too sad. Previous commentors summed up my thoughts about how honest, articulate, moving your feelings/writing/tributes to your mother in law and husband are.

    Bees are good.

  16. Dear Julie,

    I stumbled upon your blog sheerly by accident...I must tell you that I'm hooked and read everything you've posted from beginning to end.

    What a journey and process you and your husband have been through. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, ideas, emotions, and family! I wish you peace - and a speedy referral in your adoption process.

    Thank you also for sharing Chris with us. She must have been an amazing and interesting person...I'm sorry for yours and her loss! Learning about her has been an inspiration!


  17. Thinking of Steven taking care of his mom as she took care of him makes me cry, too. Then, I look at my little Valentino and think of him every having to go through something like that and I cry more. Thanks so much for sharing it with us, sad as it is. It really does change one's perspective on waiting for a referral, or for travel, or for anything, doesn't it?