Yep, I've got a little commedian on my hands. Little Shecky Lewis has begun joke-telling. This stage of development just cracks me up - especially when they start making up their own jokes that make abosolutely no sense. She's actually improved quite a bit in the few weeks since she's started. I thought I'd better video a few of these early attempts. Here you go....
We have kept very busy this summer - enjoying lots of activities with lots of friends.
The Darbonnes lived right around the corner from us in Moss Bluff and being far from them were one of the saddest things about moving.
But, alas -- we have connected several times throughout the summer which has been a blessing. For Gianna, going to their house is like going to Disney World.
Gianna has become fearless in the pool --- jumping off the "cliff" with the big kids.
Emma (L) & Ana (R) are just the sweetest girls. Gianna adores them both and with good reason. I'm going to insert a little story here.
Gianna woke up one day and deciding she wanted to cut all her hair off. "Short-short -- like Emma's." I thought it was just a phase, but she wouldn't let it go.
I told her I would cut a few inches off and then we would see if she would still want to go shorter. That seamed to appease her. So, I cut her hair (which turned out pretty cute) and she couldn't stop looking at herself in the mirror.
The next Sunday at church, she approached quite a few people we know asking them, "Do you recognize me?" They, of course, said 'yes.' Then she'd say, "It's ME, Gianna!!! It's not Emma. Really!"
Alex helped Gianna catch several catfish. She didn't want anything to do with getting the hook out.
Some of the gang watching a little alligator that the boys said they had spotted.
Apparently, they were telling the truth!
Could be why these ducks found an alternative ponds on the outskirts of the property.
We also went to Jellystone Park (Yogi Bear Campgrounds) which is really a hidden treasure of SW Louisiana. There was a lot to do. Gianna had her first try at Putt Putt. She was very interest for the first 7 minutes.
We missed out on the boats and other activities because we got caught in a ridiculously frightening thunder storm. Gianna's still talking about it.
Today it's been a year: One entire year since Iain died. One entire year since I've seen him, heard his voice, felt his arms around me.....the list goes on.
People often say, "Wow - I can't believe it's already been a year." All I can say is that if time is passing quickly for you, then count your lucky stars that things are either going your way, or that busy-ness is one of your biggest problems.
It's been my experience that time does not pass quickly for those who are suffering. I have felt every bit of the five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes of this last year. I can almost hear the second hand slowly ticking as it echoes loudly in my grieving heart.
The summer has been full of slow, loud ticking. Selling our house...tick, tick......moving in with my parents......tick, tick......Father's Day....tick, tick....Gianna's 4th birthday....tick, tick.....our wedding anniversary.....TICK, TICK.....the arrival of Iain's parents...tick, tick.....and the One Year Anniversary of My Husband's Death....TICK, TICK, TICK.
Is it possible to be bludgeoned by the second hand of a clock? It must be. It's certainly what it feels like. It's brutal.
And here we are at the anniversary date when the majority of Western thinking people expect those who are bereft to have somehow graduated from their grief. It really starts to happen after just a few months. Instead of the heartfelt "How are you DOING?" accompanied by the obligitory head-tilt, the question changes to "You doing okay?" paired with the head nod which typically signals that they really don't want to hear anything other than an affirmative answer.
Instead of hearing inquiries of my grief journey or the state of my heart -- most people feel the need to berage me with questions about my impending future (which I am in no way able or willing to answer).
Don't get me wrong - most questions are innocently asked and fairly easy to answer. Many people are respectful when I tell them that I really don't know the answers right now. But there are just as many people that seem to believe it's their duty to help me figure out the answers immediately either by asking more questions or by giving suggestions in how to live out my life. I have had more "advice" about schooling for Gianna; whether to buy or rent a home and where it should or should not be; if and when I will return to work and what I should consider doing; how often I should be blogging and how I need to get working on a book. Yada, yada, yada.
Making it through the day, through the emotions, through the faith questions, through the tick-tick ticking, raising a very busy, very curious, very smart four year old girl is really about all I can handle most days.
I'm tired. I'm not this cranky all the time, but life is still hard. Stil. Even a whole year out. Most people's lives have returned to some semblence of normalcy. Mine? Not so much. I'm displaced (home-wise). I'm still broken. I can't seem to figure out which I like least --- being a widow or being a single mom. (I've decided that it's the combination of the two that is most difficult.) I will never ever be done with this grief. EVER. I will have more normal moments. I will not always be entirely consumed like I have been. I know that. But the clouds are just barely clearing. I feel the need to say that.
I didn't just lose my husband. I lost the father of my child. I lost my very best friend. I lost the one person on this earth who knew me the very best. I lost my provider. I lost my sounding board. I lost my counselor. I lost my favorite roommate. I lost my lover. I lost my soulmate. I lost part of myself. There's a part of me that is never coming back. Part of me was buried in that casket with Iain. I grieve her too.
I'm not on Facebook much anymore. I'm tired how trite everything sounds and when I'm in the depths of despair, I don't really want to read about the laments of not being able to find the ingredient of one of the latest Pinterest recipes. Recently, I was bothered after I posted a picture of Gianna and I. Someone recently commented about how nice it was to see us back to being our happy selves again. (It was a very lovely comment - but is was just the way it struck me.)
We do have happy times --- every single day.Every single week. Have you met my daughter? She is joy personified. I may not proud of a whole lot lately, but I am proud of having been able to create some sort of "normal" happy life for my daughter. That, unfortunately, doesn't come without price for me.
There are so many people grieving significant losses out there. People are carrying heavy crosses. I feel the need to paint a more accurate picture of what it feels like (obviously from my own perspective.) I imagine some of it translates to other issues too - not just deaths, but divorce, mental illness,pregnancy loss, infertility, foster/adoption drama, serious illness, addictions, woes/loneliness of the aged, etc.
I guess this is my way of purging. I haven't posted on the blog for a month. It might be a record for me. But when I go through weeks and months posting about normal, happy events, there's that piece of me that feels the need to put on the breaks until I'm able to spew some of my darker reality into the blogosphere. Just to be authentic. I don't want to paint that picture of Graduation from Grief.
I am truly not writing this to gain pity. We are going to be okay. It just sucks. No amount of faith or prayer takes away pain. I continue to struggle in the balance of strong faitih and being honest in my grief. We all have our crosses. I just feel the need to shed light on grief. I know a lot of people don't get it. I am so grateful for that. I hate to think that others experience what I do.
I just got a message from a dear friend that another young mom was burying her husband today under very similar circumstances to me. She has a four year old son and she is at the beginning of this journey. I carried her in my heart today. I offered her intentions up at the special mass we had for Iain today as well as prayers for her husband and son. I hope you might offer a prayer for them today. (And we never turn down prayers! It is truly one of the few things that provides comfort.)
So, are we okay? Good. Then I guess you'll forgive me for not proofing this.
Off to start the 525,747th minute of my altered life. Buckle up for a boatload of pictures soon. :)