Saturday, December 31, 2011

Remember Erica

Candle lit for Erica
The hours and minutes of 2011 are fading fast and soon it will be 2012.  This last year was filled with grief and heartache for our family.  As we move into the new year it seems appropriate to stop and remember Erica.  During a Christmas church service Erica's oldest daughter lit a candle in her memory.  Our memory and photos are all we have left to remember Erica.  Thank goodness for the photos because my memory is not what it used to be.  If you have a memory of Erica please leave a comment.  The best way to remember Erica is to keep the stories of her life alive.  Best wishes for a great 2012!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Grieving at Christmas

'Vintage Christmas Ornaments Wreath Shiny Brite' photo (c) 2011, suzy spence - license: we approach Christmas without Erica, many other families are doing the same.  Whether you lost a loved one many years ago, nine months ago, or last week, grieving at Christmas can make the holiday challenging.  The sorrow I feel in my heart can easily overtake my Christmas spirit.  It has been a struggle to push forward and enjoy the holiday routine that I've had in previous years.  But, I'm doing it.  One step at a time.  I may be grieving at Christmas and things will never be the same but I will take the leap and dive into Christmas head first.

Quote:  May Peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through! ~Author Unknown

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


'Eight Flying Doves' photo (c) 2011, Hartwig HKD - license: official cause of Erica's death from the medical examiner is anaphylaxis.  Although in their report they could find no trigger that lead to her reaction.  Therefore it was deemed an accidental death.  The antibiotic that she was on, Bactrim ds, wasn't even found in her system.  This prompted me to do a little research.  It seems that the medical community has started to notice and use a term called, stress-induced anaphylaxisExercise and anxiety can also increase your risk of anaphylaxis.  In summary we will never know exactly what triggered Erica's anaphylaxis.

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
- Reinhold Niebuhr

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Empty Bed

Ms. Precious had several favorite places to lay around the house.  One spot in particular was her favorite, the cat bed we placed on a box in front of a window.  The empty bed makes me sad.  Every morning and afternoon you could find her there.  She would watch the birds and warm her old bones in the sun.  She loved it there.  The empty bed is symbolic of the empty place she left in my heart. 

The Empty Bed
We went through a lot together.  I was a senior in high school when she came into my life.  I went to college and through the years many people came and left my life, but she was always there.  When I was sad, she was there.  When I was happy, she was there.  She had the sweetest disposition and was my bright spot in a lot of dark days.  The empty bed is the end of a twenty year chapter of my life and what a great chapter it was!  

Precious on her bed 12/13/2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Andrea & Precious, 1993
Throughout my life there will be many reasons for heartache.  Tonight my heartache was caused by losing my twenty year old cat, Precious.  For the last year we had given her fluid therapy to help her ailing kidneys.  We knew that our time with her was limited but to watch her blue eyes fade was a heart breaking experience.  When you first fall in love with an adorable baby animal the furthest thing from your mind is having to deal with a death experience.  Time moves quickly and over the weekend we knew her time had come.  The heartache I feel today will not be quickly forgotten.  Rest in peace my Precious. 

Quote: "No heaven will not ever Heaven be. Unless my cats are there to welcome me." ~Anonymous


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Nine Months

'ris 12.24.09 - 2' photo (c) 2009, Laura Padgett - license: marks nine months since Erica passed away.  As I reflected back through the months of grieving Erica, the circle of life entered my mind.  Somewhere another family is welcoming a new baby into their lives.  The hopes and dreams for this child were created nine months ago.  While one family experiences the joy and happiness a new baby brings, another family will grieve a loss today.  The circle of life continues on.  Nine months today my sister passed away.

Quote: Pleasure is the flower that passes; remembrance, the lasting perfume.  ~Jean de Boufflers

Monday, November 28, 2011

I Survived

'Fall leaves 01' photo (c) 2010, Tanya Waldburger - license:
I survived the Thanksgiving holiday.  Last minute changes with my nieces schedules allowed them to spend the holiday with us.  It was wonderful to be able to spend time with them.  I survived seeing extended family and having five days off with my husband.  This means I'm halfway through the holidays.  I will continue my positive strategy through the first of the year.  When we reach the New Year, I will be able to say I survived the holidays!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Being Thankful

'Fall Foliage Photography' photo (c) 2008, Forest Wander - license: we approach the Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow, I'm trying to look past the grief and focus on being thankful.  Grieving Erica will be difficult during the holidays.  The positive in my life is easy to lose focus on at times.  Being thankful for the blessings in my life may be the only thing that pulls me through the holidays.  Here are my three tips to stay positive during the holidays:

  • Find three positive things in your life that you are thankful for and stand in front of a mirror first thing in the morning and tell yourself three positive affirmations.  Repeat these affirmations at bedtime.
  • Avoid negative people and negative conversations.
  • Give yourself a break, don't commit to holiday functions that will add stress to your life.
While I have found no magic formula for staying positive, I do know that negativity is the quickest way to ruin your day, week, month, or year.  Being thankful for what we have and not focusing on what we don't, is easy to say but harder to practice.  I will take each day at a time, focusing on being thankful and being positive.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Still NO Report

'Storm Clouds' photo (c) 2008, Tal Atlas - license: has been eight months since Erica passed away and the medical examiner's office is still not completed with their report.  We were told that all reports are finished within six months.  This has proven to be untrue.  It has really made me wonder how reliable the medical examiner's report will be. 

Again, there is a false reality that the medical examiner determines the cause of death before they release the body.  Nobody has told my family that Erica, for sure, died from an allergic reaction to medication.  The media knew the cause of death for Austin Box within a couple of months, and he died after my Sister.  How can one case be released within two months and another case still open after eight.

Our family needs closure!  With the holidays coming up this is another cloud looming over our lives.  Grieving families shouldn't have to keep calling the medical examiner's office week after week.  No report after eight months is simply unacceptable! 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Eight Months

'289/365 - Fall Rain' photo (c) 2010, Abby - license: the last eight months grieving Erica, time has eased the day to day emotional pain.  My days are back to normal most of the time.  But sitting here on a Tuesday on the eighth month after her death, the sadness is persistent.  The day is rainy and the sky is gloomy which seem to mirror how I feel inside.  There are still times when I find myself thinking it just doesn't seem possible.  How could this have happened?

Eight months is just a fraction of time when I think about the many years ahead without my Sister.  There were times I didn't agree with what she did and times she wasn't happy with me, but we were Sisters.  That's a term I don't get to use anymore.  It's all past tense and eight months isn't long enough to get used to that. 

Quote: “To spare oneself from grief at all cost can be achieved only at the price of total detachment, which excludes the ability to experience happiness.”  
 ~ Erich Fromm

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Unanswered Questions

'A Wild Question' photo (c) 2010, [F]oxymoron - license: will forever be unanswered questions I have for my Sister.  I really never thought about the questions I had for Erica until I no longer had the chance to ask.  Over the last few months I have found myself coming up with random questions that I would have liked to ask her.  One silly question would be where her attraction to bald men came from?  A more serious question would be what role would she want me to have in her daughter's lives if something happened to her?  I can imagine what she might say but, unanswered questions they will forever be.       

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Dread

'blue-lighted tree' photo (c) 2011, greyloch - license: fun of Halloween is over and now the dread is setting in.  The dread of the upcoming holiday season.  I used to love the holidays but over the last five years that love has turned into a serious case of dread.  All the planning and coordinating of schedules, followed by dealing with "family" that I would rather avoid can be taxing.  This year I can add to the mix the death of my sister and the dread is compounded.  I wish I had a skip button that would allow me to bypass the holidays altogether.  Simply writing this paragraph has me in tears.  So, here is my second warning that this year the holidays may be too much for me to handle.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Memories

Andrea, Stephen, and Erica at Halloween 1984
Throughout the day I found myself thinking about Halloweens of the past.  Growing up we lived in the country and the only trick-or-treaters we received was family.  Every year my mother would make our Halloween costumes, some were elaborate and others simple.  We dressed up for school and many years the school had a Halloween carnival.  If the weather was good we would load up into the car and drive into town to trick-or-treat.  It was always a big deal to us country kids.  All these Halloween memories were made with my sister.  So tonight wouldn't be complete without a post in my blog about my Halloween memories.  Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Life Goes On

'Fall tree branch leaves along river' photo (c) 2011, Forest Wander - license: I stop and think about how life goes on regardless of our presence, it makes me stop to think.  If for some reason I don't make it to tomorrow and life goes on without me, will I leave a contribution worth remembering?    I believe we should strive to make the world and ourselves better everyday.  If we are simply existing, what's the point?  The value in our lives isn't made up of the dollars in our bank accounts but rather the richness we add to the world we live in.  Do we add to the value of our world or are we depreciating it's value?  We have a limited amount of time to make a difference while we are here.  Life goes on without you. What contribution will you leave?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

No Guarantees

'Autumnal Still Life' photo (c) 2011, David Blackwell. - license:
Throughout my life I've been told several times that life has no guarantees.  However, it is easy to live day to day and expect things to continue on the path you planned.  The hardest part grieving Erica has been the reminder that life has no guarantees.  I have tried to take a more "carpe diem" approach to life but I haven't fully embraced the idea.  Sometimes it's hard to change.  Sometimes it's hard to take a chance when you know there is no guarantee.  I do believe that life is what we make it and even when things don't go as planned we still have a choice in the way we handle it. 
“Love means to commit oneself without guarantee, to give oneself completely in the hope that our love will produce love in the loved person. Love is an act of faith, and whoever is of little faith is also of little love.”  ~Erich Fromm

Friday, October 14, 2011


'Grub Up!' photo (c) 2011, Mark Robinson - license: today I started thinking about the concept of family.  What truly is a family?  Even though I taught a Sociology class for a couple of years, I needed to remind myself of what I already know.  So when I arrived home I looked the word family up in the dictionary.  The American Heritage Dictionary defines "Family" as:

  1. A fundamental social group in society consisting esp. of a man and woman and their offspring.
  2. A group of persons sharing a common ancestry.
  3. Lineage, esp. distinguished lineage.
  4. All the members of a household under one roof.
  5. A group of like things; class.
The definition and individuals interpretations, expectations, and perceptions can be quite different.  Our "ideas" of what we want our family to be like and how it really is can be complex.  Every individual in a family brings their own set of ideas, expectations and perceptions to the table.    One individual may want a close relationship while another likes to stand alone.  These differences can cause hurt feelings.  Circumstances, actions, and family history can leave lasting scars that are hard to overcome.  Families are not perfect! 

While teaching Sociology the one thing I would always say is this:  "Don't get hung up on the definition of family, family can be however you define it."  In our modern world the family has evolved and the word "family" may mean different things to different people.  So, if your current definition of family is not working out how you would like, maybe you should think about changing your definition.  To me, family are the people around you who love and support you regardless of our flaws, they will defend you when nobody else will, and they can look past the bad to see the good.  To me, a family is NOT one that belittles you, talks about you behind your back, and manipulates your life.  When you change how you look at family, you can change your life.  In the end you have to be happy with you!!! 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Birthday

'Balloons' photo (c) 2006, Crystal - license: Erica would have turned 35.  Last year her birthday fell on 10/10/2010.  To celebrate she entered a half marathon in Joplin, MO.  My parents and her daughters made the trip to Joplin with her to watch her run the race.  Erica felt that birthday was significant since the dates only fall that way every one hundred years.  If only we knew how significant that birthday was. 

So today as I reflect and remember my sister, I wish her a Happy Birthday.  I'm reminded how fleeting and precious life is.  Sometimes the significance of the events in our lives are seen much too late.  Seize the moments in your life that matter and cherish the ones you love.  Today we celebrate the life Erica lived and the memories made.  Happy Birthday Erica! 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Seven Months

Yesterday was the 8th of October, seven months since Erica passed away.  Our family has reached another milestone in grieving Erica.  As each month passes by the reality that Erica is gone sinks in further.  Time may ease the pain, however time also reinforces the reality of her death.  With each passing month comes a sense of emptiness.  The emptiness that Erica's absence leaves a hole in our family.  The hole in our hearts and lives that Erica once filled.  Seven months have gone by but the emptiness remains.   

Quote: "To live in hearts we leave behind
Is not to die."
~Thomas Campbell, Hallowed Ground

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Little Comfort

'Almost Heaven WV Country Farm Sunset' photo (c) 2011, Forest Wander - license: my life I've heard people say "there in a better place now," referring to people who have passed away.  This idea that "heaven" is a better place than living has given me very little comfort.  If Erica would have been sick or had a terminal illness those words may have brought some comfort.  However, Erica was only 34 and in relatively good health with two daughters and family who loved her.  So, I have a hard time believing that "heaven" is the better place.  The better place is here with her daughters and family.

When my Grandpa Andy passed away, from complications after heart surgery, there were concerns that his cancer was back.  He had a very painful fight with cancer the first time.  The one thing that helped me deal with his death was I felt God spared him from having to go through the pain of fighting cancer again.  Telling myself that helped me to believe he was in a better place. 

I've tried to find something to tell myself to help justify Erica's death.  Something to help comfort me and help me accept it.  So far I've been unsuccessful.  I have found very little comfort while grieving Erica. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Another Tuesday

'All Different, All the Same' photo (c) 2009, Paul Walker - license:
It has been 31 Tuesdays since Erica passed away.  Each Tuesday comes with different thoughts, memories, and challenges concerning Erica's death.  I have a bad habit of going shopping on Tuesday after work.  Typically I go to Hobby Lobby.  The day Erica died, I did just that.  I got off work and went to Hobby Lobby and then the grocery store.  Several times over the last six months on a Tuesday, I found myself doing the very same thing.  So today I came straight home.  I don't like that a pattern has emerged in my life, especially one with a sad association.  The plan is to change things up a bit.  I know I won't stop shopping but I'm going to stop being so predictable.

Friday, September 30, 2011

The What If's of Death

'two flowers' photo (c) 2009, Takadanobaba Kurazawa - license: I think about my sister.  I often wonder how the choices we make affect our lives.  What if Erica had made different choices, would she still be with us?  Then I think about circumstances.  What if they were different?  What if Erica had a different Doctor when she went to the emergency room?  What if she had postponed the minor surgery she had?   One might think after grieving Erica for over six months the what if's would be over.  They're not, not for me anyway.  The what if's linger in my mind.  Then there's the harsh reality everyday that my sister is dead.  No what if's will ever change that.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Shopping Tears

'Tears are tasteless' photo (c) 2008, LMAP - license: shopping today it was hard to hold back the tears.  For this story you need to know the history behind it.  Last Christmas something told me I needed to find something special for Erica.  I worried more about what I should buy her than usual.  I wanted her gift to show I put some thought into it.  I finally found a couple of things I thought she would like at this store called Belk.  When shopping today I found myself in the same department I bought Erica's gift.  The idea that I won't be buying her a gift this year entered my mind.  Then the shopping tears emerged.   I'm finding the ideas of the impeding holiday season to be depressing.  I'm sure there are many more shopping tears to come. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Instant Treasures

Andrea & Erica, 1977

Throughout our childhood my mother was a picture fanatic.  We have numerous albums of family photos.  Those photos became instant treasures when Erica passed away.  When we were looking through albums to put together a slide show for Erica's memorial service, it was hard to pick.  There are so many great memories and photos of her life.  The slide show ended up having over 100 photos.  Each photo became instant treasures that are priceless to our family. 


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Feeling Alone

Image: dan /

The last few weeks I find myself feeling alone.  I have a great marriage and three wonderful cats but something is missing.  That something is kids.  I joined facebook to feel connected to others after Erica passed away.  I had the desire to be social and to reach out.    However, most my friends on facebook have kids.  Their posts and lives are centered around their kids, and they should be.  Reading their posts reminds me of what I'm missing.  I find myself feeling sad that I've never had children and this feeling of being alone is exaggerated.

My conversation with my husband a couple of weeks ago was about whether we wanted to be buried or cremated.  I told him, I see no point in being buried nobody will be around to come visit us.  Our tombstone will go unvisited and flower free.  Since this realization and conversation I can't shake feeling alone.  

I'm not looking for pity or for anyone to feel sad for me.  I honestly wasn't ready for a baby until 2007.  Then when we finally decided to start trying that's when the infertility issues emerged.  Life is full of choices and I made mine and I'm feeling alone because of the choices I made. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Haunting Thoughts

'Noche de luna llena - Full moon night' photo (c) 2007, Luz A. Villa - license: mind works in mysterious ways and mine is no exception.  I've mentioned before that I never saw my sister after she died.  However, my mind has created some haunting thoughts and images that I can't get rid of.  Images of Erica's body lying in the hospital after she died, the morgue, and finally the cremation process.  I'll be laying in bed before I go to sleep and these images appear in my mind.  Maybe it's the fear of the unknown or watching too many Body of Proof episodes.  Whatever it is, these haunting thoughts are keeping me up at night. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Six Months

Erica Showing Sheep, Spring 1995
There are certain times that make the loss of Erica more painful and this week is one of them. This Friday is the fall sheep show in Cleveland County.  Erica's daughters are showing in the same arena their mother did when she was in high school.  These times have always been family events for us.  Erica's absence will be painfully present.  We would always sit in the bleachers together and watch, first my brother, and then her girls.  For the last nineteen years many memories were made during sheep shows.  This six month milestone is proving to be difficult because I know my sister would want to be there for her girls.  My heart is heavy for our loss of Erica.  

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Ones We Love

'Love' photo (c) 2006, Mark Barkaway - license: have been many times I've wondered, why we hurt the ones we love?  It seems that family members forget that their loved ones have feelings.  Sometimes we take our bad days out on the ones we love.  We may treat our friends with kid gloves and make sure we don't say things we might regret.  When it comes to family, why is it so different?

Don't get me wrong, I'm guilty of this too.  However, since Erica passed away suddenly, I've been reminded of the importance of the words we say.  You never know if the words you say right now, will be the last words you'll ever say, or the last words someone you love will hear.  With Erica, our last words was just passing conversation.  I couldn't have imagined I would lose my sister ten days later. 

The ones we love deserve more respect than we would give a friend.  When things get rough family should lift each other up and not tear each other down.  I guess the golden rule should be remembered, "do unto other as you would have them do unto you."  Look at the situation through your loved one's perspective and not just your own.  At the end of the day family is what matters, we need the ones we love

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Random Thoughts

'Random plants 3' photo (c) 2010, Sarah Jones - license: last couple of weeks I've been staying busy.  I started selling my handmade cards on Etsy.  This new endeavor is keeping my mind off of losing Erica.  However, I still have days where I get choked up during conversations.  Today was one of those days.  It seems when I go to the Doctor I'm vulnerable to reveal emotion.  Plus, I really hate the question "so, how are you doing?"  This just opened the door for tears and emotion.  I think the better question to ask would be "so, how's your health?"  At least then I'm focused on my health and not the death of my sister.  I'm sure it didn't help that I listed on the form that my sister died from a sulfa based drug reaction.  That information alone lead to conversation and tears.  Anyway, those are some of my random thoughts, feelings and emotions for the day.  Until next time, take care.       

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Missing My Sister

Erica & Andrea, 1979

Today I'm missing my sister.  I woke up thinking about her this morning and she's been on my mind ever since.  I constantly think about my nieces and how they miss their mother.  I know we were blessed to have Erica in our lives for thirty-four years but I still feel my nieces got short changed.  So many things will never be the same without her.  I'm missing my sister today and forever more.    

Monday, August 22, 2011

Report Update

'Butterfly' photo (c) 2010, Vidar Hoel - license: of last week the medical examiner's report was still not ready.  They assured my mother that most reports are done within six months.  In two weeks it will be six months since Erica passed.  It will be nice to have the results so I don't worry about when the report will be ready.  Hopefully the next update will be the final report.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Stuck in Sadness

'Umbrella' photo (c) 2008, Molly DG - license: week I've been stuck in sadness.  There isn't anything specific that I can blame my sadness on.  It just seems like the jet stream has pushed a sadness front my way and it hasn't lifted.  The front has produced some tears and mainly cloudy days that's left me feeling a little melancholy.  There are so many issues going on within me, within society, and within our government that makes me sad.  Many of these issues I can do nothing about but they affect me anyway.  Hopefully my forecast will change and my stuck in sadness front will be lifted.  Until then, I'm using my umbrella.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Resentful Feelings

'Puck 03' photo (c) 2005, Dave Morris - license: I first started my blog I needed a way to express my feelings while I was grieving Erica.  My hope now is that others can read my posts and realize that their not alone in the feelings they have over losing a loved one.  With that in mind, I'm going to be honest.  Recently I find myself having resentful feelings when I hear other women talk about their sisters.  Hopefully in time these resentful feelings will go away.  Right now all I can think about is all the things Erica and I will never do together.  When I see sisters laughing together those resentful feelings swell inside me.  I'm not proud of these feelings but they're there.  So, if through the grieving process you find yourself having resentful feelings for your situation, just know you're not alone. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

No Word

'Roses' photo (c) 2010, Moyan Brenn - license: years back I was teaching an Applied Psychology class.  It was during this time that I had a student who lost an infant child.  During the course and conversation, I realized there was no word for a parent who lost a child to death.  When a husband/wife loses a spouse they become a widower.  When a child loses their parents they are an orphan.  When a parent loses a child there is no word.  The situation is almost unspeakable. 

In my life, I'm not a parent.  I've had friends who's child have died suddenly.  I know that I was at a loss for words when this happened.  So many people can't relate or don't want to think about losing a child that we as a society still have no word to describe the situation.  My heart goes out to my parents.  Although I have lost my Sister, they lost their child and there is no word to describe their grief.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Between You and God

'Clouds' photo (c) 2011, theaucitron - license: is not my original work.  I copied it from a friend on facebook who copied it from a friend of hers.  I really like the message and I wanted to share.  These are great words to live by.

If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.....

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Five Months

'Five Flowers' photo (c) 2006, Dawn - license: month has passed since Erica left this earth.  I have to tell you that part of me feels guilty for feeling better.  I still think of her everyday but grieving Erica probably isn't the term I should use anymore.  I've moved on from grieving to remembering Erica.  I guess you can say I'm in the acceptance stage of grief.  There is still healing that needs to be done before I can say I'm letting go, but I'm headed in that direction.  One day at a time.  

Quote:  Healing yourself is connected with healing others. ~Yoko Ono

Monday, August 8, 2011

Farewell My Friend

This morning I attended the funeral of a Dear Friend and neighbor.  It was a beautiful service that honored her memory well.  There are very few people who hold the title of "Friend" in my life but Marty was easy to love.  She was vivacious and classy and her energy just drew you in.  I would like to share with you the poem from her service.

I'm There Inside Your Heart
'Philbrook Museum of Art - garden' photo (c) 2009, chad thomas - license:
Right now I'm in a different place,
and though we seem apart,
I'm closer than I ever was...
I'm there inside your heart.

I'm with you when you greet each day
and while the sun shines bright,
I'm there to share the sunsets, too...
I'm with you every night.

I'm with you when the times are good
to share a laugh or two,
and if a tear should start to fall...
I'll still be there for you.

And when that day arrives
that we no longer are apart,
I'll smile and hold you close to me...
Forever in my heart.

Indeed she will be, forever in my heart.  Farewell my friend until we meet again.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Some Comfort

'White Cobra' photo (c) 2008, Tahmid Munaz - license: evening I watched the show Beyond Belief.  This episode interviewed several people who had near death experiences.  One of my issues is worrying about Erica being in pain and scared before she died.  This show helped to give me some comfort about the moments before we die.  Several people described the experience as the greatest peace they had ever felt.  They said they weren't scared and had no memory of pain.  Now, I realize there was no proof offered and many reasons to be skeptical but I'm choosing to find some comfort in their testimonies.  The picture of death they painted was a lot better than the picture my mind had created.  Some comfort is better than none. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Another Loss

'Norwegian mountain creek' photo (c) 2010, Tony Warelius - license: I attended a funeral for another family member.  Our family lost a great man, Louis Kindrick.  He was a distant relative of mine; he was the Granddad to a couple of my favorite cousins.  Mr. Kindrick was always a kind man with a great disposition.  The service was a lovely reflection of his life and his devotion to his family.  I had great admiration for Mr. and Mrs. Kindrick for being married for 63 years.  My heart and thoughts go out to Dolores and family as they grieve for Louis.  It is rare to find a man of Louis's caliber, he will be greatly missed.    

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Switching My Focus

'Hello Bug!' photo (c) 2007, Paul Sapiano - license: the last couple of weeks I've been working on switching my focus.  It's time for me to move on.  I have used my blog as a therapy tool and it has really helped.  But recently I've noticed that switching my focus is good for me.  I will continue to write my blog as memories, events, and milestones occur.  It is my hope that my blog has helped others as they grieve the loss of a loved one and I hope each of you will get to the point where you can switch your focus.

For tracking purposes it has been 144 days since I started grieving Erica.  May she rest in peace. 

Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass... It's about learning how to dance in the rain.  ~Vivian Greene

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Christmas Conundrum

'IMG_0994.jpg' photo (c) 2006, Windell Oskay - license: the first four months after Erica passed away behind us, we inch closer to the end of the year.  All this talk of Christmas in July is getting to me.  I have several issues with the holidays.  The biggest issue is the one I created, my own personal Christmas conundrum.  Five years ago I decided I wanted a baby.  So I set a goal of getting pregnant by Christmas.  Christmas came and I wasn't pregnant so I pushed it back a year.  I will get pregnant by next Christmas.  Well long story short I'm still not pregnant.  This goal I set for myself has ruined the holidays for me.  Everyone around me gets pregnant but not me.  I can already feel the pre-holiday anxiety building.  But this year is different.  This year my Christmas conundrum is compounded by the absence of Erica.  Last year I had a complete melt down and I'd really like to skip this year entirely.  Let this be my notice to my family, this year my Christmas conundrum may be too much for me to handle.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

No Goodbyes

'goodbye' photo (c) 2011, woodleywonderworks - license: of the hardest parts about losing Erica was the fact that I didn't have a chance to say goodbye.  One minute she was here and the next she was gone.  Her sudden death reinforces the importance on relationships and making sure you leave nothing unsaid.  We never know if will get another chance.

There are many aspects surrounding her death that still bother me.  I keep telling myself that after we have the medical examiners report maybe I'll have a little more closure.  But I can never get the chance to say goodbye and make sure she knew how I felt.  No goodbyes were possible, no goodbyes were said.    

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Measurement of Time

'Calendar' photo (c) 2006, tanakawho - license: the last few weeks I've caught myself using Erica's death as a measurement of time.  Everything either falls into two categories: before Erica's death, or after Erica's death.  Before she passed away I would refer to time by either the week, month, or year.  Now, her death has become another point at which I gauge the measurement of time.  Within our family Erica's death had a huge impact on many of us and that impact will forever be a measurement of time

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Unseen Wounds

Bluey's new bandage from the cat attackphoto © 2009 Adria Richards | more info (via: Wylio)When someone is injured or hurt there is usually visible signs.  A bandage signifies a cut, crutches for a hurt leg, and a cast for a broken arm, all of these are visible signs of a wound.  Grief is different, the unseen wounds we walk around with go unnoticed but are just as painful.  I believe it is easy for people to forget that someone is grieving because of these unseen wounds.  We look fine and we have no obvious signs of hurt therefore we must be fine.  This couldn't be further from the truth. 

I hope that others realize that my nieces wounds may not show for years to come.  The wounds of losing their mother may compound over time or new wounds open as they age and miss their mother.  Their unseen wounds may affect them in many different ways.  They will need the love and support of their family and friends for years to come.

Everyday we encounter others with unseen wounds.   It's easy to tell when someone stops using cruthes, gets their cast off, or removes a bandage, you can tell they are healed.  Just remember that the wounds of grief may go unseen.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Daily Reminders

Forget me nots photo © 2009 Dean Morley | more info (via: Wylio)This week I took a trip to see my nieces and parents.  While staying at my parent's house I was able to see the daily reminders they have to deal with concerning Erica.  One reminder was waking up to phone calls for Erica and having to hear my Mom say that Erica had passed away.  Apparently this happens quite often.  Another reminder came in the afternoon when we retrieved the mail.  There were a couple of items addressed to Erica.  This brought to my attention that my parents have many more daily reminders to prolong their grief than I do.  My Mom still has to deal with all the loose ends that came with Erica's death, sending in death certificates and phone calls.  This insight into my parent's life made me realize how hard these daily reminders are for them.          

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Time goes by so fast 28/52 Multiple Exposurephoto © 2011 Janet Ramsden | more info (via: Wylio)
It has been said that time is a great healer.  With the passing of everyday I'm finding that it is easier to move on.  Part of me still feels that it's unfair how little time Erica had with her daughters.  I just feel they were cheated from life with their mother.  When I share the story of what happened to Erica I find that people with young children find it very disturbing.  Nobody likes to think about one day no longer being there for their children.  Time is promised to no one.  I've always had a vision of what I wanted my life to be.  With Erica gone my vision has changed and change doesn't always come easy for me.  For now time marches on.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Soul Searching

Boatphoto © 2006 Börkur Sigurbjörnsson | more info (via: Wylio)Many lessons have been learned or reemphasized with Erica passing.  I have found myself doing a lot of soul searching in the last four months.  It is very easy to become complacent in life and continue along the safe routes, when really we should be rocking our boats.  I've asked myself a couple of questions:
  • Am I making a difference is someones life?
  • Will I leave this earth better than it was when I arrived?
  • Do I make a positive impact on those around me?
I believe each of us are a work in progress and we should constantly strive to be better.  This concept of better has nothing to do with money but everything to do with ethics, values, and morals.  In the soul that answers the call for me, what will the Great Judge find?  This soul searching has me moving my life in a different direction.  So, I'm rocking my boat.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

No Report

Sunset on Ilkley Moorphoto © 2009 James Whitesmith | more info (via: Wylio)It has been surprising to me how long it takes to get the medical examiner's report.  It has been four months and still no report.  I guess it's a good thing they're not a for profit business, if they were they would have to file for bankruptcy.  Their lack of speed and urgency is really upsetting.  I guess they figure that since our loved one is dead that time is not a factor.  I guess they don't realize or care that this simply prolongs our grieving process.  If it took me four months to turn a report in to my boss, I would be fired.  Maybe I expect too much from a state run institution.  We're still waiting!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Four Months

Skullcap flowersphoto © 2008 Robert Nunnally | more info (via: Wylio)It has been four months since Erica passed away.  You could also say it has been one quarter of a year or 122 days, however you want to look at it.  Time has eased the emotional pain but I still find myself thinking "I can't believe she's gone".  There is forever a void in our lives that time cannot heal.  The emotional pain improves with time but the void will always be there.  I only had one sister and nobody can take her place.  Losing Erica definitely made me reevaluate the condition of the relationships in my life.  People spend so much time and energy complaining about the people and things in their lives that they can't change that they forget to appreciate what they have.  Focusing on the positive and embracing what you love about someone is more effective than being negative.  Life can change in an instant; losing Erica made this saying reality to me.  In the last four months my outlook on life has changed and many lessons learned.  Lessons learned the hard way.    

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Road to Healing

A Road With Flowersphoto © 2009 hitachiota | more info (via: Wylio)On the road to healing I've set my speed on cruise.  My trip of grieving Erica has reached the open road.  For now I feel the mountains are behind me.  It has been a struggle for me to accept this change in our family.  Even though we didn't see each other very much, she was an intricate part of my life.  We shared a bedroom growing up, then in college we lived together for awhile.  In our adult lives our responsibilities and priorities differed but I knew she was there.  Her sudden death put my car in a tailspin.  It will be four months tomorrow and I've needed everyday to recover and find my way back to the road to healing.  With the cruise set my trip continues.