Tuesday, September 14, 2010


A couple weeks ago I was having one of "those" days. My amazing husband took one look at me and said "leave, you need some Shannon-time." At first I refused to go, it felt wrong, I had a child to take care of, unfinished chores, and that always present mom-guilt. Upon threat of being carried out to the car, I fianally left. I decided a trip to the mall could only mean trouble, so I headed to the nail spa instead. I sat there in complete silence (it's not like I could carry on a converstaion with the woman doing my pedicure even if I wanted to) for an hour, and it felt great. When I finished there I headed to the movie theater. I had never been to a movie by myself, and it seemed like the perfect day to give it a try. I sat there for another two hours in complete silence. I could feel my sanity returning and my hazy brain becoming clearer. By the time I returned home, I felt like a new woman. I forget how important it is to just be me. I get so distracted by being a mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend, that I forget about Shannon and her needs. It feels wrong to say "I need," but I need to learn how to. I must learn how to conquer that "always present mom-guilt" I mentioned earlier, because if I don't take care of myself I will not have the strength to take care of others. Part of learning to take care of myself is finding balance.
The movie I saw by myself was "Eat, Pray, Love" it's a wonderful movie about a woman who is searching for balance, peace and her own path in life. While sitting there watching this movie, it hit me, balance. I feel so unbalanced. How do I mourn my son (truly, honestly, with all my heart mourn) while being a good mom to my daughter? Since Gabe passed away I have been powering through. A week after he left it was Thanksgiving, then Christmas, a trip to Disneyland, Kayla's Birthday, etc, etc...I have been moving through the last 10 months like a steam train. We have had event after event, trip after trip. I realized something the other day, did I even enjoy any of those trip or events? My body has been moving, but was my mind, my spirit, truly present? I feel like I've been ghosting through life for the last year. I'm tired of it. I want to feel life, I want to enjoy the journey, and so I must feel with my whole being the depth of loss of my son. I must learn how to balance. If I give all of me to one, then there is nothing left for the other. So this is my new journey in life...balance.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A New Journey

As I sit here, trying to think of a way to compose all of the thoughts floating around in my head, I am reminded of the many nights either Jesse or I would get back from the NICU at midnight, then sit down in the library of the Ronald McDonald house and update Gabe's blog. Back then, it was just a part of life. We had to keep all of Bubba's adoring fans up to date. Shortly after Gabe passed, we stopped blogging. Lately I've been thinking it would be good (for me) to start blogging again. Even though we are no longer on Gabe's journey, Jesse and I (all of us for that matter) are now on a journey of our own. After a hard day battling for my son's life, I always felt better after blogging. Every day is a hard day now, so why not try blogging again?
I know no other way to describe the grieving process, then to refer to it as a journey, because that is exactly what it feels like. Trying to figure out how to navigate life after the loss of one of the loves of my life, is complicated. There is a constant swirl of thoughts and emotions twisting through my head. At the same time I have a 3-1/2 year old who needs her mom; a house that has yet to figure out how to take care of itself; bills that must be paid; meals that must be made, and oh yeah, I'm a wife too. What used to seem like a simple balancing act, is no longer. I like to say that I'm "ok," that I'm moving forward and dealing with the death of my son, but I'm not, and it's taken me almost 9 months to admit this to myself. Now comes the task of allowing myself to be a mess, to not be "ok," to ask for help so that I can take care of myself. I prefer to be the one taking care of others, so this is not easy for me.
I will be forever grateful for those closest to me; those who stood by my side on the battle field; and those who stand by me now. I know that I am not the same mom, wife, daughter, friend, person, I was before Gabe came into our lives. I know that with time, parts of me will heal and return, and I also know there are parts of me that will never be the same again. No matter how much time passes, or how many professionals (I keep forgetting to make an appointment with a therapist) I speak with, there will always be a piece of my heart missing. When Gabe left this earth, he took a piece of me with him. I can feel the hole in my heart all the way into the deepest depths of my soul.
As much as it sometimes stings, I will take the pain. I would rather be "broken" (as I feel I am now) than to have never known my beautiful Angel Gabriel. I don't know if he was sent here to teach us, or to learn from us? Perhaps it's a bit of both, but no matter what the reason, I thank God everyday for choosing us as "mom" and "dad." The lessons I learned from my son, will never be forgotten. How one little boy, bound to a bed by tubes and wires, could touch me and so many others so deeply, is beyond me. When I think of the pain my baby endured during his battle; when I think of the hurtles Gabe had to jump over just to make it another minute, hour, day...I am forever humbled. His strength is inspiring, and will live on within me forever.
Breathe in...breathe out...one foot in front of the other...one day at a time...