September 4, 2011 § Leave a comment
I almost did not post this at all but did so for two reasons…..(1) as a thank you. There is no way I can ever personally thank everyone who called, emailed, wall posted, texted, visited, prayed and supported us. Maybe you can understand how much it all means by reading this. (2) How sad would it be if the lessons we learned from Joe H. and because of Joe H. weren’t shared? I mean…after all…that has to be why he was here in the first place…it just has to be. I hope you get a good dose of laughter and reflection 🙂
20. When I grow up, I want to own a parking lot.
Parking costs are crazy in downtown Birmingham! All I can say is that if you are going to be at UAB for an extended period of time, ask about the $20 a week lot, which will cut your costs in more than half.
19. Give Blood.
When I was in high school, I gave blood once. I thought of it as traumatic (boy…was I sheltered) and never did it again. Now I realize that so many people, including babies, need blood every day. I have given twice since then and will continue to do so because as cliché as it sounds, you really can save a life.
18. We are born with a personality.
I know that this is common knowledge but I was blown away by Joe H.’s easy-going personality. It is certain that he did not get it from me! The little guy would wake up and just look around…waiting for someone to come in and talk to him…which, of course, they always did.
17. There is no perfect crime.
I know this because I watched about 20 hours a day of TV during our hospital stay, which included at least 2,000 hours (give or take) of crime shows. If I have learned one thing it is that there are surveillance cameras everywhere. So whatever you think it is you want to do…..think again J!
Even if Joe H. had lived to be an old man he probably never would have caught a pass in a high school football game or walked down the aisle. Those are hard things to accept, but we did. The thing of it is that it became incredibly freeing. How much more would we enjoy our life, kids, family and friends if we didn’t have so many expectations for them?
15. Days of Our Lives is stupid…but I am sucker!
I threatened to put a sign on the door each afternoon from 1:00-2:00 so that the docs would not interrupt my “stories” (as my grandmother would say)! Some days I did feel the need to remind whoever came in the room and caught me watching that I do have all my teeth, I am educated and have never buried anyone in a sarcophagus! Although, I must say that Salem would not be a bad place to live. After all, I am sure that Stefano could have sent someone to the jungle to find some magic serum that would have cured all that ailed Joe H.!
14. Power of support.
Joe H. was seldom alone in his hospital room for more than a few minutes. At least one of us was always there. Yet, there were literally hundreds of people supporting him and us. Joe H. was prayed for across Alabama, the country and even the world. We will forever be thankful for the prayers and support.
13. Power of nurses.
I lived in a hospital room for two and a half months at UAB, and spent hours each day at Brookwood prior to that. In a weird way those nurses became my family and Joe H.’s. I used to joke that he wouldn’t get better because he enjoyed the attention from all the pretty girls! It was much more than that. The nurses loved him…truly loved him. I could never be a nurse but I would hope that anyone who goes into the medical profession understands the impact that they have on patients and families. We will forever be grateful for the care we received from the nurses, doctors, nurse practitioners, therapists, secretaries and even custodial staff.
12. “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on.”
This is one of Alli’s favorite quotes. There really isn’t anything else to say about it.
11. Never trust statistics.
What are the odds that one man would lose two children? First a daughter, then seven years later a son. It all seems so cruel but it happened. So very hard to understand.
10. Being a wicked stepmother is highly underrated.
This is another lesson that I already knew all about, but one that continues to be made more clear to me each and every day. My heart breaks for the most beautiful and caring stepdaughter in the world, but at the same time I cannot begin to describe how much strength I find in her. She is nothing short of amazing and I love her more than she will ever, ever know.
9. Red hair can skip up to seven generations.
I am not sure if this is true or not but that’s what we’ve been told. Who woulda thunk it…my child had red hair!?!?! If you know my mother’s side of the family, then you can better understand it. So if your husband threatens the milk man when you have a red-headed child, remember this piece of trivia.
8. Love of grandparents.
I know that my grandmama and granddaddy loved Kohen and me in a way that no one could. I smiled every time I saw that same love on the faces of my parents. I still see the glow on their faces each time they turned the corner into Joe H.’s room. I truly believe that he could see it, too. The same is true of Don’s parents.
7. Connection & Reconnection
Our experiences have connected us to numerous new friends, from those who we’ve met in the hospital to those who have shared their stories with us. But even more powerful than that are the reconnections we’ve made with old friends. You go through your life in chapters and I have been very fortunate to have had tremendous friends in all of mine. During this experience, so many people from the many stages of my life have reached out to me. It just goes to show you that friendship does last forever, even if you don’t see each other or talk regularly.
6. Find your soulmate.
Too many people settle. They settle for various reasons. Don’t! Find the person who makes you smile and laugh because they will also be the person who you face the darkest days of your life with. My husband gives me a reason for waking up and pulling it together each day.
5. Don’t Wait.
Sure, you probably know that I am a little Type A. In this case it certainly let me down. You see, I was waiting for the “perfect time” to do so many things, such as putting Joe H. in his precious little outfit (scared it would get messed up in the hospital) or even taking more pictures of him (thinking that I would get plenty of them when he was home and without wires and oxygen). I didn’t even take my video camera to the hospital because I thought we’d have years. I don’t know what it is that you want to do, but go ahead and take a chance because…well, you know.
4. Blessing of letting go.
For days now I have heard the echo of M’Lynn during the funeral scene of Steel Magnolias…. “I realize as a woman how lucky I am. I was there when that wonderful creature drifted into my life and I was there when she drifted out. It was the most precious moment of my life.” I could not have known when I watched that movie as a pre-teen that I would ever understand this line from my favorite movie, but I do. What makes it more precious is that Joe H. held on an additional month for us. I firmly believe that he “miraculously” survived his sudden and shocking cardiac arrest in February so that we could learn to let him go. I am in awe of that little boy for many reasons, but this at the top of the list. There is no doubt in my mind that he did that so that we could understand that we had to let him go. Bro. Steve told us that Joe H. was never really ours. He was God’s and it was up to Him to let us share Joe H. if only for a short time. It seemed like a harsh thing to hear, but isn’t it true of all of us?
A better word for this might be sorryness….but that is not really a word. We watched babies lay in their hospital rooms for weeks on end with no visitors, including their parents. I understand that every situation is different and some people have to work or care for siblings but WEEKS?!?! That’s mean. Then there are other parents who are just plain selfish. They continually put their own needs above that of their children’s. Again, must plain ol’ mean.
This is what you all have taught me. There are no words…..I am completely humbled by the calls, messages, cards, texts, wall posts, kind gestures, flowers, donations, snacks, visits, etc. You go through life doing the best you can day to day and year to year. You never realize the impact you have on others. You cannot know the impact you have had on us. Years from now, when I think about this time in my life, I will see the faces of all of you from Enterprise, Opp, Elba, Troy, Scottsboro, Elkmont, Oneonta, ALSDE, WPHS, GHS, AHS, CBMS, Georgia and across the country. Because it is from you that I have been taught about true goodness and kindness. I promise to continue those lessons in your honor.
1. Love Simply. Simply Love.
This is what I learned from Joe H. He was pure love. That is all he knew and all we knew from him. Life’s relationships are based on a multitude of dynamics but really it’s pretty easy to understand. (1) Love simply. Love and life are really not meant to be complicated and if yours are, consider simplifying. (2) Simply Love. That is our job. Sure life will get in the way, but bottom line is that extending love to your friends, family and sometimes even strangers is the greatest gift you can give yourself.
- I am adding another lesson after reading all of the comments that were posted last night.
21. Heartache: Anyone Can Do It
I don’t feel special, amazing or brave. I am just getting by like so many of people in this world for various reasons. So maybe that is “Lesson 21: Heartache – Anyone Can Do It” because at some point in your life, we will all have to. Maybe it won’t be the loss of a child but it will certainly be something/someone. I, like you, could not fathom losing a child so I used to ask Don all of the time, “how do you do it?” He always said that you do what you have to do. You have two choices. You can decide to keep going or not. You would all decide to keep going. So see, we are all special, amazing and brave 🙂
July 6, 2011 § Leave a comment
I guess this is probably not a complicated question, but I guess it is for me. I have so much to say about so many random things in my life, so why can’t I make myself sit down and share it? Maybe because nobody is reading it 🙂
July 1, 2011 § Leave a comment
So….why is this a complicated question? Well, because I really don’t know the right answer to the question. You see, I am a “mom” of a 19 year-old daughter. A beautiful young lady whom I love dearly. We have an awesome relationship and, as is the case, with so many young adults and their parents, she is one of my best friends. Yet, she is not really mine. She is my step-daughter. She and I both refer to each other as “mother-daughter” because, for all practical purposes, we are, but in small way our relationship hurts both of us. It hurts my sweet girl because she feels neglected by her mother but still feels guilty for not sharing the bond that she and I have with her own mother. After all, it is unnatural for a girl not to live and be close to her own mother. Our relationship hurts me in the fact that she isn’t “mine.” No matter what I do or how much I love her, she will always belong to someone else….regardless if that person deserves her or not.
The second awful reality to this question for me is that I am the genuine, 100%, full-fledged mother to a sweet, sweet little boy. He was born so beautiful and so, so, so calm and laid back. He was nothing but love for almost four months. That is when we lost him.
So back to the dreaded question…..I guess I was a “real” mom for almost four months. I feel that I have been a mother for five years but in the eyes of some, I guess I still am not technically a mom.
So now you know the reason for the title of my blog. Maybe together we can come up with the best answer possible.
June 28, 2011 § Leave a comment
I admit it.
As embarrassing as it is, I am addicted to the “Real Housewives” shows. I often say that I could never be on that show because my life is so boring. Yet, after I decided to write a blog I began trying to decide on the focus of my entries. Do I go with the “I am a stepmom” angle? Or maybe the “I lost my son” angle? Is the “I am married to an older man” side of my life more entertaining? I am, too, married to a football coach in a “football crazed” state….all of the football wives out there might appreciate that so do I focus on my marriage? And then there are the other loves of my life…my best friends. Now there are some stories that others can relate to!!!!!
So….after examining every aspect of my “boring” life, I have decided to title my blog “DO YOU HAVE CHILDREN??? & OTHER COMPLICATED QUESTIONS.” You see, this crazy, wonderful, sad, heart-breaking, beautiful, trying, awesome life I lead leaves me with a head full of complicated questions. So…here goes nothin’………………….
June 28, 2011 § 1 Comment
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