Thursday, February 16, 2017

Grief, grandma kitty, and getting through it all

Hi guys!  I know my life seems like quite the rollercoaster lately and that's because IT IS a rollercoaster right now.  I've had an incredibly hard time knowing how much to communicate through Instagram.  So my posts seem happy and then sad and then happy and then sad again.  The truth is, my emotions really have been bouncing around like that.  I have been incredibly sad.  And angry.  And unable to pull myself together and complete my normal wifely and motherly duties at times.  BUT I am constantly trying to make life feel normal for the girls.  I may cry through my morning shower, but when the girls wake up I do my best to put on a happy face and go about our normal day.

Losing my mother in law has been so unexpected and tragic.  It's not my place to explain what happened, but I will share how we're coping and getting through this.  Her death has affected so many people, but I can only speak for me and my family.  Lot's of you had questions so I'm hoping to answer some today and give a little update on where we're at.

I'm so devastated for my family.  My poor husband has now lost both of his parents.  My daughters have lost their AMAZING grandmother.  The thought of never seeing the girls faces light up when Carrie walks into the room, or hearing P yell, "GAGA!! GAGA!!", or watching the girls play dress up or tea parties with their grandma ever again is crushing.  So much is being taken away from them by losing such an important person in their lives.

Phayre has been talking about her Gaga nonstop.  I have photos of Carrie out everywhere trying to get ready for her service so P is reminded of her a lot.  Luckily P is little and doesn't understand what's going on.  Sloan is two years older and understands that her "Gramma" is gone though.  She is really angry.  She constantly prays to God to take her grandma out of heaven to then begs him to give her back to us.  She's been lashing out and yelling a lot.  It's heartbreaking because I know she's just so confused and heartbroken inside.  When we told Sloan that her grandma had gone to heaven, I gave her a little cat stuffed animal and told her that whenever she was missing her grandma she could squeeze the kitty and her grandma would feel it in heaven.  She named the stuffed animal "grandma kitty" and hasn't parted with it since.  Grandma kitty goes with us in the car and on errands, to school in Sloan's backpack, and Sloan squeezes her each night when she says her prayers and gets tucked into bed.  I wish I could say that it's getting better each day for Sloan, but it's just not yet.  I know that with time it will though.

This week has been so challenging and emotional.  Eric is back at work and his job is being incredibly demanding.  So that leaves me to plan my mother in law's funeral.  I am so happy to do it and really feel honored that I get to plan this celebration of her life.  There are times when I feel so overwhelmed and sad though.  It's been a lot of arrangements, phone calls, and running around.  I have lists all over the house, my diaper bag, and car.  I just want so badly to properly honor such an amazing woman, but feel so overwhelmed sometimes that I become fearful I'm not the adequate person for the job.

I often wonder, "How the hell am I planning a 57 year old woman's funeral?  Why the fuck is this happening to us?  How can Carrie really be gone?  This is NOT FAIR."  I just imagined planning my mother in law's funeral in 30+ years when I had some gray hairs myself.  A life taken too soon is so hard to understand, it's just so heartbreaking.  I've googled "how to plan a funeral" and "how to write an obituary" several times just making sure I'm doing things right and doing everything I should be doing.  It's been A LOT and I have felt really lost at times, but Carrie's two best friends came over last night and helped me with some things and it was so wonderful.  We told stories about Carrie and they really gave me the confidence that I can do this and I'm doing a good job so far.  Thank you Lori and Shelli.

Through all of this pain and sorrow, I have been blown away by the love and support my family has received.  My friends have freaking stepped up and have truly made me feel so lucky in a time that seems so impossible.  Between watching our girls and dropping meals off and all of the cards, flowers, and sweet gestures-It's almost overwhelming how much love we have received.  I am eternally grateful for the friends and family members who have put us under their wings and helped guide and shelter us through this process.  Thank you.

I was really nervous posting what had happened on Instagram.  First of all, I wasn't sure how much was appropriate to share.  This is my mother in laws life, not mine to share.  And secondly, because Instagram is a happy place!  Instagram is like a highlight reel of your life.  You post your favorite photos and moments you never want to forget.  It's hard to share the dark moments, the things you wish so much would just go away.  I have been so surprised (surprised doesn't even seem like a strong enough word!) by how many people have reached out, taken the time to comment that they're keeping my family in their thoughts, and have actually prayed for us.  I am so grateful and feel lovingly wrapped in a community of wonderful women and mothers.  Thank you.

Sharing our pregnancy news this week was kind of crazy timing.  I'll admit, it was a great distraction!  But it didn't last long.  We had always planned on announcing on Valentine's Day knowing that I would be more than 12 weeks along.  When Carrie passed away we decided we should probably wait awhile longer.  The day before Valentine's Day, Eric came home from work and said, "WHOA your belly is getting huge!!  We need to announce before Saturday when we see most of the people we know at my moms service."  I knew he was right, I didn't want our big news to cloud Carrie's special day.  So we went with our original plan and announced.  We received so much love and I feel SO grateful.  It's amazing how many people are cheering for and praying for our family.  We couldn't help but both feel really conflicted though, it was hard to be so happy when we still felt so incredibly sad inside.  We are so excited about this baby and feel so blessed.  We just need time to grieve and work through this loss before we can really express our excitement.  I am so thankful for everyone who has reached out though.  This baby is a blessing and we wanted it so badly, thank you so much.

We did tell Carrie that we were pregnant before she had passed away.  I am so grateful that we were able to tell her and experience her joy.  I also find comfort knowing that she will always be watching over my family.  She was the best grandma ever, so I have no doubt that she'll be the best guardian angel ever.

I tried to answer a lot of questions throughout this update.  Several of you asked how we're getting out and why am I still taking so many photos of the girls while we're going through all of this.  So first of all, I'm learning that everyone grieves much differently and it's important to not judge others while they navigate through this process.  And second, I have a one and a three year old who may feel sad at times, but they are still very much one and three.  Which means that they're busy!  They crave normalcy and it's my job to try my damnedest to provide that for them.  There have been moments where I just want to sit in bed and cry, but I'm a mama first.  We're still getting out, I'm still forcing them to stand there while I their photos (JOKING-I would never force them!!), and I am still making sure that our days have some joy and that I really stop and soak in that joy.  We're all doing our best, all of us who have been affected by this tragedy.

I think that about covers it, I hope I answered your questions!  Basically, buckle up folks because it's going to be an emotional and hormonal rollercoaster for the next little bit.  My mother in law's service is this Saturday and I do look forward to celebrating her life with our loved ones.  She accomplished a lot and touched so many lives in her short 57 years.  Thank you for sticking with me and showing me so much love and support, I appreciate it more than I will ever be able to communicate.



Eric and his mama.


  1. I am so sorry for your loss and I am also sorry that you have to defend how you are navigating your grief. I am sure it gives a sense of normalcy to post pictures of the girls. I am sure that the service you have planned is going to be wonderful and will honor your mother-in-law who it is clear you loved dearly. You have been in my prayers. Thank you for being so candid, I know so many can relate and for also keeping the things to yourself you don't feel comfortable sharing.

  2. I'm so sorry for your loss. How absolutely heartbreaking :(

  3. Sending you love and prayers and praying for your families - may sweet Carrie always watch over you all x

  4. Sending prayers your way. I can't believe that people have the gall to ask why you are still taking photos of your children! Glad you are doing your best to give them a sense of normalcy during such a difficult time in your life.


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