feeling alive

Shortly after Reece passed away, I had this deep desire to go rock climbing.  I’m talking about the kind of rock climbing where you need ropes and spiked shoes and you basically hang off the side of a cliff.  This goes against just about everything that feels natural and normal to me.  I’m pretty risk averse and camping for me includes our backyard and the ability to go lay down in my own bed after everyone else has nodded off…I don’t like waking up in dew.  This rock climbing idea was borne out of a need to have a larger-than-life sensory experience; to feel alive when many things inside of me did not.  I also did not feel nearly as concerned for my safety.  I wasn’t reckless, I just wasn’t as worried about the “what ifs” in my daily functioning.  As life began to pull itself back together, my desire to hang off of rocks still remained, but it didn’t seem as important.  There were other ways I found to feel alive again.

Strangely, I have always told Terry that if he goes to Heaven before me, I know I will feel great peace about the two of them being together.  I have never thought Reece needed one of us to be there.  But there is something about knowing that one of his earthly parents is there with him again that gives me some sort of resolution about the transplant here.  I don’t know how else to say it.  I can honestly say that I was right, though–I do feel strangely at peace.  It is so right and so odd all at once.

I have spent some time reading through my posts on Like Olive Shoots and have found myself sick and tired of it.  Not of Reece or Terry, but of the situation.  I don’t want to read about it, wallow in it, or live in that any more.  After Reece passed away I felt this need to preserve him.  As time went on, I began to understand that Reece was separate from all sorts of emotions I had about his transplant and passing.  In the process of understanding this, I have been able to appreciate my relationship with him.  I certainly don’t mean to minimize his struggle with BMT or how incredibly strong he was during that time.  But I recognize that my relationship continues with him and I celebrate the memories I have and the future I look forward to with him again one day.  I already feel this way about Terry.  I’m already so sick and tired of the whole situation.  I don’t feel any need to prove anything to myself about him or our relationship.  But I’m tired of the garbage of this world and how it impacted our lives.  I’m just done with that.  I’ll figure out what to do in the wake that was left behind from his passing and then I’ll look forward to seeing him again one day.  But in the middle–the rest of my life here–I need to move forward.  It’s not unhealthy or too soon.  It is what it is.  I’ve been through a lot and I’ve seen a lot.  I need normal, dammit.  I’m going to find it again.  It won’t be what normal used to be and that is fine with me.  I’m not looking to go back to anything that was there; that’s not even a desire buried in my heart.

I did have the notion a couple of weeks ago that I would like to go skydiving.  Ok, let’s be honest–it’s probably not going to happen.  I’ll never say never about it.  However, I’ve realized that I again have a deep need to feel alive again.  This time I recognize I need to reclaim my life.  It will happen, but it won’t be as quickly as I would like.  I’ve had so many discussions with people who have said, “I just want to fix this for you.”  I can tell you truthfully, no one wants to fix this more than me.  There is no fixing the loss of Terry, but there is a way to repair the other things that are left behind.  I’ve been through enough life and grief to know myself in the midst of them.  Many people have told me to just slow down and take some time for myself.  Trust me, taking time for myself doesn’t include sitting around.  I am not a crazy person, despite living through very difficult circumstances.  (Or maybe I should say I am no crazier than I have ever been at any other point in my life.)  I’m not shuffling around in a bath robe or hiding out in my house.  Truly, I’m a pretty typical person, just trying to live life.




I have been contemplating writing about what has been going on in my life and my family for the better part of the last three weeks.  I’m sure many people who read this blog already know this, but for those of you who do not, my husband, Terry, passed away on April 15.  To avoid speculation, I want to be clear that it was sudden, no one had any real clue that he was struggling the way he was, and that he did take his own life.  Things seemed fairly normal on the surface.  We had a great weekend in the days preceding this.  Everything, for the most part, seemed fine.

I would like to be clear about where I am at today with my thoughts on Terry.  I have a lot of respect for my husband.  He is a wonderful father and was a loving husband.  I love him.  I know he was doing his best to protect us from many things that I am ultimately dealing with now.  I have no anger about what he did in regard to the pain he must have been in.  I feel only tenderness towards him in that way.  Our marriage was strong and committed, he was doing well at work, and he has always been a great dad.  People that know him are heartbroken.  He truly seems like the least likely person to do something like this.  Most importantly I’m grateful that Terry knows and loves the Lord.  He’s with Jesus and Reece and while part of me feels very left out of that reunion right now, I do take comfort in knowing that he is a healed man.

The last three weeks have been a whirlwind.  I am recognizing all of the things Terry was shouldering, including his own difficulties in coping with the loss of Reece.  Some of the things I was moderately aware of, but much of it I was not.  If you have never met me, this may come as a surprise, but I am actually a very private person.  I honestly can not believe that so many people know about my life.  And yet here I stand in this vulnerable place, somewhat willing to share at least a portion of my own struggle, with the hope that people may be able to be helped by my sharing and understand that through it all, the Lord has been and continues to be good.  I have struggled with whether or not I should share the nature of Terry’s passing.  I don’t want people to only think of him in that way.  For all the wonderful things he added to this world, he ought not be remembered for or defined by the final day he walked the earth.  After much contemplation, I decided that I don’t want to dance around it with people.  I don’t want to hide under some lie.  There are many things that I will keep private, but I can not avoid what he ultimately chose to do.  Because here I am, dealing with it every single moment of my life.

So many people have asked how they can help.  Certainly, we need prayers.  We’ve had a lot of people offer to help with the kids and with meals and around the house…all sorts of very generous things.  Outside of the hands-on items and because of the nature of Terry’s passing, one of the major burdens on me is financial.  There were financial burdens that I was not aware of in the first place and now, there are even more financial burdens without Terry here.  Soon there will be a “How to Help” page added to the blog that will be maintained by a close family friend.  Yes, I will be going back to work.  Yes, I will be figuring this out with the assistance of people I trust.  And yes, there are good things in store for the kids and for me.  Somehow, in some way, I know I was built to handle this.  However, it won’t be without help from the Lord, my family and friends, and countless people I only briefly know or have never even met.

Thank-you for all of your support; it is a gift to my family and me.  I am truly humbled through all of this.  It has been life-changing to be in the center of a storm and see the way God works and how He has surrounded us.  There will be more to come, but I wanted to put this out there so that people understand what happened.  Life feels raw, but somewhere deep inside of me, I still feel hope.