Kevin-isims

While out shopping at TJ Maxx…

Kevin: Look at this…this pillow is ruined. It is stained or discolored or something.

Me: No…that is an ombre effect. 

Kevin: I am supposed to pay $20 on a pillow that looks like I was in charge of doing the laundry…no thanks. 

Me: It is trendy.

Kevin: That isn’t what you said when I ruined the towels and all those clothes the last time I did laundry – they all looked just like this!

Me: Well aren’t you crafty. 

Kevin: Apparently! 

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I’ll be seeing you.

*Please understand this is a letter to my brother, whom I had just lost. I am in no way at all condoning what he did and forever my heart will ache for what happened. It isn’t right or fair what happened. Please do not assume I am speaking of a specific person because the assumptions have been wrong. He was more than the last mistake he made. He was human and broken – that is not an excuse at all. This letter was written with a very broken heart, filled with sorrow of a horrible choice a mistake that took so much away from so many.  I am not in denial of what happened, I am speaking of the person I grew up with for 24 years…he was not born the person he was his last moments here on Earth. I am mourning the loss of a person and his mistake.  I understand what happened and I would give anything to have been able to stop what happened. As far as what I knew…I only knew that my brother faced a very hard life, one that for many, many years he tried to overcome and tried to get better. We all tried to help him. If I could have known or would have even thought for a second this could have been something that would have happened I would have moved mountains to stop it.  I only knew that Zack was loved, that he loved, that he was not only his last day here on Earth…that was the story I spoke of…I wish I had known more…every day I ache for those lost and all those left to mourn this tragedy.  Every day I ask why. Every day I wish I could have done something. All of us would have stopped this if we could have, all of us are mourning and I just wanted to clarify because this post was misunderstood by some…we are all dealing with something none of us should have to deal with or ever fathomed dealing with. This was written before I could even try to begin to search for answers…I was just lost in grief not even a week after, it was just the pain for what became of my brothers life. There was good before this and that is what I am mourning and I will forever mourn the events surrounding the end. Please understand this isn’t an attempt to clear his name, to sit in denial, to condone his actions — this is just me his sister so sad that she couldn’t change what horrible mistake destroyed so much and mourning the little brother she grew up with and the life I wish he could of had. 

This is private…but I am sharing it because my brother deserves love and he deserves to be mourned. Headlines and news stories never tell the entire story and never seem to remember it is people, a son, a brother and a friend they are reporting about.

Dear Zack,

This isn’t how it is supposed to be, this isn’t how this is supposed to go.

I am your big sister…I am the one that was supposed to go first. But you never did follow the rules did you?

I don’t know how to say goodbye to you…I know you didn’t either and that is why you didn’t. So I hope you understand if I don’t say goodbye…at least not yet…I am just living in the temporary..the break until I see you again..

Beyond how sad I am, how deeply this hurts, how every cell in my body misses you, I am thankful…so thankful.

Thankful I got 24 years with you.

You were and are a good person.

You cared so deeply, loved so deeply and lived so fully.

You my brother were the epitome of carpe diem.

You were my first friend….my first best friend.

I remember pretending to be asleep when mom would tuck us in and after she would leave you would sneak into my bed and we would “read” books, even though I didn’t know how to read yet and we would talk about all things important to us….like how we saved those rolly pollies from being crushed on the sidewalk or who we wanted to be when we grew up..

I remember how you drove me crazy listening to “mmmbop” from Hanson on repeat and I drove you crazy by listening to the Spice Girls on repeat. I remember how your Ninja Turtles had tea with my barbies in their dream house and then they would all go help your Ghostbusters capture ghosts. I remember when you went crazy on the log flume ride at Kings Island because you realized at the top of the hill you actually didn’t want to be on the ride and you gave us all a heart attack trying to crawl off the ride.

With those memories I also remember you being so brave because the memories were not all good…you were hurt by the very person you as a little boy looked up to more than anything..your own dad. That title “dad” is one he should not carry. And thankfully Brian stepped up to fill that role and you were then blessed to have a dad that lived up to that name and honored that role in your life.

Those bad memories are the ones that keep me awake at night…you were so little…so amazing…so innocent…it was him and not you…I wish you could have seen that…I know you ached and pleaded your entire life for his approval….which he did not deserve. The things he called you, the way he treated you he should have been looking into a mirror…it wasn’t you…it was never you.

You were an amazing child. You were full of life. You had a spark. You always made people laugh…you always were there for me…you were my tag along. I wish I could have protected you more.

No child should ever have to go through what you did. You were so strong to come through that the way you did.

You were such a talent. There was nothing you set your mind to that you didn’t master.

I remember when you took up guitar, it wasn’t soon before long that your guitar teacher would tell you he could teach you nothing more because you were so talented.

When you started to tattoo I was terrified…I can’t scribble so the thought that my artwork would be on someone my my hand was a nightmare to me…but then I saw your work…I was taken back. Your work was beautiful…with each person you tattooed you formed a relationship with…even if it was just for that session.

You helped them choose something meaningful to them…

So much of me is sad all of your tattoos will be gone..you were a work of art…but Hailey posted a link about drawings in the sand…and that is what I believe they were…just because they didn’t last forever doesn’t take away any of their beauty.

Your body was a masterpiece…I remember you getting a tattoo for me…a teal ribbon with hope, faith and love scrolled across for my battle with cancer.

It meant so much to me…but what meant more to me was how you were there for me in that scary time.

I remember after my surgery and not being able to shower having the stitches across my throat…I could barely move my head. You helped my wash my hair, you said you wanted me to feel as normal as I could. You held a bucket while I laid on the couch and carefully washed my hair, asking me if I was ok every two seconds.

You took such good care of me.

I remember you driving a million miles an hour to the hospital when I had the twins. You were shaking and rushed to hug me. You ran into the OR because you knew I was somewhere and you had to find me. I was so happy to see you…I was so scared and even though I was falling apart you still made me laugh and feel better and assured me that they would be ok.

You were such a wonderful uncle…I think that is the part that hurts worst for me….my babies will never get to know their crazy uncle Zack…

I can’t even allow that to sink in…

While I vow to keep you alive I know it just wont be the same…I can’t get Noah to talk but at 18 months you had him snapping and beat boxing…you had a way with him.

Mom gave me your baby blanket…I didn’t even know you kept it…it smells like you.

It is tattered and worn, but God it smells like you.

When they handed it to me I buried my face deep into it…I remembered hugging you the last time you were here…it was after your heart was broken  the first time…you told me how much you wanted the life Kevin and I had…but I told you how proud I was of you…how you had made yourself into someone…something. That I was just a mom, with a messy house, Kevin and I never could figure out what to make for dinner and the kids were always crying and the dogs drove us crazy. That you went out and became who you wanted to be, that you didn’t quit when it got hard, that you rose up out of the ashes like a pheonix, you had all the odds against you but you over came them. I told you how much I loved you and how proud I was of you and hugged you…you were so much taller than me that my head was always buried in your chest…that is what your blanket smells like.

Zack you were a good person. You were such a gift in my life. No matter what anyone says I know the real story….I know…it doesn’t matter what anyone says…I know.

I am sorry for what you were put through – it was wrong – very wrong. You deserved so much better.

Your life and you are not tainted to me.

I know God knows your heart, God saw what they did to you, God saw how you were treated and how hard you tried.

I am trying to find some peace that you are at peace now…but I am selfish and want you back.

I would give anything.

I want you to know I will live for you.

I will carry you with me…you are in my heart. I will grow old for you…I will love for you…I will laugh for you. I will take care of Brian, Mom and Spencer…I will take care of Kevin, he really misses you….I will be crazy and wild for the boys like you would have. We will all take care of each other.

You will continue to live through me.

And I will live more like you…

I will seize the day.

I just wish I could have reached you a little deeper…I wish I could have hugged you one more time…I wish I could have taken our fathers words and burned them from your memory…I wish I could have protected you from the abuse of this year… I wish I could have said I love you more…I wish you were still here.

I know you know how much you were loved..

My baby brother…I was blessed to be your sister…

I am so, so sorry.

zack wolf love

unclezack

unclecoloringbook

holdingnoah

zackwedding

 

The first step.

One normal day about two months ago I made the step.

 

It was sunny, bright beautiful day. I didn’t care.

 

I realized it was better than the snow and seemingly never ending winter we had been plagued with but I really didn’t care.

 

This was really nothing new, at some point amidst the trauma of the NICU I stopped feeling happy. It is like my body literally could not process happiness.

 

It feels like my happiness receptor is broken 95% of the time. Noah and the twins can still do something to make me smile and feel that spark and a good hug from the husband always cuts through the darkness but other than that I feel pretty numb.

 

That bright sunny boring day I was folding laundry and I just started to cry.

 

This deep painful ache, this unshakable sadness, this overwhelming constant anxiety got to its breaking point.

 

I had a number lost in my email inbox for a referral to a doctor and counselor, I quickly looked it up and nervously dialed the number. Then hung up.

 

How did I get here?

 

I paused, I have long suspected I needed someone to talk to. I have always had anxiety, my biological dad was anything but a good parent, my journey with cancer left me deeply shaken but this year really did me in.

 

I just wanted to will myself to get better. I wanted to be happy on my own. I wanted to shake it off.

 

But that never happened, these crying days were happening more and more frequently and with every passing day it seemed like all my symptoms were only getting worse.

 

I do not ask for help.

 

Really, you can ask anyone. Ask my mom or mother in law, really. They offer every day and any day to help and I don’t take them up on it.

 

So for me to ask someone, a stranger, for help with stuff that I don’t even like to admit that I am going through was near impossible.

 

I picked up the phone and dialed the number again.

 

A sweet lady answered and we went through my past year.

 

All three boys were napping and I was sitting on the bathroom floor sobbing into the phone to this poor stranger.

She comforted me and made my appointment.

 

It was a month away but it made me feel skeptically hopeful.

 

The day of the appointment came and Kevin drove me. If he wouldn’t have, I would not have walked into that building.

 

My first appointment was 2 hours long. She asked to see me the next day for another hour long appointment since the first appointment was basically a lot of paper work.

 

After that appointment I felt actually hopeful.

 

After an hour of talking she leaned over and answered my unspoken fear, “you are not broken, you are hurting, you are grieving, you are wounded, but you are not broken.”

 

For someone to say I wasn’t broken, meant I was fixable.

 

This hurt didn’t have to be forever. I didn’t have to struggle with every single aspect of my life.

 

That maybe one day I could be me again.

 

Many of you might wonder why I am writing this, it is because of the stigma with all of this. There is such a stigma to seeking help. Especially for mothers.

 

One of the most ass backward things of the past year is that I had a lactation consultant all over me for 6 months. Seriously. One from the hospital they were born at, one from the NICU and one from our insurance.

 

Some days I got 5 phone calls in ONE day about my breast milk.

 

How much are you getting in one pumping? How often are you pumping? How long on each side? Have you tried fenugreek? Eating oatmeal? Massaging? Basil or fennel oil? Mother’s milk tea? Have you talked to your OB about medication? How much milk will you be bringing in today? How are you feeling about breastfeeding? To you think you could try looking at a picture of them when you pump? How about you pump every 10 minutes for 15 minutes for an hour every day? Can you be here for every feed to breast feed tomorrow? Etc…etc…etc…

 

It surprised me that they were so focused on me and my milk that everyone seemed to forget that yes, breast is best but a healthy mom is more important…one of the biggest killers of a healthy milk supply is stress.

 

I was really shocked that admits this horrifically traumatizing experience the only people that ever seemed to get what we were going through besides our family were the nurses and we felt embarrassed leaning on them. I can’t tell you how many times they saw me cry. It was embarrassing. It was usually when everything was all ok, in the eye of one of the many hurricanes. It was only when things slowed down that my mind would actually allow itself to break down.

 

No one seemed to get there wasn’t time to get help for me, I was pumping 10 hours a day, going to the NICU every day and still trying to be a fully present mother for my toddler who was traumatized from all of this and deal with life in general. When could I even wrap my brain around the thought of getting help?

 

I just wish there was some program like the breast is best movement for parents with children in the NICU that isn’t a support group. We could have gone to a support group with other parents that had been in the NICU but we never could make the time because it meant taking time away from Aiden, Evan or Noah.

 

I just wish there was a program, a reach out that helped guide you through.

 

Walking through the NICU doors every day was like taking a step off of a cliff.

 

Calling the NICU was so terrifying I couldn’t do it. Kevin had to call and he would call me with the updates. I was so afraid to hear bad news.

 

Every moment of those 4+ months was a step into the unknown, we had no idea how to cope, how to survive it or if we even would mentally survive it.

 

There isn’t any amount of help or advice that makes the NICU any easier but something would have been nice. The NICU is a delicate line of Heaven and Hell. The biggest miracles occur everyday there, we have our very own. But at the same time the biggest tragedies occur along side those miracles.

 

Having your child hanging in the balance of the NICU and not knowing the path they will take is unbearable.

 

It is as if our journey in the NICU was that of a journey on a tight rope while carrying your children on our shoulders and every diagnosis or problem a weight. The tense, fearful, wobbly, heavy walk across has changed who I am.

 

And now that things have calmed down from what they were, they are no where near calm I have taken the step to get help.

 

Mainly so I can help my boys, all four of them.

 

I love them with all of my heart and they deserve better than this.

 

I hope that these steps are the ones that take me back to me…because I miss being me. 

 

Image

Waiting in the waiting room…
hoping these first steps put me on the right path.

Our past 4 conversations tonight.

Me: Don’t.

Kevin: Don’t what?

Me: Don’t.

Kevin: Don’t what?

Me: Enough.

Kevin: Ok.

 ——-

Me: Lay down.

Kevin: Aren’t you supposed to buy me a drink first?

Me: No, not that. I need to poke at your ribs to see if I can make them hurt like mine.

Kevin: Oh…well that sounds ever better.

 ——-

Me: I heard a weird noise last night when you were in the room, what was that?

Kevin: It was the door on the dresser, the damper broke on it, so it slammed.

Me: Oh, yeah sure…blame it on the Ikea furniture, you know that stuff is quality material that never breaks.

Kevin: No, it was me closing the door to my secret hatch under the house.

Me: Like in LOST?

Kevin: Yeah, except with Bengals stuff and I watch Lord of the Rings in there and play Halo.

Me: The one in LOST where you have to type in the number over and over and there is a monster outside sounds better.

——- 

Me: Last night I fell asleep while Jimmy Fallon was on and I thought Eve was Michelle Obama when I woke up because I was confused but thought it was super awesome.

Kevin: I did too and I thought that lady looks like Michelle Obama and Eve. Except I didn’t really realize it was Eve. 

Me: So we were both right Eve is obviously working the FLOTUS look, only my situation would have been much cooler.  

A little late to the game…

So as we all know I am lame.

So it should come as no surprise I am late to the game with twitter and Instagram. I just got my first smart phone and have taken the leap into the bigger social media pond.

So if you so desire come follow me and get the smaller, quicker, easier, lazier, more frequent updates on us!

Follow me on Twitter: here 

Follow me on Instagram: here

 

 

 

 

Kevin-isims

While at Home Depot, with all three boys, all of whom were crying screaming.

(Note you will only understand this if you too are forced to watch the Disney channel far too much)

Kevin: This would be better if I had a rainbow Puffle. 

Me: It is sad that we even know what this is.

Kevin: Yes, yes it is.

Me: Did you just subtly reference Phineas and Ferb? 

Kevin: Why yes, yes I did.

Me: (sigh)

Digging out of the ruins.

I finally feel like I am in a place where I can allow myself to move forward.

Since the twins were born I have felt frozen in time. To me I still feel like I should be planning Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas.

This year blew straight past me, actually it ran over me like a train.

This time last year I was eating healthy, loosing weight, had a successful Etsy business and my future looked predictably happy. My kind of happy, a control freaks dream.

But life isn’t like that.

So here I am standing on the other side of the Hell my family was just drug through ready to brush off and walk forward.

It is a hard thing moving forward after a trauma, because you are all too aware you could be walking toward another trauma and you have to pick up all the shattered pieces of your life from the last trauma.

So I stayed paralyzed in my own personal Hell.

My mind never left my bedrest, the end to my pregnancy or the NICU. It is like all that pregnancy nesting took made a little nest in the middle of a hurricane.

I couldn’t leave the nest because leaving the nest meant accepting where my life had placed me.

And quiet frankly I didn’t want to.

I didn’t want to accept the lives my twins were handed because as their mom witnessing their first months on Earth filled with pain, tubes, tests, surgeries, near death experiences and diagnosis after diagnosis their future seemed so much more fragile.

I faced a new role, I was a mom of three, could I be enough?

I had to accept what and who I had become. I gained the baby weight with the twins and then some (and by some I mean A LOT) because eating was just about the only thing I did to get through this year.

I had to accept that I was “broken”. That I had post traumatic stress disorder, that I was depressed and needed help controlling my anxiety.

I had to make plans to fix both these things.

I didn’t want to do any of this.

But I am a mom, a mom to three beautiful boys, a wife to an amazing man and I NEEDED to do these things for them.

I NEEDED to do this for me.

Over the past month I have slowly started to see more clearly what I need and what my family needs.

And I wanted to do it.

I feel like the hurricane passed months ago but the clouds, flood waters and ruin all remained.
So now it is time to rebuild and clean up.

Time to move forward.

 

Kevin-isims.

Me: Kevin make sure you get Noah before he gets to that baby gate he scaled it this morning.

Kevin: The baby gates have passed their functionality phase and have entered their symbolic phase. 

 

I am a wuss and I know it.

So I admit this post will confirm my lameness but I’ll post it any way.

What the what is up with tv nowadays.

(Evidence #1 in lameness) Kevin and I recorded Late Night with Jimmy Fallon because lets be real….we don’t watch anything that late because we try to not be up that late.

With three boys under the age of two we must sleep when we can sleep, by sleep I mean lay there motionless, hoping that somehow not moving and laying still waiting for the next cry will somehow recharge us as well as real sleep.

If we are awake we are knee deep in baby/toddler drama. With diaper changing, bouncing, rocking, bottle making, spit up cleaning and outfit changing.

But we love us some Jimmy Falon. So the other day at lunch time we popped on Jimmy.

We were enjoying our weekly dose of Thank You notes when the commercials came on. Noah was sleeping on the couch on the remote and we didn’t dare disturb him.

Right before Jimmy was to come back on a nice little commercial for the upcoming series Hannibal came on.

Where someone was eating what appeared to be pork loin and they asked what loin it was and then it flashed to someone CHOPPING UP A HUMAN APPANDAGE.

I do not watch horror films. I can’t even watch Dexter or The Walking Dead.  So this pretty much scared me, like I am not eating lunch anymore excuse me while I go dry heave for the next hour.

When did cannibalism become late night tv programming?!

What’s next Freddy Kuger co-hosting with Katie Couric or Anderson Cooper?!

Can tv just go back to Full House and Home Improvement? Or at least not show humans being chopped up?

Maybe I am just too used to PBS and Disney…or maybe just maybe it is a little over the line to have a graphic series about cannibalism on NBC.

Hannibal…no thank you. I would rather watch Yo Gabba Gabba 24/7 which if you have ever caught an episode of it you know is usually worse than the though of having your arm chopped off.

Tell me this isn’t the worst thing you have ever seen…