Thoughts and happenings catch up

Mark was recently asked whether we’d be interested in going to Disney World (or Disneyland?). Let’s think about this… A vacation to an overly family/kid-centric locale often referred to as the “happiest place on earth?” Hmmmmm… The answer’s, “No.”

There’s so much I want to write, but first, I figured it was time for one of these posts, because things have felt a bit scattered lately due to work demands and overall life busyness. It’s all disjointed, like, “Check out this alcohol ad being shot at our house and, oh yeah, we’re expecting our rainbow too.” So I apologize. Luckily work is slowing down (maybe), and I can now write about my current life, so I’m thinking these two factors might amount to me being able to post more frequently again. We’ll see.

Before jumping into it, I first want to give a huge thanks to everyone who read my last post. Also, thank you for your kind comments and emails and texts. Your support means the absolute world to us.

So onto other thoughts and happenings…

AB and I dream of escaping the throes of corporate America. We see one avenue as going on ABC’s Shark Tank and scoring a big investment (from Mark Cuban?) in one of our inventions. The problem? I don’t currently have any inventions. And AB’s invention is a bit sketchy. Apparently AB’s been selling horseshit organic manure on the weekends, and she has this brilliant idea to convert it to liquid form, bottle it up, and sell it as fertilizer. But she needs assistance from a farming chemist. Where do we start?

Speaking of AB, the other day at lunch she explained, “Christine, people here really do care about your feelings. They recently left you off an email announcing the arrival of Adam’s baby.” And I was like, “With that, AB, you just announced it to me. So thanks a lot.” I realize some would be offended by one making judgments on what news another can/can’t handle. But I’m not – the news relates to an acquaintance, not a family member or bestie, so I’d actually prefer not to hear it. Ever.

After my last post, I received a few sweet emails. A line from one in particular made me smile – “Know that I love all four of you, even Mark.” Hehe.

I was doing a passable job managing stress in these early pregnancy stages. I don’t have many symptoms (except for carb cravings and weight gain), so one effective coping mechanism has been to simply forget I’m pregnant. But all that flew out the window, when, at a recent appointment, our doctor took an eternity like a minute to find baby’s heartbeat with the Doppler. She eventually found it, but it still wasn’t enough for me to believe he was alive, so I rushed back the next day to have them confirm with ultrasound. I think this illustrates just how difficult this pregnancy after loss (PAL) journey will be…

To avoid a similar situation (having to run into the office for an ultrasound when a day-old memory of a successful Doppler reading just isn’t working for me) in the future, we purchased a home Doppler, just so we can confirm baby’s still alive periodically. (Though, later on, I’m guessing, the Doppler won’t be enough.) I’m scared to use it myself, so I let Mark search for baby’s heartbeat, and he located it. But I’m unsure as to whether I can trust Mark – he’s yet to find his own heartbeat with it!

I recently told my artist friend that I envy her mad skills, and she explained to me that anyone can do art. Like David Duchovny, who apparently lets his wife apply paint to his ass before he sits on a canvas. (She texted me this article.) And it made me smile. I think this friend has come to know me well through my random happenings posts. 🙂

Howie’s hoarse these days. I’m hoping he simply stressed his vocal cords while simultaneously attempting to jump through the front window and murder the mailman every day for the last 6.5 years of his life. (The postal service once left a “mean dog flyer” for us to display to alert workers a fierce beast occupies the premise, so Howie must sound pretty vicious.) But I’m also worried it could be a deadly tumor, because my mind constantly jumps to horrible places these days. We’ll get him to the vet.

The other day I had lunch with the recruiter I mentioned before (the one who offered like eight platitudes in one phone conversation), because, I’ll accept a free meal. And, as expected, he offered more , one being, “God never gives you more than you can handle,” to which I replied, “If that were the case, there’d be no such thing as suicide.” Crickets… Do you think he’ll invite me out again?

Though a few days following our lunch, I browsed the card aisle, looking for something appropriate for my friend’s daughter’s second birthday (and anniversary of death). What kind of card does one choose for this occasion? A birthday card? A sympathy card? Turns out neither feels appropriate. Though as I browsed sympathy cards I noticed one offering, “God never gives you more than you can handle.” It’s no wonder people say such stupid shit.

I played two games of chess against the financial service provider intern (the world class pro). And, as expected, I lost both times. But I think he was impressed with my skills. Though he could have been lying his face off. But we’re setting up a time to play again, so maybe he views me as a worthy opponent?

We recently received an email regarding a family reunion, and, luckily, we won’t be able to go (if all goes well). I’m currently wondering if I’ll want to attend a family reunion ever again. I mean, they’re so… Family oriented. With people all like, “It’s so good to see ALL the family here – let’s count our members!” These comments will always slay me. But I guess a lot of things will.

The other day I confided in someone close that I’ve been especially down lately (season changes are difficult for me), and he was like, “What do you have to be down about?” And I was like, “Ummmmm… I miss Matthew. He’s still gone.”

I’d like to inform my employer of my pregnancy, preferably, never. (I have reason to believe some will be less than supportive, unfortunately.) But it’s becoming increasingly difficult to hide it, and, as such, I’ve been wearing some questionable attire – I recently wore this blue and white striped “shirt-dress” from Gap, which I didn’t realize looked like a nightgown until I returned home that evening. Whoops. If anyone has ideas on how I can successfully hide my huge bulge, I’m listening.

A few Fridays ago I joined a friend for February book club. We discussed Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson, which details problems with the American prison system, which is flawed today, but 10-20 years ago, it was atrocious – sad and sickening, really. Our conversation was, predictably, heavy, however, there were lighter moments too… I guess talk of the death penalty, plus apples and cream cheese dip, plus the right company was enough for me to almost feel like myself again for a couple of hours.

We’re scheduling fun things to distract ourselves from our grief as well as from the anxiety of PAL, so Mark recently purchased tickets to the Memphis Grizzlies vs. Golden State Warriors game in Memphis (fourth to last game of season?). The Warriors are on pace to break the record for most wins in NBA history, so this game could be important, though, I hope nothing happens to render our tickets worthless (like the Warriors losing their next five games). But I’m sure it’ll be fun regardless.

I find it comparatively more difficult to tell some about Matthew’s death. Like I told the strangers shooting the print ad at my house without crying, but I can’t imagine telling my hairstylist. This week, I had my yearly appointment with an I-can’t-imagine-telling-you type person, my neurologist. (I have a benign malformation in my brain called a cavernoma, which caused one seizure at age 25.) I’m so grateful Mark accompanied me, because, upon entering the exam room, I melted into a sobbing mess, managing only to choke out, “Last year, when I saw you, I was pregnant, and it’s traumatic to be back here, because he DIED!” Luckily Mark took it from there. Some things just don’t get easier.

I read many baby loss blogs, which has been critical to my healing and has allowed me to connect with some amazing folks from around the world. I recently stumbled upon one I like called One Pink Balloon, written by Rebecca, who lost her daughter Kenley three years ago. I found this post effectively and tragically and creatively analogizes some of the feelings from the earliest days.

Speaking of trying to put my feelings into words… I’ve been contemplating a post about where I am now. Like where do I sit with all my feelings currently? I’m asked frequently, so I’d like to summarize it. But everything’s so complicated that I’ve attempted to write such a post a few times now, and I have yet to finish it… So I figured announcing my intention here might give me the extra push I need to do it.

So our rainbow baby has a tentative name, which we’re not yet ready to reveal, but it’s awkward to keep referring to him as “the baby” or “the rainbow” in my blog… So what do I call him? I think for these purposes I’m going to call him “Jay” because we’ve picked a “J” name. And I also find it fitting because, as I’ve explained before, the blue jays I noticed so often on my fall walks with my dear friend seem to be a sign from Matthew. Though said friend agrees with Mark’s speculation that blue jays aren’t the most docile of creatures, noting they frequently fight in her yard… I guess leave it to me to pick an aggressive bird as my Matthew-sign, right?

But my friend’s two adorable boys recently used their handprints to create this amazing blue jay art for us. So the blue jay ship has officially sailed, my friends. 🙂

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11 thoughts on “Thoughts and happenings catch up

  1. I read the recruiter paragraph to Allen (also accounting) and we laughed out loud! Good for you.

    Have you seen “Making a Muderer” on Netflix? I found it very interesting after reading “Just Mercy”.

    Love the artwork.
    Jay is perfect…a strong fighter. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehe – I’m glad you liked my story about the recruiter. He’s quite the trip, let me tell you. 🙂

      I’ve watched the first episode of Making a Murderer and didn’t really get into it. Perhaps I need to give it more of a chance? I’m generally interested in stuff like that, so I’m surprised I didn’t latch onto it right away.

      And, thanks, I’m also thinking that although blue jays may not be the sweetest, they have some characteristics that fit my boys perfectly. ❤


      1. The first episode was Very slow..try it again and stick with it. By the fourth episode you will be yelling at the screen and googling articles on it (if you are anything like me).

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I LOVE that you said, “Then there’d be no such thing as suicide.” I want to be just like you.

    I requested Just Mercy from the library JUST this morning. I think I need a book club!

    I disguised my bump for a very long time by wearing dark colored tunics with long flowy cardigans over them and a fluffy/flowy scarf on top of everything. The trick is to hide the boob/belly divide as long as possible, so people just think you’re getting chubby all over.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehe – I’m surprised I actually said it out loud. I must’ve been on my game that day.

      You’ll have to fill me in on your thoughts on Just Mercy. I’m actually still need to finish the book – because it was my first book club, and I’ve been so busy at work, I didn’t have enough time. It’s good/interesting thus far though.

      Thank you thank you thank you for your tip. I’ve been wearing long black shirts and scarves since yesterday. Why didn’t I think of this?! Because I have little fashion sense, that’s why.


  3. Wow a lot is going on for you. Good luck. I wish to join a face-to-face book club but in the meantime I’ll keep moderating my Goodreads/ Leafmarks book clubs (one group of the same at two sites, it’s starting to be a hassle. Had to do it because is closing down).

    As for your dog, it might not be a tumor. It could be that the barking has been too much for their vocal cords or throat. My dog was barking a lot at one point because we had a chair that allowed her to look out the window. She strained a neck muscle a few times last year. The couch is gone because we got new furniture and she hasn’t been able to keep a full visual of what’s going on outfront, so her neck is fine.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for continuing to share your heart. This post offered an opportunity for reflection and smiles. Understand your reaction to Disney at this time. Maybe someday…The blue jay art is beautiful. Quite a gift. Matthew is forever present in my mind and soul. Your writings give others hope and reasons to take each day, one at a time. Sending you positive thoughts and prayers, believing in Jay.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary.”- Fred Rogers

    Hello Christine. Thank you so much for sharing your world with everyone. You are brave. It would take me forever to explain the reasons I found myself on your blog @ 5-6 a.m, reading about your amazing family and agonizing with/for you as I read your gut wrenching, honest account of learning how to live as peacefully and graciously as possible when part of your soul is missing. Living life with a “Mathew shaped hole in your soul” must get tricky, but you are managing and thriving; a testament to you, and to him. But, that isn’t entirely what I’m writing to mention.

    After waking up early yesterday (Sunday), I continued reading a blog I had been reading the night before, and that led me to Mathew and your family’s incredible journey. I saved some of your wisdom in my notes. My (step-)daughter lost her 9 year old (step-)daughter in 2011 and she’s brutally stuck in that moment. I think your words may help her broken heart. Thank you for that. Although, that is also not why I write this feedback to you a day later…

    I write to you today, to tell you what happened after I read one of your blog entries. This one I’m commenting on. It has your discussion of how baby Jay came to be called “baby Jay” and you included a painting done with children’s hands that look like Blue Jay’s. Around 6 a.m, I grabbed a screen shot, thinking it may be a great project one day for the “grands”. Around 8:30 my husband and I were visiting over his coffee while I made breakfast, and I’m telling him about your wonderful insights and raw dedication. I told him I hoped to find a way to share your healing thoughts about loss and perseverance with our daughter and her dear family. As I’m telling him about your words, never mentioning anything about your blog other than that “Mathew’s mom has shared him with the world and here is how it helped our family” kinda convo…
    And then I lose my husband’s attention.

    He’s looking past me and his eyes show confusion, delight and then a bit of awe. He excitedly says, “Look, look at the blue!” I interrupt, “Blue???”, I look where is eyes are focused. Just over my shoulder he can see our swimming pool. It is still covered from the winter. It has rain water, leaves and bugs for birds to play and feast. And, yesterday morning of all mornings, and only the 2nd time I’ve ever seen a Blue Jay that I can recall. FOUR BLUE JAYS were cavorting and playing gleefully with each other on the pool cover turned bird bath!!! I had goosebumps on goosebumps. And I cried. And I told my husband, “look at my phone!!! Look at the screen shot” (it was time stamped 6:04 a.m. June 3 btw). I then told him Mathew’s story as we watched the Blue Jays play…

    I have yet to catch up to current day on your blog. I did frantically scan it trying to find the blog entry the screenshot went to though, I’m so excited to read about your journey to raising children Earth-side.

    Yesterday Mathew and your family came to my mind many times and those Blue Jays brought a smile to my face and a “glow in my soul”, a feeling I associate with those souls that have already “taken flight” for lack of a better term…
    I took pictures of the birds playing, a couple of them at least…

    I had to let you know, as I believe your Mathew is insisting on making sure you know that he’s touching hearts and changing lives. He is proud of you times (at least!) four and I believe he is entirely impressed with the way you handle yourself and the way you parent all of them. Thank you for sharing the journey. Have a blessed day. ~B~


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