Today I went looking back at old blog posts to get a better idea of what my feelings were last year during Grandma Sharon Days. And low and behold...there was no post. I had a facebook album, but you know, that's not really the place to spill my guts.
but this is.
So this year I'm going to write it while it's fresh.
I love Grandma Sharon Days. It's the very best idea my sister ever had. :) It's such a great way for us to really celebrate who she was, and give our kids the feeling that they know her (although Lillian will be quick to tell you that she's really the only grandkid who knows her). :(
GSD is a time when we get to do fun stuff, eat out a lot, get special snacks, and visit Stone Park. This year, I didn't do quite as much as usual, since life is just a bit busier and if I don't majorly plan in advance, things just don't go as planned. But we made it work.
On Saturday we ate at Chipotle with Mel before heading to Stone Park. Somehow I always manage to sneak Chipotle into GSD, even though I'm not quite sure she ever even HAD Chipotle or if she liked it. But I count it as special time with my sister, which I know my mom definitely loved. :)
Our drive to Sioux City was so beautiful. The forecast was actually for rain and thunderstorms, so we were totally bummed, but decided to try it anyway. I have a million memories of getting rained on during the annual Stone Park trip, so it's nothing we hadn't dealt with before. But the day was actually so beautiful. We couldn't believe it. That is...until we turned onto Stone Park Blvd...literally. We saw the first drops at that point, and from then on, it sure was scattered thunderstorms. It was like a few minutes of perfect fall weather, followed by about ten minutes of showers and thunder, and then back to perfect fall weather, etc. We still managed to squeeze in a few traditions though...
*I basically only have pictures of Saturday. HUGE bummer. but nothing I can really do about it anymore. :(
a hike up the hill (thank goodness for Uncle JoJo!)
the family pictures at the top (although, since they totally let everything grow this year, we couldn't do the timed photo like we usually do, so there's no whole group photo this year).
the pink balloons to send up to Grandma Sharon
eatin' a dog...
Eventually it got to the point where I was freaked out being in the forest and seeing lightening, so we packed up in a hurry and headed over to Cold Stone. It was definitely not time to say goodbye yet, and we didn't even have time to make s'mores! So thankfully Sioux City has a Cold Stone, so we could continue the celebration. My mom LOVED cold stone, particularly on her trips to Mayo for chemo, etc. It was something I BARELY got to do with her, since I was teaching that year, so I feel like it's really important to make up for lost time now. :)
all the "area" grandkids with their new breast cancer puppies from papa and judy
When we got home, I put the kids to bed. Melinda didn't feel well, so she crashed on the couch. I busted my butt cleaning til Steve got home and midnight and all that has nothing to do with GSD, really.
Sunday was interesting. I was supposed to be working in the nursery that day for some friends who weren't able to do their shift bc of other church obligations. I'll admit that I was a bit disappointed since I knew that while my heart was wide open this weekend, I'd see things and hear things at church in a different way. Well, as it turns out, there were no babies at church this week, so I was able to attend the service. I was so thrilled. And sure enough, we sang Blessed Be Your Name. There are quite a few songs that I can't get through without thinking of my mom and crying. But out of those, there are only a couple that we actually sing in my church. And that's one of them.
Back in 2006, when my mom was dying, our family was often gathered in the living room, living out her last moments with her. We'd talk, cry, hug, rub her feet, play games, and sing songs. Blessed Be Your Name was one of the songs we sang a few times. Lights dimmed, candles burning, every spot in the room taken, Insoo on guitar leading, and tears NONSTOP down my face. The part of the song where we sing "you give and take away" was so real to me at that moment, waiting for my mom to be taken from us, and waiting for my baby to be born, and not knowing which one would happen first. you give and take away..blessed be your name.
so you can see why I sorta lost it in church. well, not really lost it actually. just quiet crying. that was my first time crying this year actually.
After church was Papa Murphey's veggie pizza. Mom's favorite. and mine too!
After lunch I went shopping with Lillian and Mel, since Lillian insisted on having a birthday present for Josiah on Monday. It was sweet (nevermind the fact that she wanted to get him High School Musical 3 or a princess book with a necklace in it). She ended up settling for (read: forced to get him) a 4 pack of dvds about trucks, planes, cars, trains, and everything else he absolutely loves. :)
Soon after that was Bible study. and guess what! One of the families brought red licorice as their snack to share! Another Grandma Sharon favorite!!!
Monday was Josiah's bday, and I'll save that day for another blogpost. I usually try to make that day mostly about Josiah, even though it's smack dab in the middle of GSD.
Yesterday was the last day of GSD. The day my mom would turn 55 years old. Sometimes I still can't believe she died so young. We had all the daycare kids here, so we didn't do a whole lot of anything special during the day. By the time we got to evening, I was starting to get really frustrated with myself for not having planned ahead more. It was very suddenly the end of GSD, and Monday we didn't do anything bc it was Josiah's day, and then Tues we hadn't done anything either. There were things that I could have done if I'd planned ahead, like make stir fry (our family dinner probably at least once every couple weeks, if not more...), or caramel corn (but I didn't have wax paper to let it dry on), but I just didn't.
So I called Steve, feeling myself getting all emotional about what to make for dinner. Now most of you probably know that I take every opportunity available to go out to eat, because I love eating out, and especially love that I don't have to prepare and clean up dinner! I don't do a whole lot of spending otherwise, but that's one thing I can often find myself justifying. :) But this was different. It wasn't that I just didn't want the work. It was that I felt like I wasn't doing a good job of celebrating my mom this year, and it was quickly becoming a bigger and bigger issue in my head.
So Steve offers for us to go out to eat, and we decide on Arby's for a couple reasons. First of all, I remember many times of stopping in LeMars to eat at Arby's. And once, we were all on the Atkins diet, but Arby's was having a really good deal Beef 'N' Cheddars. So we went and got a huge tray full of the sandwiches, and then took off the bottoms of each one (to honor mr. atkins) and ate them all as open faced upside down sandwiches. And another time we remembered was sitting in the sioux city mall parking lot eating Arby's subs, and just NOT understanding how they could possibly be so good. That was another Arby's deal that we overabused at the time. :) AND...since my mom LOVED coffee, and I don't, I thought that jamocha shakes were the perfect way to give me and my kids a taste of "coffee" to be like Grandma Sharon. It might sound dumb to you, but that arby's sub and shake were just what I needed to celebrate my mom's birthday.
When we got home, it was well past their bedtime, but I just had to read the Grandma Sharon Story to each kid, and also Love You Forever. I couldn't find the Velveteen Rabbit (another favorite) but we didn't have tons of time anyway. So first I read the Grandma Sharon Story to Brielle. We talked all about Grandma Sharon, and pointed to the Lillian character and pretended it was Brielle. She had lots of questions (that's Brielle? that's Grandma Sharon? that's you? that's Brielle?) so it was hard to get too emotional about it all...
Then we went into the big kids' room to read Love You Forever.
I had been so strong all weekend. So many people were asking me how I was, and I honestly said I was fine. Of course it was hard, but I was doing alright. I had lots of things to celebrate instead of crying for four days straight, and I was fine.
But as I read the first few pages of Love You Forever, and imagined my mom reading that book to Lillian as a little baby, and thinking about how much she's missed since then, and thinking of myself as the mom with the baby, and knowing that someday I'll be the one who's gone, and..., and..., and... it was never-ending. It was like my mind went crazy and in just a few seconds, I thought of every sad thing I've ever felt about my mom ever. and I cracked.
I tried so hard to keep my composure. I certainly didn't want the very last memory of GSD:2010 for my kids to be thier mom bawling and not able to read to them. So after a few pages of shaky voice/wet face reading, I regained composure and finished the book.
It's not that I don't want my kids to see me sad or missing my mom or crying or anything. They've seen that PLENTY over the last four years. It was just that I knew that if I let myself really cry right there in that moment, it wasn't going to stop.
So instead, I finished the book, watched Parenthood, and went to bed. I was fine in my bed... thinking of all the things that needed to get done today (which are still undone, by the way). And then suddenly I was bawling. Like, weird noises, body shaking, hard to breathe crying. the kind where your heart actually hurts, and it's not a figure of speech. all in an instant. It was a release that I needed, and still came so unexpectedly.
And I just let myself cry. Thinking about how much I miss her. And wondering if the whole "crying for my mommy" thing is ever going to end. And realizing all the grandbabies she's missed out on, and wondering why in the world God would only give her a little tiny taste of being a grandma. And on that note, why would he take someone from this earth who so clearly loved Him and could do SUCH great things for His kingdom? And thinking of all the times when I wish I could call her and ask her dumb questions about sewing or cooking or whatever, let alone the major stuff I wish I could talk to her about. And thinking about Josiah almost BEGGING me to be with Grandma Sharon ("mommy, PLEASE can we see Grandma Sharon!"). thinking about the pinkadink, and how I know she'd love that I'm doing that. and wondering if I can still remember what her voice sounded like. and all the little things I think about all throughout the year. and how it's NOT FAIR. really. that's what I think about.
So I'm not sure what I was feeling last year, because I didn't write it down. But this year I think it's safe to say that I almost use GSD to hide behind. To focus on the fun stuff instead of the hurt. and I think it's okay to do that a little bit. But maybe this year was a little excessive in the hiding area. and as soon as I realized it, it broke me down. And while maybe it was good for my heart to let the hurt out a little, and maybe even feel a little sick from it... really, it just reinforced the fact that when I'm sick, I still just want my mom.