3.31.2011

It could be worse...



...I could have lost my children, too.
...Jeremy could have suffered.
...he could have been much harder to find.
...he could have fallen farther from his stand and done more physical damage.
...he could have been doing something he did not enjoy when he died.
...the kids could have watched their daddy die.
...my friends could have abandoned me.
...Jer and I could have not had a great week together, and a great day together before he died.
...Jer could have died before we found out he was having a son, before he chose a name for him.
...he could have died before I knew I was pregnant.
...he could have died the day Carter was born.
...he could have been driving when his heart stopped and killed someone else.
...I could not have the best friends in the world.
...I could have been forced to go back to work right away.
...I could be forced into staying in this house, a house we're not safe in, that Jeremy hated.
...I could be feeling God's abandonment instead of His constant interceding.
...I could have not seen Jer all day that day. We could have had lunch separately.
...we could have been in a horrible marriage. I could have resentment.
...I could be angry with Jer for leaving.
...the kids could have forgotten their daddy, or stopped talking about him.
...the kids could be older and felt his death in a much more tangible way.
...the kids could be younger and not have any memories of their daddy.
...I could not have a relationship with his wonderful family.
...his family could have forgotten about me after the funeral.
...I could have a different church family. I could have been forgotten in the crowd.
...I could have already forgotten what he smelled like.
...the trauma could have severely affected Carter in the womb.
...Jer could have had skeletons in his closet.
...the kids could have not been able to see him all day that day.
...our last words exchanged could have been something other than "I love you."


I'm trying to write out some of these things to remind myself to be thankful, for I know deep down I am blessed. Even though I know in my head this could be much worse, my heart just doesn't believe it yet.

3.28.2011

One step forward, two steps back

I've come to realize that everyone who loses a loved one so close has moments like these:

One step forward, two steps back.

I've been trying to figure out why everyone thinks I exude such strength in this whole process. Most of the time I feel so weak and wonder how people can think I'm strong when I barely want to live through the day. I know God can use the weak to lead the strong, and just had to trust that God is using me in my weakness when I'm not even aware.

But I've also realized that it's the facade I create. The only time I really truly feel like I can grieve is when I'm alone, and I'm not often. I love all the incredible people around me, and I know any of them would cry with me if I needed them to, but it's not my personality - I've always had anxiety about crying in public and I know somewhere deep down I feel like I need to be strong for others. It's not their fault, it's just the way I'm wired and no matter how much I want to cry, I usually swallow it down.

I've also had a lot to keep me distracted since Jeremy passed away. The last four months have been absolute craziness, so much happening between funerals, tying loose ends, holidays, birthdays, births and events, I've barely had time to just take everything in. Now that I've survived giving birth to our son,  I should have expected reality to seep in.

I'm definitely enjoying my time with my new little man, but I've been given a fresh dose of reality and another dose of postpartum hormones - which is not a good combination for my emotions. I've just been very weepy and the fact that Jeremy really is gone keeps popping up in my head. Like the annoying kid in class who sits in the front row, jumps up and down with his hand raised shouting "pick me! pick me!" - I want to ignore it, but it's right there in my face: My love is gone forever. Even writing it out now physically hurts and brings me to tears.

So, that's how I'm feeling now: Like I took a step forward surviving so much, and now, taking two steps back experiencing the gut-wrenching daily reality of the agony that comes with losing a life. Especially when the life felt like half of mine. I feel like I'm walking around half-dead. Just wish there was something I could do to ease this pain a little, just for a moment.


3.24.2011

A Broken Hallelujah


Ironically, after posting about wanting to write more, I feel compelled to leave someone else's words today.

This song had actually been sent to me by several different people. I couldn't listen to it for awhile because I wasn't even ready to offer God a Hallelujah, even a broken one. This weekend, though, these words came to life for me:

With my love and my sadness
I come before You Lord
My heart’s in a thousand pieces
Maybe even more

Yet I trust in this moment
You’re with me somehow
And You’ve always been faithful
So Lord even now

When all that I can sing
Is a broken hallelujah
When my only offering
Is shattered praise

Still a song of adoration
Will rise up from these ruins
I will worship You and give You thanks
Even when my only praise
Is a broken hallelujah

Oh Father, You have given
Much more than I deserve
And I have felt Your hand of blessing
On me at every turn

How could I doubt Your goodness
Your wisdom, Your grace
So Lord hear my heart
In this painful place

Hallelujah
I lift my voice
Your Spirit moves
I raise my hands
I reach for You


A Broken Hallelujah - Madisa


3.22.2011

I have the best friends. For real.


One of Jeremy's friends, John - who has quickly become a dear friend to me as well - with my man Caleb (they're good buddies). He has asked me to share this on my blog to get the word out:




To all of Veronica King's family, friends and whoever is willing to help:

For those of you who don't know, Veronica King tragically lost her husband Jeremy King at the young age of 31 to a heart condition back in November of 2010. Veronica is now left to raise their three beautiful children all on her own. 

Her current vehicle is approaching 200,000 miles and needs to be replaced to better fit her needs. She needs a vehicle that is more reliable and more suited for three kids in car seats. Veronica travels long distances to see family and to keep up with her singing commitments. So, let's all pull together and raise money so she can travel in the safety and reliability of a newer vehicle. 

Please send money to:

Rochester Church of Christ
250 West Avon Road
Rochester Hills, Michigan 48307
248.651.1933
www.rochestercoc.org 

Make checks payable to Rochester Church of Christ and put King Memorial Fund on the memo line. 

All donations are tax deductible.




Seriously, could I have better friends? I think not. I have yet to find a need that hasn't been filled or is planned to be filled over the last few months. My dear blog readers have already participated in multiple ways in helping me and my family - and I am eternally grateful.


I also want to let you know I have now added a 'donate' button on my blog - on the sidebar to the left. It's easy and secure, and I know many people have asked if I had a paypal account because they didn't want to mail money. Plus, it's easier to donate small amounts - even a few dollars makes a huge difference. Right now, all monies donated will go directly towards a new vehicle.


More than all these different ways to help, which I appreciate, please continue the prayers. They are still very much needed, and they're invaluable.


3.21.2011

Finding my verb


I am still here.

The truth is, I'm here almost every night, staring at a blank computer space, unable to make my fingers move. Every day, a million different things go on in my head that I want to write down, but I can't configure them into coherent thoughts when I sit to write. Even more than that, I sit and wonder if I really have anything to say that I haven't said already. I can find new adjectives, manipulate metaphors, use a thesaurus...but at the end of the day, it feels the same:

My husband is dead.
It still hurts like hell.

But this weekend I've had a couple of cool experiences that has given me a voice again. First of all, people have been writing me the last few days, wondering where I've been. It's nice to know that people like what I have to say and want to hear more from me.

Second was an encounter with Mark Duckworth, lead singer of the band Salient (check em out, btw). Mark and I have crossed paths several times, singing at the same events and hanging out here and there. This weekend, we were both singing for the youth rally at my home church (I with DeeperStill - the group my husband sang with, and Mark with his band) and we all went out after the event on Friday night. He approached me afterwords to thank me for my blog and FB postings to Jeremy and expressed an appreciation for my writing. Mark probably knows that I hear that often - which I do. I've been overwhelmed by the response that my story has received and people have expressed their appreciate for me sharing it many times. But what Mark probably doesn't know is that I really took it as a huge compliment from him as someone who has written some incredible music to note my writing, which in my opinion, is not that great. He encouraged me to keep writing and reminded me that there are so many people that I am still unaware of that are reading and praying for me. I guess I needed the reminder.

Next happened during church this morning. Without going into the entire sermon, since I could never do Patrick Mead justice by trying to recap his incredible lesson, I will say something struck me today. It was a combination of the sermon and something that was said during our Missional Moment today about finding our verb as a Community of God. We are not saved by our works but we do good works because we are saved, therefore we must put our faith into action by finding our verb. I've struggled with finding mine my entire life, and today it was as if a finger was tapping me on the shoulder and I heard it:

WRITE. That's your verb. 

Everyone has a different verb, and I don't believe this will be mine forever, as I am not a writer (at least not a good one). But for now, in a season when I feel broken with nothing to offer, I felt God showing me a way to still somehow offer something in the midst of my weakness: My words. My story. My journey. As awful as it is for me right now, I know it's blessing others along the way.

One of my and Jer's best friends wrote me something a couple weeks ago that has been swirling in my head since. I hope he doesn't mind me sharing:

"I think that most people are numb to the fragility of life, and they go about in narrowly focused on their own lives, living in quiet desperation seeking real connection with people. Even with all the advancements in technology and more ways to connect electronically than we've ever had before, people still struggle to truly connect with another. 

On a broad level I think that the genuineness of your writing, and sharing of yourself through these last months has people flocking to your posts in droves because your transparency creates the type of deep connection they so desperately crave. However wrong, right, weird, well intentioned, or wild it is, I watch people find connection and MEANING in your pain & happiness. Whether or not you're seeking it, that is a truly transcendant gift." 

There you have it. This is certainly NOT the way I wanted to watch my blog grow, and how I wanted to make even the smallest impact on the world, and yet it's happening whether I like it or not. It's not a gift I asked for, but I will take it for now in hopes that it will reveal healing and purpose back into my life. I will continue to try to write through this mess I'm living in.


3.11.2011

Happy Birthday Princess

Faith at her Pump-It-Up party tonight

5 years ago today, I had been in labor for more than 24 hours, anxiously awaiting the arrival of our first child - a beautiful baby girl - and I was finally ready to push...

I haven't been able to get it out of my head the last few hours. Thinking about Jeremy standing next to me holding my hand through the birth is such a contrast to the coldness I felt just a month ago having his son without him. We were so excited to become parents. I had waited my whole life to be a mother. I found my old Xanga post about the day:



Well, the day has finally come - I am a mommy!

Faith Elizabeth King was born Sunday, March 12th @ 12:27am. She weighed 6 lbs. 15 oz. and was 20 1/4 in. long. She's happy, healthy, and the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

Labor was quite an experience. I was induced on Friday evening (not pleasant) and when that didn't help they put me on Pitocin drip Saturday morning. I finally was dialated enough to push around 10:30pm. Part of my cervix wasn't dialated as much as the rest, so it was in the way and I tried to push through it. I pushed for about an hour and a half, and nothing was happening. The doctors tried to help Faith along with a vacuum suction, but when that didn't work, I knew something was wrong. The decided that I needed to have an emergency C-Section. I was devastated to hear that after pushing for so long (I even saw the top of her head!) but I knew it was for the best.

When Faith finally arrived, I was so releaved just to know that she was okay. The hardest part was not getting to see her (except for about 2 seconds upside down) until 3:30am, and I didn't get to hold her until Sunday afternoon. At least Jeremy got to hold her right when she was born. Faith went straight to NICU and was there for about 36 hours, to monitor her blood sugar levels (which are good!). All we could do was visit her and feed her until she was able to come into our room.

Long story short (well, short-er), everyone is doing good. My recovery will take awhile, I am pretty sore and not able to move around much, but I am fortunate enough to have an amazing husband who is taking wonderful care of me and our gorgeous baby. And Faith is a good baby - she is making it really easy on me. She is sleeping through the night, and she is the most content baby I've ever seen (who knows how long it will last, but we are trying to enjoy every moment). She is so much tinier than we expected her to be, so we don't have anything that really fits her.

We're finally home, but Faith is a little Jaundiced. Nothing to worry about, she's been sitting in the sun all day and feeding well, so hopefully tomorrow after they take her blood (again!), she won't have to stay at the hospital under lights. Especially since Jeremy's family is coming tomorrow to see her.

Thank you all for your continued prayers. Jeremy are I are so blessed to add this little angel to our family.


This year, I should be writing about the incredible 5 years we've had. I should be posting about the plans we have as a family to celebrate. I should be blogging about how so much has changed but I wouldn't change the last 5 years for anything...

Only, I can't.

Because I would change it. I would change the last 4 months, without batting an eye. I know Jeremy would want to be here to celebrate with us. I know he would be oozing with love and pride for his princess. I'm heartbroken that so much sadness will accompany celebrating Faith's birthday this year. Yes, we'll celebrate. Yes, we'll laugh and enjoy the incredible little girl Faith has become. But with every beat, my heart bleeds out knowing Jeremy will never get to see any of his children through their first 5 years of life.

Every year, I write a birthday letter to my kids. This year, I don't know where to start for Faith. I fear it will be harder to write than my letter to Carter, because she has memories of her daddy, and yet little understanding of what's happening to our family. How do explain the fact that daddy was here one day, and not the next? I've been tearing up all day thinking about it.

I feel injustice for my sweet girl tonight. Injustice for the future she was robbed of, a future without the most important man in her life - her daddy. Her daddy was absolutely crazy about her and would do anything for her. I've been reading his old posts from when Faith turned 3, over and over again today. If nothing else, I want to make sure she never forgets the extraordinary man he was for her and how much he cherished her.

Forget the changes that 5 years can bring. Life can forever change in the blink of an eye.

Happy Birthday, my sweet girl.


3.10.2011

Milestones

Yesterday, Carter turned a month old. Can you believe that? A whole month has gone by in a blink of an eye. My little man is getting so big, already exceeding 10 pounds. He's healthy and happy (most of the time) and his siblings are absolutely in love with him, to the point of smothering.

To celebrate his one month birthday, Carter gave us his first big, genuine smiles. We caught one on tape last night that I just had to share:



video

It's pretty tough not to smile at something like that.

And yet, every smile comes with a heavy sigh afterward it seems. Especially with every milestone that Jeremy will miss. With every month marker that Carter will celebrate, another month will go by without Jeremy. Today marks 4 months since Jer died. It hardly seems real. Like the blink of an eye and an eternity all wrapped into one.

Just when I think things might start getting easier, the emptiness of my day-to-day existence without him rears it's ugly head and knocks me back down to the ground. And although I relive that horrible day in my head constantly, it's really the dull ache of every day life without him by my side that seems to be killing me softly.

And knowing that everything about Carter's life right now is bittersweet somedays is just too much. Here's hoping that as time goes by, those good milestones will outshine the still very painful ones.

3.08.2011

Good intentions


The thing I've discovered about grief is that it is an all-consuming, selfish process. 

No matter how good my intentions are, I seem to always come up short when it comes to thinking about anything other than myself. I am forced to think about my 3 children, which takes up what little capacity I have left...so anything beyond that is completely outside my thought processes right now. I can't think past my own needs. I want to be helpful to others, I want to be a good friend, but the truth is, I just don't care right now. I'd love to be able to close out the entire world and stay under the sheets until I met Jeremy again. Nothing else matters - even when I want it to.

I try to care, but grief consumes me. I want to reach out, but then the ache in my soul starts burning too much to move. I want to connect with people and let their words heal, or draw from the experience of others, but I'm not ready to admit that anyone could feel as crappy as I do inside, or that allowing words to heal me would somehow betray my love to Jeremy. I'm not ready for that. I want the world to stop for me, I want everyone to know Jeremy's story and the man he was. I want everyone to feel the hole I feel so I don't have to try to explain it anymore. 

Right now, Grief is a reliable friend who waits for me in my bed every night even if I manage to dodge him all day. I save up all the tears I'm unable to let out in front of others for the evenings with my friend Grief. Always cruel, always unwanted, but always there. And because Grief follows me wherever I go, I find him draining and taking up all the energy I would normally use for other people.

With that said, I would like to point out that I have incredible friends. They have been my lifeline over the last few months during this unimaginable time in my life. My friends have stood by my side when I had nothing to say, helped me with the kids, been my memory for nearly everything, and have continued to be a presence even when I couldn't ask for it. I've read others' stories of friends who walked out of their life during their tragedies because they didn't know how to handle it, or they got sick of that person being a dark cloud of grief. I know that there are still the people who don't know what to say or how to help, and I get that. I'd probably be the same way. But I'm thankful for the people in my life who reach out anyway, even if they're unsure if it's helpful. Sometimes, it's not but I'm grateful all the same. And, I've made some incredible new friendships throughout this whole thing, which has been a great blessing to me. I feel like I got lucky in the friends department.

For example, I am still getting meals brought to my house, and I have yet to buy a roll of toilet paper. I'm still using some from the tons that were brought to my home the week Jeremy died, because people just stepped in and took over when I didn't know my left from my right. How amazing is that? I have a hard time asking people for help. I don't like being a burden on anyone, I've always been independent. Except when it came to Jeremy....but marriage is built that way. We were a team. I expected his help as he expected mine. I could ask him for help, the same help I refuse to ask from someone else. And the funny thing about grief is that even when I want to ask for help, I won't.

This is a horrible rambling post. I don't really know where I'm trying to go with this. I guess this is for all my friends: bear with me. Forgive my selfishness and the fact that I don't know how to be a good friend right now. It's not because I don't want to, it's because I literally just can't right now. Keep standing by when I push you away, til I see this through the other side. I have no idea how long that will be, but I'm working on it.

"The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing...not healing, not curing...that is a friend who cares."

3.04.2011

Snapshots

Daddy and Caleb snuggling at the hospital - one of my favorite photos of them together




Today was an oddly difficult day. Every day right now is difficult, but out of nowhere, grief smacked me in the face hard enough that I had to pull over my vehicle because I couldn't see through my tears. An image popped into my head that punched me in the gut and left me feeling completely empty and hurt. I may share about that another day, that's not what I'm posting about today.


In the midst of my painful day, I found a reason to smile.


That's a big deal, because nothing about this awful journey has left me wanting to smile. Or even smirk. But for a moment, I smiled through my sobs.


You see, I have these little images I like to store in my head. Moments in life I take mental pictures of so I never forget. Images that fill my heart, small moments I've saved in my soul to capture different feelings. I've done it my whole life and I have so many of these moments I've stored away of Jeremy and I think about them constantly.


I used to try and describe this to him, and those snapshots. Some he remembered, others he didn't. Some moments, he didn't understand their significance to me. But that's why they became special to me...little mundane details of life that brought me joy and I never wanted to forget. But I always failed at describing those moments and what they meant to me:


Like us accidentally catching glimpses of each other before our ceremony on our wedding day.
Him standing beside me during labor with Faith
Jer falling asleep at the hospital with Caleb on his chest
A random dinner we shared at a Mr. Pita, laughing away
Jer all dressed up for a Valentine's Dinner with the first pink clothing he ever bought for himself - a tie - because it was my favorite color
The image of us curled up together on the couch for a nap one sunny afternoon
Us holding each other and sobbing together after our one and only really big fight.

The one I think about the most is the moment I feel in love with him, the exact moment I knew. It was completely insignificant to Jeremy probably, we were just sitting together outside on a step at Rochester College, talking about nothing probably. In the middle of our conversation, he stopped everything, gave me a look (the one that's stored in my heart forever, but I would never be able to actually describe it), and said "God, you're beautiful." And then kissed me. It wasn't him telling me I was beautiful (though it's always nice to hear) that got me. It was the genuine look on his face that he really had never seen anything better in his life. And at that moment my heart was so full and I thought, yep, he's the one. 


I smiled for a moment today realizing that I no longer have to try and describe those moments to him - he can see them, and feel them in my heart the way I do. Thinking about him seeing those moments the way I remember them filled my heart today....that love is the only feeling more powerful than the pain I live in now without him. He can finally understand something I've failed to put into words for him. I'm glad he finally gets to see my point of view.


And for a split second today, the gap between Heaven and my hell didn't exist.



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