Thursday, December 4, 2008

Another bad day...

Yesterday was another crappy day. I can definitely tell I’m depressed. I’m still on meds, but with the pregnancy hormones, Christmas, and stress, I’m pretty sure my body and mind are just going wacko right now. Today hasn’t been much better. I went to the dr. this morning and the baby is still breech. I know there’s time for her to move, but Brett didn’t and as of the last scan her body structure looks a lot like his was – long and skinny. Brett didn't have room to move. That being said, if she’s still breech at 37 weeks, I’ll probably have to have a c-section. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but what will be will be. I realize I have no control.

Last night Nate and I had a good talk. I was able to vent about the different stresses in life and he was able to sympathize, empathize, and comfort me. Thankfully he has an open mind and is able to see things that I can’t because right now my mind is in a tunnel. I try to be open minded most of the time, but right now I just can’t seem to get there. Sometimes it feels like he’s the only person who cares. I know that’s not true, but when the caring emails and/or phone calls are few and far between, it makes it difficult to convince yourself that there really are people out there praying. I don’t mean to sound selfish, so I’ll just be blunt. I need support. I know it’s been over a year and a half since Chaz died, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt or make life difficult to deal with. Thanks to those of you who have continued to pray for us and encourage us with your words, written and verbal. It means the world to me to know you care.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Oh how I wish things were different...

Let me begin by saying that I have no idea where this blog is going to end up. I am so completely overwhelmed with so many different issues that I don’t know which way is up and which way is down. The holidays have really caught me by surprise this year. I must have been somewhat numb and in shock last year and this year, I’m feeling it all. I know this pregnancy has been a lot more difficult to deal with emotionally and physically than either of my previous pregnancies. Other issues that plague my mind are only amplified because of the stress of dealing with life and quite honestly there are few who have even tried to sympathize. It’s incredibly irritating. My conclusion, no matter how unrealistic, is that life would be better if I were a hermit. The pressure of the “world” seems to be more than I can handle right now and the only way to avoid it is to stay out of it. Yes, it’s late. Yes, I’ve had a crappy day, evening, week, etc. Yes, I’m negative right now.

I’m beginning to get the sense that people have a certain “you’re strong, Maria, you can handle this” attitude. The fact is that I don’t feel strong, I don’t have that kind of attitude and I don’t think God expects me too either. My baby is dead. I miss him terribly. I have another baby coming and am scared to death of the emotions that will come and have been coming for the last few months. I’m a wreck on the inside regardless of what I look like on the outside or at least that’s been the case for the last few weeks. The emotions I’m feeling are extremely similar to what I felt when we had our first ultrasound. Sometimes they’re so overwhelming I wonder if they will ever end…

Right now I’m really dealing with some heavy issues that I can’t elaborate on publicly. I wouldn’t wish the tough times in my life on anyone, but sometimes I wish those closest could get a glimpse in a dream or something to see inside my mind and heart. I can’t control how I’m feeling and I realized that tonight. My best bet is to keep my mouth shut and just get through to January. There will always be disappointments. Life will continue to be unfair in my eyes. If only I could put into words all that I want people to know right now. To sum it up…I WANT TO SCREAM!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thoughts from Nate

As today is the eve of the year and a half mark since Chaz has been gone, I have the desire to write a little something.

As I look back at my life it is obvious to me, if to no one else, that I am a very selfish person when it comes to sentimental items and traditions. This has never been truer than it was during the year after Chaz passed away. There were so many things that I/we held on to that connected us to the time he was here. For example, we had a couple of Eddie Bauer fold up chairs that we carried in the van that were beaten up very badly during the accident. Even though they would not hold anyone if they tried to set on them, I felt the need to keep them because they were with us in the accident and in someway by keeping them I felt that it would help me remember. Another example would be the decorations we decorated Chaz’s grave with the first memorial day. I saved them because they were used to help celebrate Chaz’s life when he was gone. Every piece of clothing, every piece of paper, and every card that talked about Chaz are in the safe room. These are just a few things to mention.

So what am I getting at? Beginning with and including the loss of Chaz I have had so many things that I have had to give up reluctantly, if not by my own actions but by the events that I have no control over. I have truly had to learn to let go. One of the big ones was when we found out we were expecting our third child. I had to let go of the fact that Chaz was not going to be the baby of the family anymore, even though he will be. Confusing I know. Another big one was going to the gravesite after memorial day to find that the decorations that I had saved had been thrown away. The decision to go ahead and throw away the Eddie Bauer chairs was not an easy one (even though I did keep the back fabric piece that hangs in my garage now).

So I still haven’t stated what I am getting at have I? What I am discovering is that beyond having to give up Chaz physically, I have had to continue to give up other things in my life connected to Chaz in order to move on. As badly as I would like to sometimes go back and feel the same pain for losing him that I did last summer I know that by allowing myself to do that it will not help me to continue to progress. So each time one of the plants dies that was given to us for Chaz’s funeral, it hurts so much less. Each time we go through the intersection I am less scared (even though I haven’t yet driven a left turn through it, but someday will). Each time I am reminded that he should be here and he isn’t, it does not end my day. I know that things will continue to progress and there are bound to be moments, but I have made a decision that I am not going to let it wreck me and take away my progression as a husband, dad, friend, teacher or coach.

Friday, October 31, 2008

I haven't blogged in a while so I thought I'd fill you in on what's been going on. October was super busy for us. We were gone every weekend of the month. With no time to relax on the weekends, we've tried to spend time during the week as a family, although that's been difficult as well since we've had something going on at least 3 nights a week as well. With the holidays quickly approaching, I'm sure time is going to pass faster than we can imagine.

I've been having a bit of trouble lately when it comes to dealing with the loss of Chaz. I'm actually struggling more this holiday season than I was last year. I'm not consumed, but the thoughts of Chaz have been coming more frequently. Nate and I have talked lately about how we can't even imagine what Chaz would have been like at 18 months old. We visited a friend who has a 5 week old baby the other day and it was much harder to deal with mentally than I thought it would be. It reminded me of just how small Chaz was and then I started thinking about all I missed out on. It kind of scares me when I think about having this little girl around. I'm thankful that it will all seem like a new experience, yet I'm a little leary of the emotional side of having another baby in the house. Those thoughts I'd shoved aside for months are beginning to come back. As best I can figure, all of this is a culmination of the holidays and approaching birth of this baby. I feel like I'm handling it well tho.

Just a little insight into that part of my life. Oh, the other parts I'd like to blog on but can't. So is life, I guess. Hopefully I'll be better at keeping up with this thing.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Jail visit

Well, we arrived at the jail this morning and Pflug refused to see us. I wrote a quick note and we were on our way. We had taken a Bible for him and the officer said she would hand deliver both to him. I left the jail feeling sorry for him. Reform doesn't seem to be on his horizon. From what we gathered, his attitude is the same if not worse than when the accident occured. We can't say we didn't try and I feel good about what we did. Thanks for your prayers. We appreciate all of them! I feel like a huge burden has been lifted. I've done what I can do! The rest is up to God.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Jail appointment

Nate and I are going to the jail tomorrow between 8:20 and 8:30. Please pray for us and also for Pflug, that his heart would be soft enough to accept what we have to say.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


For those of you who haven't heard, a baby GIRL will be joining our family in January! I wasn't sure what to think when we first found out, but now I'm super stoked and am spending way too much money buying stuff! A little girl just can't wear all blue sports stuff! This is the first time we've known the gender so it's a whole new realm for us. Brett is finally convinced that this baby isn't Chaz which makes the questions change a bit, but I won't get into that now.

This past weekend we went to Family Camp. It was an excellent experience! Our nephew was baptized after church on Sunday and that was awesome to see. He has such a sweet spirit and I love him and his sister (and parents) to pieces!

Nate and I were reflecting the other night about family camp and how much our lives have changed in the last 8 years. If only we had known then what we know now…SHEESH…life could have been so much better! Losing Chaz has forced me to look at life differently and also to be more grateful for what I have (and don’t have for that matter). There were so many things said throughout family camp that really pierced my heart. One that is kind of funny, but oh so true is that “we deserve hell anyway.” Isn’t that so true? We really do deserve hell. Unfortunately, there are some who will get what they deserve and that makes my heart cringe. What made that statement so funny was the story behind it. A husband and wife were arguing and she finally said, “Oh well, I deserve hell anyway!” Maybe we should have that kind of attitude more often.

The second thing that really stood out to me was when we were talking about the Lord’s Prayer. “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” Let me precursor this by saying that forgiveness has really been weighing on me the last few weeks. I’ve wanted to go visit Pflug in jail and talk to him but never seem to have the gumption to go. In that line of the prayer, we’re asking God to forgive us like we forgive others. If there truly is no degree of sin, then Pflug’s sins are no different than the sins I commit. The difference is that I have Jesus and he doesn’t. As I was practicing for my special music this Sunday, I was singing along just fine until I got the following verse:

Well it’s amazing that You’d ever use me
But use me the way You will
Help me to hold out a heart of compassion and grace
A heart that Your Spirit fills
May I show forgiveness and mercy
The same way You’ve shown it to me

Do they see Jesus in me?
Do they recognize Your face?
Do I communicate Your love and Your grace?
Do I reflect who You are in the way I choose to be?
Do they see Jesus in me?

Nate had mentioned a while back that he wanted to take Pflug a Bible and I told him to go ahead but to count me out. I wasn’t ready and didn’t know if I ever would be, but lately I’ve really been thinking about how we may be the only Jesus he ever sees and it’s important that we don’t miss the opportunity we have right now. My sister-in-law, Holly, talked about a book she had read by Corrie ten Boom and in the book Corrie talked about forgiveness and how the feeling sometimes comes after the verbal commitment. Honestly, that’s what I have to bank on since I have no idea what it feels like to forgive Pflug for taking Chaz’s life.

I’ve said all along that I didn’t want to live a life of bitterness and anger. The bitterness and anger have faded significantly, although they still haunt me on occasion and probably will for the rest of my life. What I want to give up is the “guilt” feeling I have for not treating Pflug as I would want to be treated. I have to forgive him in order to rid myself of the guilt I feel for holding a grudge against him.

It’s taken well over a year, but I finally feel strong enough to face Pflug again and show him the Jesus he needs to know. I don’t know if he’ll be accepting but I’m praying that he will be and I hope you’ll be praying too.

So, I’m committing publicly to going to the Crawford Co. Jail this Tuesday, September 16th, to talk to him (if he’ll see me) even if all I say is “I forgive you.”

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Quick update

I haven’t blogged in a while so I thought I’d give a quick update.

Nate and I went to Dallas for the Mary Kay Seminar and it was FABULOUS!!! I have some major goals to reach, but I’m confident I will. Mary Kay truly is a “God FIRST, family second, career third” company. Nate even got to walk across the big stage…and before me! I’m super jealous! Check out how Nate looks in a National Sales Director suit...pretty HOT, right? He definitely got some looks! Plus, when I was in the bathroom later that day some ladies recognized me and asked if it was MY husband that was taking the pic in the NSD suit. We're talking about 10,000 people at this thing! I laughed so hard I cried. Nate is so serious most of the time and this was ALL his idea!

Brett is growing like a weed. He won't turn 4 until November but weighs 44 lbs and is 43 inches tall, which puts him in or above the 95th percentile for weight and off the charts for height. He’s just plain tall and solid! He starts preschool this Thursday and is very excited about getting to wear a backpack. He’s enjoyed swimming, digging in the dirt and rocks, and riding his 4-wheeler this summer.

Nate starts school tomorrow and is expecting this year to be much better than last year. He’s ready to teach and is focused the positive things that are taking place in our lives rather than the loss of Chaz. He won’t be coaching basketball this year, which was a decision he made long before we found out we were expecting again. He is looking forward to cherishing every moment with the new baby rather than being gone most evenings as he was with Chaz.

I finished my Master’s degree and am now staying home again.

The pregnancy is going forward without complication and we should be finding out the gender of this baby at our next appointment. We didn’t find out the gender with Brett. We accidentally found out with Chaz. This time's going to be different. Brett has been referring to this baby as Chaz so in order to minimize confusion, we are going to name this baby as soon as we can so that we can explain things to Brett over the next few months. He’s had a little trouble adjusting to the idea this week. My guess is that he is associating a new baby with loss and Nate and I going crazy. I don’t even understand it all so how can I expect my 3 year old to get it? I have a hard time thinking about how I’m going to talk to him about this because I can’t make any guarantees to him about how long this baby will be with us. Right now my prayer is that God will give me the words to speak to Brett to let him know that everything will be okay one way or another. I can just imagine the number of comments about that last statement so let me make this clear…We are expecting this to be normal! We expect this child, Brett, and any future children to outlive us. Unfortunately, because of our circumstances, there will always be a very large question mark in the back of our minds even though our faith has never been stronger.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Many Updates

I’ve been reflecting a lot on the last 15 months and have really started to feel a peace about my life. That doesn’t mean that I like what happened or will ever stop grieving because I still have bad moments/days, but instead means that God is really doing a number on my heart and showing me just how amazing He is. It saddens me to think that our third child and following children (granted God wants us to have more) will never meet Chaz on earth. We don’t have stories to tell about how funny he was or what his favorite toy was, but we do have the memories from three blissful weeks and that’s more than some get with their babies and so I’m grateful.

Our focus is slowly changing from our grief to the new baby and that has forced us to “let go” of Chaz a little more whether we’ve liked it or not. We are motivated to focus on the future. His pictures still hang on the wall and I still stop and stare in disbelief. I still go through times when I fell like I’m in shock and think that all of this couldn’t have happened. I spoke to another mother who had lost a child and she said it does get easier, but it doesn’t go away. So, I guess that shock feeling is going to hang around for a while.

On the flip-side, I am seeing more and more of God’s magnificence every day. I used to think I believed in God but the last 15 months have shown me that my faith was so small! I’m still not complete in His plan, but it is obvious to me that He is growing me each and every day. We had pretty much decided that we weren’t wanting to have any more biological children. The infertility was more than we wanted to deal with on top of grieving the loss of Chaz. I was content with our decision to stay an earthly family of 3 for a while. Adoption wasn’t out of the question, but I just didn’t feel like taking a risk either right now. Obviously God had another plan in mind by giving us this baby and although I was confused and shocked in the beginning, I’m very content and happy with where God is taking us. In my opinion, it’s is just one more way that God is scooting us along in the direction He has planned for us. He’s healing our wounds and showing us that He is truly all we need. I’ve never believed more in Isaiah 55:8-9. If you don’t know it, look it up!

A few Sundays ago we went to hear Highest Praise perform in Fort Scott and one song really stood out to me. I’ve heard it hundreds of times and have listened to the words intently, but for some reason on Sunday the lyrics pierced my heart. Mandisa originally sang the song called “God Speaking”. If you’ve never heard it, I encourage you to listen to it as soon as possible. It talks about how God will use anything He wants to to get our attention and show us His love like strangers, nature, death of a loved one, fear, etc. Here's my favorite part:

Have you ever lost a loved one
That you thought should still be here
Do you know what it feels like
To be tangled up in fear.
What if He's somehow involved?
What if He's speaking through it all?

Who knows how He'll get a hold of us
Get our attention to prove He is enough
He'll do and He'll use whatever He wants to
To tell us "I love you!"

His ways are higher
His ways are better

I think about all the people out there who don’t have a Savior and it breaks my heart. That thought makes me realize that I need to be paying attention to God’s whispers like never before. Sometimes we don’t know what to pray for and that’s okay. The Holy Spirit has definitely done a lot of interceding for me in the last 15 months. Honestly, I’ve never been more speechless with God than I have been the last 15 months. Words don’t necessarily come easy for me in most situations that I face these days, but I continue to focus on listening for God’s whispers. I know I’ll be okay. I know there will be more bumps in the road. I know God will help us through. I know God is here and will always be here, just like He’s been here for my entire life. I know God will continue to speak to me and it is my job to shut-up and listen.

On a different note, Keith Runyan, a good friend of ours, has a landscaping business. He designed a memorial garden for us and he and his crew worked diligently this week to get it put together in our back yard. It’s absolutely gorgeous! It’s not completely finished yet on our side as we would like to add lighting and a gazebo, but as far as landscaping goes, I couldn’t ask for anything more! I’ve posted a pictures of the guys and the garden. (One special note: Colin, my brother, is on the crew and got to help build it. He’s holding the picture of Chaz.) They also planted trees with the money we had already been given for that purpose. Some people told us to let them know when we were planting trees because they wanted to purchase one. We’re going to be ready to plant more trees in the near future so if you’re one of those people and you’d still like to do that, please let us know.