Saturday, December 22, 2012

It's been 6 months since she died.

What an amazing thought!  Six months since this all happened.  I thought about going back rereading the post I wrote that night she died, but can't quite bring myself to do so.  As much as I've tried to write these last months, it just isn't there.  So, so many days, I would have thoughts about something and think, Oh, I should write this in the blog.  But I didn't.  Now, I sit and have 100 things I could write about, but I don't think I'll be writing any of them. 

Today is a special day in my book.  It's exactly 6 months since our precious Cayla Joy died.  It's also 3 days before Christmas.  I remember a year ago wondering what this Christmas would be like with a baby after so many years.  We didn't find out about her heart until Feb 3rd, so we had lots of dreams last year not knowing she had anything wrong with her.  But you know, it's ok. 

The last thing I wanted to hear from anyone six months ago was that time heals.  I felt like that meant I was getting over her which ultimately meant I was forgetting her.  That's just how my thought processes went at the time.  Time does heal.  I love my mom and will never forget her, but time has eased the pain of losing her and it's nice to know I will never forget her after 18 years.  I *know* we will never forget our beautiful baby Cayla Joy.  I know that.  I guess I just worry sometimes that I'll forget what it felt like to hold her or kiss her.  What would I do without pictures, I don't know.  I cling to these pictures I have.  I doubt I'll forget her eyes looking at me and staring for long periods of time as if she was trying to tell me something.  I remember telling her to just let it out and tell me what's wrong... I'm a mess.  :o) 

I have to keep telling myself it's only been 6 months.  I'm actually doing great, I think.  I don't have anything to go up against, but for me, I think I'm doing well.  I feel free to laugh without guilt anymore.  I feel free to cry anywhere with anyone if something triggers the tears instead of holding them in wondering if people think I cry day in and day out.  I'm teasing people in my sarcastic way again (you know, the sarcasm I've learned from Lowell over the years.)  ;o)  He might not read this, so I can talk about him.  :o)  Anyways, I'm feeling free to do so much more in life.  It's kind of like subconsciously I've given myself permission to be more normal again.  To keep moving forward.  To get to a place where I can think about Cayla and smile.  It's not that I don't cry, but I can think about the what if's and guilt over her death and know that it's not mine or Lowell's fault although he still blames himself for her death.  That's a prayer request right there.  I feel like God has given me so, so many victories in my life through all this, that I'm thankful for all He's changed in me.  Some areas might have never changed had I not gone through this.

I praise the Lord for personal victories where I've actually listened to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and acted upon it to stop sin that only God and I know about.  God is so much more real than He's ever been in my life before.  I've taught Samuel and children at church that you can't hide anything from God and He sees everything you do and every thought you think.  Yet I am just now stopping sin because I know God's watching and because I know I'm grieving Him.  I'm learning the value of actions.  A lot of us can say the right thing all the day long, but our actions are the opposite.  It's that closeness to God that keeps us from sin.  Pastor Emery always says, "The Bible will keep us from sin, but sin will keep us from the Bible."  So true. 

I'd like to say it doesn't bother me when people tell me I'm depressed, but I can't.  Others, Lowell included, say I'm not depressed but grieving since it really hasn't been that long.  I have a debate going between depression and grieving.   I think there's a difference.  I have grieved deeply over these last 6 months.  I have been depressed over these last six months.  Just because I am one does not mean I am automatically the other.  Many times in those first months, I could not function properly.  My grief was preventing me from being able to do normal things.  To me and my unphilosophical mind, that is depression.   These last couple of months, I have been able to function, take care of my family, do the music at church, work with Samuel, work a little each week at the store and whatever else.  But... I have not done them to level of quality I have done in the past.  I'm up to about 75% maybe.  I don't know.  I do know I'm getting better though.  I don't think that constitutes depression. 

Why is it a big deal that I'm not depressed?  Well, I think God has done so much for me and given me so many victories over this that I would be dismissing Him and His work in my life to say I'm depressed right now.  I cry.  (I weep during PMS...)  I cried again today when we stopped for a hearse and funeral procession to drive by.  But it's ok, and I can move on and enjoy the rest of the day.  It doesn't debilitate me.  I don't feel that depression like I did. 

I went to see Dr. Lazerescu the OB/GYN.  Being in that same building again and having to tell the nurse my whole story about Cayla since my 1st OB no longer works there and I went on to Dr. Rajabi the specialist, set me off into tears.  Then the doctor came in and asked why he had no record of Cayla and I had to tell it all over again to him.  I didn't cry with him, but as soon as I stepped out of the room and saw a nurse I had from last year, the tears just flowed again and I had a hard time stopping them. The whole experience of being back there and talking about everything that happened was simply overwhelming to me.  So... what does the doctor say to me after talking to him about Cayla for about 20 minutes?  "Linda, I didn't know you before today, but I see a depressed woman sitting in front of me."  I almost laughed out loud.  I just wanted to tell him to put himself in my shoes for a minute.  It hadn't even been 6 months since she'd died.  Am I not allowed to grieve without being labeled depressed?   I don't know what to say anymore.   I told him if I was truly depressed, I would go see a counselor.  I told him I've talked to my pastor and his wife and to a former Christian counselor friend of mine, but he said I needed to see someone who was not emotionally involved in my life.  Maybe I would, but our deductible for this year ends January 3rd.  Whatever doctor visits I can cram in between now and then, fine.  Otherwise, nothing after the 3rd. 

I guess someone who doesn't know me and hasn't been with me through it all shouldn't bother me.  I should just smile and be eternally thankful for those that have been with me through this and can see that depression is just not me at the moment.  Whew!  Got that off my chest!  Thanks for letting me vent and try to "talk this out".  :o)  You can write any comment on this (or facebook where most of you comment) and I will gladly listen to any and all advice contrary to what I've said or not.  :o)  I promise I'll be good. 

I love my family so, so much!  I love how Samuel and I have been able to talk and get his thoughts on all of this.  What a great kid!   Which reminds me.  I have pictures of him that I've not put on the blog.  We got to babysit Elise again right before Thanksgiving and took these pictures that beautiful day.

There's so much more I want to talk about, but I let off steam about depression.  I guess I needed to do that.  I still have pictures of Cayla's little memory shelf that I want to put up, but that will have to wait again for another post. 

This Christmas will be a wonderful one.  I am sad and missing the fact that Cayla will not be with us, but there's so much I do have, I am very blessed.  The Lord Jesus, who loved me, Linda Sowry, enough to lower himself to become a man so I could have eternal life is an overwhelming thought when truly looked at.  His birth was the start of Him fulfilling His promise to send a Saviour that would save us from our sins.  That is just huge.  I pray that this Christmas you will take a good long look at Jesus.  Who He really is that we celebrate His birth so universally.  Who He is that could die like He did on the cross and still be alive today.  He is awesome.  He is everything.  He is exactly what I need to live my life joyfully no matter what the circumstances are.  I pray He is all that to you too.  He can be.  I'm just going to put this out there again, but email me if you have a question or want to know Jesus personally.  I'd love to talk.

Have a blessed Christmas and thanks for the continued prayers.  Stay tuned for the next episode in Cayla's blog...   ;o)

Funeral pics and news

I've started writing numerous times over the last 2 months, but never posted.  Most of the time I never finished writing my thoughts and never came back to that post.  I've tried to put my thoughts down, but apparently couldn't make it happen.  I'll probably start a new post about where I'm at tonight, Dec. 22nd,  and just send this one out as is. 

I really can't believe Christmas is just a couple of weeks away.   Thanks to Lowell, we finally got some Christmas decorations up last Wed.  We've had the tree up with the lights and my rose balls up, but didn't put all the rest up until last night.  I don't think I'm dreading Christmas or anything, I just feel like I've lost a little enthusiasm for all the celebrating.  I am still enjoying Christmas music and other stuff, maybe it's just taking me longer to get into it all.  This really is the best time of the year with all the beautiful lights and decorations everywhere.  I do love it all.  We even went to the Ashtabula and Jefferson parades which was fun with family and friends!  Saturday we had our church Christmas dinner which turned out really nice and fun.  And last night we drove up to Lakeshore Park with some friends from church and saw the light display they have there. 

I was reminded in the song "Mary, Did You Know?", that because Jesus came from heaven to earth, "The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again."  That's my little Cayla. There is a promise in that.  I know we will see Cayla again.  I'm not wishing it, or hoping it, or 99% sure of it... I'm 100% sure of it because God's Word says so, and He wouldn't be God if one word in the Bible wasn't true.  What an awesome God!

You all will be proud of me.  I've made a doctor's appointment for Thursday, Dec. 13th.  I just still feel imbalanced maybe hormonally, I'm not sure.  I can't seem to physically get myself back together.  I've not been to a family doctor since we've been here in Ohio, and the only doctor I've been to was my OB/GYN who's no longer there.  But I called their office and asked them where to start.  She said I could choose another doctor from there, so I have, and he'll do some blood work and get me started on getting my health back again.  Even with exercising and eating fairly well, I've gained weight and can't seem to stop it.  So, hopefully I can get my life, physically, back together.  We will see. 

Thanksgiving brought my dad and Pat up for a visit which was so great to see them again.  While she was here, Pat downloaded pictures she took at Cayla's funeral for me.   I had my camera, but couldn't bring myself to take any pictures, so I'm glad she did.  I'll post some of them here.  In one way, it's kind of hard to see them, but I know she's in heaven which changes my outlook.  In other ways, it's not hard to see them because I want to remember everything... even that day of celebrating her short little life.  So, here's the few pics.  Mostly they're the flowers so those who sent them can see what was sent. 

Lowell's cousin, Jodi Poole, talking to us about how the day will go and and answering our questions.

Dad and I talking.  I guess we were looking at who all the flowers and plants were from. 
Not all the flowers were there yet.
Still talking about who knows what.   I guess Pat was just clicking away. 
I don't think I even knew she was taking any.  I'm glad she took some but not too many.  
Our precious Cayla Joy. 
Her flowers from Dad, Mom and Brother hadn't come yet. 
She was in the beautiful little yellow dress from our Pastor and his wife
and then wrapped in a big, soft blanket from her Aunt Cathie and cousins Tyler and Sheylyn. 
Jodi had it set so you could see the embroidering there too.
The little pillow in the shape of a heart with the yellow roses is from us, Mom, Dad and brother.
  They stayed in there with her.  You can click on the pictures to see them better to read the cards.

From Grandma and Grandpa Guenther
The yellow butterfly is on her little shelf

From Aunt Carol and Uncle Sandy Baumgardner
This angel is made of stone and we put this at her grave site too.

From Aunt Doris, Karla, Donna and Louisa, my aunt and cousins

From Cayla's cousin Hannah Sowry and Jim and Janet Slater (her mom)

From Ken Forging, where Lowell works

From the Ashtabula County Concerts of Prayer Board

From N.W. Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. Pastor Rodney and Diana Moye
We didn't find out this was the Moye's church until a month or so after the funeral.
For a while it was the beautiful, mystery wreath. 
We put this up at her grave and have just swapped out fake flowers. 
I'm collecting fake flowers to replace them since they don't last long in the elements. 

From Dr. and Mrs. Shoemaker for Pensacola Christian College. 

There were others, but I don't have pictures right now.  Dad and Pat's long-stemmed roses aren't in this set of pictures, but maybe I'll post more later.  Thanks for all the prayers and love over these months.  Love to all!