Monday, December 9, 2013

Goodbyes are hard to do

"My Mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it."  -- Mark Twain

The week of Tyler's funeral was a blur, but at the same time, there are things seared into my consciousness.  I know there were dozens of phone calls, people stopping by with some food, anonymous do gooders that cleaned my horrendous house, teenage girls that looked after my kids and made sure Maddie's hair was done.  One of my very best friends showed up every morning, bringing breakfast, washing dishes, and there was always milk in my fridge.  After the funeral, I called her one day, lamenting that the milk had stopped coming and I wasn't sure what to do:) More support came in the forms of cards, money, flowers, plants, gummy bears, prayers and tears.  So many acts of kindness and love were sent our way, that I hope I will be able to do the same for someone else when they need it.
I remember it was nearly impossible to make decisions, and it was Christmastime, so all festivities seemed so trivial, and celebrations got whisked aside.  We went shopping for clothes for the funeral and that was so hard to do.  We wanted to look nice, but didn't want to put too much time or energy into shopping.  The worst for me was trying to find shoes that went with my dress.  What a stupid thing to worry about, but it was so important for me to look nice.  I was actually defensive when someone questioned why I was going to so much effort for a funeral.  WHY?  I would not be able to host a wedding reception for him.  I wouldn't ever be able to spoil his future children or go on another vacation with him.  I wouldn't be able to slip him some money to help him with groceries ever again.  THIS was my final send off of him.  This occasion deserved reverence for his life, sorrow for his lost future.  For our lost future with him in it.  I don't regret for one minute buying suits for my boys and husband or dresses for myself and Maddie, even though I haven't worn the dress since.  It's the same as not using paper plates for Thanksgiving.  Sometimes certain occasions deserve the best you can give.

At one point during the first viewing, I noticed 4 of the "Fabs" (My dearest and longest group of friends) sitting in the center of the room.  Occasionally, I would look up and they were still there.  They sat throughout the entire event, and when I asked why, they said, "For you."  I will forever love them for that act of friendship and love toward me.  I know that through everything I have gone through or may yet have to go through, it's just a given that I know who my people are.
We had a very nice service and I couldn't tell you who was there, but I can tell you that there were a lot of people there supporting us.  I sat on the front row and held Kim's hand throughout.  I truly love Tyler's mom and James' ex-wife.  She has supported me in my role from the beginning, and I was glad to know we could lean on each other.
We were given an opportunity to speak at the burial, and I used the Mark Twain quote.  It was true.  He had helped age me prematurely.  He had caused so much unwanted stress, but even with all of that, I enjoyed his mischievous nature.  I enjoyed his teasing and sometimes ... sometimes!  his stubbornness.  The truth is, he drove me just as nuts as the other kids.  I yelled at him, I grounded him, sometimes I ignored him.  He didn't just give me frogs-in-the-pockets trouble, he gave me real, lucky-that-didn't-start-a-forest-fire-trouble or stand-in-front-of-a-judge trouble.  He wasn't a saint by any stretch of the imagination, but man was he a kind person.  That boy knew how to answer a phone politely, he knew how to carry on a conversation with all different types of people and make them feel comfortable.  He knew how to hold your confidence and he didn't betray those to other people.  One day when we were grocery shopping, it was so cold and snowy and windy, so we hurried to get the bags loaded up and get on our way.  He returned the cart for me while I got kids buckled in and tried to warm up the car.  He hadn't returned and I was stumped as to where he could be.  I got out and looked around the parking lot and finally spotted him walking an elderly lady with her shopping cart across the icy parking lot.  He patiently helped her to her car and was loading her groceries for her.  Seeing something like that lets you know that some things are sinking in!
He was smart.  He caught on to school work pretty easily, so if he got bad grades, it was usually because he wasn't trying.  That's what was so hard for him after his accident.  He hated the fact that things didn't come as easily to him, or that he couldn't remember the way he could before.  He had a hard time really grasping action/consequences after that as well, and I think that's why he kept finding himself in the same predicaments and not knowing how to work his way through them.  In hindsight, I wish I had realized the extent of his frustration.
He was funny!  Just like his dad, he had a quick wit.  At times when you were at your maddest, he could disarm you with a comment or his smile.  He had a fun laugh, and I loved to hear it.One time on our way through Yellowstone, he sang along with Four Non Blonde's at 5 years old and we cracked up as we drove through the park.  Some of his funniest moments were actually when he was talking in his sleep, so he would dispute our accounts of things, but we learned that he had a great pig snort when prompted in his sleep.  I still crack up over that!
He liked to cook and try out new recipes.  One day he gave me such a great compliment, "Mom, you and Grandma Walters are the best cooks in the world."  I felt a little relief hearing that because my mother in law is the best cook I know, so I knew I had learned something myself if he was impressed.  Sometimes he would make something up and ask us to be guinea pigs.  I wrote down a couple of his recipes myself.
He didn't enjoy hard work.  If there was a job to be done, you can be sure he would be missing!  I won't lie and make things seem rosier than they were.  He thought the entrepreneurial way was to pay someone else to do the job you don't want to.  He passed that legacy on to his siblings, unfortunately:)  I had to bribe quite a bit after he moved into his own place to get him to do things for me.  Having a full pantry was quite the commodity!
But he was generous.  He wasn't stingy with his possessions.  He really did think about others at holidays , and he still posed in his Christmas Eve p.j.'s with all of his younger cousins and siblings.  He enjoyed helping me fill stockings once he got too old for me to pretend anymore.  We once got into a fight with our neighbors after they allowed him to plow out their driveway for free in the wintertime and he accidentally knocked a brick out of a pillar.  He gave them money for the replacement.  He was only a freshman, I think.
When the Rexburg Temple was built, they had an open house that we were all going to attend on Aaron's birthday.  I invited Ty and reminded him a couple of times, but figured it was up to him whether he wanted to go or not.  We had driven out earlier in the day and he had to work.  Our family was sitting in the chapel, getting ready to go on the tour and I saw him in the crowd, searching for us.  I waved my hand and he came up and hugged me.  I said, " I didn't think you were going to come.  I'm glad you did."  He looked at me and said, "Why wouldn't I?  You asked me to."  I also asked him to hang his towel up after showering and he never seemed to be able to master that, but this...I was glad he did this.

My heart still aches, thinking about that time.  Every year, I try to power up to get through, and I end up feeling exhausted and defeated.  I cry over the loneliness I felt then and how defensive I was over my role in his life.  I cry because I miss him.  I cry because I couldn't take the pain away from my kids.  I cry because I'm sometimes still angry with him, and because it's really hard to know that we had to bury him in the ground one day before we were supposed to celebrate his birth.  I think when I get to see him again, God will understand when I have to give Tyler one of my famous rants, and he will give me a moment...Right after I hug him hello.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Sleepless Nights

I couldn't sleep for a couple of weeks.  Not just had a hard time sleeping, I COULDN'T SLEEP!  I would stir all night long, toss and turn, beg for mercy, make muffins, curse, sing.  You name it, I tried it.  I understood how sleep deprivation could break a person down, and I was broken down.  I would have spit out any secrets I knew if it would help me fall asleep.  I started to get anxiety around bed time, so that added to the problem, and pretty soon I was so sorry I had ever wished for more time in the day to get things done.  I started taking some herbal pills and that helped slightly, but I wasn't functioning well during the day, and I was so zoned out and tired that I'd jack myself up on caffeine to muddle through, only making it worse for evening.

A group of us went to the opening night of one of the Twilight movies in Idaho Falls and got a room for the night.  We were going to go shopping the next day and live it up as much as you can at craft fairs.  On the way home, our discussions got kind of deep about losing loved ones.  I had been feeling for the months following receiving my endowments in the Rexburg Temple that maybe I was preparing myself for something big.  I had worried endlessly about planning a funeral.  Whose... I wasn't sure.  I couldn't differentiate between true preparations and my fearful mind, but this time I wasn't panicky, just matter of fact.  I went through the different scenarios and tried to get a few things in order, just in case.  We talked about this and I remember saying, "If something happens to one of our kids, I know that our marriage won't survive.  It just won't."
I went home and didn't sleep.

We did every day normal things.  James went to work, kids went to school, I cleaned the house.  We put up a Christmas tree and everyone abandoned me when they lost interest because the lights took too long.  We did homework, argued, made our lists to Santa.  We went to a birthday party for my niece, Hailey.  That night, I laughed and told Tyler that he was getting piano lessons for Christmas.  It was a joke referencing a time that I had him on a waiting list for lessons and the day the teacher had an opening, he just shrugged his shoulders and said, "I'm not all that interested anymore."  He was 14 and there was no way I could force a teenage boy to start piano lessons and actually do it, so I passed the lesson on to Aaron since I had worked so hard for a spot.  He would always joke with me about how he could have been a great piano player if only...  
So I told him it had caused a good amount of contention and that's what he was getting this year.  He looked a little panicky and told me he forgave me, but he wouldn't if I actually gave that to him as a gift at almost age 20.  He grabbed me and hugged me tight and told me that he loved me.  I rolled my eyes (because my kids always told me they loved me right before they wanted something!), but I hugged him back and told him I loved him so much I wanted him to be an accomplished pianist.  We both laughed.  He went to his home and we left for ours.  He called me later that night to ask me about a recipe, I talked to him about Christmas Eve and told him how the kids were so excited for their tradition of all sleeping together and having him stay with us. He warned me that I'd better have enough huckleberries for Christmas morning, and had given me a gift to put under the tree for one of his brothers that he got early.
He was always such a thoughtful gift giver.  He was endlessly broke, but he always planned ahead when it came time for something special.  He had given me a gift certificate the year before for a massage and he even asked me 2 days after Christmas if I had used it yet.  I told him I hadn't, so he said he would watch the kids without any complaints but I had to do it now.
He took Aaron to a Brian Reagan performance as his Christmas gift one year.  Aaron was in HEAVEN!  He loved speeding down the road with his cool big brother, going to dinner and laughing over someone Aaron thought was hilarious.
I'm a little embarrassed as I write this to say how in tune he was with my moods.  He could tell when a bad day was a little more than bad, and he would do what he could to make it better.  One pretty September day in 2009, apparently Aaron had called Ty that morning telling him I'd "lost it."  Haha.  It's funny how differently kids see things.  Tyler tried calling all morning, but I really was having a bad day and I wasn't in the mood to talk to anybody, so I let the phone ring. Finally, I answered and he said he wanted to take me to lunch.  I accepted his invitation, and the two of us spent his lunch hour eating Mexican food outside, and just talking.  I cried, describing my bad day and my bad attitude, and he just listened.  He opened up to me about similar frustrations and decisions he was trying to make.  We ended up having a really great lunch and he told me that he was glad I was his mom.  For all the times I felt like such a screw up at this parenting thing, I knew he was sincere, and that made it easier to go home to the other ones instead of running away like I had debated.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I Stand All Amazed

We have been reading specific scriptures that can be applied to our lives and then we talk about how we can use the advice given.  Tonight, I read Doctrine and Covenants 122:3-8  I have felt so overwhelmed with trial after trial after trial that this was a good one for me to read.  I have to admit, though, that I still get upset and angry and exhausted, and it's not easy for me to be willing to get up tomorrow and try again.  But then I think, " If I've gone this long and haven't given up, it would be really dumb to start now!"
Thanksgiving isn't so hard for me to get through.  Tyler would spend every Thanksgiving with his mom.  It was so important to me that he be with us at Christmas, that I was willing to forgo this holiday, so I don't have great Thanksgiving memories about him, except for the last year when we broke into his house to borrow his X-Box.  I felt like it was fair since he was always breaking in to get to my fridge!
Thanksgiving is almost here, and my heart just sometimes wants to burst with love for the things I'm thankful for.  What a cliche thing to say, but I don't know how else to describe it.  Sometimes my kids make me so mad.  Sometimes I don't like being the mom, but at the end of the day when I kneel down, I'm thankful for them the most.  If I didn't have anything else except for them and my husband, I could live with that.  I watched a video of them when they were little, and I've been smiling all day, thinking of their cute faces.  I did what every mom does... I kissed the tips of their toes, ran my fingers over their backs, memorized every marking,  breathed in their newness.  It's an intoxicating smell.
 About a year ago, I would catch a whiff of newborn, and I would scramble to find the source.  Usually, I'm looking for the smell of a wet towel that has been dropped in an obscure place, so this was a pleasant hunt.  It took me weeks to discover that it was a combination of shampoo and hair gel that my boys were using.  I would grab them and start inhaling the smell of their hair. Of course, after about age 2, you stop breathing deep when you hug your boys, but I was begging them to sit next to me.  I would smell them at random times, and they started avoiding my hug because I was "weird."  I didn't write down the combination, and they have since stopped using that kind of hair gel, so I don't get it anymore.
 I miss having young kids sometimes, but I know that every year that goes by makes me very aware of how much I'm going to miss this time too.
If you were to ask me to recall happy memories, I would immediately recount every horrible minute of childbirth.  It's funny how something so traumatizing brings you so close to Heaven.  Those are days that no matter how sad I am, or how frustrated, I will always start breathing slower and my eyes will fill with tears at the memory of those wonderful days.
I always felt that little disconnect because I had that experience with my kids, but I never got that kind of bonding with Tyler.  It would be borderline creepy if I started kissing his chubby little toes at five years old.

I spent a week with my newborn Aidan in the hospital when he got RSV.  I prayed harder than I had ever prayed. I held his little body close to mine and I wasn't going to leave the hospital without him.  I marveled at the strength he had at just a few weeks to continue to breathe, even when it got too hard for his little body.
 I marveled again when I learned that Maddie had been born with Failure to Thrive.  For some reason, she had stopped progressing in the womb and was slowly starving to death.  That feisty little girl held on long enough to be born for me to try to take care of her.  She was born on time, but was the size of being 4 weeks early. I held her and nursed her back to health, doing what I could to protect her.
 I have spent countless hours sitting next to the bed of Aaron this year, watching his body not function right.  I've watched him starve for days at a time in order to get control of his pancreas, only to want to gag him when he gets feeling well enough to talk back.  I watched him go into septic shock.  Watched his perfect little toes (Now big ugly man toes) turn purple because of lack of oxygen.  I stood there with tears falling as he asked the nurses to make sure I wasn't alone when they had to tell me...
I sat and cried with him and held my sweet dimpled boy that wanted to give up because the pain of what he was going through was just too much for him.
I watched with awe as Tyler, one day being so distraught because the doctors told him that because of severing his tongue, might not be able to swallow again because of nerve damage.He sat there for a day or two, giving up, but then one day he decided he was not going to stay there and he was not going to leave with a feeding tube! He willed himself to find whatever way necessary to get food down his throat.  He was resourceful!  I watched his body miraculously heal, and every time I looked at the scar that ran across his face, it reminded me of how grateful I was that this handsome man had come so far.
I've watched my husband  overcome things that have plagued his spirit and work so hard at creating a better life so those things can't thrive.
I have been lucky enough to not have this level of stress with Jordan, but I have watched him go through some of the most mentally trying times and he has held his head up and surprised me with strength I didn't know he had.
Each time that my children needed care, I did the best I could to take care of their wounds, give them medical help, hold them, kiss them, do whatever I could to ease a pain, but I have never been able to control or take away the mental and emotional trials that they have to endure, and sometimes I think that's harder to watch.
Aaron, Jordan, Madelyn, Aidan.  Tyler in front.  How can this picture NOT make you smile?!
In the hospital, I asked Tyler if I could help him wash up.  I had seen the dried blood on him for a few days, his hair was greasy and he was cranky.  The nurse offered to do it when I asked for a tub and shampoo, but this was all I could do for him, so I refused her help.  He sat in the chair, and I gently wiped the washcloth on his head.  He would cringe and gasp with each wipe, no matter how gentle I tried to be.  I picked pieces of glass from his scalp that had worked their way up with each passing day.  This was such an insignificant act, but it was all I knew to do to let him know how much I loved him.  I will always remember that day in his hospital room as a day that my heart ached with love for this boy.  
 As I stood at the head of his casket almost 4 years ago, I remember looking at him and thinking that it had to be a horrible prank, because he didn't look like himself.  I kept studying him and looking for little things.  I picked up his hands and looked carefully at his fingers, I pulled up his pant legs to see his tattoos and the way his calves looked.  I was horribly disappointed to recognize and know for certain that they did, indeed, belong to only him.
I wish I had kissed him more.  I wish that I didn't stop hugging him as much as he became a surly and back talking teenager.  I'm glad, though, that I got to know him and love him.
He would walk through the back door and I would hear these big work boots clomp down the hallway into the kitchen, and before I got to finish screaming, "Take. Your. Boots. OFF!" he would be at the fridge, smiling that Cheshire cat grin that made me go nuts.  He would talk to me for a few minutes while scarfing down some food and then he'd leave again, laughing as I swept up his foot prints.  What I wouldn't give to hear him clomp through the house and hear him laugh at something the kids said.

His grandma and 2 of his uncles wanted to hike the Grand Teton with Tyler, and we laughed about his training. He hiked Table Rock a couple of times and figured that was good.  I know climbing the Grand for him was an emotional and physical feat.  It was so much harder on him than he expected, but he knew that there was no way he could come down without having to still work.  His uncles gave him a good pep talk, his grandma said a prayer with him, and he was able to finish what he had started.  He was so excited when he came off the mountain that he drove over to the house and couldn't stop smiling.  He had stowed some rocks in his back pack and gave them to the kids.  He had finished something I would never dare to attempt.  His body was strong, the air went through his lungs fiercely, his heart was strong, as were his legs and his back.  I'm humbled by the things the human body and the human spirit can endure.

As a Post Script:  As we were planning the funeral, Kim, Glen, James and I were trying to figure out music.  We were looking through a hymn book and I opened to the page with "I Stand All Amazed"  I read out loud the words and we all began to cry.  This song was chosen to be sung and I get chills whenever I listen to the words.  I do stand all amazed.

"I Stand All Amazed"  If you would like to hear the music and the words, click the link, thenclick to the right where it gives the option for both.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Rocks In My Backpack

Wow.  I started writing as a way to work through some of my grief, and I think every time I start to take some positive steps forward, something always throws me back.  Usually violently.
I talk a lot about my religious beliefs, but those are things that I have had to work on, and continue to work on every day.  I can believe something so strongly, and then when my life gets tossed back into the blender, it's as if I come stumbling away, shaking my head and wondering what in the world is going on.  I have to reset and try to take the things I know and give myself a new starting point.  It's annoying, really.

I have never had a high self esteem.  I wish that I did.  I just thought it was humility when you brushed off a compliment.  I thought it was bragging if you liked something about yourself.  I thought in order to try to be a better person you had to know that you were nothing in the first place.  Now I know none of that is true, and I would hate if my daughter felt those things about herself.
For a long time, I felt like many of my efforts fell flat.  I didn't ever really put myself or my talents "out there" for fear of failure.  I couldn't ever seem to catch up, I couldn't keep up with the Joneses or even with myself.  I suffered from depression.  If anybody has ever had depression, you know how inadequate you feel, and how getting up in the morning feels like such a chore, because you already know how the day is going to end.  Not many points on your scoreboard.
Because of this, I tried to overcompensate.  I wanted my kids to be extra awesome so it looked like I knew what I was doing.  I hammered home points or lectures I felt were necessary, I came down hard on them, but then backed away because I didn't want to "damage" them by having to face harsh consequences.  I am a really good threatener.  When my kids would act out, rebel, lie, or anything like that, I would take it personally.  "They had no reason to do that... I don't run a prison here, so why would they do that to me?"  I felt like it was more evidence that I wasn't parenting up to snuff.  So I became more relaxed.  Didn't force homework.  If they said they didn't have any, they didn't have any.  You weren't were you said where you were going to be?  Ok, well, when you get home, you better think long and hard about why it upsets me and never do that again.  You don't feel like doing something?  Ok, I understand.  I wouldn't want to do it when I was your age either, so I'll do it for you.
Talk about setting yourself (and your kids) up for failure!
Now, one thing I have learned is that when you don't feel good about yourself, people can sniff it out like bad garbage.  And they are usually willing to keep perpetuating those lies, because it takes the guilt off of themselves.  I felt the need to prove my worth even more, even if I was just trying to convince myself of it.  I tried to be kinder, more forgiving, relax some of my moral beliefs, and what ended up happening was me getting walked all over and I still took the blame.  I was growing resentful of everybody, because I felt like every decision was being criticized, and I could never win.  If I had a multiple choice, I always picked the wrong one!  And believe me, I was hearing it.  Once decision would disappoint someone, but the same decision would disappoint someone else for another reason.  I was living way too much for everybody else, and now I know the term as "codependence."  Bring on the psycho-babble!
I became really good at being a victim.  I felt like my life was happening TO me, instead of me being a willing participant.  There were a lot of things that happened way beyond my control, things that slowly crept in and before I knew it, I was wondering how in the world it had happened, furthering my hopeless thoughts.

Last year, after what has seemed like a hellacious few years, I decided I had so many good things in my life, that I didn't want to dwell in the past, but I didn't know how NOT to.  I knelt again.  I went to a lady that helped me in so many ways.  She brought very vividly to my mind my role in my unhappiness.  She didn't do it out of anger or frustration, but out of a very willing spirit to help and uplift.
A talk came to my mind from John Bytheway called ""What's In Your Backpack?"  I imagined myself following people around, picking the rocks out of their packs in an effort to lessen their burdens, but I was tossing them into my own.  Someone was angry?  I stuffed one in my pack.  Someone carried guilt?  I stuffed a rock. Every insult hurled my way, I was picking up another stone and adding it to my heavy load. I was so weighed down and was upset at God for making me suffer so much, but then I imagined Him looking at me, saying, "You're the one picking them up."  He had given me and everyone else a way to deal with our heartaches, but I wasn't letting Him help me shoulder my own trials and I had become angry at HIM.  Visually taking the rocks out of my pack and putting them at His feet was a lot harder than you would think, but the relief I found after doing so was empowering!  I started to view Him differently and also the people around me.  I started to view ME differently.

I have had 3 children that have had serious medical issues at some point.  I have spent more time in hospitals than I ever care to spend.  I hold together pretty well, and then one day, I lose all hope and all progress.  The past week for me has been trying, mentally and spiritually.  Sitting down to write this today helped me to remember what direction I'm headed after being in the blender.  I'm stressed out, worrying about bills, about homework that didn't get turned in, the funky smell in the house I can't find, the crafts I'm supposed to get done, about the 30 pounds I want to lose, about Christmas, about how I feel like I'm getting steady once again
and December 5 is closing in on me fast, about watching another child struggle for his life in front of my eyes, about being his nurse, and about the guilt I feel that people are bringing my family dinner but I'm terribly relieved to not have to cook... just to name a few.
  I'm realizing that I've started to weigh myself down with these things and I'm frustrated that I can't run like I want to, so I'm going to unload my pack and start over, ready to hike again tomorrow!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Just an Ordinary Day

I've spent a few days avoiding writing.I have tons of memories and thoughts swirling around in my mind all the time.  Memories I want to share with people,Things that were a part of my life.  I realized quickly how people can laugh and talk with you about the things their kids (and yours) do, but as soon as you mention a child that is dead, it gets awkward.  You're standing there, remembering something very real and probably enjoying that memory and you look at your audience.  There it is... the perky eyes, the uncomfortable smile, the nodding, them slightly holding their breath because they don't know what to say.  You feel stupid that you brought up that person, and Heaven forbid you let a tear fall and then you REALLY make them feel dumb.
I've not wanted to start writing because some of what I'm starting to get into is terribly painful for me.  I haven't been quite sure I could handle it, even though everyone in Teton Valley is very aware of my story.

One day, Tyler and I were talking about complicated things for his age, about his Mom and Dad and Me.  While we were talking, I suddenly remembered a time in high school when I was in keyboarding class.  I had been thinking how much I liked the name Tyler and one day I wanted to have a child with that name.  I kind of laughed it off because I wasn't even ready to have kids, and I had a cousin with the same name, so he might think I couldn't be original.  The solution came to me!  I would marry a man with a kid named Tyler.  Problem solved.  I imagined a sad, rich man with a young boy just searching for me.... I hoped he would wait a couple of years:)
As I was talking to him, all of this came back to me.  I felt like I had known we would be thrown together.

It was a warm September day in 2006.  I had lectured him just that morning about being where he was supposed to be.  He had a real knack for sneaking out, and sometimes being a real pain in the butt with my parenting.  We said prayers, I gave him one last "I mean it.  If I think you're on the bus, that's where you'd better be."
The kids left for school and I sat down to my Grape-Nuts and Readers Digest.  I felt this tug in my belly, once.  Twice.  I got up and went in my room.  I sat on the bed and said, "Heavenly Father, please watch over my children, and please help Tyler to make good choices."  I went back to my cereal.
The phone rang.  It was one of my BFFs (More on those in another blog).  She was anxious to know where Ty was.  I had gotten a few calls in my day about mischievous things he had done, so naturally, I sighed and asked what he did.  She insisted he was in an accident.  I was very calm and told her there was no way.  I had received no phone calls, and the police would have to call me.  Plus, he was on the bus.
I seriously didn't worry.  She called back.  She was giving me details and I was insisting she was wrong.  Life Flight can't just take a child without their parents knowing SOMETHING.  I called his phone dozens of times, but I figured the bus was too loud.  Kids were talking about this "accident," so he couldn't answer.
Aaron stayed home sick that day, so I left Maddie with him and I told him I would be back in a minute.  I needed to get to the bottom of things.
As I drove down the road, I could see that there certainly was something big that happened.  I wondered how I could be so close to the commotion, but had no clue that anything had happened.  Cars were lined up for nearly a mile.  I was impatient to get there.  I saw a friend of mine and she flagged me over.  She said, "I was just coming to get you."  Nobody would come and get me unless there was a reason.  I passed cars on the gravel road and parked at the main source of the congestion.  I jumped out of my car, barrelling my way to an officer.  Of course, they have people in place to keep crazies like me back.  I didn't know they could move so fast!  I didn't know how much strength I actually had in me to push back.  I started off politely, "I'm really sorry, but I need to know if my son was in this accident?"  They kept pushing me back.  "You don't understand, I will go as soon as I know if my son was in that car!"  He exasperatedly asked, "What's your son's name?"  My voice didn't hold.  I still don't know what I expected them to say.  The sheriff saw me and nodded his head.  Their tone was now different.  They weren't keeping out some crazy,  they were keeping out a crazy mother that needed to be kept calm.  As a paramedic explained that Tyler had a "cut on his neck" and they took him in Life Flight to make sure he could get help quicker, I noticed his boots that were covered in blood.  He was calm and soothing.  He instructed me to get my husband and meet the Life Flight an hour and a half away in Idaho Falls.
This dear friend stood with me in the highway, holding my shoulders the whole time, then drove me to get James.  Seven years later I would stand in her doorway and hug her as I cried for her child.
I vaguely noticed the school buses that were stopped in front of where I was causing a spectacle and was completely unaware of what they would be saying to my children that day once they got to school.
We spoke to a nurse that said he would be fine.  He had a cut from ear to ear, but the surgeon was getting him fixed.  We were very relieved, but wondered why in the world he would be flown for a cut?
When the surgeon came out to talk to us, it was a much different story.  Tyler's head had gone through the windshield after the car he was a passenger in rear ended a vehicle.  When his head came back into the car, the windshield severed his neck from ear to ear, nicking the carotid artery.

Now, you can look at this any way you choose.  But this is my story and I'm going to tell you the way I know it.  So many miracles happened that day.  "How?!"  You might ask.  Well, I'll tell you.
When the ambulance call came in, a DOCTOR decided he wanted to go along.  Because he was a doctor, he was able to place Tyler in a temporary coma and intubate at the scene.
Life Flight landed on the highway.  Average flight time just from Driggs to IF is 19 minutes.  Hospital staff said they got there in less than 10.
Tyler had the presence of mind to wrap his shirt around his neck and sit down.
A millimeter stood in the way of his carotid artery being severed.  That's the thickness of a piece of paper.
My son was alive.

The secretary at the elementary school got to my kids before their classmates did.  She asked me how I wanted them to handle it, and they did it beautifully.  I'm so lucky to live where I do!!  No red tape, no "procedures" at a time like this.  Another friend (and lunch lady!) Drove the kids home for me and brought them all lunch.  I don't remember asking my friend to watch my kids, but she did.  Meals were brought by.  People were willing to watch them and run them around while we sat at the hospital night after night.
When we came home that first night, we tucked our kids in bed and James hugged me.  "We could have been planning a funeral tonight."

Two days later, they discovered that his tongue had been severed as well as nerves in his neck and throat.  They had to do another surgery to reattach those and hope for repair.
He was very drugged up but he would get very urgent to get a message across to me .  He could only write...really bad.
The note to me said          Sorry       No seat belt          No bus
He would do this to me a few times and each time I told him it was OK.  My mom told me that he needed to understood that I really got his apology.  The next time I got the note, I said, "Yeah, I know!  You weren't on the bus that you were supposed to be!  We talked about it that morning and you said, "I know, Mom."  And why the hell weren't you wearing your seat belt?!  That's always been my rule! But it's OK.  You enjoy your time here, because once you get home, you are so grounded.  Forever.  I'm gonna get you better, just to kick your butt once you get home."  He smiled, nodded and laid back.  I smiled.  He knew I got his apology. He knew my sarcasm.  Maybe my calm demeanor unnerved him.
 His dad would draw pictures of elk hunting and drive Ty nuts that he was stuck in that bed.  He looked forward to friends visiting, but I don't think anyone understood the severity of the situation. They had transfused blood as fast as he was lost it.  A nurse said he lost enough to die twice.  He definitely had some brain and head injuries he would be dealing with. But they just wanted him to go back to being Ty.
I have literally been reduced to tears seeing Life Flight.  Knowing that somebody's life is changed at that moment. Will the family get to go home and be relieved that they won't be planning a funeral, or will they have to?  For some reason, this experience in my life is still very fresh to me, and the memories of it cause me to cry rather easily.  It was a day things were so bad and scary for all of us, and unless you're a strong family, it doesn't bring you closer together.  That statistic is true.

Monday, October 28, 2013

You Are My Sunshine

At night I would lay in my kids' room and sing to them.  Sometimes it was because I loved it, and many times it was because I was just trying to get them to bed, and this was on the checklist.  Every night it was the same song first... "You are my Sunshine."' Then it would be something like " I am a Child of God," " Families can be Together Forever, " or whatever other Primary song I remembered.
"You are my Sunshine" was a result of my Grandma June singing this to me each time I spent the night at her house.  She had a warbly voice, but her singing to me made me just feel so cozy and special.  I lived literally right next door to her growing up, but when we had to stay the night, she treated it as if it were a special occasion.  Out came the rag rollers, out came the special jammies, waffles for breakfast, cookies at bedtime, and always a song as she sat on the bed.
Now, everyone has good grandparents, but MINE... Well, I was lucky.  I had a great childhood.  My best friends were my cousins, my biggest tormentors were also my cousins and my uncles.  My grandparents were my biggest fans.  At least that's the way I want to remember it :)  Grandpa would pay double for things he bought once and we resold to him to make a few bucks.  Grandma always had ice cream on hand.  I liked the routine and the closeness of our family.  Grandma and I talked on the phone all the time, even once I moved to college and even more after I was married.
Now, don't get me wrong, I know my mom loved me (some of it was out of obligation, I'm sure!), but Mom's are supposed to nag, and punish, and make sure you keep all your body parts.  They do the worrying and get the brunt of teenage hormones and attitudes, but Grandmas just get to love, and my Grandma June did that the best.
When my Grandpa Art passed away in 2007, I thought my heart broke.  I came home from the funeral, flung myself on my bed and sobbed for what seemed forever.  When his wife died 9 months later, I knew it was broke.  This was the end of a generation for my paternal side of our family.  The entire glue that brought everyone together on Sunday afternoons and Christmas morning was gone.
My grandma is gently joked about being so emotional.  I loved it.  She would cry over everything.  A sweet gesture...tears.  Somebody else's hurt feelings...tears.  Something beautiful or spiritual...tears.  I had that trait passed on to me.  James saw a light bulb commercial once and asked if I was bawling yet and when he looked over, I was.  I like to think it is a good thing, and the waterproof mascara industry is making a killing off me.  Losing 2 of my grandparents like that was hard for me.  Us grandchildren stood at her funeral to sing You are my Sunshine.  And when I say "us", I mean everyone but me.  I stood there with my eyes leaking.
Amber age 2, Brother Joshua, age 3-4 months, Grandma June

Grandma would remind me constantly about the need to let little boys be boys.  She would find them amusing instead of obnoxious.  She taught me how they need to be built up differently from girls.  How they needed to be hosed off in the yard before they could come inside.
She taught me things about being married and having patience with your spouse.  How to change my approach when needed.  And during those talks, she reminded me how much I was loved. Losing her felt like I lost the ONE PERSON in the world that thought I was amazing.  But by making me feel that I was amazing, even when I wasn't, I knew I wanted my kids to feel that way.  That no matter how bad they pissed me off, that they always had a place to call home.  A place that they could come and be loved, even when they didn't deserve it.  This was hard to do once they got to be teenagers!
Tyler hit that stage around 12 years old and I realized I'd be looking into selling him to the gypsies a lot sooner.  I knew where they lived because Grandpa had shown me once when he was supposed to sell me.  Thank goodness he let my parents down!
By Age 15, I started to like this creature much better, and he was funny when he was with his friends.  He had a good, happy laugh.  Then it turned to a mischievous laugh.  I should have caught on faster...

Tyler and a couple of his dopey friends decided to move to Mexico.  We would be home, thinking they were at the drive in, while they were quietly slipping away South.  It's a long story how it all unfolded, but we have a good laugh over it now.  We never accused them of being geniuses...let's just say that.
It's funny now, but it wasn't funny.  It was hurtful.  It was cowardly.  It was mean, especially to his brothers and sister.  I was so mad at him that I wasn't sure how I wanted to handle it.  For the first time ever, I told him I thought it was best that he stayed with his Mom in Utah.  I always wondered about that day where he would scream at me, "You're not my mom!  I'm moving in with her!"  But it never came, and here I was the one encouraging it.  I hadn't talked to him since they got caught running away, and when he called, I didn't know whether to pick up the phone giving him the riot act, whether I would act indifferent, or bawl because he had scared me and hurt my feelings.  He must have know those were the options he might face, because he said he was surprised I answered at all.
I kept reminding myself that every kid needs to feel that they had a place to come home to, where no matter what went on in the world, home was a place to be loved.  But he didn't want to be at this home.  I cried when I told him I didn't want him back right now and sent him a box of his clothes.  Within 2 weeks, he had run away again from his Moms house.  James went on a manhunt for him.  Can I say that my husband has tracking SKILLS?  When I got a chance to talk to him about it, he said that he knew he would always come back home.  It's where he was running TO that time.
Top of the tram in Wilson.  Get us off of here!! It's COOOLD!
Tyler, even being a dumb teenager was wise beyond his years sometimes.  He would come back from being with friends and would sit on the couch with me and talk about all sorts of things.  Religion, politics, beliefs, goals.  I loved having those talks.  I felt like maybe I wasn't such a wicked stepmom after all!  He looked out for me and he never acted embarrassed of me, even when I was working so hard at it!  He teased, he tormented, and it was just like having my cousins around again:)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Every day is something new

I have to clarify some of my religious beliefs, because it is such a huge part of my life.  I grew up believing and praying to God.  I still prayed to Him during times that I didn't feel like I should.  I knew there was a Creator, and I believed that he would answer prayers.  There were periods in my life that I didn't attend church, and times I was ashamed to tell people what my religion was...but only because I knew I wasn't being a very good representative of it!
I talk a lot about praying, because it was the only thing I knew to do after I had exhausted my own resources.  My problem was, I wasn't getting the answers or the miracles I hoped for.  For many of you, I'm sure you've heard "You can choose to be happy."  "God will do anything if you have the faith."  And so on.  Well, both of those are true, but sometimes His answer is leading you to someone that can help.  However, this trial shook so much about my belief of God's qualities, about my own self worth, and my head was so muddled that I couldn't distinguish His voice versus my own.  Hence, the near Exorcist freak out over a sandwich.
I was so hard on myself and had unrealistic expectations (as I now see, over the mounds of laundry that I step over on my way to have fun!) But it was a daily struggle inside myself.  I remember once Tyler asking me why I was mad.  I looked at him funny and told him that I wasn't, so what would make him think that?  He said I just looked like it.  I would catch my reflection sometimes, and I wasn't smiling a lot to the people that deserved it.  I still hurt over that.

My belief was that God loved me enough to give me these particular kids, but He didn't really know me enough to know how desperately I was hurting.  I thought many times that there was a secret code that I couldn't break to get His attention.  I remember crying out to Him one day, "You could move mountains.  You raised the dead.  You can do anything!  Why won't you do this for me?" I was starting to have the faith only of a mustard seed.  But I continued to drag everyone to church... just in case I was building up enough to get Him to realize I was serious.  I am still thankful for the good things I learned and that got me through from week to week by going.  Dragging 4 boys to church is not a big testimony help, though!  It's amazing the conflicting feelings you have about the fact that you got them there, but wanting to beat them at the same time for acting like such stinks!
During the years, I truly did enjoy those kids...Most of the time.  Come 9:00 p.m., my patience was worn and it would just get worse!
  I loved listening to Jordan at 4 years old ride his bike in his underwear up and down and up and down and up and down the sidewalk in front of my bedroom at 6 am.  I loved how Aaron dressed like Batman every day and once told me I was Bat Girl, so I needed to act appropriately.  I loved how Tyler wanted to try new things and loved being in the outdoors with his dad.  I loved Aidans little buckteeth and his coon skin hat that he wasn't embarrassed to wear anywhere.
For my birthday, James and the boys went to get me a birthday cake -- a store bought one that I never got growing up!  This is the scene that I came into the kitchen to see:  James was upset because Tyler had accidentally dropped the cake on his way in.  The lid was on, but half of it was smooshed.  Aaron was going on about how he wanted it to have a dinosaur, but dad wouldn't let him and Aaron couldn't get over it.  While there's the commotion of Aaron whining, Tyler apologizing, James being frustrated, me reassuring everyone it would be ok...there was Jordan, digging into it with his fingers.  It couldn't have been scripted better, and I loved that cake!
I was now content with being the mom of 4 boys.  People would sometimes say things like, "I'm so sorry.  You didn't get your little girl."  "Oh, I bet you just hate having a houseful of boys!" No, I didn't.  I kind of liked it actually.  The boys started making the comments that they wanted a sister, but I would laugh and tell them there wasn't a snowballs chance in Hell.
Jordan, Aidan in wagon, Amber, James, Tyler, Aaron

Madelyn was born less than 9 months later.  I was pregnant with her and had no idea.  We didn't know what gender the baby was, but everyone had their fingers crossed.  We slipped away to the hospital in the middle of the night, only waking Tyler to tell him to take care of the kids the next morning.  We called the kids immediately after she was born and after Ty hung up with us, he was already making the calls to family, "I have a sister!"  He was so excited and he loved on her.  She was going to have lots of good brothers looking after her. In fact, the boys all wanted Maddie to sleep in their room, as if she was a new puppy.  But I would catch every one of them crawling next to her in my bed or even in her cradle to be close to her
My life had begun to be more peaceful. Maddie brought that little tenderness into our home that everyone needed.  My medicine was helping me not to have the deep anxiety or crippling fears, I din't feel so muddled or confused.  Little things happened throughout my days to help me know that He did know my name, and know who I was,  but I felt deep down at some point, there would be something big.  There always is.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Face the Sun

With your Face to the Sun, the Shadows Fall Behind
James and I planned on having another baby.  He was always really good with kids and I knew that if I had met a man that had his child full time, he wasn't one to not care about his own.  The baby decided it was ready to come down earlier than we had planned (I don't know how that stuff happens!) and I was excited!  Yay!  I had now finally figured out how little boys worked, so I could have my sweet little girl.  It would be perfect!  Only, 2 weeks AFTER my due JULY...while we lived in a single wide trailer...My gorgeous boy, Jordan was born.  What happened to the little girl?  Apparently, there was still more to learn.
These boys were so wonderful to their brother!  Tyler couldn't wait to help Jordan learn to walk.  Incidentally, it was also Tyler that spent so much time patiently teaching both the boys how to rollerblade and how to ride their bikes.
Aaron was always a jabberjaws and when he was learning to talk, you might understand one or two words.  Jordan was content not to say a thing until one day he perfectly said "cow".  He would only use one or two words to communicate, and Aaron would do the rest of the talking for him.  I absolutely loved being a mom.
Now, you need to keep in mind that marriage for me was hard.  I didn't know what I was doing and I felt like I wasn't figuring it out very quickly.  But I was dedicated to raising these kids as a family.
In 1999, I remember the day I knew something inside me changed.  I loved my husband, he loved me, but we weren't good at letting each other know it.  My brain was broken.  I was exhausted, and I was wondering what in the world my purpose was.  I mean, I was taught to work before play, so I neglected a lot of play.  Other moms were going to the park daily, but I was folding laundry.  There was always more laundry, and I didn't feel like I should go "play" if my work in the house wasn't done.  I started to become anxious and withdrawn, and there were things that one part of my brain would be saying, "Amber, come on!  It's not that big of a deal."  The broken part said, " Why isn't anybody listening to me?!  I'm freaking out and I don't know what's a big deal anymore!"
I found out I was expecting my 3rd baby, and I was just too overwhelmed.  We weren't trying for a baby, not planning for one, and I cried and cried.
I got an ultrasound to determine the sex, knowing I absolutely did not want more kids, so this needed to be the girl I waited for.  They circled the part on the ultrasound that showed that this absolutely was not going to be a girl.  I cried for 3 days, and got over it.  I loved the kids I had, so did it really matter what sex they were?  But the crying didn't stop.  I cried because I felt absolute despair over everything.  I became a terrified person.  I knew something was wrong with my baby because of my initial feelings of being pregnant.  I knew something was going to happen to one of the other kids. I knew at some point God was going to punish me for things I had done, but I just couldn't figure out what or when.   Leaving the house was scary because I couldn't face what might happen.  I would cry when I heard the firehouse siren...certain that they were responding to one of my family members.  I worried that maybe it was me or James that would die, leaving my children alone.  I spent a lot of time on my knees begging God not to make me have to go through my fears.

Aaron, Jordan, Tyler and baby Aidan
This break in my brain was another defining moment.  It affected so much of my personality and the freedom I wanted to allow myself and the kids to live.   I became quite a negative person during this time.  I found fault with everyone and everything.  I was so over trying to find the good in a person.  Everyone had an agenda, no one was REALLY your friend, it was a dog-eat-dog world, and I certainly couldn't find one thing that anyone could love about me.  I deserved my unhappiness, but I didn't want it.  I prayed every day that it would go away, but every day it didn't.
My angel Aidan was born in 2000.  He was exactly what I needed!  He was the sunshine in my cloudy day, he was absolutely perfect and God had heard my excessive prayers on behalf of him.  My heart still swells when I remember holding him for the first time and knowing I was not worthy to be his mother.  I held Heaven in my arms.
Shortly after Aidans birth, James asked me if I could bring him something different for lunch the next day, because he was getting tired of eating sandwiches.  I remember thinking at that moment how much I despised this request.  Didn't he know how hard it was for me to even THINK about making a sandwich, let alone DOING it?! Didn't he know how much I didn't want to get in the car?  Didn't he know that I was hearing "You're not doing enough?"  No.  He had no clue.
I was so relieved and embarrassed when the doctor started treating me for depression.  Women that were grateful didn't get depressed.  Talk about feeling worse about myself.  I felt like I had a disability that my family had to accommodate on tiptoes.  "Don't do that or Mom'll lose it."  "Can't say that cuz I don't know if Mom will start crying or not."
I wanted so much to be happy because I had so much to be happy about.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

It didn't happen in a day

Where do I want to start?  My Life has now been categorized into 2 time frames.  Before Tyler and After Tyler.  Dr. Phil talks about our defining moments in life and if we recognize those, they usually tell a story of how we became who we are.  This is a huge defining moment in the life of Amber.
But my life isn't just about this moment or the ripple effect (or monsoon effect) from it.
I became an instant mother when I married James.  I didn't know how to act with a 5 year old.  If I acted like a babysitter, then I wasn't setting firm roles.  If I acted too much like a Nazi, then I wasn't enjoying this child.
I don't know why we had such a rocky start to our marriage, but it wasn't all that fun for either of us.  As I would learn much later, we were both bringing toxic things into it.  It was hard to bond with a child whose father I couldn't bond with easily.  But I would kneel down every day and ask Heavenly Father to help me love this little boy like he deserved.  I had my firstborn, Aaron the following winter.  Being his mother, I bonded immediately.  Fell head over heels in love.  He fell in love with Ty and adored everything he did.  For having 6 years age difference, Tyler knew how to have fun with him.  He would dress him up for combat, lock him in the dog's kennel, push him in the swing and help him into the car seat.  Aaron couldn't wait to catch up to Tyler.

One day, I overheard a neighbor talking about his "half brother", who was a baby.  Every time he would refer to the baby, it was with those words.  Pretty soon, I noticed Tyler trying out the words.  I knew I was his step mother, and I fully expected him to not know what to call me, or to forever refer to me as his step mom, but I couldn't handle him calling Aaron that.  I explained to him that Aaron knew no differently.  As far as he was concerned, they shared a womb.  I asked him to please understand that we didn't need to label where someone came from when all that mattered was how much we loved.  He never referred to any of his brothers or his sister as "half" from then on, and neither did they.
Tyler was all boy, which was hard for me.  I never really could stand little boys.  They didn't know how to sit still, they picked their noses, they were mischievous, broke things, didn't appreciate a good book and long talks.  Plus, they smelled.  I wanted a delicate little girl.  Someone just like me.  Instead,  I got Aaron.  We joked about how he had to have had a twin that didn't make it down, so Aaron got double the personality.  He was just as much a boy as Ty, with some definite quirks.  He walked around with a tool belt, gathered bugs, made messes and stunk. I caught him bathing in the (clean!) toilet once just to try it out.  My heart started to soften towards boys.  But they could still infuriate me!  Ty was always getting demerit slips for something or another, so being the ever vigilant mother, he would get in trouble for the demerits.  He was going to learn how to act in school, by george! Until one day, I opened his bag and saw 1/2 dozen notes about how naughty he was.  As I read through them, I was getting more irritated.  "Swinging on the stair rail", "talking in the lunch line",  "Peeing on the fence".  I just wanted to yell, "Let him be a kid, for hell sakes!!"  Heck, what kid wants to take time out of recess to go to the bathroom?  I'd pee on the fence too, if I could get away with it.  He stopped getting punished twice for demerit slips.  He didn't need every adult in his life trying to take away his natural exuberance.  The notes still came, but my attitude about it helped him, and pretty soon, they were coming in smaller quantities.
Fishing on the Teton River

Monday, October 21, 2013


Why I decided to write a Blog...

I have always liked writing.  When I was in 6th grade, I had to write a story for ALP (Advanced Learners Program), and I loved it.  My teacher said if we were interested, she could look into having it published.  Of course, I was a little afraid of looking stupid, so I opted to take the safe route and just keep it in my own handwriting, tucked away in a box somewhere.  What if people loved it and wanted me to write more?!  How would I deal with success?  Fame?  Pressure to come up with more brilliant works?  So I took the pressure off of the world and kept my little dream to myself.
I did well through high school in my creative writing classes, and was content to hear positive comments from my teachers.  "That made me laugh!"  "Did your dad really do that?!" "A +++++"  my Sophomore year, the teacher discreetly asked me to join the yearbook.  Only Juniors and Seniors got to be on the Yearbook Committee and they had to apply.  She wanted me!! I was proud to have my picture among the others on our yb page.  Despite what people may think, those were some of the funniest girls I ever had the pleasure of getting to know.  They could make me squirt milk out of my nose from laughing so hard, and wet my pants long before babies wrecked my bladder and made it a daily occurrence.
I remained on the staff the next 2 years and got to see things about the people I went to school with that maybe not everyone got to see.  It was our goal to make it a yearbook about everyone that attended A.F. High, not just our friends.  I think I had a little more understanding and fondness for the people I shared adolescence with.  That, and I got to stare at the photos of really cute guys without them thinking I was weird.
I tried to write some small stories in my spare time once I was in college and while I lived in Sun Valley, but let's face it, if you have that much alone time in college, you're really not getting your full college experience!  I did my required homework, and did a lot of having fun.  I kep my creative juices flowing, though, by decorating my dorm with my roommates, making crafts on a college girls budget.  I learned how to improvise and be frugal, yet still have a great room.
When I got married, my husband had a son, Tyler, so we became an instant family.  No honeymoon period, or crazy newlywed escapades.  I went right into motherhood, and I just kept going, having 3 more boys and a darling, if not slightly demented little girl.   We moved to this small town immediately after our honeymoon where I knew...NOBODY.  I missed my family.  I missed having friends.  I missed having a college budget because now I had a house payment and I had to make food for more than just myself.
My sisters gave me 3 rubber stamps for my birthday, so I started scrap booking.  Every page alternated between Donald and Daisy Duck and a set of bunnies.  It was cheap, could occupy my time, and let me journal.
I scrap booked for all of my children.  My kitchen table was never cleaned off for long.  I would stay up late to get books made.  I would spend every extra penny in the craft store.  I would smell the new paper and hoard it.  What if I wanted to do a page and didn't have the perfect piece of paper?!  That would be terrible!  My scrap books were my journals.  Of course, I didn't usually write down the negative thoughts or feelings.  That was locked in my head, so when I flipped back through them, I remembered events, while documenting the positive to everyone else that would read them.  I'm the same way with books.  Almost every book I have read has another story to me.  I remember things that were going on in my life when I read it, how the book made me feel, what I wanted to remember from it.  
I haven't touched my scrap booking supplies for almost 4 years.  I stopped being excited about being creative, and sometimes I am afraid that I can't get the passion back.  I really loved that about myself, and I miss it.  I tried to tackle it a few weeks ago after my hysterectomy.  I thought it was a perfect time to catch up and get my kids' pictures out of the dresser drawer and onto pages we could all admire.  It was a mess!  I couldn't organize my thoughts or handle looking at pictures of my kids.  My oldest son, Tyler passed away 4 years ago this December and I'm having a harder time now than before.  After his funeral, I went to my craft room and put away the paints, the markers and scissors, tucked the photos away.  Didn't touch my saws or wood patterns, couldn't find the time to work on my embroidery.  So everything SAT.  It wasn't because I felt guilty for doing those was because I just couldn't find my fun.  My release.  I was overwhelmed and doing those things just took away from the things I "should" be worrying about, and my brain just couldn't function that way anymore.  
A childhood friend has been doing a project on "Capture your Grief" and I have been reading her journaling every day.  It got me to thinking about working through the things that have made me sad, and how my writing down thoughts, events and feelings have helped some things become clearer.  I didn't lose an infant, so I wouldn't participate in the "Capture Your Grief", but I wanted to be able to write down the things that make, and journal my experience of losing a son.  Maybe one day my kids will read this and understand that I wasn't put on this earth just to mess with their program.  I am very much alive and trying to get through each day just like they are.  
I don't care if nobody ever sees this.  This isn't for me trying to get my opinion out to the world.  This isn't for me trying to make new friends.  This is all for me.  Sometimes it might be rough, but it's still mine, and I guess there is no right or wrong way feel.  Besides, I don't think the world is ready for this amount of crazy, so instead of thinking about how I'll handle interviews and red carpet events, I'll just be content with this!