One Year from that One Week

The one year anniversary of Lucy’s death is coming up on May 12. (Kathy Glow, who lost her son Joey to cancer, calls it the “crapiversary”. I like that, but I’ll probably stick with “anniversary”.) Although we still have 5 days, I feel inspired to write the one year post now.

When I think back on this week a year ago, I feel panic for myself. It’s almost like I’m reliving the events with the knowledge of what’s coming. I don’t remember every moment of that week, but I do remember every day.

The weekend of May 4 and 5 was our family trip to the Hyatt Lost Pines.

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On Monday, May 6, Lucy’s physical therapy was unexpectedly canceled, so I took the kids to Terra Toys. They played with a dollhouse and we went to Starbucks afterwards. I happily planned to buy them both a dollhouse for Max’s birthday in July. I auditioned for the SoCo Women’s Chorus at Janey’s house that evening.

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On Tuesday, May 7, I took Max to school and hustled to get to Lucy’s weekly appointment at the cardiologist. It took the entire morning. I rushed through Whataburger to grab lunch and get to Max’s school to pick him up on time. When I took Lucy out of her carseat at the school, I discovered she had dirtied her diaper to the extent that I couldn’t take her inside that way. As I was frantically changing her in the back of the car, the school called asking where I was. I went to book club that evening at Kerbey Lane.

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On Wednesday, May 8, I think we enjoyed our only free day of the week.

On Thursday, May 9, I turned 34-years-old. The playscape we ordered for the kids arrived and was installed in the backyard. I took my final photos of Lucy during snack time that day. We went to Barnes and Noble to meet my friend Dawn and Lucy had another poopsplosion in the parking lot. We ate at Kerbey Lane that evening, as is our routine on the days the housekeepers come.

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The last photos I took of Lucy.

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With the kids on my birthday last year.

 

On Friday, May 10, I prepared for my parents’ visit that weekend. Chris planned a small birthday party for me at Chez Zee that evening. There was torrential rain that kept the other guests from coming, but Chris and I persevered and had a lovely time.

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On Saturday, May 11, we attended my niece Julia’s first birthday party. Lucy seemed tired and Chris left early with her, with me and Max following close behind. She vomited hugely in the car. We talked to the transplant team that night. They said to keep an eye on her and call if she developed any other symptoms or vomited again. She didn’t.

On Sunday, May 12, it was Mother’s Day. I wanted to go to the history of Texas women exhibit at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. Chris fed Lucy while Max and I walked through the exhibit. She vomited again and we had to leave. We talked to the transplant team and cardiologist and moved her appointment with her pediatrician up to the next morning. She already had appointments scheduled with both the transplant team and her cardiologist that week.

I took her home and put her down for a nap. When I went to get her up, she didn’t respond to my voice. She was cold and not breathing. I rushed her downstairs, we did CPR until the paramedics came, and they worked on her for an hour before they pronounced her dead at 6:15.

I never in a million years pictured my daughter dying on Mother’s Day. I never envisioned this past year spent mourning Lucy instead of working to help her live. That last week, even that last day, were totally normal for us until they weren’t.

That’s kind of how life is for me now. It’s totally normal until the grief sneaks up and hits me in the face and then it’s not for a little while.

This week has actually been okay so far. Last weekend was concert weekend for the Chorus. My parents visited for that and for my niece Julia’s birthday party. We attended a lovely remembrance ceremony at Dell Children’s where Lucy’s picture was displayed and her name read. Last night, the Chorus sang the National Anthem at the Round Rock Express game. We stayed afterward, so Max could see his first baseball game. He had a blast.

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I also had a doctor appointment Monday morning and Scarlett looks perfect.

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Baby Scarlett skeleton face! Eek! It’s a perfect skeleton face, though!

 

It’s been a week of fun and hope so far, which is surprising to me. This past year has been one of growth, pain, joy, and constantly renewing resolve to move forward.

Lucy has given me so much. In the past year, I have written on my blog every week, except for the two months that I was working intensely on the Ladybug Jam and the Heart Walk. I am even a published author now. I sing everyday and I even auditioned for a solo.

I promised her that I would live for both of us. I have kept my promise to write and I hope I have kept that one, too. It is more of a work in progress. I am better at being in the moment. I think I am kinder to myself and others. I am more honest and I see through the bullshit. I know what’s important. I’m trying to figure out how to merge that with being kinder to myself and others. It hasn’t always worked so well and I know I have sometimes rubbed people the wrong way this past year. But others rub me the wrong way sometimes, too, and guess what? I have finally realized that I, too, am human. I get to screw up and make mistakes just like everyone else. It’s okay to be honest and get angry, as long as you talk it through and work it out. Real relationships can withstand that.

I am a better mother. I hope I am a better wife. My husband just says I’ve always been great, because he is awesome. J

I have done things in her name that I don’t think I ever would have been brave enough to do otherwise. In spite of any friction I have felt with people in my life this past year and in spite of my worries about people liking me, I recently realized that I like myself. I truly do. I am proud of who I am in a way that I was not a year ago. I do want others to like me and be proud of me, too, but truly, for the first time ever, I like and am proud of myself.

I am so grateful to Lucy for this growth. I wonder if it would have come about if she hadn’t died. At times, I think of the happiness I feel with the changes I have made in my life and I feel so guilty. It gives me such great satisfaction that writing is a regular part of my life, that we have made a small difference in pediatric cardiomyopathy awareness and fundraising, that I am singing and performing again. But I am not sure if I would be doing those things if she were still alive. At least, I wouldn’t be to the extent that I am doing them now.

I miss my crazy life as the mother of two small kids, born two and a half years apart. It brought me an entirely different kind of fulfillment and joy. I know there is nothing wrong with keeping my promise to Lucy to fulfill my potential and live to the fullest. But it feels wrong to enjoy something that probably wouldn’t have happened so soon if she hadn’t died. She taught me big lessons and I was left with time that needed to be filled. I just wish it could have happened without her dying. I am so grateful for this growth that I feared would never happen, but I would take her back in a heartbeat if I could.

How could any good come from a young child dying before she got to live? Somehow, good almost always comes from bad. I wish Lucy could have been a normal kid, but I am so proud of the impact she has made with her life and her death.

So, that is one year from that one week. I am so grateful to my baby girl for giving me the bravery to live the life I am supposed to live. She is the one who finally gave me the key to liking myself. One year is gratitude and guilt, appreciation for what we have gained and wishing it could all be different, so we could have back what we lost.

 

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5 Comments

  1. Mary L said,

    May 7, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    Powerful, honest and uplifting writing, as always, Sara. If I could, I would give her back to you in a heartbeat, too, but I am glad that the past year has involved my getting to know you much better. I admire you and you inspire me. Keep on fighting the good fight–you’re good at it.

    • kittymomma said,

      May 7, 2014 at 4:36 pm

      Thank you, Mary. I am so grateful for the friendship we have developed in the past year. You inspire me, too. I feel great admiration for the way you live your life.

  2. Ruth said,

    May 7, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    I think of Lucy, and I think of you and your family often. Even though we’ve never met. I see my Lucy flower outside my kitchen window every time I stand at the sink. Sometimes it’s the perfect reminder to just stop and breathe and appreciate the moment when it feels like I cannot cope anymore with my kids. I love what you wrote here. I love that you’re writing and singing and living. I’m so glad you feel proud. You should. 🙂 xx

    • kittymomma said,

      May 7, 2014 at 4:38 pm

      It’s so weird to think we’ve never met, because I totally feel like we have! You and the other Kindreds have been part of my life for so long now. Thank you for this comment and for thinking of Lucy. I’m glad to know about that. 🙂

  3. laura smith said,

    May 7, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    Beautifully written. Thanks for sharing your heart.


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