Monday, January 24, 2011

Now Is Good

I know that I owe pictures on this blog, I know. However, I am not going to post them today. I've had this blog entry in my head for the past few days and I think it's time for me to sit down and write it. Today, I'm 33 years old. It's my birthday and I celebrated the baby's first birthday yesterday. No time like now to write what I need to write about. Pictures will come soon. Especially of Little Sissy on her birthday. But here goes...

I think I've had an epiphany of sorts. The realization of what I've been through in the past seven years and where I am now. Now is good. It's better than good. It scares me to say it so much that I begin to choke up or cry when I do, but I'll take the leap and say it--I'm HAPPY. Not just faking it happy, or happy at parts of my life, I'm truly, genuinely, overwhelming happy. I can literally feel the difference.

The thing is, I *thought* I was happy before. I thought I was good. As it turns out, I've been faking it for years. So well that I had even convinced myself I was alright. Immediately after Allie passed, I launched myself into keeping busy. I volunteered at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, substitute taught, co-founded Heroes for Children. I worked to help make a difference and keep my daughter's memory alive. I was fine. People marveled at how fine I was.

I was fine until, simply put, I was NOT fine.

My breakdown this summer showed me just how not fine I really was. I've realized how little I've actually processed her death in the past six and a half years. Yes, I've made large speeches and presentations about Allie and her cancer treatment. The truth is that when making those speeches and talking about Allie, I found a way to be mechanical and business-like. I could separate myself from the situation enough to talk about her without emotion.

I went through the motions in my life.

Speaking of emotion, I hated it. Rarely would you see me cry over my loss. That's not to say that I didn't hurt or feel that pain. That's to say that I couldn't bring myself to allow that much pain to bubble up to the surface. So, I would eat instead. I'd stuff those emotions right back in with ice cream and cake. My weight fluctuated for years. As Debbie told me the other day, I was so afraid of being happy or finding happiness that I self sabotaged. I would hit a point of feeling good with my weight and feeling happier and I would start to feel the grief bubbling up. The pain coming to the surface was enough for me to destroy it all over again and begin gaining weight again.

In the past six months, I've faced my grief head on. I didn't run from it. I got help. I opened up my heart to the pain. I cried. My GAWD, I cried. I cried as much in 2010 as I did when she died in 2004. I don't think anyone really understood how badly I struggled during this time, not even Andrew. I tried my best to keep it private, though people knew I was in pain. I was "sick" more than once this summer where I just couldn't go into work or function. Andrew didn't know what to do at times. I finally hit the point of literally not wanting to get out of bed that I avoided when I first lost her.

Somewhere along the way, I got better. Yoga helped. Medicine helped. Friends and my husband helped. I lost 20 plus pounds without dieting. Can you imagine? The literal weight of my grief was wreaking havoc on my body. I still have weight to lose but I'm finally working towards it.

I've finally realized just how incredibly sad I was with my life.

I'm happy now. My children are AWESOME. My husband and I are happier than we've been in years. YEARS. I'm over the moon, ridiculously, butterflies in my stomach, IN LOVE with that man. I've been with him since I was 17, and I feel like a teenager again. He says he feels the same way. We are happy in this home and our life with our family. We're solid.

I still cry. I still miss her every day. However, now I let myself feel that emotion and not run from it. Now, I feel a lot less mechanical and more relaxed and comfortable. People keep mentioning to me that they SEE the difference, beyond just the weight loss. They see me show emotion, smile more, be happy, relax.

I'm still a grieving mom. I guess I always will be. At least now I can be a grieving mom who has still been able to find a way to find happiness in my life.

It feels good.

30 comments:

Angela said...

You don't know me, but I have followed your blog for years, since Allie... I am sooo happy to hear that you are happy!

Jason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason said...

I've only known you for a short time and haven't had the opportunity to share from the heart with you,however, the energy and happiness you exude fills my heart. I'm glad you've found your happy place and I strive to find that place for myself one day. Happy birthday!

JustJn said...

I am so glad to hear that you are finally, truly happy. your family is beautiful and i'm glad you are finally feeling as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside.

anymommy said...

I am so very, very happy for you.

Kylee said...

I have tears in my eyes reading this. I don't know you, I'm just someone who followed your story. I am so glad that you happy. Thanks for sharing your lows too. You never know who you might help. :-)

Beana said...

Thank you for sharing. I am so glad that you've reached this place in life. IT.IS.GOOD

tylersmama said...

Hi Jenny, I rarely post here but I just wanted to let you know how happy I am that you have found some peace and are feeling truly happy for the first time in a long time. xoxoxo

Me said...

LOVE this post :) Love you my friend.

The Nanny said...

Jenny, I read this post and it put a smile so big on my face. I'm so happy to read this. So much love to you!!! And happy belated birthday to you and Katiebug :)

angel0199 said...

The same walls we put up to keep out the pain also block out the joy. I have followed your story a long time and am so happy to hear that you are happy!

Myshel said...

Jenny, I have been following you every step of the way. I am so happy, and just thrilled that you wrote this post. I've kept you in many prayers. Hugs girl, I'm so proud of you.

I'm just sayin' said...

I am so very happy for you and your family! I love that you are truly happy...you so deserve it!!!

Jillian said...

(((Love)))

Lori said...

That sounds so great Jenny - I think you are a superiour woman and I can't even imagine being in your shoes. Keep going strong. you have three beautiful daughters depending on you.

Lyndsay said...

This makes my heart smile. I'm so happy for you!

One crazed mommy said...

Sooooo glad to see you truly happy! You deserve to be happy, and you deserve to be able to grieve. You can have both, and I'm glad to see you are okay with that! Hugs to you! :)
Jenn

Tammy said...

Happy Birthday Jenny! Wow, loved your post, and am soo happy to hear you are truly happy! What a blessing! Waiting patiently for those pictures! Got a sneak peek on Debbie's site, she is such a little doll, your baby girl that is. And little Miss Maggie is growing up soo fast! Hugs from Fort Worth!

Kimberly said...

The BEST post EVER! So happy for YOU! I hope you return back to this post whenever you need a reminder. You've come such a long way in all of those years. Still can't believe it's been that long that I've been following your "life". Thanks for letting us in and helping you to celebrate all the good years ahead. You truly deserve it.

♥Kelly♥ said...

So happy for you Jenny.

Angie said...

I don't know where to begin, so let me just say that I'm so happy to hear that you have found peace and happiness. What a journey your life has been. I can't tell you how grateful I feel that you've been so open about your life and the roller coaster rides your grief has taken you on along the way. Don't know if we'll ever meet in this lifetime, but you're an inspiration to me, and I will never, ever forget your precious Allie. I wish you & your family all the happiness in the world.

TheManager said...

I have followed your blog for years & I am so happy that you are feeling good again. I can not imagine what you have been through. You are amazing & I hope things keep looking up for you!!

Andersen Family said...

I first heard your story from babycenter. I've been following you ever since. At the time I had just had my first child. I was heart broken for you. My head could not go to where you were( not that it could anyway.) I remember feeling that losing a child has to be the single most awful thing in this world. In Feb of 2007 we welcomed our second child into this world, a girl. Jan 10th of 2010, Rylee took her last breath in our arms, just 3 weeks shy of her 3rd birthday. I see myself in this post. I am where you were. I'm so happy for you that you found the place that your in. I hope to be there one day too. Thanks for passing along hope.

Janet

Amy said...

You have no idea how much this post has helped me. I lost my grandma, mom and uncle within 15 months. It was awful and I couldn't seem to shake my depression. I'm happy to say that I am actually happy today.

timi68 said...

jenny, you don't know how happy it makes me that YOU'RE happy! I too have been following Allie's story since day one, and I always marvelled at how STRONG you were through all this. I truly wish you and your beautiful family nothing but happiness always! My cousin's husband was diagnosed with AML at 34 years old right around the same time Allie was. His doctors gave him a slim chance of surviving. He literally spent a year at Memorial Sloan Kettering going through tons of chemo and what have you. I'm happy to say, after nearly 8 years, he's CANCER FREE and he and my cousin just had a baby boy! He runs the NY marathon every year in honor of Allie (cause I talked about her all the time to them), and my aunt who is currently battling ovarian cancer.
Happy birthday Jenny and Katie! May all your dreams come true this year!
Love,
Timi

Robin said...

What an amazing blog entry. Your journey has been a long and hard one. A journey that most of us, thankfully, never have to take. You've allowed us to take it with you and to see that you are doing so well is simply amazing. I wish you all nothing but happiness in the future. All the best.

Christi J said...

I followed Allie's story in 2004. With a daughter a few months older than her, her story gripped my heart. My brother proudly wore her name as an honored teammate on his first Team In Training marathon back in 2005 (and he continues to work with TNT, now as a trainer, passionate about about raising money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society - I'm so proud to say he's probably raised at least $15,000 himself). It's been a few years since I've been to your blog, but was thinking about you tonight. While I know nothing could ever replace Allie in any way, I am so happy to see your BEAUTIFUL daughters. I just wanted to say hello and let you know that your amazing little girl touched so many, and will never be forgotten, even by people she never met. Wishing you the very best for 2011.

Emily said...

I'm one of those moms, too... one that has found a way to be happy and to still be a grieving mom. I read Allie's story as it happened and my heart broke for you, as my first daughter is about her age. Then, our third little girl passed away and I was able to empathize in a new way. You've done incredible things to honor your daughter & I think it's fantastic that you're doing things to honor her Mama now, too. So happy for your whole family & praying this new season is filled with joy and long awaited peace.

Amanda said...

Oh Jenny, said with a hug and a smile. You probably won't remember me but I followed Allie's story and did quite a few chats with the group. (My husband and I share your and Andrew's birthdays too. I always thought it was neat.)
Anywho, You were on my mind today. I have no idea why but I'm so glad. I'm so happy you are genuinely happy. I'm tearfully happy. Congratulations on the new baby, a beautiful Maggie, and a renewed life!

Melanie said...

Jenny, you popped up in my mind today and I had to come check on you and see how your family is doing. I followed Allie's story and shared in your grief in 2004. In June 2005 I had a baby girl and named her Allison. We also call her "Allie". I know my love for the name was developed out of my love for your angel. I talk about her sometimes when people ask why I chose her name. I've been in tears today going back through and re-reading old posts. That smile of hers really could light up a room! I know she's lighting up the faces of angels all around her today. You are so strong and amazing, and I'm so happy to see that you're able to really experience true joy in your heart after all you've endured. Sending prayers your way for even more sunshine, love and happiness in your world today.