Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Road to Happiness

I am back at home and symptoms are largely under control. I tend to sleep a lot so I didn't get around to writing much today.

The kids were happy to have me back at home, especially Aidan. He was so worried that I was never coming back. Aidan and I spoke a little bit about death today -- its permanence mostly -- and I assured him that he could still have a happy life even if that life does not include my physical presence. I tried to use a metaphor. I explained that there were two different ways we use to go to the mall, one using the highway and one using back roads. I told him to think about the mall as happiness (ok, so it's a very capitalistic metaphor) and that there are many roads to happiness. He may have to shift paths when I die or rely on someone, like his dad or his sister, to steady him along the way. "But you will find happiness again," I promised.

He did not find my metaphor convincing so I just let him sob in my lap. The poor little guy is so consumed with my death, but he seems to be open about it with his friends and teachers. His teacher visited me tonight and told me how open he is with her and his classmates about my illness and hospitalization. I was so glad to hear that he is reaching out to others in his own way and that he has some really marvelous friends to depend on. Their 7-year old hearts seem very big! And we are blessed to have teachers who are so dedicated to shepherding both Amelia and Aidan through this difficult time.

In some ways its a privilege to die slowly. We have had so much time to adjust and prepare. Our friends, family, and neighbors have proven themselves to be a band of saints with seemingly bottomless wells of generosity, love, and kindness. Because of all these wonderful people I feel confident that Bill, Amelia and Aidan will not only survive my death but thrive despite it.

In some weird way I feel lucky.


Linda Summerfield Crispell said...

I am so happy to read that you are back home with your family. Aidan's ability to express his feelings openly to his Teacher and friends is a reflection of your excellent parenting.

Emilie said...

It is wonderful to know you are back home, Michelle.

I have been very blessed to have had the opportunity to take Aidan to Karate these past two Wednesdays. It turned out that Ryan was sick or had to be taken someplace else, so it was just Aidan, baby Kyla and I. Although MY heart was very heavy (for him), I did not let on. It was apparent that he was being a happy, spontaneous, articulate boy with a sometimes sly and dry sense of humor -- living in the moment.

I, too, was able to live in the moment, enjoying the rare opportunity to get to know him better. He is such a great kid. (Normally, I am around Aidan when our two boys are together -- and it's entirely different dynamic.)

Eric, Ryan and I are with you and your family in heart and thought every day.

Ana's World said...

God bless you! Ana

yoly Tockman said...

Dear Michelle,

I just read your last 3 entries, they made me happy and sad at the same time....I have you on my mind at the end of the night and I check to make sure that you are okay or at least "getting by". This is the first blog I have ever read and I find myself visiting you for a few hours every chance that I get. I do enjoy your stories and your insights into this so called life.......

I am very happy to hear that you are at home and will get to be with the kids more, they will enjoy having you around the house even if you are just resting, they still need their mommy close by.

It is wonderful that you have such a great "support group" I think your support group is just giving you back what they have received from you in all the previous years. Their love, generosity and support is just a reflection of you and the seeds that you have planted. That says about the type of person that you are... You have a lot to be PROUD of...

Have a restful night... Yoly

Samaire Anson said...

i'm glad that you're home.

thinking of you.


Willamette Mom said...

Dear Michelle,

We've never met, but I came across your blog somehow a month or so ago and have been reading it ever since. I wanted you to know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and Bill and Amelia and Aidan.

God bless you!
Teresa (a fellow mom in Oregon)

Frances said...

Hi Michele, There is a book called, Love Is A Mixed Tape that if you get a chance you could read. It is a beautiful story about love and loss. I thought of it when you wrote about sharing your mixed tape with Bill. I can't thank you enough for all that your honest and sacred approach that you have towards life has helped me. My mother died when I was two and I have no memories of her. As a result, I have SEARCHED for ANYTHING that was hers to hold on to. You are giving all of those beautiful gifts to your kids every day and I just know how much all of that will mean to them as they grow up. I am glad that you are home again!

bigbrother said...

I am thinking about you all day long.Each morning I go to my little shrine and pray for you. This a has tested my faith. My mind is able to let you go but my heart cannot.You are in all our prayers. Love Anthony, Lisa and Alyssa

JC Heery said...

Hi Michelle, So glad to hear you are back at home. I can relate a little bit to Aidan's fears about you not coming home through Sean's experience. His mom was diagnosed in Feb 1971 and died in June 1971--it was a quick illness and two weeks before she died she was admitted to the hospital. Sean never saw her again. I see Sean in Aidan's fears and sadness and yet, I realize how much different Aidan's experience has been--no less awful and heart wrenching but your ability to be so open with him will allow him to handle his grief openly and maybe without limits. I hope you are comfortable back in your own space and you are able to remain there surrounded by all the loving support you write of from Bill, Amelia, Aidan and all your wonderful family, friends and neighbors. Although the image of Natalie Wood's face as the character in "Miracle on 34th St" comes to mind as I read your blogs...wondering still about a heaven...I believe God is showing you His infinite love and grace through those who love and support you. With much love...Jennifer

Terri said...

Privileged, lucky.....yes WE are. I've read and reread your blogs daily. I look forward to reading something-- anything from you. I've been afraid to look the past few days for fear of seeing nothing. But through this cyberworld we share, I like so many others will always remember and cherish you, your family and your words. I do believe you'll still 'be' here with your loved ones and that there is a heaven. If not, I've sure spent alot of time talking to air ;) And apparently we share the 'panda' in common since it dawned on me that you're a fellow NA alumnae(class of 78)! I think we got extra points with the 'Big Guy' for going there LOL
With love and prayers,
Terri and family

Bird Spot said...

I have to be honest, when I begin reading one of your posts that mentions Aidan and his struggles to understand the permanence of your death, I often don't have the courage to keep reading b/c of the sadness I feel for your little boy. I think my heart is especially heavy for him b/c from what I've read, he's a lot like my tender and challenging little boy. Johnny (5 yrs. old) has been saying for about a year, "I hope our whole family dies at the same time so we can all go to Heaven together." He then seems to convince himself that if I died first but Daddy were still here on Earth, it'd be ok. As much as it hurts to think about Aidan sobbing now, knowing you're going to die, and then after you have died, sobbing is ok.

Sobbing will be but part of his life. "Happy, spontaneous, articulate, and sense of humor" will also be parts of his life. Your courage has helped me so much in ways that haven't even been revealed yet.

I have so much love for you and your family and I deeply believe that even though they'll have (we blog readers will too) moments of not being ok because you've left the physical Earth, because of you, in the end, we'll all be ok.

Anonymous said...

This is my first visit to your blog and I am so sorry to read what you are going through... my children's dad is experiencing something similar (hospitalized for the last month, losing a battle with cancer) His medications prevent him from being able to express these sentiments to the kids, although I know he would if he could so thank you for putting it down in this blog, I know it will help them to see it. God bless you ♥