Look Inside My Head 2014: Day 4

1) Post ten of any pictures currently on your hard drive that you think are self-expressive.
2) NO CAPTIONS!!! It must be like we’re speaking with images and we have to interpret your visual language just like we have to interpret your words.
3) They must ALREADY be on your hard drive – no googling or flickr! They have to have been saved to your folders sometime in the past. They must be something you’ve saved there because it resonated with you for some reason.
4) You do NOT have to answer any questions about any of your pictures if you don’t want to. You can make them as mysterious as you like. Or you can explain them away as much as you like.

badlands

World Horror Con, Grief, and White Rabbits

Vegas bunny

I’m leaving for World Horror Con in New Orleans, tomorrow. I’m going with part of my writer’s group and I’ve been hopeful about it for quite a while. It’s my first World Horror. And in NOLA! Woo!  On the other hand, I’ve been exceptionally sad for the last few months and I don’t know if I have the internal fortitude that I need. I want to be with people who love me, not strangers.

It’s my daughter’s second birthday, and I’ll miss it. Miss the party, miss the snuggles and celebration. And I’ll miss having somebody to cry with. For those of you who don’t know, I was carrying triplets and we lost two. Daisy before birth, and Seija after. It has been two years since I watched one of my little girls die. I’ve been dreading this anniversary with everything I have.

Grief is a funny thing. Some days we manage quite beautifully, and others…I thought it would be easier by now. That life would be easier. It isn’t. There are good days and bad days. But everybody expects a few months of grief and then complete healing, including me.  And life doesn’t stop to let you grieve, either. I’ve been walking around with a gigantic Fragile: Handle With Care sticker for a while, but there are still bumps and bruises that just come along. That’s life, yes? 🙂  We all know it. We all live it.

Vegas bunny

I live in Las Vegas, in the middle of the city. Three days ago, a white bunny appeared on my front lawn. It was the most breathtaking, magical thing. A thing of true beauty. White and sweet and somewhere that she completely shouldn’t be.  I saw her twice that day. Later that night, while folding laundry and watching true crime (as I am wont to do) a white bunny factored into the crime case. That was three white bunnies in one day.

I can’t tell you what that meant to me. It seemed like an omen of hope. Of good things. It filled my heart.

I saw her again, yesterday. Twice.

She’s here again today. That’s three days of hopeful white bunnies.

white rabbit

I’m very divided on what I think. I couldn’t tell you if I believe in signs or not. I’ll say no, then secretly think yes. I’ll say yes, and secretly think no. I’m a Pisces. It comes with the territory. 😛

But this? I choose to think yes. That Omen (which is what I named her) showed up to give me hope. The joy that she gave my children was indescribable. Mom! A bunny! At our house! I think it’s magic!

I’m ready to reboot. Head out to this conference and focus on writing for a while. Friends. Enjoy the city. Become inspired. Saturday, their birthday, the day I’m most afraid of, is full from top to bottom. I’m reading from Beautiful Sorrows. Doing a panel. Going to a Kaffeeklatsch with Ellen Datlow. Running pitches for two hours. Going to the Bram Stoker Awards banquet. And I’m wearing a really darling little dress that I bought because it just looked so happy.  I’ll try my hardest to make it A Day of Happy. If you’re there, won’t you join me?

Miss Murder Walks To The Grand Canyon While Pulling a Handcart. Fabulously.

I’ve been gone for quite a while.  I know that you were wondering where I went.

“What?”  You ask, blinking.  “You weren’t here?  I didn’t even realize!”

Wonder no longer, dear friend! For I have returned in triumph! And I have a story to tell.  With pictures.

“Um, yay?” You ask.

Yay indeed.

So I went to my parent’s house for a week and a half, which was awesome. It was before the fires started and now they’re breathing in ash and smoke every day, but thankfully they don’t seem to be in the fire’s path.  Then I went on a trek. In the wilderness.  For three days. In a prairie skirt.

“Why?” You ask, aghast.  And frankly, I don’t blame you. It’s crazy. It was crazy!

A group of people took some youth out in the middle of the desert to pull handcarts for 20 miles.  It was to remind us of our pioneer ancestors and to show the kiddos that they can do difficult things.  No telephones, no computers, no iPods.

It was hard. Hard as sin.  But the kids were amazing and most didn’t complain, although they limped out afterward with hurt hips and hairline fractures and sore knees.  We knew what exhaustion was.

Oh, and blisters.  Tons of blisters.

These are my Trek Feet.  I left with a nice pedicure and came home as rag-tag as  you can get.

But you know what what amazing?  The kids stepping up.  Hanging out with some pretty awesome youth.  We told ghost stories and made fun of each other and kept an eye out for snakes together.  And after walking for hours and hours one day, we staggered onto one of the most beautiful sights  I ever saw.

That, my friends, is the Grand Canyon behind us.

Cool experience.  I’m glad I went. But man oh man, I missed having an icy pop in hand and stilettos on my feet.

Winkin, Blinken, and Nod: The Baby Update

I’m telling you what this post is about in clear, bold letters so you can choose whether or not you wish to read it.  There’s some difficult news, but as always, there’s a thread of hope in there as well.

Most of you know that I was surprised and delighted to find out that we were expecting a baby. YAY! Then we discovered we were having triplets.  YAY, but WHA-?!  We soon found out that one of the triplets had passed away, and we’re now expecting twins. Although deeply saddened by the loss of our child, we’re still excited for the twins, and hoped both would be healthy.

Some things are not meant to be.  At my last appointment, we discovered that while one of the babies seems healthy and shockingly active (hello, Olympics!) the other one spends her time curled into a tiny ball.  (We don’t actually know gender yet,  but in my heart, this dear one is a baby girl.) It turns out that this baby has quite a bit of fluid on the brain, as well as too much fluid in the spine. The doctor, an extremely kind man, told me that this baby most likely won’t survive until birth, and if she does, she’ll probably only live a few hours.

I didn’t know how to take this, quite honestly.  After losing the first child, it didn’t even cross my mind that we could lose a second.  While I was still processing the new information, he informed me that the death of the second baby could cause my body to go into preterm labor, and we could perhaps lose the third.

Carrying triplets and then watching them disappear one by one seems too cruel to be real.  It’s been an extremely difficult couple of weeks, but I’ve determined that there are still two babies at this point, and the game is still going on.  While there is sorrow, there is still hope, and I choose to cling to it.  After all, it’s what has gotten me this far in life, and I have never regretted preparing for the worst while hoping for the best.

Today’s Thoughts on Williams Syndrome

Small Son’s test results came back, and his calcium is elevated.  Once upon a time this happened to us, and he descended into kidney failure because of it.  We’re hoping it can be changed with diet instead of drugs, and I’m keeping a diary of everything that he puts into his mouth.  It isn’t much.

Today he was supposed to go into the hospital for a sedated brain MRI, a renal ultrasound, and more lab work, but he caught a cold so we rescheduled it for next week.  Nerves devour me.  Will we find the answers that we need by looking into his brain? There is this feeling that I get whenever I sit down across from his doctors. It’s cautiously hopeful and laced with terror.  This is how I learned that I narrow my eyes when I’m listening intently.  I try not to do it anymore because the doctors don’t like it.  

Small Son’s school is trying to ship him to another school and place him in an autistic classroom there.  He doesn’t have autism.  His doctors and geneticist all agree that this would be detrimental to him.  His father and I feel the same way.  The school still pushes this recommendation, and I spent three hours in a meeting last week listening to their arguments.  Most of them were illogical.  I think it’s all about being right and getting rid of an intricate, challenging child.  I came home and my son kissed my cheek. I want to say, “How does it feel to be six years old and have people be afraid of you?”  Of course I don’t say this.  I usually never say anything.

Santa brought Small Son and Tiny Daughter a pair of Big Wheels for Christmas.  I sit on the back patio and watch them ride around.  Tiny Daughter chatters.  Small Son laughs.  I write everything down in a notebook, because suddenly it occurs to me that I should write about all of this.  It will be a book full of struggles and hope.  I’ll explain that the hardest part isn’t the medicine and therapies or even the hospital visits, but it’s the way that some people treat us.  I’ll explain the strength that I have discovered in humanity.  I’ll tell of the anger that is always right there under the surface, and how today’s cashier is lucky that I can control my temper so well.  I wonder how long I should wait until I write it, or if I should start now.  I believe in happy endings.