Aug 11, 2013

Dust Bowl Side Show: Embraceable You and My Response

Dust Bowl Side Show: Embraceable You: I live and unconventional life.  Unconventional in the sense that I reside in the Midwest and I'm not married, I don't have children...

The above blog was written by youngest daughter, Carrie. She writes of affection, physical affection of hugging, touching, and kissing. She lives in Oklahoma and our oldest daughter, Dawn, Charlie and I live in Texas. Because her birth family lives 8 hours from her she has found "family" in friends where she lives. Carrie speaks of her ability to have physical contact with them in a manner she has not been able to with her dad and I.

She speaks that part of it may have been a result from trying to deal with the loss of her grandparents. Grief often can cause you to withdraw from those who you need to draw closest to. Pain puts up a barrier that we can't seem to climb over or break through.

It began with the loss of my mother to Alzheimer's. Emotionally my mother had left me, the family, five years before her death. We were erased from her brain by disease, but her actual death was no less painful. She was the first parent/grandparent to die. My sister Debby called me to tell me our mother wouldn't survive her bout of pneumonia and we headed to Missouri. I got to be by her side when death called her home, but she was in a coma by the time I got to the hospital so I never got to hear her speak again. I remember standing by the bed just wailing mama, mama, mama. She died on November 7, 2007

Her death began the chain of loss that came too fast and too tragically. It is no wonder Carrie didn't know what to do to comfort us. Charlie and I found it hard to comfort one another. In 2011 my father was standing at the mirror shaving when he had a heart attack and died instantly. The call from my sister, Sharon, telling me he was gone rocked me to the core. I remember being in the car and wailing, my Pappy, my pappy. We were blessed to have him for so long. He was 91 when he died in January of that year. Again, Carrie, had to make a trip to see family under tragic conditions. The heartbreak didn't even have a chance to begin any sort of healing when my father-in-law suffered a heart attack that took his life on February 24th, my birthday. I am so thankful Charlie was able to be there when his father died but Carrie nor Dawn was able to attend his funeral.

This April 5, 2013, we lost Charlie's mother, the last surviving parent/grandparent to a tragic accident. She was frail and in poor health, but we were struck speechless by the suddenness and manner of her death. It left siblings wounded with their claws out so there was little comfort from that front and Carrie and Dawn could do little more than watch and shrink into their own grief.

Since Charlie and I moved back to Texas in 2003 there has been so much trauma with his heart surgery, Dawn's surgeries including losing a kidney to cancer, and my severe car accident that left me injured and altered. Carrie was not able to be here for much of it to offer comfort and support. She had to do it from Oklahoma which I am sure added to what she feels is a failure to hug and comfort. You can't hold a phone to wipe tears or put your arms around a text. She turned to those around her for comfort. When we were finally able to see her after these events, it must have been awkward for her. Possibly consciously or unconsciously she questioned whether to discuss the trauma or just stay in the moment when she was with us.

As a family we have remained close, as close as physical distance can maintain. The three of us here miss Carrie so much. We try not to dwell on it, but we have our moments when it breaks us down. She is beautiful, intelligent and successful. She has climbed over some tall hurdles in her  own life that have left splinters. They are painful and difficult to remove, but she is working on it as the rest of us work on our own. When we are together next time we just need to let the barriers down we have built to deal with our pain and wrap our arms around one another to feel flesh and bone respond to touch which after all is one of the most powerful ways to heal there is.

We love you Carrie Danyelle, never doubt it and always know it is there even when we can't hold you in our arms.

MOM and Dad

Like Carrie I posted this intimate conversation in hopes it may help others who face the same problem. May all of us open our arms to one another.