Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas 2012- A Long Journey Worthwhile

It is Christmas Morning 2012 and the girls are sleeping soundly because it is still only 3:45 am. I have tossed and turned all night long and can’t seem to rest completely. I am eager to see how the girls react not only to their Santa gift but also to their gift from me. I probably did the single mother guilt overboard gift giving this year as I purchased them both a mini iPad. However, they both know how to use them and they both use mine and fight over using mine so I figured I might as well get them one their size and let them use it for their benefit. I put games and activities appropriate for each child on their tablet. They will be so excited in the morning. I also bought mom and dad their very own iPad this year and I pray they also enjoy theirs. For mamaw she is going to be thrilled with her blanket with all the grandchildren’s names and our family names on it. She will enjoy tremendously the thought it took behind such a gift. She will also enjoy just watching the girls, as their granny, she is thrilled, just to be a part of their lives and I am blessed to still have her around.
            My parents opened their “stocking bag” last night and we played the first game of Deluxe Scrabble together. It was a lot of fun. Mom beat me by one silly point. Yet, she still won fair and square. Dad on the other hand tries his best to make words that are slang sound like real words just to make his words fit on the board, it is too cute to watch and listen to him try and elicit and reason behind his thought process. Regardless, it was fun just playing a game with my parents like we did back a long time ago when I was a child still at home. I miss those days.
            We had no trouble convincing the children to go to bed because they were so tired and they wanted Santa to come on to the house quickly. My dad even fibbed and told them he saw on the radar that Santa was in Virginia headed towards Raleigh and then Greensboro. The girls were familiar with the location of Raleigh and so they quickly didn’t argue and fell fast asleep. I was able to finish their stockings and prepare their Santa gifts quickly. Santa brought them name puzzles, books with their own bear and name, sleep light pillows, and a Karaoke machine. I think I am most excited to see them use the Karaoke machine myself.
            I realize this is the 2nd Christmas we have spent the night with mom and dad. This year feels different, it feels better. I am less stressed and less emotional at this very moment. Of course that can all change in a matter of minutes but last year I was still crying constantly. I am so thankful to feel some release. I still miss the presence of Dennis on these big holidays and can’t help but think of the impact it has on the children but I stand on the promises of God that he is our Father and He will never forsake us and that maybe, just maybe, Dennis regrets his decision and he is spending this Christmas in tears wishing he could come home. 
It amazes me how far along this journey we have come as a family of three but we haven’t done it alone. In fact, we aren’t a family of three anymore. We are a mom, two little girls and a huge church family, friends, and grandparents that support us financially, spiritually, emotionally, and physically the past year and a half. My girls have grown to be loved and nurtured by so many people and some even more so than myself. I have been nurtured and learned from so many women and men of God as well. My life has forever been changed.
The past year and a half I have sought out ways to punish myself for not being a good mother, for not being a wife that could intercede on behalf of Dennis and prevent the decision he made, for not being the teacher everyone expected me, for not being emotionally strong as I wanted and others expected from me after a period of grieving. I began self-injurious behaviors, attempted suicide, isolation, entered deep depression, and suffered severe panic and anxiety attacks. Some of these symptoms still plague me today but they do not define who I am. Why? Because who I am is a child of God and I am His creation. He made me wonderfully and beautiful. He doesn’t wish for me to harm myself anymore. He has plans for me to prosper (Jer 29:11). He wants me to simply rely on Him for the strength I need to cope with the panic, anxiety and depression that I face as a result of my diagnosis of a mental illness. He doesn’t wish that this keep me from sharing His word or reaching women with my story.
Instead, God has given me a clear vision of a path that shows one day I will share this painful yet beautiful journey of challenges that changed my life forever with many women so that they may also be blessed and understand that they too can be forgiven and live through tragedies that life brings their way. Until then, I wait for the whisper of the Holy Spirit to speak to me, I soak up His word like a sponge, I follow doctor orders while on medical leave of absence, I attend counseling sessions for help with my own emotional well-being, and I work hard to be the best mom that God would have me to be for my little girls. I want to be the best Jesus they ever see this side of heaven. 

Disney World

December 7th-10th we went with our good friends the Richardsons' to Disney World. We flew and stayed at the Grand Floridian Hotel on site. It was a great time for all. It was the girls first time ever and my 2nd time. We met princesses and characters at breakfast meals, we met Minnie Mouse and saw Fantasmic show, we saw Belle at her play and in person, the girls dressed as Belle at the princess breakfast, they rode rides, it was a blast for all. We are already saving to go again in 3 years. Pictures to come soon.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A New Year Has Begun

         A new school year that is! Kaitlyn and I began a few weeks ago. Teacher workdays began Aug 20th and Kaitlyn's first day of 2nd grade was August 27th! Yes, I can't believe it. Seems like yesterday I was blogging about her first day of Pre-K and here I am telling you she is a big 2nd grader walking down the hall all by herself not holding my hand, waving good-bye and if I'm lucky I get a sweet hug and kiss as she passes by me every now and then. Kyleigh began her 2nd year at Wee School, it is a 1/2 day program for preschoolers. She loves it there. She is 3 1/2 so she is in the 3 year old Dragonflies Classroom. She just started this week September 4th. She talks about Ms. Julie non-stop so that must be a good thing.
        We had a wonderful nanny and friend, Becca, all summer long that had to leave  us to go corporate for health benefits. She is still our friend but not our nanny. We were sad and everyone, including Becca (although she might not admit it) cried her last day. CPS has released weekday restrictions and that day was a weepy one too because we had grown attached to Kathy White staying the night with us. She was a great playmate and friend for the girls and a wonderful role model and night time talk companion for myself. We all cried that night as well, even Kathy or as Kyleigh says in her southern speech impediment Kafy Whiii---iiit--te.
        We were so blessed that Kathy White and DayStar worked to help us find a replacement nanny or should I say nannies for the girls right away. So now we have Ms D or (Deana) for Kyleigh in the mornings/daytime for Kyleigh and Ms. Becca aka to the girls as "Becca-Becca" for Kaitlyn and Kyleigh for afternoon car rider line and evening help at the house for me. It has been great to have the extra set of hands. Both nannies have a loving touch with children and my kids seem to have already given them the thumbs up.
        I am teaching Resource EC Special Education this year and I absolute am loving the new change in positions. The children are great and they seem to just soak up the attention they get from me and my intern. They really want to learn and that makes me happy. I enjoy going into the classrooms for inclusion and helping the teachers as well.
It is a win-win for all.
        Currently we wait for an update on the girls eyes as they have a follow-up appointment coming soon. Until then, keep thinking of us in your prayer time.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Kaitlyn's Eye

Kailtyn had surgery to implant a glaucomic shunt in her left eye on Wed, August 8th at Duke Eye center. She had Dr. M a retina specialists and Dr. Freedman the glaucomic specialists working together as a team. It was the same procedure Kyleigh had in February of 2011. Kaitlyn went back into the Operating Room like a champion and came out in Recovery the same way. She was so brave and I was so very proud of her. She experience an unusual amount of pain in comparison to her sister. However they shared the similar experience of nausea and vomiting after waking from the anesthesia. Thankfully I had Kathy White from DayStar, our children's director, with us because I do NOT handle vomit at all. Kaitlyn returned for post op the next day and found she had a corneal scratch the size of an adult contact lens. OUCH! No wonder she was in such pain. We were doing tylenol round the clock and continued this along with adding a gel-like lubricating eye drop to the regiment of already 8 eye drops a day to the left eye.
Friday morning she awoke and her eye was hurting worse and she it was not looking better. In fact, it looked worse and the lashes had goopy gross mucus on them. Not a good sign. So we call the doctors and you guessed it, we head to Duke for an afternoon appointment and see the fellow as Dr. Freedman is in surgery all day. The decision is made that she is probably having irritation from the lens and surgery itself. Her eye is probably extra lubricating and trying to force out what it sees as a foreign object - the band aid contact lens being used to repair the scratch. So they said to not worry and continue what we are doing and come back Monday.
     Except, she awoke Saturday morning and after crying through the night in her sleep she literally had her eye glued shut from the goop this time and her eye was more red and irritated. I immediate send an email and call the doctor. She calls back and asks me to send a picture of the eye. Then she said to wait and take another picture later in the day and if it doesn't look better she wants to see us at the emergency room that day at Duke. I was praying hard that we would avoid this fourth visit down the highway to Durham and praying that we could avoid an ER visit. When I sent the second picture the doctor was convinced that the eye was not infected but may be reacting to one of the drops. We stopped using one of the suspicious eye drops that could be causing an allergic reaction. We were using lubricant gel drops about every 30 minutes to an hour. We increased the tylenol to 3 chewables every 4 hours to manage the pain.
       Sunday morning, the eye has less goop but still complaining of pain and still has drainage. Unfortunately or fortunately, however you see it the contact lens came out today. Bad news is it may have come out too soon. Good news is they were thinking of taking it out tomorrow and this is one less traumatic event that the doctor will have to do to her in the office. However, this does mean I will have to add in another step of using an ointment under her eyelids tonight which is not an easy task as I can't let the tip touch her eye and she has to remain very still.
       At this time, based on Friday's visit, Kaitlyn has NO vision in her left eye. We are praying with expectancy that she will have a total healing and restored vision and lowered eye pressure in this eye quickly. Tomorrow, Monday, August 13th is another post op visit. Stay tuned for more updates.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Embracing Change...isn't an easy road

I recently made a very poor decision that I didn't think I was worthy to exist and be a mom anymore. Thankfully God saw differently. I was given the opportunity to attend His High Places again in Boone, NC for a full week of one- on- one counseling. The focus was where was all my anger coming from, what scared me so much about parenthood as a single mom, self doubt, and trusting God. My counselor was Natalie again and she is truly a gift of God sent to heal hearts. She helped me identify the roots of my anger and I found myself literally at the feet of Jesus cross and crying out for Him to heal me of this anger, to sever this sin so that it may not continue as a generational root into my children. I wantmy kids to see Jesus in me and love Christ and look back and say they knew they were loved by a Heavenly Father and Earthly Mother. I went on a nature walk with Natalie which turned into a trust walk with God. Trusting he would take care of us going down and back up from the blue hole. We took some beautiful pictures and saw some more angel rays. My confidence continued to grow as I spent time talking, reading, singing, and dancing through the word of God. Wednesday I drove back to Greensboro just to see an oncologist and get the best news that I am CANCER FREE! I was elated. The drive was well worth the good news. I returned the same evening humbled that God had once again spared me. By Friday, I had a plan for how I was ready to return hom a stronger mom and ready to unify as a family of 3. Only one problem, I am still under restriction of Child Family Services temporarily. I understand it is to keep my kids safe. I would never hurt them but the concern was I may hurt myself and they would be home alone. The good news is I have been freedom in Christ that the Shackles of Death have been removed from my feet and hands and I can dance and embrace life. I may never do it perfectly but I am ready to try and be the mom God sees and has in store for me. I think he has so much in store for me, more than I can even dream. I even feel a pull from the Holy Spirit that soon I may be on. A whole new path separate from this current one I am traveling.  The other gift God gaveme through this tragedy is He allowed me to release and truly forgive Dennis for suicide. For the first time I truly felt what it was like to be in that moment of darkness and pit and unable to turn around. I sympathize with him. I don't see him as selfish at all. I don't care what others say. I don't think he was cowardly. I think he was convinced by lies it was best. He will be missed but I have released him- soul, mind and body. He will always be my children's father and my love. But I have the freedom to move forward and that adds peace to my life. If God sees one day to send someone our way I will be very cautious but not resistant because I have released Dennis to Him. For now, my goal is to strengthen and unify the three of us as a family. Please join me in prayer that were success at this new journey now that my heart is ready.
Thank you to all who have supported in prayer, visits, calls, cards, child care, encouraging words, those that have withheld judgment, and those that continue to share life with us in this crazy life.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cute Sayings

Lately I have been trying to identify cute sayings to remember and record from the girls.
Today was a perfect example. Kyleigh has really blossomed with her vocabulary but she doesn't always speak it in the correct way. Anyways, this morning I was taking the trash to the curb and my shadow was in the playroom eating but she realized I was not in the house. She all of a sudden came to the outside door and said, "my mommy, where are you?". I said, "I am right here". She replied, "oh tank goodness, I wuz wooking for woo everywhere". I thought that was so cute and funny. Then she proceeded to follow me around the house the entire morning until Ms. Becca arrived.

The other cute thing is between her and Kaitlyn-
Kaitlyn will you be my baby?
No, not right now Kyleigh.
Ugh...mommy, Aitlyn on't be my baby!

Kait...lyn.....do woo on't to be my dog?


Imaginations! Yes, my kids are finally delving into the world of make believe play. It is so funny.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Lows, highs, and in Betweens

So today and pretty much this weekend I have spent time on the wheel of grief stuck in sad and angry. I reached out for support and found I was once again alone. That made it ten times worse. So, I decided to try and avoid the disappointment and ignore the hurt and pretend my life was perfect. It didn't work because I don't have a good poker face and I have decided wearing masks are for fake people. Thankfully, a good friend stopped by tonight with her daughter. Her daughter entertained my girls and Icely and I talked. I finally released bent up tears from the week. Icely prayed for me and the weight of the weekend lifted from my shoulders momentarily. I know this is just a season. I also know that this is a cycle and it is part of my life forever. I have no choice but to face it. I just need people willing, like Icely, to face it with me in the trenches- tears, snot and all.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

All Those with an opinion....Please rise!

Here's your chance.... You have something to say to me but don't want to say it to my face because you think it will hurt me or anger me, then Email me at mommy2kaitlyn726@yahoo.com or post comment on this spot.

Rumor has it that someone thinks the following:

You think it is easy to be me.
You think I should be well on my way to a new life by now.
The journey of grief should be over.
You could do my life better.
What it is it? You lost a family member too so you know how this feels----wait was it a spouse----wait....did they commit suicide....wait....did you find that person dead?

Be careful how you respond because words are powerful. Words are very powerful.

Pass no judgment that you are not ready to hear a response back from me.

No Migraine Here Tonight

Awesome! An entire day!!!! Booyah!!!!

A Not So Filtered Letter to Dennis

               So I wrote Dennis another letter today from the heart but it wasn't so filtered this time. Nope, I was pretty straight forward and angry with him. It was a lot about abandonment. Not just by him, but I blamed him for the abandonment of all the people that call me "friend". Yet day in and day out I sit by the phone that doesn't ring or barely a text comes through. Day in and day out I am home with my two children and often my only adult conversation is with my very funny nanny Becca who has become more of a friend than a worker, counselor or my parents. Church people have become "obligated friends" in that they check on me out of true Christian heart. Co-workers are caring but they are co-workers. College friends are too busy or live too far away. My closest friends say they just don't know what to say and it's awkward because of my anger, depression and pain.
               So my letter to Dennis was blaming him because I have every right to be ANGRY, DEPRESSED and in PAIN but I also have every right to have GIRL FRIENDS to celebrate LIFE with. GIRL FRIENDS that can separate from their spouses and children and have fun with me. GIRL FRIENDS that can invite me and the girls to be a part of their daily lives because they truly love us. So basically, I told Dennis while he was up there on the fluffy cloud to make sure he sent me some real honest to goodness women that can withstand the storms of life with me because it isn't a bed of roses around here. Send me women that can laugh with me over stupid stuff, go out and enjoy pedicures, movies, shopping, eating with and without kids, invite us over for play dates and truly be available in the heat of the moment.
              I can no longer go through this life, 14 months later, being the lonely widow. It isn't fair, I didn't ask for it. I still have hope and joy in my life and I want badly to share this with friends but I look around and I find prayer friends, bible study friends, "hi, how are you friends", let's meet at the park every blue moon friends and people that love me but no one really that wants to or can walk my new journey side by side. This breaks my heart and the letter you are reading is much more filtered than the one he received. I long for friendships. I need it for my next step in healing. Maybe it will happen soon or maybe it will take more time but I have learned that patience isn't a virtue that I hold in my basket of gifts.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Sneak Peak into Chapter One...Flash Back

My hand went to the garage door button immediately which caused it to close (it had been cracked) and my eyes went to the green hose that was duct taped to the pipe of his truck and running to the window of the driver side. I could see his head laid back on the head rest. I gasp for air. I hit the garage door button again while simultaneously calling 911. I begin screaming my address into the phone “HELP….6603 Highland Oak Drive….6603 Highland Oak Drive…HELP….Please someone help me…my husband is trying to kill himself….6603 Highland Oak Drive…..I need an ambulance NOW!!!!!”. At the same time I have run into the middle of the street in my pjs and barefeet screaming for “Help!!!” and then I run across to Bobby and Janet’s home and bang on their door and ring the bell while still yelling at 911 operator to help me. Janet answers with a panic look. Bobby asks me what is it? I point to the house, I scream, “He’s killing himself…stop him” “HELP ME”. I throw the phone at Janet and run back across to my neighbor the fireman and ring his doorbell and start yelling for him to come help too. His wife answers. I’m about to pass out.
 I can’t believe this is happening right now. This isn’t happening right now. What is happening right now? Someone please wake me up from this! 

Book Update

So with much thought I have decided "The Story of My Life" is lacking much detail. I have decided to continue editing and adding more to my book for now. I recently wrote a  dedication page. In some ways, writing brings healing for me. In other ways, it brings out emotions that force me to deal with things that have been pushed way down deep inside. Either way, I am thankful I have the gift of writing and I pray one day it will be published and used to help someone else that needs hope and encouragement.

Here's a sneak peak to my opening line:

             How can life start over? At age 33 I am asking myself this very question. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Can you SE"E" it now?

            Unfortunately for my sweet little girls, the answer today at Duke was not always a resounding "YES I CAN".
             Kyleigh was struggling to see out of her left eye which is her strongest and we found out that the pressure in this eye is up (glaucoma pressure that is on the optic nerve: nerve in which we use to see). Even though they test Kyleigh using preschool pictures she could see close up but far away she could not tell pictures at even a 300 or 400 scope with her left eye. The pressure for Kyleigh normally runs in the low teens and last visit it was low 20's, today it was high 20's. Therefore, Dr. Freedman found it best we begin her on an eyedrop routine to start interference before we have the pressure go much higher.
             Kaitlyn has been on the fence the past several visits with both the change in her right eye growth in the cataract and glaucomic pressure in her left eye. This time the pressure in her left eye was way up in the upper 30's. A good pressure is around 10 give or take a few numbers. So upper 30s is scary. Dr. Freedman said it has come to the point we have to intervene and do something with the left eye, even though we know she uses it very little for vision we need to save the optic nerve as best we can because we are looking to have to do surgery to remove the cataract from the right eye in the near future.  So we are waiting for them to call us but she will be scheduled sometime in August for surgery before school starts and like Kyleigh it is about a 3 week healing process afterwards with slowly weaning off the patch and eye drops.
             So you know what that means--
 1- Pray for Kaitlyn because she heard surgery and got really scared.
2- Pray for me because the last surgery Dennis was with me as Kyleigh went back
3- We have one month to squeeze out ALL the summer fun we can so LET's do this thing!
4- Pray I have the strength to keep up with my two girls that always have the energy to keep going and going and going everyday no matter what so we can enjoy the month of July together!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Still a Day to Celebrate

          So today I would be celebrating 11 years of blissful marriage with my best friend Dennis Foster, Jr. However, we all know that isn't possible today. So instead of focusing on the negative of today I am choosing to look on the brighter side. You see this past week, and several weeks I have been battling the worst headaches and symptoms. I underwent an angiogram and MRI in one week, experienced stroke like symptoms including paralysis of one side of the body, weakness, dizziness, nausea and severe headache several times in the past weeks. I was expecting and preparing for the worst diagnosis yesterday from my doctor and wondering how I was going to plan the life of my children without me being in the plan. Great news---I didn't have to work on that plan. The MRI was clear and the diagnosis was only complicated migraines. Yes, that means I will still face days of weird symptoms and lots of pain but I am going to LIVE and I will LIVE with my children. That makes me HAPPY :)!!!!
          So today, I celebrate LIFE! The opportunity to live my life with my children. Even when they throw tantrums in public. Even when they act out for what seems to be no apparent reason. Even when I can't understand them, I choose to celebrate that I have this day to be alive and be with my girls. They are precious to me. They are mine. They are part of their father, my best friend that I still cherish. They love to linger by my side at all times. Today, on June 23, 2012 I celebrate that we are still a family and we are making it one day at a time by the grace of God.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Angiogram and No answers

         On June 19, 2012 I entered Moses Cone Short Stay for my follow up angiogram to the repair of aneurysm surgery from last year as well as to maybe find answers to why I was having syncope episodes with headaches, dizziness, low blood pressure, and sometimes facial asymmetry. During the angiogram I was supposed to be placed under twilight anesthesia so that I could participate in breathing in and out and answering questions for the surgeon but not aware of the pain. Unfortunate for me, this time I was more aware of every single part of the procedure. I remember everything from the prep work of the sticky mat they placed over my pelvic area after washing me with ice cold Betadine liquid. Then the doctor made sure he could feel my pulse at the pelvic bone when the next thing I know I feel searing pain stabbing me. No, it wasn't him cutting me but he was definitely placing a long needle into my pelvic area to numb the zone. However, I had yet to receive any medicine via IV to help me zone out of the room into "I don't care what you do to me now world". I was not a happy patient and the entire time I was praying, "God please make me brave", "God be with me right now". Then the famous words of "Please pass me the ... " ....

         All I could think was "Dear God, please let that numbing medicine have worked because I do not want to feel him cutting me.". Thankfully all I felt was a lot of pressure and the actual squirting of my blood being released. (TMI - sorry). Even the doctor squealed and said give me some gauze for this fountain! It was like I was stuck in some cartoon. I couldn't believe I could hear and feel every single thing. The table was cold, the room was freezing, the tube entering my leg was stuck at one point and the doctor told me to relax and it would be a lot of pressure. Then I feel the tube continue up past my upper body and then to my ear lobe. I was feeling a little weird by now but still not "twilight". Every now and then he would tell me to hold my breath and he would release the dye into the tube and scope his camera around. The dye was warm and almost hot at times. It felt extremely strange. Afterwards, I was once again amazed that they had gone from my leg to my brain and used a camera and dye to view my arteries. Wow! Technology has come a long way and is still progressing. The great news was that I was aneurysm FREE! My previous ones are still repaired and no new ones exist!! So relieved!!

         However, this left me with so many questions. Why was I passing out with headaches and having symptoms similar to those when I did have an aneurysm? Why did I have facial asymmetry on Monday on the EMS ride to the hospital? Why do I feel poorly and weak afterwards? Then once home on Tuesday evening after the procedure I had another episode where my face went numb on the right side. Wednesday evening it occurred again where I couldn't smile but on the left side of my face and it lasted less than five minutes. It was really starting to freak me out. We called the on call doctor but they said since it had recovered itself to just follow up with my medical doctor. I saw my medical doctor today and she wanted me to follow up with Tonuzi my neurologist which I had already scheduled to do so for this Friday. He is very concerned about the drooping mouth and paralysis of the face with headaches and has ordered an MRI scan for Friday. I am not sure if this test will give me answers either.

         What I do know is I don't like uncertainty. I don't like not knowing the outcome of my health. I can't drive until we know I am safe at not passing out anymore. I am back at being dependent on others to care for me and my girls when I had worked so hard to be independent and strong. I am weary of fighting the battle. I have several friends that have been so kind and helpful these past few days and I am leaning on them and my faith to keep me going right now. There has to be an answer and I need doctors to stop guessing and start helping me so that I can start helping myself and being a mom again and enjoying our summer vacation.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Status Updates or Not?

           I made the decision to remove my face book account completely tonight. Not because I want to be completely removed from family and friends that live far away. But because I was tired of the I will read and write a post because it is convenient but it is too hard to actual show up and be a real friend. I need real friends. I have found that real friends exist whether I check face book or not. I have had some rough days the past several weeks. I have had prayer warriors, friends calling, friends texting, people mowing my grass for free, hanging curtains, making sure my kids were okay, and so many other amazing things without me even having to ask or come up with the list of "here is what I need". I always hated that, "what do you need?" question because I never knew what I needed until the last minute and people are human and can't physically change their timeline to meet your last minute needs. However, I also know that posting status updates and reading comments or waiting patiently hoping friends will give you reassurance to prayer request or status updates that to you are so important seem now so trivial. If I want encouragement from my friends, I can call them. Most likely they are the ones walking with me daily through the good and bad of life anyways so they know what I am facing and they don't need to read it on Face book status updates. I read recently on a post from Proverbs31.org site called A Widow's Might that

Most widows lose 75% of the friendships they had before their loss.- source unknown
Wow! That statistic blew my mind at first. Then I kept reading on through the post to find out the following--- 
First, that this is normal.Friends that love to be the helper may not have the maturity to stick with you when you climb out of your grieving hole. 
Second, that you can heal and forgive those who scatter. Your friend may simply not be up for the job during this season due to their own life problems and you can't be a good friend right now to help them with their life problem so you both go different directions. 
And third, that you can only heal and forgive when you can truly embrace your life as your own. When you’ve gone through such a loss you see life differently.  You’re not trying to make the perfect friend anymore.  You know to be open to loving people where they are, and accepting love how it comes.
So all this got me to thinking, is Face book really the avenue I want to use to continue to develop and cultivate my real friendships. Sure it is cool to log on and see pictures and read status updates and hit the like button. But, what did I do before Facebook? Oh, that's right, I took the time to invest in calling, emailing, texting, writing my friends and making time to spend "real life" time with them. I was part of their daily lives. I knew their struggles and celebrations and they knew mine. I want to get back to that place where Facebook isn't the only avenue that keeps me connected to REAL HONEST relationships. Because in reality, I believe Facebook has hindered me and allowed me to hold on to "friends" that should have been "de-friended" a long time ago but I felt like I just couldn't hit that button. Now, all 159 friends left on the profile page and 408 on the Support for Crystal page will have to decide if they want to keep in contact with me the old fashioned way via email at mommy2kaitlyn726@yahoo.com or phone or snail mail or text or at church or playdates, etc. Either way, it will take hard work on both ends, mine and yours to stay truly connected. Are you up for the challenge? I hope so. If not, maybe we will cross paths again when you are ready. 
Crystal Foster 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

My Book

I have finished my book -- my story---- all 26 chapters...now I need to figure out how to edit and publish it. Any ideas????

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Longest Limo Ride and Most Somber

A year ago today two long black limos pulled up in front of my home and escorted my family into them one at a time. We drove to the funeral home early that morning to view the body of my husband before his cremation. I was the first to get to spend time with him in his room alone. He was dressed in one of his finest dress suits and his favorite Snoopy tie. He had that smirky "April fools" grin on his face. He still looked like my Dennis yet so still. I was extremely numb at first. I stood just looking at him while tears streamed down my face. Then I reached to touch him and found he was so cold. Who knew they had kept him frozen? I didn't realize that was part of the process. He had his wedding band on and they were going to remove it before the actual cremation later in the day. It only took me a few minutes before I was able to finally start talking to him. I actually had a full on one way conversation with him. I yelled and screamed and whispered and cried and asked so many questions, of course he didn't respond. It was more for me to just get it out of my heart. I was so broken. I walked out and into the arms of my brother and father. I sent my mother in law in to see him next.
          It didn't take long for the wailing and screams and cries of loved ones to take over the entire hall. I couldn't handle the emotions of every one else so I left the hall for a time. One by one the family members entered in to see him one last time and say their goodbyes. Then we loaded back up and went home for a time period of lunch and rest. Of course, I wasn't hungry. It seemed I couldn't eat during those days. My appetite for food had shut completely down.
          We were scheduled to receive friends and family at DayStar church prior to the Memorial Service at Grimsley High School. In preparation for the reception we were provided dinner for immediate family in the dining hall. I tried to eat. The girls did attend this event. Once we finished eating I took Kaitlyn to see the flowers they purchased for Daddy and the slideshow into the church sanctuary. It was a very somber occasion. Kaitlyn handled it well at first and then she began to weep and cry for her Daddy so we quickly left the room to see her sister and the rest of the family. The girls went to be with our children's minister and to our home since the service was going to be late.
          The receiving line at the church seemed to linger on forever. There were so many faces. Some I knew and some I didn't but it didn't matter. They were amazing and loving. So many hugs and tears. I was first in line and then my mother in law. At times we had to sit down because it became so overwhelming. After a while the funeral director had to turn people away and send them to Grimsley so that we could be on time for service. We loaded back into the limo and drove across the street in drizzling rain. My heart seemed to stop beating for a moment.
          I walked down the aisle of that long corridor into the Grimsley High School auditorium with music playing and almost 1800 guests standing while my brother held me tight. I think he practically carried me up that aisle that day. I sat down and thought to myself, this isn't happening, I can't really be here right now, on this day, May 17th 2011. My husband, Dennis J Foster, Jr isn't really on that slideshow picture screen right now and this isn't a service to honor his life because he can't be dead. The song "It is well with my soul" began to play after the words of wisdom were shared by friends and prayer and slideshow. I cried and weeped and held onto my brother. I looked about and saw all the faces of the auditorium. I was so overwhelmed with the support of people in the room.
        It is a year later, I know that some of the same people in that room still miss Dennis and love him. I know that my heart is still broken and being put together piece by piece. We are still healing, the girls and I. It is a long and steady process. It is a healing process that has been compared to that of a burned victim that has to scrub the burn occasionally so that it will keep healing or it will set up infection underneath. This is so hard. It is definitely the hardest thing I have endured in my life. That limo ride was not one of fond memories. It is one I wish to forget among many from the year of 2011.
        Your prayers and love are still needed.
Still leaning on God's promise of Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, "plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans for hope and a future".

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Longest Day of Year

Today has been another long day --- seems like May 13th just drags on and on forever when all I want is for it to be over--- I was so hoping it was all just a nightmare ...a bad movie that I was watching and finally turned off and would find Dennis beside me today all along...but instead one year later I put my girls to bed crying again, I lay down alone with tears streaming, and I wish my life hadn't changed so drastically. It feels as if I am
watching a movie of someone else's life on a movie and it is terrible. I feel sick for the
main character, I want to rush in and rescue her but I don't know how. I keep thinking, I'm so glad that isn't me. And then I come back to reality and realize, it isn't a movie...it's my life and I"m living it. Unlike others that have spouses that travel occasionally and find themselves struggling to do it alone for a while, I find myself struggling daily for the
rest of my life and this was not my choice. I never married and brought children into this
world knowing that my husband would one day check out and choose suicide over life. It's not like he chose a career that takes him away from the home for days,weeks,or months at a time. I never agreed to be a single mom. I didn't want this life without him. Now, I have to relearn how to trust that God has a new plan for my life, one without Dennis and one
that has my girls and I prospering and each day a little less painful. Until then, I hold my
breath and wait for May 14th, tomorrow, and hope it feels different from today.

2 Days in 1

Tears of Sadness and Tears of Joy

Today I rejoice of because my girls love me so much. Their faces light up the moment they see me enter the room. They can't hardly wait for me to get through the door of my parents house before they want to embrace me with hugs and kisses and almost knock me over. It brings such joy to my heart and sweet tears. I am overjoyed by the love of a wonderful mother, father and mawmaw that loved on them during the night so that I could try and get a good night sleep. I was held by a good friend Sissy Silver as I cried for the loss of my husband last night. But recognizing that it is pure joy to count that my life is surrounded still by friends that care and love me dearly.

Tears of Sadness still flow from my face and in my heart as I work to put the broken pieces back together. I still don't and may never be able to truly understand why Dennis left us prematurely on this earth one year ago today. It truly was the worst day of my life when I found him dead in our garage. The images and smells of carbon dioxide still haunt me. I work hard to replace them with the good memories of times shared with him. I loved him with every fiber of my being. He was a good father, husband, and hard working man that had one major downfall--he didn't know when to ask for help and forgiveness so he took the only way out he knew. My prayers are that no one else I know will ever endure such pain and heartache. They will turn for help and fight for life. I, myself, have had to fight for living through the battle of being a single mom and the hardships it brings. I miss him so each and everyday. I rest in the promise we will be reunited again one day and all my questions will be answered.

For now, I will focus on the good and enjoy my family and friends. I will continue to grow stronger and stronger as I seek counsel and help with my own faults and fears.

I hope that next year I can write that we have made even greater strides.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

It's May already...

It is so hard to believe that it is May 2012 already .... 
In one week it will be Mother's Day...but...
it will also be the one year anniversary of the day my husband committed suicide. One year since I woke up and found him dead. One year since my world completely titled on its axis and the universe stopped spinning in the correct direction. One year since everything I trusted made sense. One year since I could hold a two way conversation with the love of my life. One year since my children could talk to their daddy without praying and looking up to heaven with tear stained faces. Our grieving process feels like it has only begun. We are trying to enjoy our blessings of a new home but there is still the constant reminder that he is missing, things as simple as a table with four chairs when we are now a family of three. 

However, we rest in the promise of Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." 

Despite our loss and pain, we rest in knowing that there is hope and future for the girls and myself and our future is going to fulfill a purpose. 

In the meantime, if you pray...truly pray.... then keep praying for us that the girls will find a release of their anger and anxiety soon. Pray that I will find peace and enjoy the company of my girls again soon. Pray for grace as we approach this last "first" we face together. If you can support us and offer compassion then please be available to talk or listen whether you know the words to say or not. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Hurt and Healer

Lately I have found myself in that place of broken again. I cry for my children. I read a book recently by Angela Thomas called "My single mom Life" and she reminded me that I have to choose to get out of self-pity and choose life. There are days of pain and not a one of us chose to enter the club of single motherhood under our circumstances be it by divorce or death of a spouse but God still has a plan for our life if we will allow him to work through us. Then along came the words to this song that reminded me too that He is my healer and despite the moments I am paralyzed in fear, He is there to carry me through. These are only excerpts from the entire song. I urge you to look it up and listen to it for yourself. It is an amazing and uplifting song of inspiration for all.

Sometimes I feel it’s all that I can do
Pain so deep that I can hardly move
Just keep my eyes completely fixed on You
Lord take hold and pull me through.......

Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here
When the hurt and the healer collide....

Taken from Hurt and Healer by Mercy Me

Friday, February 24, 2012

Our New Home

We have moved in to our new home. There are still unpacked boxes everywhere but the girls and I have our bedrooms and tv's are set up. We are beginning to get into a routine. We love the house. We can't wait for it to feel like home and look like home. We continue to ask for your prayers.
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