Monday, September 29, 2014

Mixed messages from the universe

I am having computer issues that are driving me crazy. I cannot get online from my laptop and cannot type on my phone or IPAD. I thought I could use the computer at work but for whatever reason blogger won't load. I finally resorted to the phone, so this will likely take about an hour to type and a lot of the words will look like this: osjhefch.

Maybe this is the universe telling me to shut up already.  If it is, I'm ignoring it he message. 

On Saturday we went to a wedding. My friend's son got married. I saw a lot of people I know which was great and also a little hard. 

I was emotionally shaky at the ceremony and a basket case during the beautiful rendition of Ave Maria, which was sung at Maggie's funeral. (I warned Steve that song will probably make me cry for the next five years. His response, "well that will be something to look forward to.")

Somehow, though I felt a little bit of an emotional release for the first time in months. It was so beautiful and I was so happy for the newlyweds, Robert and Jean, that all other cares sort of slipped away.

 We had a great time at the reception dancing the night away and laughing with old friends. It felt great. Really great. 

Then this morning I received a message from Mr. G, Maggie's teacher for two years at Mission. He said he was at the gym this morning and All the Single Ladies started playing. Of course that made him think of Maggie and he smiled. This picture of Maggie responding to BeyoncĂ©  telling all the single ladies to "put your hands up" came to mind immediately. 

I smiled too because how can you not?  By also I felt like the universe telling me Maggie approved of the dancing and joy. 

Apparently I have selective hearing because this time I am listening to the universe. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Recently someone asked me how to prepare for the loss of a child you know isn't going to survive very long. Short answer: it can't be done.

You can intellectualize things: you know the science, you know what the doctors are telling you, you can see what's happening. You mentally prepare yourself, or you try to. You think you understand.

But you don't.

It's like standing on the edge of a cliff. You know there's a danger at the end and you feel a little adrenaline rush as you look over the edge, imagining what it would be like to fall. You know falling would be a terrifying thing and you think you understand that feeling.  

And then you fall off and even before you hit the bottom you know that you had no idea what it would feel like.

That's it really, it's the way it FEELS. All the intellectual processing and understanding and mental preparation in the world doesn't help with the way it feels. and it doesn't feel good. It's like a long slow fall off a cliff, falling falling and not knowing when you will hit bottom or how much that will hurt.

There are good times, of course. Little things jog your memory and you laugh remembering all the amazing things. Sometimes you laugh really really hard. Sometimes it's just a quiet smile. Those are lovely moments, but they are bittersweet, always bittersweet.

All anyone can do is feel it. And remember the child. You can remember the child publicly or privately or both. That's what will keep that child alive for you. That's how their life will count, by being remembered.

Just remember, because the sweet is worth the bitter.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cape for sale, cheap.

I'm tired. Tired beyond belief. There hasn't been any real rest for me in a very long time.

Being Maggie's mother meant I was on call 24/7. To be fair, being anybody's mother means you are on call 24/7, but the demands of raising a child with ongoing health challenges and disabilities means the "calls" came frequently and at every hour of the day.  In the first five years or so  I was so sleep deprived I probably should not have been driving. Somehow, though we adapt to whatever we need to do to get by.

After several years we started getting nurses at night - not every night like in the last years of Maggie's life, but sometimes. It was often enough that I  started feeling a little less dangerous when driving. Still there were more nights than not that we didn't have a nurse and I was up several times during the night or just didn't sleep at all.  Once the nurses were there all the time, things got better still, but there were always emergencies or a sick nurse or something that disrupted my sleep.

To compensate for this, I developed a superpower. I could sleep anytime, anywhere for as long as was allowable under the circumstances. If there was a 30 minute window, I could lay down or just sit up and sleep for 28 minutes. It was uncanny. It was my own way of keeping myself in an operational state.

Now Maggie is gone and so is my superpower. I've lost my ability to sleep. Not just my superpower of power napping on demand, but sleeping at all. I can count on one hand the nights I've slept through since February.  It was starting to abate before we went to Ireland, but then the trip totally threw off the clock again. Plus, now that we are back, I am feeling the loss much more sharply than I have in recent months The trip was a good diversion, but it's over and now I'm back where I was.

I suppose it's to be expected. An emotional upset as big as this is going to have some long lasting reverberations. Losing Maggie was the rock in the pond. It was a huge splash.  Not sleeping is one of the many ripples that come from that splash.

So, now I'm off to bed where I will read until I fall asleep and then awaken three hours later and stay awake for most - or the rest - of the night.

I'm tired. I miss my sleep superpower, in fact I will have to get rid of my sleeping cape.

But most of all, I miss my girl.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Letting go

Today we let Maggie go. We took her ashes and spread them in a place she loved and she can be part of the wind and the flowers and the whole world. I know there are many different ways to handle these things, and I also know this was the right way for Maggie.

It was a hard thing to think about doing, and I've done nothing but think about it all week. I found a couple of poems to read and cried all the way through as I read both aloud. Strangely enough, once we actually started taking turns spreading her remains around, it wasn't difficult at all.

Maggie is free. She has been free since February and today was only symbolic of that; but it was a very meaningful symbol for all of us. We know she's out there. She is everywhere.

 And that makes me feel just a tiny bit better.

Do Not Stand at my Grave and Weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight. 
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there. I did not die. 

Mary Elizabeth Frye 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Today is the walk. I though it started at 3:30, but the walk itself starts at 5:30. The festivities start at 3:30. I will be checking in at the reg desk from 3 on, but we should plan to meet there at 4:15 or 4:30.  The team has been requested to congregate at the trailers near the near the new hospital for a tem photo at 4:45. I will have yellow hardhats (plastic) for everyone on the team. CI hope you can take part in the photo.

The registration desk in on 3rd street at Gene Friend way, just north of the intersection of 3rd street and 16th streets

email me at coghlanmcdonald at gmail dot com or call my cell if you have it. (email me to get it) I will have my phone with me.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Checking in from Galway

We are having a fantastic trip. It has been bittersweet indeed, though. I am
Drawn to things Maggie would love and then stop myself  In Killarney I started to cry when the lovely innkeeper asked about my children. (Poor guy). 

There are signs of Maggie everywhere. We were lost  and asked two women for directions. It wasn't until we got Close that we realized they were taking a young disabled man for a walk in his wheelchair.  What are the odds of that?

And then today we were in a 500 year old church in Galway. We walked down the ramp out of habit

When we got to the bottom we read the white plaque visible above 

It made me cry again. But I decided it was a sign that Maggie is ok out there and among friends - Even some named Maggie. 

Here's to all the young Maggie's out there watching over us all. 

We will be back on Friday.