We were the closest family possible. Our world was turned upside down on 05/03/09 when my best friend, the person I love most next only to our children, my sister Trina was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. Her body gave out on her on 01/09/10 but she will ALWAYS be a part of our daily life and will continue to be in my posts. I started my blog to chronicle our daughter's international adoption from Guatemala and have continued to use it as a journal.

What you will find is my family trying to adapt to our new lives that were handed to us.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hell Has Frozen Over

Just keep in mind that Papa had been observing the kids doing this for about 5 minutes by the time mom called me out there to take pictures/video of this atrocity. That helps explain why you hear me barking at the end for them to stop. If it had been up to papa they'd probably still be doing this. And also remember that the car used to be papa's pride and joy. Afterwards I went up to him and said "I bet you never thought you'd be laughing at your grandkids doing that!"

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Another Hurdle

The past few days have been unbelievably hard. I don't know what is different other than mom thinks I've been in a bipolar downward spiral and I think she might be right. I really miss talking to sissy about these times since bipolar was just one of the hundreds of things that we had in common. As with any mental illness it always helps to have someone who understands it and gets how you're feeling but when that special person is also your sister, well, it's even that much more helpful and that much more of a saving grace. To not have sissy here for an "episode" is just one of the billions of things that I miss about her.

The past few days the weather has been getting warmer which has been even harder. I know, nice weather = bad mood? In what universe? In the universe where warm weather = our home being "Summer Party Central." It's no secret that when the weather is warm during the summer we pretty much live outside.

So today? Today was yet another hurdle that we had to overcome as it was our inaugural BBQ/dinner on the deck.

Sissy always did the BBQ'ing. She was amazing at the grill and would never let anyone come near it when she was at the helm. Even last summer when she was sick on chemo and at times the smell of food would make her nauseated she still managed to wield the tongs like a pro.

Today when mom told me that we were going to have dinner outside, on the deck, in the sun, for the first time since January 9th, I felt as if I was going to hyperventilate. My knees felt as if they were about to buckle. I thought that it was too much, this was asking for too much, not right now when I'm not going well to begin with. Mom cried and I told her the "firsts" are always hard. The first family dinner around the table, the first time eating at a restaurant, the first soccer practice, the first time in the backyard, the first time around the fire pit, the first time driving past the hospital and countless other firsts that we never thought we'd have to go through.

As usual the kids were complete hams tonight and kept us laughing all through dinner but it was still painful, unbelievably painful.

Tonight we made it past another hurdle that we never wanted to have to cross.

Next up? Fourth of July. Mom and I cried today in anticipation of that one but we made it through this one and I know that we will get through the next one. But it still doesn't make it any easier.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Having two young-ish kids around I kind of get used to the "why's". But there are some questions I will never get used to having to answer, especially since I have them myself.

Why did mom die?

Why didn't the doctors save her?

Why did mum get cancer?

Why can't TT come back?

Why do some people get cancer and some don't?

Why isn't life fair?

Why, why, why, why.

There is no answer when it comes to cancer but it's even more horrific when you have to try to explain the unexplainable to a five year old who is still struggling to understand why his mom died.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Ninth

Every month I think "okay, THIS TIME the ninth won't be any worse than any other day of the month" and every month I am slapped in the face with "like hell it's not any worse!" It's everywhere. The energy is different. Even though we have two amazing children who are so full of life and happiness, the NINTH is still looming over my head like a black cloud that I have to protect the kids from. Thank God they don't SEE anything different happening on the ninth of each month but mom and I both know that on the ninth we have to hunker down and just ride it out..... for another thirty or so days.

OH! I have new one for y'all. Someone came over to my house today who hadn't been here since the funeral. We were sitting down at the table and she said "Cameo, you've lost so much weight." I just kind of murmured an acknowledgment of it. Oh no, she couldn't leave well enough alone. She then pushed onward, "what are you doing? Are you trying to lose it?" I just looked at her and said simply "stress." Okay, now here the normal person would just be like, okay, I get it, and stop. Oh no, no, no, no. Here's how the REST of the conversation went:

her - are you back to working again? (I haven't worked in 4 1/2 years!)

me - no.

Long pause. I could tell she was thinking and coming up short.

her - (looking quizzically at me) so what is going on that has you so stressed?

I kid you not, she was actually sitting in my home asking me this insane question. I looked her square in the eyes, laughed out loud to her and shouted "MY SISTER DIED!" Nope. She didn't make the connection. In fact she still had to think about it for a while before she said "oh, well, I guess you were close." Seriously? I mean really? She's a family member, she's known us our whole lives, albeit from afar but still, she was here during the funeral, she hears from other family members exactly what type of hell we are experiencing and she had to sit at my dining room table and ask me why I was stressed. And that is how June Ninth started for me.

But how is it ending? Oh, it's ending on quite a lovely note and in such a sweet way.

Mom had offered to have the kids spend the night with her but Asa said no, he wanted to sleep in his room (at our house). Well, we were expecting these two family members late last night and Asa had spent last night at home with Joshua. In preparation of having late night company mom made up Asa's room and added a twin size blow up bed on the floor next to it for them. They ended up not getting here until late this morning. Today when Asa came over (after they left) I showed him the blow up bed and oh boy, the kids had so much fun with it! They were jumping on it, using it as a bouncing off point to jump onto Asa's bed, taking turns getting into each bed and "going to sleep" (at 1 pm), they were just having the time of their lives. Papa is gone for a few days so mom had told the kids that they would have plenty of room in her bed. Nope, Asa wanted to sleep in his room. Then he remembered the extra bed and asked mom if she would spend the night in his room on the blow up bed. Of course mom obliged and that led to them wanting to have Valentina partake of this slumber party. Who am I to rain down on an oh so desperately needed parade that happens to come on the ninth? I didn't. And so I leave you tonight with how I left them, the only change being both kiddos on the blow up bed and Beya in Asa's bed:

Monday, June 07, 2010


Mom has been after me to blog so here goes.

Friday night Asa had his "graduation" from Hebrew school. He did GREAT! I took video while Josh took pictures. The kids in his group had to say the Hebrew letters when they saw them come on the screen and Asa was always the first and loudest to say the letter. He knows his whole Hebrew alphabet plus some of the prayers. I wanted Valentina to start to attend Hebrew pre-school but they have this pesky rule of one parent being Jewish. Stupid. So instead she's going to Catholic pre-school where if they have openings for "non-Catholics" then it's a free for all. And I kid you not, their definition of being Catholic is by proving your attendance with your "offering receipts." I laughed out loud when I read that.... and I was at the open house at the time!

Asa coming back to his seat after doing an amazing job with his alphabet.

Valentina was quite active during Synagogue and kept asking me (in regular voice, not even a whisper) "mama, are you mad at me?" Talk about making me feel like shit, although that is her favorite question right now. I wanted to tell her "yes I am!" when she decided to plop herself down on the floor in the middle of an aisle, spread eagle and proceed to let her hands "wander". Yeah. Yet again made me feel like mother of the year...... NOT!

After the service the kids played for a bit. This is the first time Valentina has worn this dress. Sissy gave it to her for Hanukkah and I've never been able to get her to wear it until Friday night.

"Nice Jewish Boy"
I had given Asa a t-shirt that said that for his second birthday and I think of that when I see this picture.
Saturday was a big party at Norm's parents house for his grandma's 80th birthday. She is in town from New Mexico for a few weeks and all of the kids, grandkids and great grandkids were able to get together. We ended up being there for more than five hours (we're usually the first ones to leave) as the kids just played and played outside. The weather had been shitty and rainy for days before and was raining the day after but Saturday was sunny and warm!

Valentina in her cute polka dot drop waist dress from Avon. Of course she also happened to have a perfectly matching bow from Kick Ass Bows from a previous outfit that Holly had matched for me.

L-R are Valentina, Aunt Jean (grandma's sister) and Grandma Dee. Grandma and Aunt Jean are a comedy duo that rivals sissy and me. They kept us all cracking up.

Doesn't Asa look so big here? He wasn't letting go of the cupcake OR the ball!

Yup, sure tastes good! Oh, I guess I shouldn't say that since I made them. Oh I guess I can since technically Betty Crocker came up with the ingredients.

He was not letting go of that cupcake until he ate it all!

Valentina and Grandma were blowing noisemakers at each other much to Aunt Jean's delight.

So that is what this weekend held for us.
As for life? Well, it does indeed go on even when it feels like it can't. Wednesday is five months. Five months. Today is five months since I last heard my sister talk. Sometimes when I am going through pictures looking for a particular one of the kids I find one of her, it takes me by surprise and I have to jerk my head away so I don't see all of it. Yet other times, if I am looking for a picture of sissy for mom, I am able to remove myself from the situation and just breeze through them. I heard it put best on one of my soaps. One of the characters is in prison and he said (I'm paraphrasing here) "things are so real here that I can't believe there is a world outside of these prison walls. It's like the life I had before this, the world I was in before this, was just a dream." That is exactly how I feel. It's like life now is so raw and real and is exhausting to get through the day that everything that happened a year ago, or five months ago, seems like a dream. It takes all I have to just function now that I can't look back or even WANT to look back. But there is still never one second that I'm not thinking of sissy. Mom asked me one day "what if we forget?" I laughed at her and told her the only way we'd ever forget is if we got Alzheimer's. I have a linen bound journal in which I jot down random things that sissy and I did or just memories of the two of us. I won't have my sister to talk to when I get old to reminisce with about our childhood. I won't have anyone to talk to about "remember when mom and papa......" All I will have is this journal. But until then I am leaning so much on mom. I draw strength from her and for some odd reason, she from me. We know what the other is thinking. When one of us starts crying we know why. When we laugh we know that we are still broken inside. Nobody gets me like mom and vice versa. Our grieving is almost identical to each other and yet nothing like what anyone else is going through. I feel as if I'm becoming concentrated. I have withdrawn from anyone who isn't absolutely vital to me and although I realize how little control I have over most things that happen, the things I DO know I am absolutely sure of and have no room to listen to "friends" bully their opinions onto mine.
And the children. Oh how grateful I am for the kids!!!! I can say it 973,183,782,459,684 times and it still doesn't come close to how grateful I am for Valentina and Asa. They give me purpose and a reason to make life "normal." They are my everything. It is so hard to see Asa growing up and watch him have his milestones (Hebrew school graduation was a tough one) without his mum mum being there. She should be the one video taping things, she should be the one bursting with pride, she should be the one watching him. I have told mom that I don't have time for guilt and yet during those moments it does creep in because I feel as if it should be her and not me witnessing Asa's growth. But no matter what, I love them both with my whole heart and gain so much strength from them.