Wednesday, October 22, 2014

WHY-Wednesday: Why you should grieve well.

In lieu of the approaching Halloween/Day of the Dead, I thought I would use this platform to address some things I believe need to be made known to those who have never lost someone near to them.

The questions always seem to be-- 
How do I grieve with someone who has just lost someone close to them?  Do I talk about the deceased person?  Do I ask how they are doing?  Should I be cheerful?  Sad?  Not talk about it at all?

Without going into too much detail, this is my story--

My father passed away when I was 23 years old.  He had battled Multiple Sclerosis for 22 years, and eventually passed away from secondary effects of it.  He was 51 years old.

I remember the day the doctor came into his hospital room (after we had been there for about three weeks already) and told us that there was nothing else they could do for him.  His time had come.  

He passed away in the hospital bed, only five months after Byron and I had gotten married.

We had our visitation and then burial soon after.  Family and friends came and grieved with us, all for which I was very grateful.

But something very interesting happened right after--
Nobody ever brought him up again.

It's as if they were afraid.

To have people overlook this pain was the second most hurtful experience I had gone through (second only to my dad's passing).

I know they did not cause the hurt on purpose.  They weren't keeping quiet in order to cause me more grief.
They were doing it out of love.  But I wasn't feeling loved.

So the question is--
How can you grieve well with a friend who has just lost someone?

(Disclaimer-- these thoughts are based only on my personal and first-hand experience).

1.  Talk to your friend about their loss.  Ask them how they are doing.  It doesn't matter if it's been a week or years after their loss, just ask.  Tell them you are still thinking and praying for them.  Ask them to share memories.  If you knew the person who passed away, share a few of your own memories with them.  Know that every time you talk to them about their loss, they grieve a little more, and this is very important for them to do.  Some tears may be shed, but that's okay.

2.  Know that to remember is to live againWhen you talk about the deceased loved one, you are bringing him back to life!  This is a very sweet thing to get to do.  

I was at the dinner table with a family the other evening who I had never met before.  We started talking about life, and the topic of my dad came up.  I got to share a little bit about him and of what he was like.  I started to tear up.  I started to miss him.  But oh! what a sweet gift this family gave me.  I got to bring my dad back to this life!

3.  Don't freak out if your friend begins to tear up or cry.  This is okay.  This won't always happen, but please do not think things have gone south if your friend gets sad and teary.

4.  Do a little something on some anniversary of the deceased.  This can be on their Loved One's birthday, wedding anniversary (if spouse), or death anniversary.  It can be as simple as a phone text, an email or a phone call.  If you want to "step it up" a little, send them a hand-written note or a small gift that lets them know you are thinking and praying for them.  Something that lets them know you have not forgotten. 

5.  Restrain yourself from doing any talking or grief-sharing of your own.  My sister shares the story of when she returned back to school after our dad had passed away.  She told her roommate about her loss, and in an attempt to empathize with my sister, the roommate began telling her of her own experience in loosing her grandfather.  Next thing my sister knew, her friend was crying and now she was the one doing the consoling, not the other way around. 

Keep your stories to yourself.  Stay quiet.  Just be there.

6.  Keep their memory alive.  I've already allured to this and have brought it up plenty of times, but I cannot stress this enough.  Keep them alive!

Monday, October 20, 2014

These Two

He doesn't eat

BB is such a terrible eater.  Unless it's a chip or a cookie (or a prune!?!?), he is not interested, and the food will more than likely end up on the floor.

The crazy thing is that once it's on the floor, he will many times pick it up and eat it (!!!).

This is the picture of him walking around and chewing on the apple core I had just finished eating myself.  
Mind you, it had only been minutes before when I sliced him his own apple slices, but was not interested in them and threw them all to the floor.

She writes

Last Friday, October 17, out of nowhere, Emma sat down at her table and decided she was going to write her name.  It is so fun to watch her do this.  

For example, here is her "E"--

She first wrote a big "A" for "Ames" across the page.
Then began with the "E" and "M."

She ran out of room, so she began writing counterclockwise.  

It is so fun to watch her recreate the letters.  
Nobody has taught her how to write, so she just writes them as if she were drawing them.

Lunch for daddy

Emma is such a good helper in the morning.  
Here she is helping Mommy make Daddy's lunch.


This girl of mine loves baking and all things related to it.  
She loves measuring the flour, sugar, and basically any dry ingredient she can get her hands on.
He favorite thing, of course, is eating the cookie dough.  Her second most favorite thing is eating the cookie itself.

Last week I decided to throw the rulebook out the window and begin some cookie-making right around dinner time and before bedtime (note the clock!).  I need to continually remind myself that children will not remember timely bedtimes, clean kitchens, or folded laundry; but will always remember the time we spent with them and how much we enjoyed them while at it.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Marriage getaway

Byron and I got to spend last weekend in Savannah, enjoying some time off, some time with each other, and evaluating a few things in our marriage.  The entire weekend was a sweet gift. 

The "curriculum" we went through had a very extensive and detailed schedule to follow.  We only went through about two-thirds of one session (of about five), and that was more than enough for us.  Without going into too much detail of what kinds of things we discussed, one that you can see in the picture bellow is that we agreed to help each other keep our bathroom cleaner :p

Costco samples

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

WHY-Wednesday: Why she wears her 'do the ware she does.

Okay, so this week's post name is code for "I really do not want to write anything this week."

I will therefore just post a picture of my little girl wearing a silly wig she found at Imagination Station this morning (Tuesday). 

I just about burst out laughing when I turned around to see a little girl at a distance, concentrating while wearing that silly clown wig.  So appropriate!


I will also take advantage and make a disclaimer for my WHY-Wednesday posts.  I am afraid I need to remind everyone that I am not a writer.  

I was raised in Mexico for the first 18 years of my life, and was educated in a Mexican, Spanish-speaking school for most of that time (I was an exchange student for one of those years).  The only formal English classes I ever took were during my freshman year of college.

All that to say-- I am not very good with transferring what's in my head into writing. 

So when I alluded last week that "washing our hands is not that big of a deal," I didn't mean to say that we should intentionally roll around in germ-infested bathtubs (for example).  

My point was simple-- I think we've gone overboard.  

That's it :)

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Little walker

Little Byron has been taking steps on his own for quite some time now.  The first time he took a step unassisted was on August 22, 2014.  Almost one and a half months later, and he is still not confident enough to take off completely (he does take a number of steps on his own regularly, but it's not his preference yet).  As fearless as he is, it has surprised us.

My lovely view on our way back to the car, after having a Costco family lunch date.

His car

Emma, the frog, and his ride.

Socks for gloves?

The other night, Emma said she wanted to get herself ready for bed on her own.  I made no objections and proceeded to continue cleaning the kitchen.  When I got back, I found a little girl still in her pull up, with no PJs, a hat, and socks for gloves on.  She felt so sophisticated. 

Happy Birthday, Muneca!

Not sure how it all got started, but this little girl of mine wanted to celebrate Muneca's birthday the other day.
We got a toy out, stuck a prune inside of it, and placed the candle on top.  It made for a very appropriate fake cake.  We sang in both languages, and Emma even got to help Muneca blow her candle out!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

WHY-Wednesday: Why I barely wash my kids' hands.

That's right.  I'm winning no Mother of the Year trophy here.

I hardly ever wash my kids' hands.

My children are only one step away from eating straight off the floor.
If they are lucky, they'll get wiped down with a damp rag and some soap right before a meal.
If they are lucky.

(Yes, yes... I will wash their hands (and mine!) after they use the toilet.  No need to panic here.)

There is a little game I like to play in my mind called "Watch That Large Family Over There."  
It consists in paying close attention to large in size (as in four or more children) families.

Large families are an amazing gift to me.  They reveal to me what is ultimately important.
You see, they have so much going on, they have to prioritize in order to survive.

They don't run around carrying six different diaper bags.
They don't freak out when their babies miss a nap.
They go to Sunday night church.
They have family movie nights and stay up late watching TV with them.
Their kids play with the iPad/iPhone while they go grocery shopping.
They don't stress over unclean hands.

A second thought--

MOST people in the world live in extreme poverty.
Extreme poverty.
As in they-live-in-dirt-houses-with-dirt-floors-and-with-no-toilets kind of poverty.
This is the vast majority of the world, people.

Please realize that a(n) (almost) germ-free life is a luxury.
Maybe privilege would be a better word.  Right up there with education... maybe.

Does this mean that because so many people all around the world don't have running water, that we should scarcely wash our own hands?
No, but it does remind us that it probably isn't that big of a deal.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Story time

Baby shower companion

One of the best things about Emma's age right now is that she is more and more becoming a little friend/companion, instead of someone I need to always chase around.

Last Saturday she accompanied me to a shower, and my heart just about skipped a beat when I spotted her across the room, sitting nicely, with her legs crossed, and enjoying her brunch.

More slouching

One can never slouch too much.

Off to the park

Byron took the kids to the park on Saturday.
This was my lovely sight as I waved them goodbye.