Thursday, July 5, 2012

Waiting for my other half

There are so many thoughts in my head right now I feel like I might burst!  The last few days have been a blur. A total whirlwind.

Tuesday evening, we sat downstairs in the Sean White room watching 4 very good friends play games together. You would never know that these friendships had been formed by such horrible circumstances. Not by the way these kids were laughing and carrying on. I sat with a dear friend, who if it weren't for this experience, I wouldn't know.  On one hand there was a peaceful calm that came over me. At the same time, I felt such a heavy tug at my heart.  I felt for so long that our time in Memphis would never ever end and there it was, our final night at the Target House. I tried to take in every detail of the room and was just so overcome with appreciation for this incredible place that became our second home to us for 8 months. 

Wednesday, July 4th. Time to go home. Only, I had no idea how emotional this day would be for me. Driving down Poplar and leaving the security of the gate filled me with so many different emotions.  It was unlike anything I can describe. Acceptance, anger, anticipation, happiness, fear, sadness, surprise, hope, wonder, sorrow, desire, anxiety, expectancy, panic. It was very overwhelming and I pretty much just sobbed the whole way to the airport. As always, Denny was there to comfort me and somehow found all of the right words I needed to hear to allow me the strength to get through yet another really tough day. Once we boarded the plane, it was full speed ahead. No time to look back and wonder what our futures would hold. Not with a happy 4 year old tugging my arm all along the way.  

Anthony was his normal happy-go-lucky wonderful self. The easiest traveler ever. My partner in crime. He had a blast on the plane and my only complaint was that during the first plane ride to Dallas we were experiencing some pretty bumpy turbulence. Anthony has no concept to my fear of air turbulence and explained in great detail how that meant the plane was about to fall from the sky and crash. Luckily it didn't.  When we first arrived at the airport in Memphis, security asked him what his name was. Of course, this is a safety precaution to make sure he is in fact supposed to be boarding a plane with me. And of course, Anthony replied with, "Hulk".   When the security guard asked a bit more sternly, "I really need to know your name". Anthony stomped his foot, looked him square in the eye and yelled out to the crowd that was now watching, "I said, I AM THE HULK". I just looked at the guy and said, "Look, he's not going to budge. Sorry." And off we went.........

To make an already incredible and emotional day even more amazing.... Anthony had the surprise greeting from his girlfriend, Amanda!

Once the house was quiet, I sat on my couch and just took it all in. For hours. The quiet hum of the air bubbles in our fish tank. The grooves in our textured ceiling. The fact that all of our windows were open. The feel of the cool fog rolling in and cooling the house down as only the bay area fog can do. Sleeping in my own bead was the closest thing to a slice of heaven that you can even imagine. For the first time in what seems like a lifetime, I woke up without my back aching. I was so excited I couldn't keep sleeping though. Somehow, 4 hours of sleep seemed like enough. Being home was that sweet!

Today was a very emotional day. With each article of clothing I unpacked, it unleashed a new fear. The worst was bringing the suitcases back up to the garage. It was like ripping a band-aid off. I threw them in very fast. I can't keep going to the what-if's. It's not good. I am determined to try and just accept what has been dealt to us. Live in the now. Not plan too far in advance. Day by day. Soon, once my family is reunited and we have a chance to process all of this, I will begin to think about work again. I just need to see my kids home playing. I need to see Kayla start to thrive again. Right now it's just way to painful. Way too raw. Adrenaline has carried me this far and I am aware at how very fragile I am. I know I will get through it. Somehow our human bodies and minds are incredible that way. I will continue to surround myself with positive people and energy and deflect all negative waves. I was tested tonight. By someone I would have never thought I would be tested by. I have learned that I am a lot stronger then I actually give myself credit for. I am not going to give into the toxic conversations that once would have consumed me with such inner emotional warfare. I refuse to give even a small part of what precious energy I have into trying to hold someone else up. So, I wont. Control is something that has been ripped from me. I am going to take it back one tiny thread at a time until I begin to feel whole again. It will be my new normal. It will have to do.

Today Kayla's central line was removed. I will go into more details on that soon. I am too exhausted tonight.  Tomorrow, my other half will join us here at home. I am sure a whole new wave of emotions will hit me, but I am not scared. Denny will be here to hold me up the second I begin to slump. I look so forward to watching Kayla and Meow-Meow cuddling. I can't wait to see her joy tomorrow. That will make the world seem a little more right again. Now the healing can truly begin.......


  1. Sweetheart, just keep breathing. You are most amazing and so justifiably wiped out. It's not easy to be the Hulk's mom... Just saying... God bless you all every moment. Love, Mary and Frank Hoburg

  2. Even though you are Hulk's mom, you aren't Superwoman, so don't forget to REST! ;) You are allowed to feel ALL you're feeling! I hope as everyone is together again in one house, that you can feel some relief. God has you in the palm of His're not alone! I will pray for safe travels for Denny and Kayla and that you feel better as the days go on as you get settled into life at home. Sending lots of love!

  3. Thank you once again Annie! You have made it possible for all of us to stand with you all while you have been going through all the trials that are now behind you. Finally, it is time for healing, which starts with REST and then 'baby'-steps from there... we will be praying for safe travels for the 'other-half' tomorrow. God is Good!
    Thank you again... Emily Aufdermaur

  4. Annie,

    Remember how before we all had kids, we knew all the answers when it came to parenting?...and then we had kids,and realized that we didn't have a clue?! You will likely get hit with a few "experts" in the coming weeks. Just know that most of us stand in a place of admiration and respect for all you have been through as a mother...and a family. We pray that this journey you have endured will come to a happy end and that you will all have time to heal and rest as a family. Get a massage, get a pedicure, take a weekend away with whatever you need and some things that you think you don't! :-) Be gentle with yourself. You are a warrior too! welcome home!!

  5. Wishing you and your family all the love and joy the world has to offer. Your strength, amidst what I can only imagine is every parents worst fear, reminds us all what is truly important in life. All the best!!!!!

  6. Annie you are one amazing woman.... be weak and let others pick you up. My favorite part of your post from tonight was...

    "I am not going to give into the toxic conversations that once would have consumed me with such inner emotional warfare. I refuse to give even a small part of what precious energy I have into trying to hold someone else up. So, I wont. "

    We have all learned in the past 7 or so months just how precious our loved ones are and how to truly embrace the ones who "fill you up"... Do what you need to do to take care of YOU. You have been an incredible inspiration, the definition of a devoted mom. Take each moment as it comes and cherish them. I hope we can meet in person one day soon... until then our family continues to pray for you and your beautiful family.

    God Luv Ya...
    Julie DeRuvo & Family (Joe, Bella, Elizabeth & Ava)

  7. So happy you & Hulk (hehe! it!) made it home safely. Would love to see you & give you a BIG hug. Can't wait to hear of the news that your other half has also arrived safely. You did it...Kayla did all did it! No one will ever truly understand your journey but you. Thank you for sharing it all with us. Lots of love...

    Jodi (The Chabans)

  8. "Now the healing can truly begin......." YES! You are all warriors--pushed and tested and changed and enlightened in ways that most can't even fathom. I love that you're listening to yourself, taking heed, and doing whatever you must to facilitate that healing--of body, spirit, and heart. Take gentle care...and sweet dreams before your big reunion!

  9. Dearest Annie,
    You have always been strong, smart and capable in so many ways. But the task of be a care giver can suck the air out of a room. Yes, let that positive energy restore you, given by those people that share their protective love and admiration. I believe the worst is behind you. Love you, Aunt Lynda

  10. So glad you will all be home together tomorrow! xoxox
    Love, Lannette

  11. So happy everyone will be under ONE roof at HOME soo soon. Your past few posts have filled me with such anticipation and happiness. It all seemed so fast. And yet such a long and brave journey you've all been on. So proud of you all. Hulk :D for retaining that spring memory only a child can and most important our (I say that because I feel as though I was there fighting with you guys, you brought her into our lives so well) Kayla is coming home. She did it the Kayla Rose way, the bravest of brave and strongest fighter I know! I'm beyond elated for you all and can't wait to watch Kayla grow at home.

    Much love and admiration,
    Allyson Stallman

  12. So glad you are home and you will all be reunited at home tomorrow! May God help you to be patient with yourself. xoxo

  13. Another, again, beautiful, wise, thought-filled post, Annie....bringing us along with you for this transition time of joy and fear. Yes, yes - surround yourself and family with only positive vibes! You're in our thoughts all the time, sending love and hugs as you gather together for healing at HOME! Hooray! xxooAuntieAnn

  14. Hi Annie,

    I just want to thank you for sharing your posts and allowing us to be a part of every step that you and your family have gone through and endured. You are so much stronger than you could know, and as others have said before me, it is now time to allow yourself to rest and let your natural positive attitude restore itself. I am so happy to hear that you will all be together in one home soon! My favorite part of your post and proof of your strength was when you said
    "Control is something that has been ripped from me. I am going to take it back one tiny thread at a time until I begin to feel whole again." You are an inspiration Annie, and I pray nothing but positive light, happiness and joy surround you and your family as the healing begins. Please take care and know you have family and friends who will lift you up during these hard times of transition. HUGS! ~ Teresa Philbrook

  15. Yeah! I am so happy your travel companion the "Hulk" kept you smiling on your journey home! What great news! Your family will be whole once again and very soon! I know you have been waiting for this! You and your family are all Warriors ESPECIALLY KAYLA! I think everyone will understand if you take time for yourself and your family! You all deserve time to relax! Find out what your new normal is! You are the STRONGEST FAMILY I know! You all will do great things! You already have in so many ways! I can not thank you enough for allowing me and so many to go on this journey with you! Love You All!
    Erin Melrath

  16. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. Even though I have never met you, I have cried with you, held out hope, delighted in your victories and shared in praying for you and your family. I continue to pray and wish the best for Kayla and your family. You are supported by many like myself who know your story and hope to lift you up when you are down

  17. Such incredibly happy news! Please keep us updated on Kayla and how she's doing - including those incredibly happy pictures of her playing with her friends. And we'd love to see the four of you - back home - in a picture or two. This blog has been so significant for so many and we will forever care about how Kayla Rose and her family are doing.

    I did have to wonder.....if Anthony is the Hulk.....what does that make the three of you? = )

  18. Welcome home !
    It was amazing reading your emotional journey home. I was right there with you and felt your happiness and fear and hope and all. You have proved to be such strong FAMILY that there is no doubt in my mind that you all will get through this ordeal and will get through it with happy results.
    Welcome home!
    Laila & Sepeatom

  19. What a blessing to be home altogether !!!! You all are warriors!!! Enjoy the time together...