Why So Tense?

23 Jun

Bitter days? I’ve had a few.

Every so often I replay offenses in my life over and over again in my head. And in my heart. It’s like a puzzle or a riddle you just can’t figure out. Maybe if I mull it over one more time, I can fit the pieces together and reconcile it within myself. But I never will. It is an unsolvable riddle. It relies on others providing pieces to the puzzle that they cannot or are unwilling to give. They may honestly not know they are even holding those pieces at all.

The only relief I will find is if I let it go. Allow it to go unsolved, unresolved, unreconciled. Allow it to be what it was probably always meant to be. Humbling moments in time that taught me lessons about myself. The ugly parts that needed to change. And the parts of myself I can be proud of. Now, if only I can wrap my heart around that concept, I can let go of these things I hold onto.

Grudges? I’ve a had a few.


Why Not, eh?

19 Jun

I’ve been feeling like blogging again. I doubt anyone will read this and I’m not really planning on “advertising” myself. So, this may just be my own little diary. A very public, non-private diary, but a diary nonetheless.

I recently gave birth to my second child, a precious little girl named Kristi. We named her after my husband’s sister that passed away 1o years ago this November. It was a wonderful tribute to his sister that I was only happy to oblige. And the name is perfect for her. My little Kristi. Pictures to come.

For those who knew me back when I gave birth to my son, they’ll know that I had quite a difficult time with Post-Partum Depression (PPD). I struggled with this for at least a year and half. Within that time my Dad passed away and probably exacerbated the depression I was already going through. It wasn’t only my struggle. It was my husbands as well. He picked up the pieces on the days that I couldn’t pull myself out of bed. He took care of me when all I would eat was a cup of yogurt and maybe a banana. He pushed me to get help. He brought my son to me when I didn’t have the strength to get up and pick him up myself. And privately, he cried and prayed for his wife to come back to him.

It has been a long journey and, of course, this was a big concern during this second pregnancy. It was a concern that we struggled with and whether to have any more children, for that matter. But, we knew the warning signs. We armed ourselves to be on the offensive, heading off any depression before it had a chance to hit. Now, my daughter is just over 5 weeks old and other than a little of those “Baby Blues,” PPD has not reared its ugly head.

A few days ago Paul made this observation. I haven’t been depressed. I’ve made to sure to keep myself from going there, encouraging good habits instead of those that could open me up to a downward spiral. And he said to me that I seem so much more comfortable as mother this time. For me, that is the best compliment in the world.

Church Family – Don’t Leave Home Without It

23 Jun

Yesterday a family friend brought us a full meal. It had all the fixin’s and it was so wonderful to not have to worry about making a meal. In fact, there was so much food, we won’t have to worry about a meal for at least a few days. It reminded me of the two weeks Paul and I received meals after Derek was born. With little to no sleep and caring for a newborn, those meals were an absolute blessing. Or the day my dad died and a friend brought us Boston Market and organized a few meals for the following week. Another friend took me to lunch and provided me with a break from planning the memorial service. I’m also reminded of the time that Paul and I provided meals for families with newborns or that were going through difficult times with the death of a loved one.

It’s so hard to know what to do for a family in need. And frankly, being a family in need, it’s hard to know what to ask for. But having someone bring you a meal is a God-sent. For that one day you don’t have to worry about how you will sustain yourselves. You are given the gift of being able to focus on the task at hand without having to think, “What in the world are we gonna do for dinner/lunch/breakfast?”

All of these thoughts have really made me miss having a church family nearby. A church family rallies for you. They offer support, encouragement, comfort and prayer. Just like Ben and Aaron did for Moses, they hold you up when you’re too weak to go on.

I’m so grateful to our long-distance church family that reaches out to us while we’re away. Thank you for the phone calls, listening ears, comforting words and, most of all, prayers. When facing times like we are, it really highlights the need for a church family and creates a great sense of gratitude that could never truly be expressed.

Much thanks. We love you.

Just Being Human

21 Jun

Sorry it’s been awhile. I came down with the flu for about a week. Boy, was this the worst time to get sick!

We finally found a pentecostal/charismatic church. It’s 40 minutes away which is quite a bit when your last two churches were 10 and 2o minutes away but it gives Paul and I some good chat time. The church is doing a series on how to be a contagious Christian and what that means. The summary of this message was to pray more and talk less, love more and judge less. It was the prayer portion that really touched us.

At this point, Paul and I sort of don’t know what to pray. We pray for healing, both spiritual and physical. We pray for peace. We pray for courage. We pray for comfort. We pray for grace and mercy and all of the things we’ve learned to pray. But at this point our prayers seem to be simply going through the motions of praying and praying all the things we know are the right things to pray. We both discovered that what we are struggling with this at this time is bitterness and disappointment.

We feel like whiny Jobs, “God we know you are who you say you are. But why does life have to suck so bad right now? Gah!” I’m aware of the admonishment that Job received after saying such things, but sometimes you just gotta be human and shake your fist to the sky.

Mommy Love

15 Jun

Coming back to Pennsylvania to be with my mom in her last days has conjured up a lot of weird emotions.  Whether it is sleeping in the same room that I grew up in, walking the streets of the town that I rode my bike through as a kid or just visiting places that were a major part of my childhood, it is all a bit surreal.  But probably the most difficult emotions are the ones I experience as I watch Derek grow and interact with Teresa.  The way he gets angry with her when she doesn’t give him what he wants reminds me of how frustrated I have gotten with my mom over the years for the many times we have not seen eye to eye.  The way he lights up every time she walks in the room reminds me of the special place my mom has held in my heart my entire life.  The way he runs to her whenever he falls reminds me of how my mom has always comforted me in life no matter how hard I have fallen.  The way she loves him reminds me of the love that can only be shared between a mother and her first born son.  And as I sit with my mom every night watching this disease steal whatever life she has left, I pray, “God, please don’t rob my son of what I have been robbed of.”

10 Jun

Sorry it’s been a few days but there’s been very little to report. Thankfully, my mother-in-law is still with us. Her vitals have been good and stable and she’s been awake. It allows us to spend more time with her. Unfortuately, this time is bittersweet. Occasionally she is very lucid, she knows what is happening and she knows where she is. But those moments are very far and few between. Paul mentioned that the hardest part of watching this disease a second time is watching it steal his loved one’s dignity.The days are tiring. We do our best to get through our daily duties as fast as we can so we can rush to the hospice and spend time with her.

The light in the dark is Derek. She recognizes all of her family, but the person that lights her face up the most is Derek. The minute she sees him she says, “Derek Stephen Petroski, I your Baci (bah-chee) and I love you,” something she’s been saying to him since the moment he was born. He sits on the bed with her, gives her kisses and says her name over and over again, “Baci, Baci, Baci…” He even cheers up everyone else in the hospice. He runs around giggling, putting smiles on the families that are visiting their loved ones. He’s probably the best doctor in the place! Back at my dad’s memorial service someone mentioned to me that there should always be a baby at a funeral, because they have unimaginable healing powers. I think the same goes for hospices and hospitals.

6 Jun

Paul’s mom has been doing better the past two days. Now that her pain is being better managed, she’s been much more comfortable and alert, regaining some of that feisty personality. In fact, she’s been giving the nursing staff quite a lot of  trouble trying to pull out her tubes so she can go outside to smoke. But she is still confused as she does think that she’s still at home and needs to go smoke outside because the baby is in the house. We are also allowed to bring pets into the hospital so her dog, Gizmo, has been there quite few times to visit. Dogs must be able to sense these things, because he seems hesitant to go near her at times. Especially when she’s really struggling. But Gizmo and her grandson Derek will light up her face in an instant.

My mom has been in town helping out and she heads back today. It’s been nice to have a little bit of home here but soon I will be on my own. I have been picking up a couple hours here and there at the American Eagle out here, so that gives me an opportunity to get away for a little bit. It gives me a little time for myself and busy work to keep my mind pre-occupied.

Paul is doing as well as can be expected. Taking charge of the little details that his mom needs, which is a good place to pre-occupy himself. He’s given his mom his blessing on going home to be with the Lord. His biggest prayer is that if she is not healed, her suffering would not last long. But we spend a lot of time at the hospice with a bunch of Paul’s extended family and there is a lot of them! It’s a regular Petroski/Janiszewski family reunion. Joanie is central to this family and if we can’t gather in her home, we’ll go to where she is. This woman is incredibly loved and you can tell by all the people that are gathered by her bedside.