Baby Braden Petska

Saturday, May 21, 2011

"Hope carries no price tag but it's value is priceless."

I know my heart will never be the same
But I'm telling myself I'll be okay
Even on my weakest days
I get a little bit stronger
--Sarah Evans

Hello blog,
Oh how I've missed you and longed for you in those quiet moments when I need to redirect my focus, when I need to just be, when I need to dig deep for that inner peace, when I need to finally just let it all out, so I'm no longer consumed with the comings and goings of life as it is. My grief has changed, and I know it has. It has changed to a point where I feel guilt for not missing B as much as I once did (last year, last month, last week, yesterday). How can that be? How can a mother miss her son any less? Maybe because my distractions allow me to not dwell on what I'm missing? The pain isn't as sharp as it once was and the memories are starting to lose their crisp, sharp focus as well. This makes me incredibly sad. Sometimes I'm so consumed with the guilt and the sadness of this new loss (the sharpness) that I feel stuck....stuck in thought, stuck in action.....just stuck! Again, I wish there was a manual on how I'm "supposed" to feel. Owen brings us so much joy and reminds us more and more everyday that Braden is very near....almost so similar in action that I catch myself calling him B sometimes. I look at Owen as he drives his cars and trucks so intently on the couch, kneeling just like B did that I want to hug him, embrace him, smell him, and wish for just one moment it could be B again. Imagining B comes when there are kids his age around, and I am blown away at the height he should/could be right now. There are times it gives me joy to see kids his age playing and then there are times when it brings sadness, knowing that I'm missing a big part of my life. Sometimes that missing comes out of nowhere. Sometimes my day can go on without the awareness that my heart is still reeling from brokenness, and then out of nowhere I am reminded that I should have a son 4 1/2 years of age, that I should have a son approaching kindergarten, that I should have a son who is learning how to ride a bike, that I should have 2 boys rough and tumble in my house, that I should be overwhelmed with duties any mom would have with 2 boys. There are times when I'm reminded that I'm not apart of this club or that club and that it wasn't my was taken from me......these moments are when the anger appears. It's not there for very long, but it does approach from time to time.....sometimes with warning, most times I'm unaware of its presence sneaking up on me.

As most of you know, my March was consumed with more than just the 2-year angel-versary of B. Of course, I don't lessen the pain of that day by using the word "just", but we experienced two other deaths that month as well. My Uncle Mark who was also my Godfather passed away on March 17th from colon cancer. He was my dad's youngest brother, a loving husband, and devoted father. There is most certainly a void in our family now with the loss of my uncle. He did everything during his fight to put everyone's fear at ease by wearing a smile and staying positive and optimistic even when the pain crippled him. Please keep his family in your prayers as they are experiencing the overwhelming impact that loss brings. A few weeks later, my dear friend Shana passed away of Adrenal Cancer. I'm still trying to wrap my head around this as she leaves behind a husband and daughter Mia who is only 3 and doesn't understand why her mommy isn't coming home. Shana and I would talk often about our recent challenges in life, laughing, crying, and trying to walk God's path together. Shana always amazed me with her words of wisdom as she blogged during her 3 year battle with the beast. One I remember greatly that really changed how I felt about my own relationship with God. She had just received news that her cancer was continuing to grow despite the treatment she was on. I will share the post as I wish everyone had the chance to not only meet Shana but be graced with her presence as she showed an incredible amount of courage and faith during her fight:
--"This body of mine is good at deceiving me. It is doing a great job of being pain free and energetic for the most part. Sometimes I just wonder, 'Are you sure you've got the right CT?? That just can't be me.' With news like this, I always go back to the question what is my purpose here? As I'm sure everyone does, but for me there is more urgency to know that I am living a life that makes God proud. I am here to serve Him, to love and be loved. No matter what my CT says, I am being healed daily by the love I give and receive, by being able to enjoy pure joy with dear friends, my beautiful daughter, my husband, my moms, my sister, my family across the street, all of my family. Just this weekend, I caught up with old friends and there was that pure happiness that makes you forget about what the next day might bring. I enjoyed the moment and the love that was present between old friends that have shared dreams, secrets and heartache. Life is too short to not have these moments. Sure there are some days I miss my work. I really loved practicing, and am sad some days that I can't do it, but Mia and Scott are more important to me than work. Not that everyone should stop working and spend it with their family, but balance it. If you got cancer tomorrow are you happy with how your life is right now? I know I worked too much. Too many long hours away from my family is not something I am proud of. I owed the govt my life pretty much, though so I did what was asked of me. I don't mean to preach, but hope you might pick up something from my experiences. And since this is my page, you have to put up with the wisecracks and the tears! One thing for sure, I am a better person because of the cancer. Don't misunderstand. I would give almost anything to be cured, but I would not give up the changes my spirit has undergone during this journey." -- Although my uncle didn't blog about his journey, both him and Shana made sure to make each day count. Their lives and deaths have made me look within myself to ask, how can I live my best life? I'm not sure, but what I can tell you is that I've begun to pray again. This is a huge step in building back my faith, piece by piece. I know I need to pray for the people in my life for strength and healing just like many people did and still do for us. I'm also praying for God to allow me to accept where I am right now in my own life and to ask Him to show me how I can best serve Him.

Other news:
Heart of Gold Charity will be proudly awarding six seniors this spring with $1,000 each in their pursuit of a medical/nursing degree. This will make $22,000 total that we've given since our start. We will be delivering another batch of gift bags tomorrow. Our 5th Annual Golf Outing will be August 13th at the Twin Lakes Country Club. We are sending out forms in the next few weeks. Again, we were humbled by the amazing people I work with. They purchased bracelets with Braden's name and "Forever in our Hearts" on them for everyone in the staff to wear the week of his angel-versary. Many people still wear them today, and I am so thankful to have a support system like I do. Below you will see a picture that was organized on March 17th. Rich and I stayed home that day, so my staff was able to arrange themselves into a heart all wearing gold/yellow shirts. They surprised me with the picture a week later. AMAZING! Just yesterday a co-worker said he thought of B as he drove to work. He saw a beautiful sunrise and remembers the beauty in the sunrise the morning B passed away. Moments like these blow me away as I always want his little life to be remembered. When they are shared, I can't help but swell with pride and tears for my B.

Rich and I are winding down our days of teaching for the year. Every year it seems to go faster. Because of a later than usual start for him this year, he goes almost 2 more weeks after I'm out. I will make sure not to rub it in every chance I get :) Owen, Owen, Owen......what's not to say about this growing boy who is the king of facial expressions. His vocabulary has taken off and he is jabbering every minute of the to our ears! His most common phrases: "What's that?" "No like" "Oh gosh", "Mama, where are you?" "Hide, Jim", "Grammy's House?" He also demands us to "sit" as he slaps his hand on the chair and also to read to him. Requests granted :) He is funny when he doesn't get his way and decides he has to let out his anger by hitting. After many timeouts, he has learned not to hit mama or daddy. He now finds a wall, the gate or the nearest object to hit. He looks at us intently when he does it, but then whines and looks at his hand after he discovers it hurts to hit. He will be two next Sunday, and it's so hard to believe.

Mary Kay is still amazing, and I believe it has been another piece of allowing me to grow spiritually and emotionally. I'm on target to earn that first career car (not the pink Caddy :) Below you will see a picture that was taken at our quarterly convention in Madison. Consultants in MK are recognized for achievement in sales, recruiting, etc every quarter. This was the first time I was recognized for a "big" award. Here I am on stage speaking with one of the directors and there's an orb of light hovering over my head. Big blessings from B that day. It still brings me to tears when I look at it.

A quote I absolutely love and would like to share is: "When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves." I am in no way "healed." I will never be the same, yet I choose to get up everyday and "try". I've been reading more lately which has helped, but I need to remember to do it EVERYDAY. Just because I feel better one day doesn't mean that the next day won't be drastically different. In order to keep my frame of mind positive, it takes work. I'm happy to know that I'm leaning more on God for help with this. Enjoy today for we don't know what tomorrow will bring. If you are struggling with today, pray it away......there will be peace like no other when you can give "it" away.

There are clouds today but hoping for sunshine tomorrow (figuratively and literally),