Friday, May 11, 2018

The rest is still unwritten

Yikes, it's been a while, huh ?

I don't even know where to begin, but I find myself struggling to concentrate on finals. Working out, usually my go to way to destress hasn't helped this week. My focus isn't right and I'm not sure why. It has been a journey to get to this point. And, when I mean journey, I REALLY mean journey.
Like all the way back to 2010 Journey......

I know I haven't posted here in ages, but I still want this space to serve as a journal to look back on and it has been that thus far. To get this going let me discuss last semester....

Last semester experience. I started out determined and ready for what I knew was going to be a grueling class.
I tried to prepare for the class by renting the book in the summer & began taking notes beforehand to go into the semester ready. I mean, I wrote to the professor during summer to ask her in what order would the chapters be taught. I was THAT student writing in the summer to the professor. I went into the fall semester with the confidence of IronMan. I was ready.
And so the semester began and let me tell you, whatever you read about how grueling of a class Anatomy is let me multiply that by 10. Yes, there's those people who find the material easy to memorize, because yes, most of the class is memorizing structures after structure. Function after function, but when you're not "those" type of people and you're like myself, well....
I knew I would have to dedicate a good amount of time to studying and memorizing, but the amount of material is overwhelming to say the least. To make a long story short, I found myself more than half way into the semester with the difficult choice of having to drop the class because there was no way I was going to receive an A. And, going into nursing you want that A, you want those grades to reflect who you are because the administration doesn't see a person, they see GPA's.

Having to drop anatomy last semester broke me. I cried because I had given this class my all and that wasn't enough. I felt like I wasn't enough.
I told Jonathan I was done. I had tried and I had failed.
I grieved.
I was done.

My family rallied and all came together to lift me up because I was a mess. When I tell you I was broken, I mean it. I had spent the last two years pursuing something and I felt like this was it. I had failed and at least I tried.

It took a couple of weeks for me to gather myself together and with the help of my family I realized I couldn't give up. How bad do I want this ?

Failing, and Jonathan hates when I say I failed anatomy last semester because I didn't really fail, but I still say failing anatomy was the biggest blessing. They say you don't learn from success, but rather from failure and I can attest to that. I had to dig deep within me and put those feelings of not being good enough aside. I had to put what happened last semester aside and approach anatomy in a different light.
I came into this semester with a whole different perspective.
Last semester I thought how awesome it was going to be to dissect cadavers. I mean, how many people do you know that can go around and say they've cut human flesh and organs, or dissected a human heart ? I didn't value the precious gift that these humans had given individuals as myself to dissect their deceased bodies so we, as students could learn.

I didn't value these people's gift of donating their body to science. I didn't see just a cadaver this semester, I saw a grandmother, a mother, a father, a son, a daughter who chose to give their body for me to learn from.

It's May 11th and I'm preparing for lab finals and lecture finals. I am two weeks shy of being one step closer to applying to Nursing school...... I didn't give up.

One thing has always remained constant in my life and that is that somehow everything falls into place and there always seems to be something bigger in the scope of things on why things happen the way they do. I think about how something affects me right now, but don't think about the larger scope.
There's always a larger scope.

I reached out to one of Joshua's primaries in December to see about volunteer opportunities within the hospital. Mind you, this was last semester. She directed me to the appropriate place, but in further research the volunteer department was without a director and they were not accepting any new volunteers and that was that.
Fast forward to February, this semester.
Joshua's primary reached out to me and asked if I was still looking to volunteer. She let me know that there was a new director and they were now accepting applications. She also asked if I would be open to volunteering in the NICU.
I couldn't believe what she was asking. Of course! She gave my information to the NICU's director and I got in contact with her.
She remembered me & Joshua.
Turns out the timing couldn't have been more perfect. Let me explain.
If you're familiar with the NICU, you know they don't let just anyone in. The NICU only accepts volunteers every 3-5 years if that. The baby holder of the NICU are volunteers who hold on to their position once they are in and so it is extremely difficult to become one.
Furthermore, they are very selective of whom they choose.
I went in for a group interview to volunteer in March.
In April, yes APRIL I went in for another group interview for potential NICU baby holders. I won't explain what it felt like being back in those halls, but it was comforting.
After many forms, shots, vaccines and waiting.....well.
I won't go into details about everything because I realize there has to be a form of anonymity. If you're reading this than you now know :)
Up till now, only my close family has known about this.

Jonathan graduates May 25th.
We both went back to school knowing he would be done way before me, but I can't believe we are now finally here. All the hard work and sacrifices we have made are finally making sense, so to speak. I think I haven't been able to focus on finals because there's an underlying sense of excitement, but also of Murphy's law.
Things are falling into place and I'm just scared something might happen.
I have my anatomy lab final on the 16th, then the following week is full of so much build.
My anatomy lecture final is on the 23rd the 24th I go in for my first mentor/mentee shift at the NICU and then the 25th is Jonathan's graduation.

I know there's still a LONG road ahead to become that NICU nurse I want to be, but i'm steps closer than I was. The step back of having failed anatomy last semester was just a set up for what this semester had in store.

"I dream it, I work hard
I grind 'til I own it"

Yes, I just quoted Beyonce. 

This journey is still going and i'm excited for whats next.

Monday, July 24, 2017

One more light.

When I was in my teens, I remember feeling out of place & this great deal of sadness that no amount of partying could make go away.

It felt normal. 

This is what the teen years are about right ? Feeling lost. Finding who you are. 

I drank. 
I drank A LOT, I did my fair amount of drugs and it was in nights of solitude when there was no partying, where it was just me & my sadness that I felt as though this feeling would never go away & I was just meant to be sad. I didn't have a name for this. I didn't know that other people felt this way too. 

Through the years I would go through periods of extreme hopelessness. Self medication didn't help, but these periods would come & go. I rode them out, but then the feelings just grew. 
They grew stronger. 
They overtook everything that could possibly bring happiness into my life. The feelings were now accompanied with voices. 

"You're nothing, the world would be better without you, your family would be better without you, you're just a piece of shit taking up space, why are you so fucking weird ?"

I hid these feelings. 
I hid. 
But, as a I grew older and went into my 20's so did these feelings. The voices which were once whispers became screams. 
The voices in my head where no longer distinguishable. 
The screams became harder to ignore. The sadness became harder to hide. The reasons for crying became harder to make up.

It was late 2006, early 2007 when I just stopped showing up for work. Jonathan had no idea what was going on & he couldn't understand why I would stay in bed all day. He couldn't understand how I could feel so sad. He couldn't understand why I would cry all day. 

"What can I do to help?" 
"Am I making you sad?" 
"Is it something someone did ?" 

I wished I could explain to him, but I couldn't. 
Instead I pushed. 
I pushed him away and the more he tried to help, the more I closed myself off. The more my mom tried to help the more I closed myself off.
Days turned into weeks and the weeks became months. 

Until one night Jonathan found me with my wrists slit. 
I couldn't take the pain anymore. 

This was the first time I tried committing suicide, but it wasn't the last time.

Mental health is such a difficult topic to discuss, mostly because unless you've suffered from depression it's hard to understand how someone can feel so hopeless, useless, feel like nothing. 


You feel like nothing can help. 
You feel like nothing will ever be Ok. 
You feel like you are nothing. 

Depression is an everyday battle.
It's a constant struggle between you and your voices. 
Your demons. 
Your demons become your worst nightmare, and they become your best friend. 

I can't tell you how many times I have cried because I just want to be "normal". 
Sometimes it feels like i'm the only one in the world going through this battle. It feels like i'm the only one fighting to quite the voices. Yes, the meds help, but it's so much more than just meds. 

It's your inner voice whispering 
"Why are you still here?, You're useless" 
It's choosing to continue, even though it hurts. 
It physically hurts somedays to continue. 

I know it's silly to some how someone's suicide can feel personal. 
But, that's exactly what Chester's suicide feels like. It's not just losing my idol. It's losing my idol to something that I shared with him.

It's reading all the comments, 
"How could he be so selfish & leave his wife & kids behind"
"How could he be a coward and lose his battle"
"How could someone who's rich and has all these fans do this?" 

Oh, ignorant people. If you only knew how lucky you are to not have to suffer from Depression and fight these demons.
If you only knew what it's like having to lie to your loved ones about how you're feeling somedays because it's easier than to having to try to explain why you feel lost without having an explanation why. 

If you only knew.

But, you don't and I'm happy for you, because I don't wish this disease on my worst enemy. 

Chester's voice spoke to me, it spoke to millions of people who feel alone and don't know how to explain what depression feels like. 
He was open about his demons & to someone like me it made me feel not alone.  He helped give me a voice and explain to Jonathan how I could be surrounded by family, friends, my daughter or son and still feel empty or lonely. 

Through out my life I have had reasons, excuses to be upset, depressed, but depression is so much more than that. It's not having ANY reason, yet having ALL the reasons to feel hopeless, and scared, and useless, and empty, and hallow inside. 

Depression is hating yourself.
Depression is wishing your spouse had chosen someone else because not only do you have to deal with your demons, but so do they. 
Depression is wishing & hoping your daughter doesn't see through your facade somedays.
Depression is hoping you get to see your daughter grow up, but thinking she would be better off without you in her life. 
Depression is dark.
Depression is lonely, but you find solace in your depression, You're familiar with your demons & although you hate when they rise & start nipping at you to let them in, you feel familiarity with them and you let them in. 

Chester isn't the first or last person to die due to suicide because of depression. 
He wasn't weak for letting his demons in that day just like i'm not strong for fighting my demons. 
It's not about being weak or strong. It's not about not having support or having all the support in the world. 

It's about Depression.

It's about mental health and the fact that he isn't the only one who suffered from it.
I'm not the only one. 
If you're reading this, know you are not the only one. 

You're not alone. Although it might feel like it. 

To those who have no idea what depression feels like or are unaware how someone can feel that suicide is the ONLY answer, inform yourself. 
Ignorance is bliss, but it shouldn't be. 

If you're reading this you now know someone who has tried more than once to commit suicide. 
I didn't succeed, but I could have.

I know it's hard to understand. 
I know it's confusing. 
I see it in the face of Jonathan when i'm falling into my hole. 
I see it in his face when even after almost 12 years he's dumbfounded on how I can feel so empty, alone, and useless somedays.

I'm open about my struggle with depression and will continue to do so in hopes of spreading some knowledge to those who don't understand it. Chester did it with his voice, he spoke to me, he spoke to millions like me who feel alone & gave them a voice through his. 

His kids lost a father, his wife lost the love of her life, the band lost their brother, his fans lost an idol, and me.....
Aside from being my favorite lead singer to my favorite band, I lost someone who was open about his struggles and made me feel a little bit more normal in mine.

Thank you for your voice Chester. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Here we are

It's been a while as usual, but here I sit typing after just having finished my final for Math and realizing i'm almost done with my first year back in college. Two more finals and its official. WHAT?! I have so many emotions going on and it's a little overwhelming which is why I decided to come to my safe haven and try to figure out why I'm feeling so....I don't even know how to describe it.

For reference my sophomore year of high school I dropped out and went straight to get my GED. High school was not for me. I spend the two years I was involved in high school partying and using the campus as a meet up for friends. I took maybe the first quarter of freshmen year seriously and everything from there on out was nothing. If I think back any formal education I last received was from 8th grade. I passed my GED on the first attempt with above average scores, (Not for math) which was surprising to say the least.

Here I am a 30 year old mother going back to college and I had no idea I would enjoy it as much as I am. It has been challenging beyond belief, but the enthusiasm to learn has remained and has carried me thus far and gosh is it rewarding. I know there is such a long road to go, but knowing that I have a year under my belt is indescribable. Life is changing and moving forward and I feel like I'm finally in tune with it. My whole life I have felt like I was swimming against the path that I was supposed to head down. There's been times I didn't even realize there was a path and I was just floating about getting by and letting myself just lay without heading anywhere. I use the term lay both figuratively and literally because depression most days have indeed been spent laying down, but somehow in the middle of my grieving I found this path, my path and it feels amazing walking in it. Gosh does it feel amazing.

As we head into summer I'm looking forward to spending time off of school, but looking forward to the Fall semester. This is our last summer before Natalia officially becomes a full time student as well. She's graduating pre-k June-18th and starts Kinder Aug. Time is moving so quickly for us in regard to her. I feel like she was just born and now she's starting kinder! She's so talkative and outgoing, the complete opposite of me and I'm so happy about that. As a girl I know she's more likely to carry my gene of psychological problems so the fact her personality is complete opposite than mine gives me hope she'll never have to face those demons. I would hate myself if that's one of the things she inherits from me. She's so full of life and eager to get her day started as soon as she wakes up. I can't imagine our life without her and I thank Joshy everyday that he choose her for us. She's growing up to be such an amazing little girl. Here are some updated pictures of us including one of me and Natty for Joshua's angelversary that just passed. She talks about how her big brother lives in heaven and is able to verbalize that she has a brother when asked. So to finalize this post, we've come a LONG way from when I first started this blog and the journey to here wasn't what we envisioned, but we're finding a way to find light in spite of everything. It has taken a while, but we're headed there. Where ever there is.....

 For Natalia's 5th birthday we surprised her with a trip to Disneyland. Here's the video of it :)

It's crazy to think this is where we've ended up. When I first started this blog is was to document my pregnancy with Joshua, then it emerged to document his life while in the NICU and now it's turn to this....What surviving child loss looks like. I never thought years later I would still be writing here and I especially did not know if I was still going to be here to write after Josh passed. I didn't want to be here, I didn't want to live this life, but somehow I've survived and continue to do so. This is my journey. This is our journey, every important milestone has been documented here and I hope to continue to do so. I will continue to do so! What a roller coaster it's been so far, but here we are. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

New year 2016

Happy new year!
Wow. I can't believe it's 2016. Looking back to when I started this blog I can't believe how far it's kept going. My only wish is I would have more time to actually blog. One day I keep saying, but the truth is I'll never blog as often as I wish or as I once did.

I'm on school break right now and go back January 25th. School has been so great for me. It has been difficult, but oh so rewarding. I have never felt like I was going towards something in life until now. In Psychology I learned about Maslow's Hierarchy of needs and everything made sense. While listening to the lecture my professor was giving about each level and how a person can't fulfill their higher purpose until each need is met was, it was life changing. I know that might seem like an exaggeration but it's not. All of the sudden things made sense.

Anyways, that's where I'm at as far as school. In other new's I had upper eyelid surgery in both my eyelids to lift them. I have a lazy right eye that was starting to interfere with my vision and my surgeon decided it would be best to lift both of them. I had the surgery on Jan 6th. The surgery served as a big reminder. I'm ok being in a hospital setting as long as I'm there taking care of someone and not the patient. The surgery was done in the operating room and I was to receive enough med's to just make me "relaxed" but that didn't go so well. I was in the pre op area with my nurse Melissa who was just absolutely wonderful. I told her I was going to school to pursue nursing and she gave me some "tricks" to putting in an IV. I even shared the story about Joshua and she told me about how her friend experienced something similar. The pre-op scene was going great. I wasn't worried or nervous. In fact the nurse and surgeon joked Jonathan looked more nervous than I did like he was getting surgery. All was well and the anesthesiologist came and put the cocktail med's in my IV. I said bye to Jonathan and they wheeled me down to the OR and that my friends is when my beloved PTSD kicked in. I'm not sure if it was a mix of the med's or being wheeled into an OR room again and seeing those big bright lights shining down. They positioned me and everything started rushing back. The birth of Joshua and everything that came with it. All of it. I told the anesthesiologist if the meds would help with anxiety and he said yes they should. He asked if I suffered from anxiety and I began breathing harder. I seriously felt like running out. The meds started kicking in by this point but not enough to keep me from feeling like I couldn't breath and wanting to start sobbing. I told him I did suffer from anxiety and PTSD then then the nurse informed him it was in my records I suffered from panic attacks. He walked on over and who know's what he gave me because I remember the nurse asking me if I felt better and I remember trying to answer back but not being able to then I remember nothing. I woke up in Post Op with J holding my hands and the nurse explaining to him they had to "knock me out" Once I came to he asked if I was ok. First thing I said was I couldn't handle it. It reminded me of and I didn't have to finish the sentence because Jonathan finished it for me.

It has been a bit hard since then. I have buried certain memories and feeling in order to function. In order to survive and in one second all those feelings came back. I'm using these days to re-compose myself. I know it might seem crazy that I'm pursuing a career to hopefully one day lead me to the NICU but it's completely different. I feel comfortable being in a medical setting. Just not as a patient. I want to help and take care of people. This is my path of that I'm certain. January 25th I will began another stepping stone in my journey.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Update. Ok, sort of

I know, I know I promised to make this huge big post but I have had no time. I remember saying "oh when I finally get a laptop I'll be able to start blogging again and start taking more pictures" the truth is school has taken over my life. Don't get me wrong. I am actually enjoying it this time around. Maybe because I KNOW what the purpose and long term goal of me going to school will be. The sole use of my laptop has been school. I have done zero picture editing and up till right now, zero blogging. Actually, scratch that. In my English class I had to create a blog and am actually loving that blogging is part of the weekly free write assignment . I'll post the link later here. For now I'll leave you with major stuff that has happened this month. I turned 30. Doesn't feel much different than 29. Am I supposed to feel wiser or something ? In other news, me and Jonathan celebrated our 10 year anniversary. We'e survived 10 years with out killing each other. Incredible. In all honestly, I actually think it is incredible we made it to this milestone. When I read back on the posts of where we were right after josh passing away i'm really amazed we made it through everything. We we were in completely different places and I'm amazed we found ourselves again. We are now a week and a half away from Joshua's birthday and for the first time I am not dreading it. Maybe it's because I'm actually keeping my promise to him and feel as though I'm finally following through on a promise I made not only to him but to myself. I'm keeping his memory alive and following this "calling" that came about through him and because of him. Thats my birthday gift to him. One that I'm actually proud of. Hopefully I find some time to write more on this next week for his birthday because I feel like I'm finally at a OK place with my journey so far.....
Here are some updated pictures us and of course of Natalia, Can you believe she's four!? I feel like it was just yesterday I was posting about being pregnant with our rainbow and now here she is growing like a weed. The kid has such a personality on her. She LOVES talking to people, strangers, friends it doesn't matter. She's confident, sassy and much to her daddy's liking loves superhero's. For halloween she has decided she will be Antman, but much to both of our liking she is a die hard San Francisco Giants fan. I'll add the youtube link of her reacting to them winning the world series last year. She was super excited to go to the parade.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Houston, we have lift off !

I have a laptop again fellow bloggers!
Theres SO much to update on but I  just wanted to make a post THAT I HAVE A LAPTOP ! Even though blogging might be a bit hard to do consistently because I have such a tight schedule ( be ready for updates on the next post) I now have an outlet to express myself and oh is there so much to write about! I have a couple of free minutes to spare before I get ready for school. You read that correctly, I am on my second week of my first year of pre req to (crossing fingers, toes) eventually be able to get accepted into an RN program. Do you guys remember THIS post ? Well I am following through. This is it guys. This is where everything has lead me to. This first semester is just a small tiny step in the long journey I have ahead of me to be able to reach that dream but I have to start somewhere right ? I'll update with a longer post later this weekend. This is a promise. This blog has documented everything from the start of this journey and everything I have written has lead me HERE. I know it's going to be a long and hard road but Joshua's story continues :)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Poop & Pee

I would always read a whole bunch of stuff on how kids say the funniest things. I have learned that to be very true! It seems as natty's vocabulary expands the list of hilarious things she says increases as well. It also very interesting to see a three year old comprehend things and explain them in a "3 year old fashion" sometimes simple & to the point & other times very entertaining. I've actually learned quite a bit from everyday conversations with her. 

I have written before how I hate blogging from my iPad and I still don't have a laptop but I have decided in trying to document these natty-isms I will try to post more often even if it's just a post with the "natty quote of the day" 

So to start things off 

This morning as I'm changing her diaper ( yes, my 3 year old is still not potty trained. That is a whole other post) 

Natalia: mommy I went pee & poop. I went pee in the front of my diaper and poop in the back.
Me: thanks for letting me know baby, and did you know you go pee and poop from two different places ? 
Natalia: *with a very concerned face* WOW! I did not know that, I think that's great! That's why my diaper in the front has pee & the back has poop. 

Stay tuned for more interesting conversations with my 3 year old.

Unrelated to this post and because I haven't posted pictures of my little one in a while here are some pictures :) We bought some stencils,face paint & J was drew them on.