Tuesday, January 27, 2015

one month ago...

October 2014
Courtney looking up and knowing where she would be in a few short weeks.
The JOY on her face is just breathtaking...

Today marks one month since my beautiful girl went home to her Beloved. I woke up this morning to a winter white landscape outside and both my guys home. One tele-commuting for the day and the other with a rare day off. ALL of us together as we were that night one month ago. Funny how my girl made sure we could all hug one another and share a meal as well as laugh telling stories and sharing memories on this first month anniversary of her passing. 

She's sneaky that way. 

Once again, my daughter has gotten her own way. Gee, color me surprised. 

Things are beginning to very slowly come back into focus. Sleep is easier than a month ago. My appetite is slowly returning. Jerry and I are getting used to our new found freedom. We are taking the time to learn how to be a couple again. We are spending time with Jonathan learning how to communicate without Courtney in the daily picture. 

We are rebuilding our family one day at a time. 

I still walk into her room and cry. I still find myself watching the clock to make sure I keep her feeding/med schedule. I even got the blender out yesterday morning to be prepared. I still walk through the children's section of the book store or library looking for good books to read to her. I still look online for cute sweaters or soft clothes to keep her warm. 

I know the automatic response to do these things will slowly fade away but for now, it's how I am coping. It will take some time for twenty-two years of training to be reprogrammed in this brain of mine. 

In time all will be well. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

apparently I am Sheenazing!!

I don't even know what to say. 

Y'all are the VERY best readers on the planet. Bonnie @ A Knotted Life notified me last night that Passionate Perseverance won "Most Inspiring Blog" and I won "Miss Congeniality". I mean me...Miss Congeniality. Wowza. Not sure my brothers or husband would agree with that but I do so appreciate your kindness. 

I will admit to squealing when I read it. I may have jumped up and down a time or two as well. I have never won a blogging award of any kind before, so I am extremely humbled and so very grateful for your support. 

The fact that anyone takes the time to come here to this tiny little corner of cyberspace to read my words, let alone pray for me or my family, just amazes me. I feel like you guys are an extension of my family. I am just blown away my friends. Blown away. God is so very good. 

Love and hugs to all of you who took the time to vote. May your day be blessed with lots of laughter, love and maybe even a surprise or two. Mine already has. 

My Courtney continues to shine her light on my path and I am ever so thankful for my daughters daily gift to me. 

Keep on smiling sweet girl and dance, dance , dance. Mama might join you in one down here on Planet Earth. 

Have an awesome Monday,  

Saturday, January 24, 2015

sometimes they leave you halfway through the woods...

Today was raining and cold here in NoVa, so I ditched the house cleaning, grabbed my girlfriend Marjanna and we went off to lunch and a movie. After a fabulous bowl of Spaghetti alla Carbonara and a delightful cappuccino, we saw "Into the Woods". It was a pretty cool movie. I loved when the Prince and his brother were singing "Agony". Cheesy and fabulous. 

The most touching part for me came at the end with the Baker, as he faces life without his beloved wife, trying to care for his newborn son alone. He is overcome with fear and runs away before realizing that he is not alone in this journey. He can move forward in life surrounded by those who love him and will be there to help him along the way.

I had tears in my eyes at that point, because I was seeing myself. Then I heard this line in the song "sometimes they leave you halfway through the woods". It made me pause and I actually held my breath for a second. 

My mind went straight to my Courtney. She has left me halfway through the woods, and now I have to find a new path. I am lost in the shadows of the trees.

Like...way lost in the freakin' shadows. 

I just don't know how to proceed with life. I have ALL this time on my hands, and everyone has an opinion of what I should be doing and how I should be doing. The memories of my sweet girl surround me daily. I am exhausted even if all I have done is clean a bathroom and that's it. The words and emotions get twisted in my head and my heart. I even have difficulty explaining how I feel to people, including my husband at times.

This coming Tuesday we will pass the one month anniversary of our girl's heaven homecoming. It feels like it happened yesterday. 

One month without holding her. 

One month without hearing her laughter or seeing her bucktoothed smile. 

One month without my sweet, brave, vivacious Courtney. 

My heart aches quietly, every moment of every day. Yet, there is still joy in our home amidst the struggle to remain present in my day and not drown in the sadness that can overwhelm me quickly. My husband and I share stories of our spunky Courtney, then Jonathan jumps in with his own and there is laughter. 

People email me with stories of how my girl is helping them and my heart smiles for I know this is what she has waited for her whole life. That constant joy and pure bliss of an eternity with her Beloved Jesus. She is at home with her Bridegroom and she is loved in a way I cannot yet imagine.  The thought of it makes me giddy. She did it! She finished her race with grace and strength. 

My marathon continues, and damn my legs are tired and my heart is heavy at times.  I am working on celebrating those small pockets of happiness that give me hope and strength to fight through. A new recipe successfully executed, a hug from my favorite pre-schooler, a movie date with a dear friend, dinner with my Youth Ministry kids or holding hands during an evening walk with my sweet husband. 

Small pockets but very good pockets. 

Yes, Courtney left me halfway through the woods, but I am finally beginning to see the path God is setting before me and my family, one step at a time, Courtney's sunshine lighting the way from above.

God is GOOD, ALL the time,  

Monday, January 19, 2015

nominated for a sheenazing award...vote now...

I am so honored to be nominated this year for a 2015 Sheenazing Award which are hosted by the fabulous Bonnie over at A Knotted Life

"The Sheenazing Blogger Awards get their name from Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, who was amazing at using the newest forms of media to communicate the beauty of the Catholic Church and his love of Christ to the world. They are a fun way to celebrate the excellence of the Catholic blogosphere and honor Venerable Sheen."

I have been nominated in two categories. One for "Most Inspirational Blog" and "Miss Congeniality". 

I mean seriosuly?? What an honor. I thank Miss Courtney for the inspiring the inspiring part of this blog because without her, I am pretty damn boring. Trust me. You'll see. 

As for Miss Congeniality...shucks y'all. So sweet. My husband might disagree, but whose asking him. 

The voting closes THIS Friday so go vote!! Pretty Please!!

To vote click here...

Sunday, January 18, 2015

broken hearted but surviving...

Today was a hard day. I am still healing from the Black Plague of Lung Death. Thank you Jesus for the inspiration that lead to the creation of Vicadin laced cough syrup. 


This week is a busy one for me. Monday we have company for lunch (yay) and then Jerry has a job interview that afternoon. Woot! Woot! Please say a prayer for my guy. He was put on a short term contract last week so he is employed until February 27. It's driving us both a little cray cray but at least he is employed. 

Tuesday I am off to visit Courtney's former classmates at Kilmer Center, delivering lots of equipment and diapers from Miss Courtney.Then I have a sewing class that evening. 

Distractions are good these days. 

While Jerry and I were in Mass this morning, he had a "moment" while singing "Precious Lord". This is what happens. Everything thing is fine then whammo we are hit by a smell or song or someone hangs on to a hug just a little too long and the tears flow. 

So I held his hand, he composed himself and we went on with the day, making sure there were lots of hugs between us. This grieving thing is just wicked tough. I have learned one important lesson though. 

Mary's one rule for dealing with grieving people ...ready...

If the person who has lost a loved one is NOT crying (thereby sucking up every emotion they have to try and keep themselves together) then take your cue from them, suck it up buttercup and DON'T cry!! If they are crying, then let the river flow.

There I said it. No, I am not taking it back. I feel better. Look for my next book to be titled "You totally didn't just say that to me as my daughter lies in her casket"...yeah...

This evening we were going through the photos from the wake and funeral that our friends Susie and Claire took for us. It was a beautiful moment and a hard one too. To see so much love poured out for our daughter made us cry. SO wonderful to see all those precious faces. There were eight priests on that alter to celebrate Mass. Amazing. Just amazing. 

So here you go my friends. More love for our girl. Thank you for continuing to pray for us as we figure out what daily life looks life for us. 

Courtney Elizabeth -HD (720p) from Mary Lenaburg on Vimeo.

Friday, January 16, 2015

three weeks...

My sweet friend Sharon O. sent this little angel this week.
My motto for 2015...

As I type this, I am sitting on the sofa in my jammies, surrounded by soft blankets, a full box of kleenex, and a cup of steaming hot tea. I got up at the crack of noon after taking some seriously awesome Vicadin laced cough syrup last night. I actually slept without hacking up a lung for the first time in a week.

Better living through pharmaceuticals people. Live it. Love it.

Thanks to all of you for sending the Mass cards. sympathy cards and supportive emails. I appreciate all the love coming our way. I promise thank you nots will start going out next week and emails will be responded to. I will get caught up in the next two weeks. Slow and steady wins the race.

It's been three weeks since our Courtney went home to heaven. Things here at Chez Lenaburg are very slowly returning to normal. Well not normal per say, but we are creating a new daily routine, sorta kinda, maybe...ish...

I find myself with lots of time on my hands these days. I am coming to understand just how much of my life revolved around carrying for my Courtmiester. When she was with us, I just never thought about it. I went about each day trying to create the most loving, supportive environment so she would be able to reach her potential. I tried to do the same for her big brother and my husband. I failed more than I succeeded but I never gave up and kept trying.

I chose to find JOY everyday in whatever was happening. Even at the end, when Courtney was in a coma, there was still JOY to be found in the day. Her peaceful demeanor, her lack of pain, our sense of peace that we had done everything we could to help her.

Now there is just a big empty hole in my day. I am not sad 24/7. I don't cry as much as I did week one but I do miss her something fierce. She is with me every moment, in my heart , on my mind. She has never left. I am grateful for that gift. Now I just need to figure out what to do with my time.

There are several projects around the house that need my attention ASAP. This week we cleaned out Courtney's bedroom. It was not as hard as I thought it would be, but there were a few difficult  moments for sure. Remember the Fall of 2013 when we put it together with YOUR help. What a gift that room was to us over the past year. Such a happy loving space.

SO many nights spent in the comfy chair rocking my girl, singing and loving on her. It was a place of such joy and such love. There was fear and anxiety as well, but God was always present. Always. I waited for Miss Courtney to tell me it was OK to move forward before I got to work. Our house is quite small (total 1500 sq ft, including garage) so usable space is at a premium. When I went into her room this past Monday, I felt a sense of peace and calm, no tears or anxiety. I knew it was time to move forward.

Thankfully my Mom and my sweet friend Christine were with me to support me as we went through all the dressers, closet, under bed storage and her bookcases. So much love in that room. I was overwhelmed by all the joy and laughter we experienced in that room as well as those precious last moments spent with our daughter this side of heaven. How blessed we were to have been chosen to be Courtney's family. How supremely blessed.

Whatever could not be donated to a local special needs family or Courtney's school, was disposed of. Her clothes went to three different cousins and a close family friend. Her books were split among several families making some little people very, very happy. All we have left is her seizure monitor. SO if someone reading this has a need for it, just email me and it is yours. Time to pay it forward.

I have kept all the art work given to her or made for her for her last birthday. I will do a little rearranging as my new sewing/craft/writing space comes together. The walls will stay the same color as will the curtains. I will slowly be bringing my sewing and crafting supplies into the space. I feel good about the repurposing of the space. I think Courtney would approve.

I promise to share my progress here in the space as it all comes together. For now though, it's back to bed. I feel a nap coming on...

Monday, January 12, 2015

saying goodbye to Christmas...

Hey Y'all...

I hope your New Year has gotten off to a fabulous start. 

I know I have been a bit absent from this space but things on the Chez Lenaburg home front have kept me very busy. The paper work alone is flippin' brutal. Apparently you cannot be born or die without a paper trail the size of the Oregon Trail.  So.many.forms. Then waiting for forms to be returned to then fill out more parts of the form and so on and so on and so on...

Then there is the whole grieving thing. One day everything is fine and the next I don't want to get out of bed. The strangest things will start the water works going. A song on the radio, seeing a book at the book store, finding a pair of her pajama's at the bottom of the very large laundry pile. Walking into her room, no matter what time of day. That is still so hard. 

There is also the not sleeping issue. My body clock is way of. I mean like on Australian time off. I have tried just about everything I know to get back on a regular sleep schedule and nada. Nothing but counting sheep every night and exhaustion every morning. I spoke to my primary care Doc and he laughed. He told me time was the only sure cure. I had spent 22 years on Courtney's schedule. It will take a little time to get back on my schedule. 

Great. Time. I feel so rested already. 


Courtney in December 2014...her last tree. 

On top of that, this past weekend it was time to face the Christmas decorations. 

I have spent many hours since Courtney's funeral in front of her tree thinking, praying and talking to my girl. It's the most beautiful tree we have ever had in our twenty-six years together. I think it was meant to be that way. 

The best tree for Courtney's last Christmas.

It took five hours for Jerry and I to take it all down and put it away. There were some very tough moments in those five hours. We shared stories about different ornaments, cried together, and took our time saying goodbye to the Christmas of 2014, one that we will never forget. 

One that I never want to forget. I never want to forget my girl's smiling face, her laughter, how bravely she fought or how fascinated she was with the Christmas tree lights. I am so very thankful to God for the time we had with our daughter. ALL those nights spent cuddled up in our chair, listening to Christmas carols while watching the lights. 

some of our favorite Courtney ornaments...

Golly I miss my girl. I miss those nights we sat together and I sang to her or prayed the rosary. It actually hurts sometimes how much I miss her. I have cried everyday since she died. I didn't think I had that many tears in me. 

My Mom was right. She told me to cherish every moment with Courtney because there would come a day when I would give anything to have her back in my arms. 

My Mom is one very wise woman. 

My plan is to continue to take each day as it comes and be present to those I love. We all experience grief differently, men especially. My guys are doing pretty well I have to say. I am so proud of them, especially Jonathan. I love listening to him share his memories of his sister. So different from mine. It's very cool. 

As for what happens next...well...the next step is to empty out Miss Courtney's room. We will be donating most of her equipment to other families in need or charities that help disabled kids. It's time to pay it forward for our daughter. Time to help others like ourselves. 

I will use her room as my sewing, writing, crafting room, and home office. I think it's the perfect spot to write the book and spend hours creating beauty and maybe pay a few bills as well. 

I promise to write about Courtney's final days as well as her beautiful funeral Mass and burial in the coming days. I am still processing all of the emotions involved. 

Thank you for the continued love and prayers.
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