Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day Sentiments

Everyone around me, beside me, thinking of me knows how terribly difficult this year's Mother's Day is for me. I have gotten calls and texts from "kids" who have known my children for years. These "kids" were part of the every-day revolving door attached to my home as we raised our children.

Basically, I have a lot of children. I just didn't birth all of them.

I'm missing an important one this year. The one who most certainly would have already called me with a beaming, "Mam! Momma! Mommy!" when I answered the phone. I also don't get to see my mom's face light up as I planted flowers all over her yard for Mother's Day. So my heart hurts today.



I also have TWO important ones to celebrate this day with. Two children that still make my heart ache with the kind of love a mom has specifically for them.  Nathan and Lindsay are the reason I will post about Mother's Day with happiness in my heart and gratefulness that they are here with me to hug a little tighter. They can bring peace to my fragile heart like nobody else can right now. They are the connection I have to the one who is no longer here. When I hug them, I hug their brother.

But there is truly so much more to them than that. As I've watched them navigate their own journey since losing their best friend it warms my heart how they've grown to appreciate each other more. There was a time when these two didn't speak to each other. It broke this momma's heart. I prayed for their relationship and that they would find a way to have peace with each other and become better friends. Not best friends. I'm not sure these two could be that for each other....it's  been a loooooong childhood with them. lol! But as adults who have experienced the same, difficult loss it has brought them together.



Nathan is my strong-willed, tenacious, stubborn, funny child with a wonderfully soft heart. You would never know it by the wall of toughness he throws up to keep from getting emotional. But this guy is a softie. He's loyal. He's generous. He's a pain in the butt.


Lindsay is my strong-willed, stubborn, silly child who wears her emotions on her sleeve. She struggles with the likes of depression and some other difficult diagnosis, but that girl is driven and focused on getting out of bed every. single. day. to try and make it better than the last one. But most importantly she is a wonderful mother to my grandson. He tests her on the daily, but her love for that little guy is evident in everything she does. He is the center of her universe. He is her everything.

For everything my children are AND are not, I celebrate being their mom today. I'm so very thankful to God that I was given the beautiful gift of motherhood. It hasn't always been easy. In fact, this year has been the most difficult of all my years. But it is always rewarding. I just have to be sure to look with my eyes and heart wide open.

I love you, NayNay and Missy. You are my world and I'm so very happy and proud to be your mom. today and every. single. day.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Hello, Joy? I miss you....

I wish you were here with me, in this very different life I have. There were so many things you were part of. Simple things. A clean house. Fresh flowers from my yard in a vase. A scenic drive. Watching my grandson play. The list was truly endless. Somehow you left me without warning. It wasn't even a slow break up.

It was a shattering of my heart. Damn you, Joy.

In your absence over the last 9 months Anxiety, Depression and Indifference have stepped in. I don't like them. It's difficult to execute things on my list that when those idiots are around. They pretty much suck the life out of me where you would GIVE me life. You were always a breath of fresh air, Joy. That unexpected card in my mailbox. The long, lighthearted conversation with one of my children on the back porch. A beautiful sunset. A clear night where all the stars twinkled. Even a hard day at work after it was over and I could reflect. All things you would show up for.

And where in the hell are you now?

I keep tying to find you. During a birthday. During a holiday. When I see spring bursting at the seams now that we've had some rain. Listening to my grandson laugh. Coffee. Getting a pretty new outfit. Having a great hair day. Seeing the restaurant full of customers. Yummy food. A fun craft project. Vacation with beautiful friends. Coffee.

But you are still nowhere to be found.

Anxiety, Depression and Indifference have paralyzed me. In all the places I think you might be hiding, they make it difficult for me to simply crawl out of bed and find you. I WANT to have a fun birthday celebration for someone. I WANT to participate with my family on a holiday. I WANT to scrapbook again. I just can't execute any of it. Then our lovely friend Regret gets to tag along. She's the biggest fun-sucker of them all. But regardless of my desire to kick all their asses, I can't do it alone. Not without you.

I appreciate that you have sent a few folks in your place in the (hopefully) short term. Happiness makes sporadic appearances. She shows up during things like that first sip of coffee, when my grandson gives me a big hug or when I have a random memory of Cody pop in my head. Contentment also shows up for tiny intervals, usually after long soaks in a bubble bath. But the best companion you sent is Gratefulness. She is always riding shotgun, but I admit that I sometimes forget to acknowledge she is there because of those other idiots. She is always around in the form of my husband, my son, my daughter, my grandson. I see her often with friends and extended family. She is close at my side when I am in prayer.

Praying for you, Joy. Praying that somehow you will find your way back to me. Or maybe it is me that needs to find you. Either way, I promise I will keep looking and keep searching for you. I won't give up. In the meantime, if you would like to send Sleep to help out I wouldn't say no.

Your friend and desperate companion,

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Happy Birthday, Cody

Yes, it's 3:00 a.m. It's true I can't sleep. I have a lot on my mind, but mostly that tomorrow, February 3, would have been Cody's 29th birthday.

Not long after he passed away I started trying to wrap my brain around how I would cope with all the "firsts" this year. I stopped trying to wrap my brain around any of it when we spent our first Thanksgiving without him. I'm just coping with the "firsts" as they come. You can't really plan for any of it. I had an earlier blog post about Cody and "firsts" here. I cried reading that again. It's certainly bittersweet now. *sigh*

Christmas was rough. Very rough. I got through it by not putting a lot of extra pressure on myself and allowed it to just be whatever it was going to be. Whatever I felt like doing. Whatever Troy felt like doing. Or not doing. I made an effort, albeit slightly pathetic, for the sake of Troy, the kids and my grandson. It was quiet, but pretty much just what I needed. I think individually we did what we wanted while allowing the others to do what THEY wanted and needed to do. It worked. But I'm glad it's over.

What I did not expect was any emotion with New Year's. I had a meltdown on the way home from work as I realized 2017 would be the first full calendar year my son would not be alive. For any of it. It was a pretty hard gut punch.

And now I'm facing the first birthday without him. The 29th birthday that he will not be here for. The first February 3 in 29 years that I don't have to sit and figure out what special thing to gift him with. Last year I sent him money because he wanted new glasses. He was my practical child, always asking for things he needed. Drove me crazy most of the time because I like birthdays to be fun and frivolous. "Mam, I don't need any of that crap!" I ignored him most of the time and got frivolous things to go with the practical things.

So you may be asking yourself what, exactly, are my plans for tomorrow? This day that was normally set aside to celebrate? Well, we are still celebrating. In an enormously big way. More frivolous than Cody could have ever imagined.

The grand opening of the restaurant is tomorrow. It's been a long, drawn out process full of emotions but we are finally here. CAP's Pizza and Tap House is FINALLY here! We had a soft open on January 20 and if that weekend is any indication of what will happen tomorrow? Well, let's just say it will be the biggest birthday party Cody has ever had. I would say I'm sorry that he won't be there for it, but I believe he will be there. He is everywhere in the restaurant. From the name (CAP's - Cody Allen Pryor), to the logo (subtle skateboard reference), to the names of some of our signature pizzas (the "Coden" and the "Destroyer"). So, yes, he will be there.

Besides, Cody was never one to miss out on a good party.

Happy Birthday, Cody! I miss you every. single. day. But tomorrow? We celebrate!





















Thursday, December 15, 2016

Just the Two of Us

This guy…. 



As of 7:00 p.m. tonight  I’ve spent 32 years as his wife. I’m 51. So, literally more than half of my life. Almost 2/3.  61% of my years on this earth have been as Mrs. Troy Pryor. If you are geeky enough to check my math, don’t tell me if it’s wrong. Because you get the point.

It’s been a long time.

Like every relationship that is worth fighting for, we have had some struggles. Both large and small. Struggles that we created. Struggles that we had no control over. We are currently maneuvering through the largest struggle we’ve had in the past 32 years. We did not create this. We did not want this. Nobody would. But here we are.

We have an anniversary tradition. But like every other tradition we have, this year seems to be difficult to put any of them in to play for the holiday season. But our anniversary is for US. It is about US. We always made sure it was about US. Not our family. Not our kids. Just us. The two of us. So our annual day out in Old Sacramento is being put on hold. Instead we are hosting a private taste-testing at the restaurant (that, by the way, is still not open because of license and permit delays beyond our control). We decided we wanted to focus on something different. We didn’t really verbalize it to each other but because this year is already so different and hard we chose to concentrate on changing it up. A lot

Because let’s face it, our life has changed. A lot. And while today is about us, it’s about a damaged “us”. A wounded “us”. A grieving “us”.

But it’s still us. Still together. Still fighting. Getting through the season. Respecting each other in where we are in our own grieving process. And it is very different for us individually, but we are managing. Day by day.

And today? It’s about us.

Happy Anniversary, Troy. I know we frustrate each other on the daily, but I love you more than words could ever express. Thank you for always being more patient with me than I am with you. And thank you for letting me be where I need to be after losing our son. Our world was changed forever and I have faith that we will pass through this storm with the same perseverance as the other storms.

The sun will shine again. 

And when it does? Let's head to the boat.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The 3rd of Every Month

It’s the 3rd.

I’ve been fiercely trying to shove this day of the month to the back of my mind and not deal with it. But the 3rd of every single month will always and forever bring me to a place that I have to confront. Feelings to deal with. Last month was easier to move through the day as we continued to focus on the restaurant, family birthdays and distractions at work.

But not today. Not December 3rd.

Today marks 5 months since Cody died. (I still can’t write that without staring at it for several minutes, taking in the full impact and feeling my heart hurt). 5 months. It seems so long ago, yet today I got swept right back to that horrible first day. I was trying to figure out why this month is so much more difficult than last month. I have the same distractions. We are SO CLOSE to opening the restaurant and with that comes a million tiny last minute details. I’ve picked up extra shifts at work. I’m busy. Distracted.

Christmas 2003
But it’s December.

I knew it would be hard, this holiday season. But I was expecting it to be difficult closer to Christmas. But Christmas is everywhere already. On houses, in pictures, in stores, on the radio, on tv….everywhere. And each thing is a reminder that I will be missing someone this year. As each day passes I try to plan for a day to haul my decorations out and fill my home with all the things that warm my heart during the holiday season. But my grief tends to paralyze me unexpectedly and without warning. On those days just getting out of bed and being present for whatever I need to do is draining.

Today was one of those days.

But it’s December. Christmas is coming. I can’t stop it from coming. So I’ll keep trying to plan the day for decorating. (Grief, by the way, makes planning things nearly impossible.) My tree always makes me happy, but I’m dreading hanging all the ornaments that were bought for Cody over the years: Baby’s first Christmas, Black Power Ranger, Scooby Doo, a mouse on a skateboard, a few handmade ones from school and many others.  I’m trying to start new traditions that will honor Cody and bring us joy as we remember the 27 Christmases we had with him. So as I browse through the thousands of items on Amazon…the silly, the beautiful, the ridiculous, the amazing….I remember the craziness that was gift giving to Cody: Charlie Brown shirt, Nightmare Before Christmas stuff, 3D printed shirts with hamburgers…then later a matching backpack….beanies of every shape/size/color, beanies with crocheted beards attached to them, moon boots, things related to Bigfoot ("He's real, mom"), any article of clothing from Zumiez, skateboard decks/trucks/wheels in dazzling colors and designs, and always, ALWAYS, some insanely silly t-shirt shoved in his stocking.  

We haven’t talked much, as a family, about how Christmas will look this year. Maybe we are afraid to. Or maybe we are just busy ignoring it. The four of us have been insanely focused on getting this restaurant open for business. It brings a large amount of stress, but at the same time fills us with immense satisfaction as we see it coming to life. It’s been a blessing of sorts to have something else to focus our energy on. We will eventually be able to breathe and I honestly think there may be some tears as we exhale. Opening day will be exciting and happy and filled with a great deal of “WE DID IT” pride, but it doesn’t change the fact that Cody will not be here for opening day. Or for Christmas.

Or for his 29th birthday, coming up in February.


February 3rd.


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