Monday, February 28, 2011

Suicide never goes away

Some people might be under the assumption that I'm over Israel's suicide. The fact is you're never over it. Suicide is the black cloud that never leaves because the outcome can never change.

It'll be four years in April. I struggle with wondering if I had done anything slightly different what would the result be? I left with our daughter because of fear. I never expected he'd kill himself. I knew he would be upset but made it clear that he should always be involved in Laura's life. I left because I was tired of living a life in fear and anger. But now I pay in having to explain to Laura the he left by choice.

Several times a day sometimes I play out the scenario and my mind plays the "what if" game. I feel terribly guilty and then relief that the fear is over. Then I feel sad for Laura and sad for myself because I loved him no matter what. There was no closure, no note and no I love you (something we said throughout the marriage - a million times. )

I did find love again but never will the hole that Israel left be filled. He was not a bad person but he made some terrible decisions. They will last an eternity.

It's a long road. Luckily, Jeff lets me openly talk about it and asks me questions. It can't be easy on him living in the shadows of suicide. Of course I have increased trust issues and spent the beginning of our relationship trying to push him away before he abandoned me. He stood strong and daily tries to show that he isn't going anywhere. Hopefully, one day, this damaged heart will truly believe it. We both know it is trying hard to get there.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Hockey... yes seriously.. hockey

I went to an Adapted Sports Expo in West Chester on the day before Valentine's Day. I didn't know what to expect. I went mainly because of my job and because I do have a disability and like to be active.

Laura went to my Dad's because my sister was going to have a Valentine's Day party for her and my nephew. Unfortunately, as the day went on, Laura got sick and the party was postponed. My Dad took care of her though.

The Expo had several groups aimed at people with disabilities. Each group held demonstrations and allowed people to try it. I remembered playing hockey in gym class when I was in special education but that was when I was ten. They tapped foam hockey sticks to our chairs and we played.

So when I first entered the Expo, they immediately told me that there was a power chair hockey demonstration going on. I went and talked to the leaders. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that they play around where I live and they would like more players.

I also like the fact that they were mostly physically challenged. Not that I'm against mental challenges but it's nice to be around people that you have something in common with. They invited me to come out and play in the next game on Saturday. I said yes!

Jeff took me to the game. For us, it only took about a half an hour. Others traveled over an hour. We chuckled at the sight of so many wheelchair vans. It's different to see them all in one place. I felt nervous and excited. I didn't want to make a fool out of myself.

When we went in, a woman remembered who I was and asked if I wanted to play or just watch. I enthusiastically said I would play. She got one of the coaches to hook up a hockey stick to my wheelchair. I would be playing defense.

For the first time, I admit that I played pretty well. The people said it too and I think they meant it. Jeff said he was proud of me and it felt great to have him there supporting me.

So now I'm a full member and am actually looking forward to the next game in two weeks !

Yes, mom has a disability

Laura is noticing more and more that I am not like other mothers. Her questions and empathy are amazing but it's still hard to explain. The nice part is that her teachers at the YMCA don't treat me or her any different.

I think it's cute when she says cerebral palsy. She says that I am cerebral palsy. I'm beginning to explain more in depth that not everybody in a wheelchair has cerebral palsy. That there are many other disabilities that exist.

She asked me how I got it. This is a tricky question to answer because I don't want to scare her. My cerebral palsy came from doctor error. So I explained that the doctor made a bad choice and had a mistake. She asked me where was he now? I told her that he had died a few years ago. Her response was "That is good since he hurt you. " I laughed to myself and tried the best I could that even when we make bad choices we should be forgiven and forgive others.

Last night I helped her open a box of candy. She was doubtful that I could open it. When she is doubtful, I try that much harder. I did get it opened and she said," Great job Mommy! Many people can't open that but you could !" It's her way of showing me that she knows things can be difficult for me but I do it anyway. I think and hope when she sees me try hard that it encourages her not to give up too.

I recently joined Philadelphia Power Play. It's a hockey team for people who use motorized wheelchairs. I played my first game on Saturday and enjoyed it. I'll talk more about it in another blog. I didn't take Laura yet because my dad had her, but I'm curious to see her reaction to everybody in a wheelchair like mommy. It should be interesting !

Monday, February 7, 2011

Animal Kingdom

We all went to Animal Kingdom on Saturday because we figured it would be less crowded. We got there a little later than planned but only by an hour. Laura was very happy to go and it was the first Disney park she experienced. I was there twice before.

The first thing we did was the Safari ride. They have a vehicle if you choose to stay in your wheelchair but you're also fine to transfer if desired. I decided to stay in my wheelchair because I felt more comfortable and why make Jeff transfer me if he didn't need to?

They secure the wheelchair much like in a wheelchair accessible van. The ride is much like a real safari with free roaming animals. The roads are bumpy and hilly. The ride isn't scary. It is adventurous.

Laura enjoyed it a lot. She was fascinated by driving through big puddles of water. She liked seeing all of the animals especially the new baby elephant. I made sure that Jeff held onto her because even though I doubt she could fail out, being a mom, I just wanted to make sure she was safe.

After that we made a terrible mistake. We went to see It's a Bugs Life. Of course they warn you when you get in that it might be too much for people who don't like loud noises,the dark and intense special effects. However, by that time we were already inside and ready to go in. I felt fear that Laura wouldn't be happy but I prayed for the best.

Laura hated it. She was terrified of everything. I admit it was even a bit intense for me. It was 3D and you could feel stinging, drops of water and puffs of air. There was a huge bug out to try to kill the audience with bug spray. She was angry at me for taking her to it and I tried to explain that I didn't know it was going to be like that.

After we left that show we noticed that they had an area where children could meet the Disney characters. We quickly went over and it was a much needed distraction. She met Mickey, Minnie and Donald Duck.

The best part of Animal Kingdom was The Lion King show. It's only thirty minutes but it's fun, interactive, full of fantastic music and great acrobatics. Laura said it was her very favorite. She also did the dinosaur spin ride with Jeff.She thoroughly enjoyed the Jungle Parade. I liked the Finding Nemo show. Laura seemed indifferent. For both shows,you can stay in your wheelchair.

Jeff and I didn't do the roller coasters. I wanted to do Dinosaur,but we ran out of time. That was okay because we had a great time. The weather was perfect-in the high seventies and sunny.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Magic Kingdom - Day One

Going to the Magic Kingdom is a outrageously fun experience for anyone. Jeff and I took Laura along with Jeff's parents. For a four year old going for their first time they have no idea what to expect. We told her about how all the characters live there and about the rides. She watched many YouTube videos with Jeff's father but still seeing is believing in this case.

Jeff had been to Disney world several times since he used to live in Florida. I went three times prior to this trip and love it every time. I like how everything is accessible but also I love the parades,rides and happy atmosphere.

The secret to taking a four year old are three things: plenty of snacks (we took apples, carrot sticks,fruit snacks and granola bars),a stroller,and extra clothes. Other than that, it wasn't bad at all. She slept in her stroller usually in the mid afternoon and ate throughout the day.

The first day we went to Magic Kingdom we took the ferry over. It takes a little longer but it makes seeing the castle more dramatic. We arrived shortly after the park opened. Laura was excited and so were we.

When we got into the park, we rode the train to get an idea of what the park had. The train can take you in your wheelchair. After that, the first ride we planned to go on was the People Mover. We got in line and I had to transfer into a manual wheelchair. When we arrived to the ride,Jeff realized that it wasn't the ride he thought. We were at a rocket ship ride.

The rocket ship ride went around in circles at high speeds. You can make the rocket ship go up and down . I knew that I could never do that because I get sick going around in circles especially at high speeds. So I told Jeff that he should just take Laura. Jeff's mom opted out of going too so we watched. The ride went very fast and Laura loved it. To this day, she said it was her favorite.

After that ,we did just about everything that we could with Laura.For rides I couldn't do or opted out of, either Jeff or his parents took her. She enjoyed going on Dumbo and the Tea Cups. We all did Small World,Jungle boat ride, Mickey Philharmonic, Monster Laugh,Buzz Light Year, Carousel of the Future, Camp Mickey and the Winnie the Pooh ride. All of which I could stay in my chair except the Pooh ride.

When Laura did the Swiss Family play area with his parents,Jeff and I wandered to ourselves. Jeff convinced me to ride the Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster. I have always liked roller coasters but as I get older, I realize that I can get hurt and I want to be in top health for Laura and Jeff. But I also want to live life to the fullest. I decided to try it.

To our surprise, they let us ride twice. I was hoping that I'd like it. Jeff had to transfer me into the seat. Luckily, Jeff is strong and I'm petite so it makes transferring easier. He was able to sit next to me and we had a pull down bar to hold us in. Te ride is very fast and twisty. I did feel a little scared but I knew I was safe. I probably wouldn't recommend it to someone with balance issues to sit by themselves. However, if you have someone next to you, you'll be fine.

Laura did not do Pirates of the Caribbean because of being too dark. I also didn't think she'd like the Haunted Mansion or bigger roller coasters. Space Mountain was out of the question for her but Jeff and I did it the second day we went.

Laura also met the princesses and characters. She really enjoyed that.

We stayed at the park long enough to see the night time electrical parade. Jeff and I found a spot to see it well because it was blocked off for people in wheelchairs. Laura was amazed by the big floats and the characters. Afterwards, was the fireworks after a visual show on the castle featuring pictures of people throughout the day.

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