What else..

I don’t know anymore… I don’t think I am strong enough… I think I’ve died just a little and now I have to breathe the little strength I have left into whatever comes next…

But I cant.

I just can’t seem to make myself do what needs to be done now.

I don’t want to untangle your life from my own. I don’t want to wake up without you every morning. Or go to bed without the feel of you there. I don’t want to see you out somewhere and have you ignore me.. but you will..

I don’t want a divorce. I never wanted a divorce. And while I guess you’re probably right, I went looking for something. I’m not sure what that is just yet, but I can promise you this – I wasn’t looking to get lost, My Love, I was looking to get noticed.

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On a Prayer..

Dear Pastor H,

I am writing this letter to give my ten year old daughter the voice she will need to sing the praises and prayers that have been hidden within her..

If I had to guess, I’d say you probably get a couple of hundred of these heartfelt, devastatingly tragic letters every month… maybe more. Probably a good bit more than you could possibly have the time to read… Still, I hope somehow this letter finds its way to you. And when it gets there I hope you’ve got time to read..

My name is Amber. I live in small town Mississippi and my youngest girl believes that you will one day change her world.

Miss Sandra Grace Howell has been Gracie since the womb, and she’s brought me more happiness and joy and pain and worry and fear and an utterly unfathomable love within this life than I could have possibly imagined. More than any single soul could really ever need..

She is my anchor, my hope, my sorrow and delight. She’s so much more than what she looks like and I wouldn’t give her back or change a thing..

But if things had been different…

Gracie was born full term (38wks, 3days) and with an APGAR score of 8 and then 9 after two minutes of life. Being insulin dependent, I was inundated with amniotic fluids and, after about 7 hours of labor, had to have a c-section. The next time we saw her we were told she had had some complications and that she was going to need some specialized care. At 4 days old she was transported by ambulance to the University Hospital in Jackson, MS.


She was more than a month old before we got to bring her home with us. The Drs still weren’t sure it was a good idea, but we’d spent enough time in the NICU and her daddy and I wanted her at home.. if she wasn’t going to live she still had five siblings to meet and who wanted to love her.

The day we left the Dr looked her daddy and I straight in the eyes and told us we would do well to simply “hold her and love her and keep her comfortable”.

It was 5 months later when she finally woke up. She started smiling more and sleeping less and she was beautiful. Every couple of months would bring some new and incredible things we weren’t prepared for and it was crazy. She was smart and aware and not blind or deaf as we’d all imagined.. She would likely never walk or talk or feed herself, but she was a miracle.

I do apologize for being so long winded, Pastor, but I had to tell you that to tell you this..
Last month we went to an orthopedic surgeon. (She has a bursa cyst on one knee and I want it gone).. So, off to orthopedics we went. Always the skeptic, I regarded this new doctor like the quack I had so quickly assumed he would be and prepared myself to comfort my child in the wake of his obvious shortcomings.

Boy, was I wrong..

It would seem as though Dr Ortho is the answer to our prayers. With an incredible 90% success rate in regards to the surgery left dangling like a carrot, I couldn’t be more excited or more afraid for what’s to come. I mean, 90%.. I am utterly blown to pieces every time I hear myself say it out loud..

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?

Well we’re scheduled for November and I couldn’t be more terrified and thrilled and leery if I tried..

Essentially, they’re going to put her to sleep and reconstruct her legs from about mid-thigh down to the arches of her feet. Crazy isn’t it.. Try imagining that through my eyes. This is a BIG deal. Big enough to stand before Him (and as proxy, before You) in hopes that you might take some time out for my girl.

And so I ask you, as a mother, as somebody who has not been blessed with faith enough to move this mountain on my own, would it be possible for us to come and lean on you? On your voice? On your strength? On your unfaltering relationship with our Lord in this mess…?

If you can find time you between now and Halloween, I will be more than blessed to afford my child the opportunity to hold your hand and even possibly to hear you speak her name in prayer. All you need to do is tell me when..
I sincerely appreciate the time that has been taken here today. We’ll need all the prayers we can get, and somehow Grace thinks your prayers are special..

Many blessings,
Amber and Gracie Howell ♥️

No country for old men

Cooper, our 100lb bully.

He turned 7 this past September, though we’ve had him since he was about 10 weeks old. He’s a good boy, always has been.. I’d swear he was born crate trained and without an ugly bone in his giant body.

Last year he was hit by a car. Knocked him silly and tore his hip out of socket but he lived. Already in pain from a spinal fusion, we weren’t sure if he’d pull through it or not, but he did

Yesterday he took off with his female, Annabelle. I think every bit of trouble my Cooper has ever seen, he’s seen while trying his best to chase her tail..

LOL.

Annabelle was on the porch early this morning.

Cooper was not….

Unsent Letters • 10.19.2018

My Love,

Sooo… what’s her name?

I’m not, contrary to popular belief, a total imbecile. I KNOW you. Something is wrong.. off.. I can’t put my finger on it, but I would swear on a stack of bibles that there’s something I don’t know. There’s gotta be..

In the better part of a decade I have never felt so small. Not like I have over the days of this past year. And I really, really dislike it…

If I live to be 100, I will never understand all of the “bullshit he was talking” that’s happened between us.. I absolutely canNOT win with you anymore..

Maybe there isn’t a somebody else, maybe you’re just done with me.. but at least I would have something to go by when I started to wonder..

I miss you all the time..

– A

Unsent Letters • 08.13.2015

My little girl, my oldest little girl, was diagnosed with cancer back in August 2015. A papillary carcinoma on her thyroid gland. It was found quite by mistake, and with God’s arm around her shoulders she survived.

This is the letter I meant to give her five months later when she turned 18.

I reckon it’s been lost all this time..

 💞

Autumn Michelle,

You know, when you were born I was still a little girl in so many ways. I didn’t work or drive or even live on my own. While I had been without my own mom off and on for a few years, I’d never really had to take care of myself..

Then you came along. Tiny and helpless and completely dependent on me to do things for you that I’d never even really thought to do for myself. It was time to grow up and I was so scared..

I was so afraid I would do the wrong thing..

I’ll never forget the first time I clipped your little fingernails. I caught the skin on one of your thumbs and you bled while I cried. It felt like such a tragedy.. Such a small mistake but it felt like the end of the world.

You were so incredible, I would sit and stare at you for hours on end and write poetry for you to read when you were older. I had so many hopes and dreams for your future and I just knew someday you’d grow up to be better than me..

And you are.

From your very first coos I knew you’d sing me a song. From your first wobbly steps I knew you’d go a whole lot farther than me, and you did. At barely two you could say all of the alphabet and actually carry a tune. You’d stand in a laundry basket and tell everyone to “shh, shh, ima show you something” .. I can still hear you breaking into Somewhere Over the Rainbow like it was yesterday – I wish I still had that video Nick made.. I can still smile knowing you turned out better than the test of us did.. 

You had the face of an angel and a smile that could chase away the shadow of my darkest days. Nothing has changed. I look at  you and all too often i still see that little girl; quiet and sweet and always so damn well behaved. Nana always says that you were born an old soul and she could see it in your eyes.

Your uncle Jason’s eyes…

When I look back over the years, both good and bad, I see so many things I’d go back and change. So many choices I would take back if I could… 

But I always always loved you and I did the best I could – even though sometimes it wasn’t enough. If I could live an extra life and all the time that comes with it, I still don’t think  I’d have to make up for the times I couldn’t be around when you were little.. The hundred moments that I’ve missed and I can’t ever get back. Your first day of kindergarten and losing your front teeth and starting gymnastics and probably a thousand other little things I didn’t even know I missed.. 

I’ll bet you remember then all.

It’s been ten years since I decided to start over. I moved here with your sister and a dream and not much else but I still made it. I hadn’t seen you in a year and you were angry with me for so many things i could never make up for.. but you still came. It was a visit that turned into a year and then a decade and I’ve loved it. 

You were and when your dad didn’t come back for you after that summer was over but we got through it. And when you had to start all over with no friends in a new school we still got through it. You got glasses and got your baby teeth and you grew out before you grew up and if course we got through it.. One day I realized we had gotten through it all. From grades and boys to birth control and cancer and then some.. 

I will be forever grateful for the chance to watch to grow up. You have always been so much more than I’d imagined you’d and you still amaze me every single day. Soon enough you’ll find. All grown up and on the run with a life of your own and I’m not ready…I

I already miss you. Is that terrible? The older you get the led you need me and I guess that his it’s all supposed to be. 

I did my job.. 

I raised a smart, independent woman with the ability to do anything she sets her mind to and I couldn’t be more proud..I

I love you, 

Mom

Nightmares and Dreamscapes

Will there ever be a valid explanation for this chaos I call life?

Don’t get me wrong, having been given the gifts of free-thinking and will, I am all too well aware of the fact that the choices I make are my own.

I hope that something gets better one day, ’cause this shit has got to improve. Won’t be long before there’s nothing else I can lose and I’m tired.

I’m barely holding on these days. My fingers are getting sore. I’ve lost my grip and there’s nothing I can do about it.

Don’t let me drown..

Don’t let my die away..

Don’t let me fade into the nothing of the darkness in my soul..

Unsent Letters. (What would you do?) 09•08•2018

DISCLAIMER : I guess you could say I’ve been going through some personal stuff. These letters are simply my way of releasing my angst out into the universe. If you have any insight or wisdom you think might help me work things out, keep it. I’m not looking..

My Love,

Today was just one of those days, wasn’t it? From beginning to end the whole thing sucked. I somehow pretty much cried myself awake, and then my little girl cried herself to sleep.

Why is that? Do you know? Cuz there’s just no good answer – not that I can see anyway.

There’s no good reason for any of this. Ever. And yet it happens again and again.

I wish I had a solution for us.. for all this arguing and all the hurt.. though I’m not really sure it would help anymore; after having been pushed so far away for so long…

But my honest dilemma.. the one in my heart, is my little girl feeling unloved. She’s been telling me so for too long and I can’t just dismiss how she feels.

I’ve been treating her like she’s just some spoiled brat and not taking the time out to listen. Ive defended her actions but taken your side and for that she thinks I’m choosing you.. and she’s been right.

All this time..

For the last couple months I’ve been trying to step back; get an actual look at what is. It’s unfortunate really, that I couldn’t see it til now..

I hate you because you don’t love her.

I hate me because I ignored it.

I’m done.