blog, home, Life Today, Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief, The Samantha Years

Does trauma gives you a hall pass? Someone should tell the hall monitor

I posted something cryptic on Facebook Saturday. It caught a lot of attention from my tribe but it really wasn’t a big deal….

Nothing like seizures, mitochondrial strokes or premature death.

I joke because I can.

Because I have survived these things.

I watched the EEG of my daughter explode. I have held hands in the PICU, I looked at a tiny pink casket, our tribe has buried our Littles before their time. I have gone toe to toe with a PICU doc and won.

I am a badass. I run with Badasses; I am proud of the strong people who have held me up and who I have held.

And yet.

At times.

Silly life shit takes hold of me. Suffocating. Like that stupid snake in the Jungle Book. It starts at my ankles, moves up my knees, my tummy, constricts my heart and looks me straight in the eyes. Sings to me and lulls me into a sense of doubt, confusion and negativity. Trust in me…..just in me….

I hate it.

Because silly shit is not worth suffocating over. I buried two babies and still managed to put my pants on and brush my teeth.

Silly shit is not worth it.

But I think all of us who have suffered trauma deal with this; cars cut us off, people are jerks, friends disappoint us, egos get in the way, Facebook pisses us off. These are not life and death situations. But in my mind, I expect the inconsequential to roll off my back and when it does not, it rattles me more.

I could place a cath in 10 seconds, deliver rectal Valium and I never gave it a thought. Why does this rattle me?

Perhaps this is the evolving trauma process…..what do we do after trauma when real life makes us crazy.

After we put our pants on, brush our teeth, go to work, cross the street….what happens next?

And really, I don’t post this as cause for alarm.

Because cause for alarm is another issue. I sometimes feel us going through all of this are afraid to post our struggles, because we don’t want to cause alarm. We are okay, really. We cry in ours cars, we get sad but we are here, really we want nothing more than to relish in joy and live our lives.

So a question for all of us and real life; what are your tools? What are your tricks for dealing with the silly shit? I invite all ideas J

Happy Spring!

The Samantha Years

Sam I am

Here is my new super sleek jersey for the Courage Classic

It has magic powers…..powers of perseverance, strength and fighting the odds.

Sam I am….

I am Sam….

Well really I’m not….I am Heather but many times I feel that Samantha is my left hip, my right shoulder, my heart and soul….so in a way, I am Sam.

This is Gram

Gram gave me the lovely jersey as a riding present…..well, Grandpa Jim did too but Gram rhythms better with Sam, and ham and WHAM! and blam and who I am.

I think they would both say “I am Sam” too….perhaps many people would 🙂 She’s an infectious Lil’ Miss
The Samantha Years

Courage Diaries 2009

Our ride is 9 days away! A year ago we were training from the hospital. Here is our ‘Courage Diary Part I’ from 2009

There is No ‘I’ in Team…..But I Did Find Me.

July 14:

We are in Children’s Hospital; our unsought home away from home. I’m watching over my daughter, Samantha as I wait for my husband to deliver my bike. Two weeks and counting until the Courage Classic. I need a training ride.

I put my bike shoes on while watching Samantha’s heart monitor….what was I thinking in signing up for this ride? We have waaaaayyyy to much going on.


I signed up for the Courage Classic; three days on my bike, 156 miles in the mountains. It’s huge fundraiser for Children’s Hospital . My bike was propped sadly against a wall in the garage; dusty with two flat tires. I had a lot of work to do but I figured I had time. July was a very long, long way away, right?


Two hospitalizations for Samantha and more procrastination from me.


I realized I only had two months to get my butt in gear. Samantha’s team started to form. As people started to fundraise, I realized this was much more than a ride through the mountains. This was a ride for many personal causes. This was a chance for people to do something for my daughter, a chance to ride in herhonor. Samantha’s Grandpa Jim wrote a heartfelt testimonial on his fundraisersite.

“I ride so that someday my granddaughter Samantha can ride.”

Well crap, now I guess I’m committed.

Once again, family and friends have come along for our bumpy ride, for our crazy life parade. I often wonder if I would be as philanthropic as my community if this were happening to another family. Would I sign up for a 156 mile bike ride to support a friend? Would I opt out? Biking Vail pass is hard. I try to avoid hard things.

Ironically, hard things still tend to find us.


Samantha is hospitalized with a staph infection. The infection was dectected in her ear and bladder meaning that it has colonized throughout her body. She ison I.V. antibiotics. We have ten different speciality teams on our case.

Our Courage Classic Team has raised $4,000 for Children’s Hospital. But I amdoubting my decision to take on this ride. I’m sad to think that I would have todrop out because she was not doing well. Alas, another event we would have tocancel; another testament to our variable, uncertain life.

Au contraire, mon frere.

The longer we are in the hospital, the more my team grows. At home, myhusband packs up the essentials: clean underwear, meals and then loads up mybike, helmet, gloves, water bottles and drives down to Children’s Hospital. Ourmedical team encourages me to get out and asks about my training. They allreassure me that they can handle Samantha’s medical needs, on their own, while I go out and ride.

“Are you sure you’ll be okay? I’ll be gone about two hours” I tell a nurse

“Heather, this is a hospital.”

I learn to release my mama controls just a little bit.

Perhaps I needed to release the controls just a little bit

Because being in the hospital stinks.

Being in the hospital 80+ days out of your three-year old daughter’s life reallystinks. Even if Children’s is a state-of-the-art, best-of-the-best hospital with reallycool X-Box machines in every room, my heart still breaks every time we areadmitted.

July 14:

My husband steps into the room, he eyes my attire and laughs….bike shorts and jerseys just aren’t typical at the hospital.

“You’re itchin’ to get out aren’t you?”

“Feeding is at two, meds have been given and our nurses’ name is Kelly. I have my cell phone.”

“You won’t need it…..go”

I ride…I turn my back from the hospital. Ironically, I found someone during these rides. I found a woman who is strong, who likes the sound of her heart beating when she is doing a hard climb. A woman who loves her daughter dearly but also loves the feeling of clearing her head as she leaves the hospital for a long ride; a woman who can briefly shed oxygen tanks, feeding tubes and I.V. meds for a little while because she has a very, very good team.

I slow down at a curve and brake a little too suddenly. It’s alright. You can let go of the controls….just a little bit.

The Samantha Years

Instead of a black suit, he wore love…..

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Our buddy Colton was just featured in the Johnstown paper for his essay on Martin Luther King. We think Colton and his family are pretty darn cool.

I think his essay is pretty darn cool too.

Here are a couple words to ponder about Colton’s thoughts on Dr. Marting Luther King…. “He was just like a ninja but instead of having a sword, he had words. Instead of a black suit, he wore love.”

Colton just finished second grade. I think I was still trying to figure out how my ‘baby-pees-a lot’ worked when I was in second grade.

I’m still trying to figure it out…..

Thanks Colton for your smart and poignant words. Tomorrow as I go out, I will proudly wear my suit of love.