Friday, November 5, 2010


November 5, 2010

Toby would have been 4 months old today. 

Yesterday, we got a card in the mail from people that we only met once and barely know. It made my week. Not only was it a thoughtful gesture, but it reminded me again of how supportive people have been. Yet, it was also a reminder that it’s been the people that we didn’t necessarily expect to be supportive that have almost been the most so.

In the past few months, we have received so many cards, letters, e-mails, and comments from people that we met only once or only a couple of times. Actually, we got a donation for Toby’s tombstone from someone whom I have NEVER met and that was completely unexpected. People that I hadn’t seen in years stepped up and did things that were so above and beyond the call of friendship that it’s almost overwhelming. My friend Melissa, for instance, has a child at home with cerebral palsy, yet she had a yard sale for us to raise money for the grave, took me to get my hair done (for free), and writes to me almost every day to make sure I’m okay. I hadn’t seen her since high school-15 years ago!

My ex-boyfiend’s wife has also written me numerous times and even sent a gift for Sam. And let’s face it; I’ve said some crappy things about him in the past. Still, she completely ignored that and disregarded it and still tried to support me. (Talk about ME feeling subdued…) I got one e-mail from her that was so nice that I even felt slightly ashamed for all of the bad thoughts of revenge that I had on him years ago.

I think she gets it, though. Sometimes, things are bigger than the petty arguments and crap that we have and feel. I like to think that if there was someone in my life that needed help I would be there for them, no matter what had happened in the past.

Pete and I were talking last night about people getting insulted by little things that we did, like when we had houseguests and I came upstairs for an hour because after having a Halloween party at the house I needed some time to myself. (That’s the most people I had been around since the funeral and I thought I did pretty well.) Yet, after Toby died Karen, Melissa, Angelina, Becca, Desha, and Chasity were all here at different times and stayed at my house while I SLEPT. Talk about being a bad hostess. And not once did they complain. Or, if they did, I never heard about it. The day that Toby died, Becca and Rob came over to the house while we were still at the hospital and stayed outside for 3 hours…in the rain, waiting for us to come home. Then, of course, there’s the fact that Becca basically took off a week from her life and took care of us.

My Uncle Ray and Aunt Fran drove from Texas to get here, but along the way Aunt Fran got sick and they had to turn around and go back and take her to the E.R. They were going to just stay there, but Aunt Fran wanted to come on up so they came on-from the hospital! That’s almost a 16 hour drive one way, and they had just done it the week before for Will’s wedding. Will and his new wife, Kim, came 4 hours from Nashville and they had only been married for a week and she’d just had back surgery and had to cancel their honeymoon.

So yeah, for the most part people have been very supportive. I sat down yesterday and read through all of the comments and things that people had written when he died. I copied them and saved them to a file as I got them because I knew one day I would want to re-read them again. It amazed me as I read through them how much his death affected people and kind of fanned out. Some of the comments were sent directly to me and Pete. Others were not. For instance, my friend Barbi posted about his death in her status update and then had several friends (people that I don’t know) comment about it, sending their condolences and asking that messages be passed onto me. The same thing happened with other friends. He had such a short life, but his death affected lots of people and that makes me feel good. It makes me feel good that he was KNOWN, if that makes sense.

Sometimes, you step back and look at yourself and wonder how much can really happen in a month or in a week. An entire lifetime was lived in just 6 weeks. It makes you very aware of time.

I told Pete’s friend that I didn’t want to go back to being the person that I was before Toby died and he seemed to take offense to this. But it’s true. I want to appreciate things more, to stand up for myself more (no more being pushed around by doctors), and to take control of situations more. I also want to enjoy things a lot more. During the time that it was going on, I had no idea that for 6 weeks my life was perfect. I had my 3 boys and we were doing great. Instead, I worried about not getting enough sleep, not being able to get my work done, and Sam’s acting out. (And I know that some of that was the PTSD so I try to give myself some leeway, too.)

I look back on that last really great memory that I have of the 4 of us. We were at Cracker Barrel somewhere around Bowling Green off the Interstate. Toby was asleep and I had just bought Sam a little toy dog that barked. It was the last of the yard sale money and I was afraid that we would need it for gas, but he wanted that dog really badly. So I bought it for him and he sat at the table and played with it while he ate his grilled cheese. He talked to it and hugged it and kept asking me to take their picture. Whenever Toby would squirm, Sam would cover him up with his blanket and “pet” his head. People around us were looking at us and smiling. After we ate, we went to a huge camping store. Pete took Toby and Sam and I went out onto the patio and sat in all of the boats and then played “The Three Little Pigs” in all of the tents. We found a tent that was big enough for the four of us and Sam picked out the four places that we would each sleep. He said that Toby could sleep with him so that he could tell him stories. I didn’t know that in a week, he would already be buried.

Unfortunately, the rest of that week went by in a blur and the next real memory I have of him was the day that Karen came over and we sat down in the living room and talked. That was the day that Toby smiled for the first time.

Sometimes, the good memories hurt almost as bad as the bad ones. But, at least I have them.

Pete’s friend kept saying that “all these people” have a problem with me. But really, it’s like 4 people and they all know each other (and none of them really know me). But when I look at all the cards and letters and emails and stuff that I’ve gotten from people and I think about how supportive other people have been, it makes me feel better. Maybe it was just for Toby’s sake, but I like to think it was for mine, too. 

Song Lyrics of the Day

"You Find out Who Your Friends Are" by Tracy Lawrence

Run your car off the side of the road
Get stuck in a ditch way out in the middle of nowhere
Or get yourself in a bind lose the shirt off your back
Need a floor, need a couch, need a bus fare

This is where the rubber meets the road
This is where the cream is gonna rise
This is what you really didn't know
This is where the truth don't lie

You find out who your friends are
Somebody's gonna drop everything
Run out and crank up their car
Hit the gas, get there fast
Never stop to think 'what's in it for me?' or 'it's way too far'
They just show on up with their big old heart
You find out who your friends are

Everybody wants to slap your back
wants to shake your hand
when you're up on top of that mountain
But let one of those rocks give way then you slide back down look up
and see who's around then

This ain't where the road comes to an end
This ain't where the bandwagon stops
This is just one of those times when
A lot of folks jump off


When the water's high
When the weather's not so fair
When the well runs dry
Who's gonna be there?


You find out who your friends are
(yeah, yeah)
You find out who your friends are

Run your car off the side of the road
Get stuck in a ditch way out in the middle of nowhere
(Well man, I've been there)
Or get yourself in a bind lose the shirt off your back
Need a floor, need a couch, need a bus fare
(Man, I've been there)


Melissa Allen said...

I cried as I read this!
I know you would have done the same for me! I'm sure others who did stuff to help out feel the same.
If you have any free time during the day, next week, I would like to come out for a visit =)

Rebecca said...

I would like to get together next week. I don't know what the schedule looks like yet, but I'll send you a message on Monday. Would love to see you!

Robbie Lytle said...

u made me cry too. beautiful. i wish we could do more for u! i wish we lived closer.

Rebecca said...

I wish we lived closer, too.

Chasity Bowlin said...

I loved the song lyrics... truer words have never been spoken.... and I love the clarity you have gotten about who has the "problem", and how its way more about them than you.... and also about the strength you are finding.... the problem with strength is that we never know we have it, until it is tested... but you have it in spades.