Monday, August 30, 2010

IVF #2, Progesterone Injections

When Michael and I first began fertility treatments, I was given progesterone suppositories after our IUIs. Very messy. Fun times. :P

But, during my IVFs and FET progesterone has been given via injection, 1cc per day. It's a nightly routine, and my mom, my sister, and Michael's mom take turns giving them to me now. I don't mind the injections as much as I did the suppositories.

When I began the injections last week, I immediately noticed the side effects - really tender breasts. Today they aren't as tender though, and of course that makes me wonder if I'm getting enough. Any IVFers have an opinion to share?

Anyway, this is the part of the two week wait where I begin to analyze every symptom that seems present, and every symptom that seems absent. Honestly, I'm feeling good and no different than I've felt when I'm not pregnant (my whole life!). So, I really don't have anything to go on.

The pregnancy test is on Sunday morning. Five more days!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Work Woes

I still have not received a new assignment like I've been hoping and praying for. Things could change this week, but so far they haven't. I feel completely let down by my school district. Returning to my school and the grade level I have been assigned to on Thursday this week is beginning to cause me to feel stressed.

It's stressful because I have already taught this grade level for twelve years, and I believe I am not up for the rigors of it in my first year of grief. Also, my principal and I have had a falling out, she has made her decision about my placement based on her personal feelings for me, and I'm concerned that she will continue to be punitive towards me as long as I work for her.

I feel like I'm a poster child for Life Isn't Fair right now. When will something go my way?



I just got off the phone with human resources. I was told that my transfer request is a top priority. There are a handful of staffing needs in the district and it's likely something will be decided at the end of the week. She mentioned two schools to me, and one of them is my first choice. I am encouraged!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

IVF #2, Resting

Just an update to say I've spent the last five days lounging around like a big lump - like I'm supposed to. I have watched countless cooking shows, flipped through lots of magazines and catalogs, started and finished a novel, napped, and so on. At this point I am bored, but hopefully new life is incubating within.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I added a Facebook button in my sidebar a few days ago. I had one friend request because of that the other day, but because I didn't recognize the name I didn't accept the request. Then I saw that the person had sent me a message explaining that she was a reader of the blog. Oops! Sorry about that. I would be happy to friend you. I just didn't make the connection before I responded to your request.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

IVF #2, Three Little Embryos

Now if I remember correctly, the embryo on the top left is the star student. It had so many cells that it's beginning to compact and the embryologist said that was very good.

The embryo on the right was also considered to be a goody with six to eight cells.

The embryo on the bottom was the late bloomer. It started as one of the immature eggs and was fertilized a day later than it's siblings.

They are all precious to me.

I have a new friend my same age who is just a few weeks ahead of me in the IVF process. She only had one embryo to transfer, but she is pregnant with great beta numbers. Her outcome has given me great hope for these little guys.

Thank you for all the comments and emails, and for surrounding me with your loving thoughts and prayers. From our lips to God's ear, as they say.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

IVF #2, Transfer Day

Everything went smoothly today. Mom and I were a little late due to heavy traffic, and that stressed me out, but it turned out all right.

I saw the embryologist, and he showed me a photo of my embryos. Two of them (the ones that fertilized on Saturday) are looking really good. The other one that fertilized on Sunday is a little behind them developmentally, and so it was hard for them to say what quality it is.

Dr. D is on vacation, so his partner Dr. A did the transfer. He was enthusiastic about the embryo quality and the way the transfer went. My mom and Michael's mom were both with me during the transfer. I had acupuncture before and after the transfer. It was slightly uncomfortable, but I managed and I'm feeling fine now.

I'll try to post a picture of my embryos later. They are so cute! ;)

Monday, August 23, 2010

IVF #2, Day 15

I had myself a good cry last night. I took my cue from Hannah, the mother of Samuel, the great prophet of the Old Testament. Hannah was infertile until the Lord heard her prayer and her weeping, and blessed her with a son. So I poured my heart out to the Lord about my life. My heartache about being a widow and being childless at this point in my life. It's not the first time I've done so, but I was feeling so desperate. I cried so hard it made my ovaries hurt. I kid you not! I don't recommend having a hard cry after egg retrieval, but it had to be done.

There's just something about doing the ugly cry with God, and complaining to Him, and begging Him for help. He may not see things my way and answer my prayer the way I want Him to, but He will take my burden from me. I woke up feeling much better emotionally and physically.

So this morning I went to my acupuncture appointment, and I told Dr. P about the fertilization report. After she put the needles in me, she patted my leg and said she was going to go find out what was going on with those three other eggs that had been fertilized yesterday.

When she came back a few minutes later, she told me that one of them had fertilized and that there would now be three embryos for tomorrow's transfer! That made my whole day. After she left me alone to rest and for the needles to do their thing, I just thanked God for that blessing.

Three embryos!

Three possibilities!

So tomorrow's transfer will take place at 1 o'clock in the afternoon. I'll have acupuncture before and after the transfer. Then I'll be on bed rest through Thursday, and house rest for the next four days.

Progesterone shots start tonight, but unlike the FET, I'll only have to have one shot per day in the evening. That will make it much easier to do than twice a day.

Time to wrap up this post and do some housekeeping. I'll try to post tomorrow with any news.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

IVF #2, Day 14

Just got a call from the embryologist. Only three of the eggs were mature yesterday, and two of them have fertilized to become embryos. However, three of the eggs matured in the lab since yesterday and will undergo ICSI today. He said that they have a lower chance of developing, but he will call me tomorrow with those results.

Not sure what to think about this.

Here's some more information about immature eggs.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

IVF #2, Day 13

Egg retrieval seems to have been a success. Dr. D told me that he was able to get eight for sure, possibly ten eggs this morning. Fertilization is taking place this afternoon. I will get a call tomorrow about the outcome of that.

Feeling tired and tender, but other than that I'm fine. Just laying in bed and watching cooking shows.

Thank you for all the good wishes and for keeping me in your prayers. I'm so blessed.

Friday, August 20, 2010

IVF #2, Day 12

Well, after feeling so discouraged about everything yesterday, I am feeling much better today. My sister came by last night to give me my shot of HCG, and we had a good talk and she prayed with me. I am blessed to have a sister who loves and knows the Lord. Before I went to sleep last night, I just poured my heart out to the Lord and left it in His hands. Woke up this morning feeling far less burdened.

Saw my doctor for a pre-op check up this morning. Everything is set to go for tomorrow morning. He seemed positive to me. He said he was going to flush everything out and get as many eggs as possible. The eggs will be fertilized tomorrow afternoon with ICSI - that's a procedure in which the embryologist injects the sperm into the egg thereby forcing fertilization. It increases the odds of fertilization. They will also perform assisted hatching which helps the embryo prepare for implantation.

I will post an update tomorrow.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

IVF #2, Day 11

There are still seven measurable follicles. From what I could tell, three or four of them are the desired size. Several others are too small to measure, and Dr. A said he wished they had chosen to "play along". So I left the office feeling discouraged and irritable. Discouraged because I sense that my body has not responded as well as the doctors would have liked it to. Irritable because of the steroid I'm taking. At least that's what I assume.

Yesterday I felt hopeful and optimistic. Today not so much. I know this is a long shot, but it's also my last shot. The significance of that is huge.

Anyway, I will trigger tonight with a shot of HCG. My sister is coming over to give that to me.

Tomorrow morning I return for a pre-op appointment and more blood work.

Egg retrieval is scheduled for Saturday morning.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

IVF #2, Day 10

Still at seven measurable follicles, with four of them being in the desired size range. One more night of stims (stimulation medication) tonight. Tomorrow night will most likely be the trigger shot of HCG, and Saturday morning will be the egg retrieval. I'm expecting the transfer to be on Tuesday.

I keep thinking that I have not responded as well this time as I did last time, but my notes from the first IVF show that I had seven measurable follicles at this point. But, by day twelve we were at nine measurables, and by day thirteen there were ten. Eleven were retrieved, eight were mature, and six fertilized with ICSI. So, I guess it's close. It only takes one or two to get pregnant with a single or twins. I don't need a litter.

Back to the doctors office tomorrow morning for another ultrasound and blood work. I will know tomorrow afternoon when the doctor wants to schedule the egg retrieval.

Feeling fatigued.

Saw six or seven SAABs today. Seems SAAB drivers like to frequent Pacific Coast Highway and I spent a lot of time on that road today.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

IVF #2, Day 9

As of this morning there were still seven measurable follicles, with two or three of them being rather large. My estrogen levels have been rising at a good rate, and Dr. D thinks egg retrieval might be as soon as Saturday or Sunday. So things are progressing more quickly than they did my first IVF by two or three days. I think he's trying to put off ER as long as he can in hopes that we get more follicles to mature. Obviously the more mature eggs that can be retrieved, the more chances there are to be successful.

I'm going back in tomorrow morning for another ultrasound.

Saw two SAABs on my drive there and back this morning, and as soon as I get this IVF paid for I'm going to buy a SAAB station wagon. Just feels like the thing to do.

Media Matters

In the last few months I have spent a lot of time listening to, watching, and reading Christian media. This is kind of new for me, but my grief led me to strongly desire more of what the Lord had to say about life and hardships. I found answers and comfort in some of these things.

I have always enjoyed talk radio, but in the last year I discovered Christian talk radio. I've learned so much and have been so encouraged by the teaching ministries of David Jeremiah, Alistair Begg, Philip de Courcy, and many others featured on a couple of local radio stations. One of my favorite shows is Pastor's Perspective on KWVE. That's a live radio show where Pastor Chuck Smith answers questions from callers. He's a wealth of knowledge and I love hearing his responses.

I've also discovered some Christian television programming like Wretched, Zola Levitt Presents, and the Hal Lindsey Report. In my opinion, these are quality productions, and they are nothing like your typical cringe-worthy television evangelism. Wretched calls out false teachings within the Christian body. Zola Levitt Presents showcases excellent portrayals of Biblical stories, and covers current issues in Israel. This show in particular has given me the desire to see Israel for myself. Hal Lindsey considers weekly events in light of Biblical prophesies - something I've always been interested in.

I have also found some wonderful historical fiction written by Christian authors. In the last month or two, I have devoured Israel, My Beloved, by Kay Arthur, Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers, The Chronicles of the Kings series, by Lynn Austin, and I just finished Demon: A Memoir, by Tosca Lee. In addition to enjoying my favorite genre (historical fiction), I'm also learning spiritual truths. In particular, Lynn Austin's series really made me think about trusting God, pride, and spiritual idolatry. Here I was, reading for pleasure, but learning some really valuable things at the same time. Things that stuck with me.

Okay, so why am I telling you this? Because being exposed to media (radio, television, and books) that are complimentary to my world view has made me more sensitive to media that are not. The programming that is featured on network and cable television is becoming more and more base, and there are themes in almost every television show that I have previously enjoyed watching that require me to compromise my values in order to enjoy them.

King Solomon said in Proverbs 4:23:

Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life.

That means to value and protect your mind, emotions, and will. Am I doing that if I'm watching secular media? Or am I exposing my heart to things that can damage it? Things that can replace what God wants for me with worldly imitations.

So, I feel that I'm at a crossroads in this part of my life. That I will have to be more discerning about what I watch come the fall television season. I've already decided that there are some shows that I just won't watch anymore. Shows I really looked forward to each week. You'd probably be surprised at which ones because I don't think they stand out as being offensive. But I want my heart and mind to be as uncluttered by the world as possible, and eliminating some television programming is an easy thing to do in that regard. And yet, so few Christians seem to consider doing it. We are supposed to be in the world, but not of it. However, we are consuming the world's messages and values every time we are exposed to it's media. Over time that has got to change our hearts, and obviously not in a way that brings us closer to our Lord.

I guess I'm just becoming convicted in my heart about this, and I want to honor that by making more discerning choices about what I listen to, watch, and read in the future. There's only so many hours in a day. I'd rather spend the short time I have on things that edify my spirit than things that bog my spirit down. How about you? Are there media influences in your life that you feel you need to eliminate?

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on those things.
~ Philippians 4:8 ~

Monday, August 16, 2010


My belly is so bruised! I remember some bruising last time, but I don't remember it being this bad. I think Michael was able to give me my shots with less bruising. I'm just doing the best I can. But, boy, oh, boy! What an ugly mess.

You'll just have to imagine it. There will be no pictures!

IVF #2, Day 8

In the last couple of days, I've developed four more measurable follicles. That brings the follicle count up to seven as of this morning. In addition, there were at least two follicles too small to measure in both ovaries. At this point during my first IVF, I also had seven measurable follicles. So things are progressing much the same as before.

Because the follicles in my right ovary are rather large in size, the doctor would like to start seeing me every day now instead of every other day. I'm taking an injectible medication to prevent premature ovulation. I'm thinking egg retrieval might happen sooner than next week, but I don't know anything for sure.

So far I'm feeling pretty good. I know as I get closer to the egg retrieval that things will be pretty tender in my lower abdomen. I guess that means I should get the things that need to be done around here done sooner rather than later.

Saw one SAAB on my drive home. ;)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A SAAB Story

Michael drove a 1987 SAAB 900S. He loved that car and he loved working on it. I loved seeing him pull up in front of my house in that car, but other than that I wasn't crazy about it. It has over 250,000 miles on it, the air conditioning doesn't work, the seats are broken down, and the seat belts aren't in the best working order. I never really felt safe in it.

It hasn't been driven since December. It's parked on the back of my driveway. A friend of Michael's is supposed to take it, but I haven't heard from him in a while and he doesn't respond to my emails. I suppose I'm going to have to figure something else out if I don't hear from him soon.

Anyway, for years I would play this little game with myself when I was out driving around. If I saw a SAAB, and you don't see them that often because they aren't that common, I would tell myself that Michael was thinking about me. Kind of silly, I know. I hadn't played that game in a long time until recently, but I'm playing it again these days. Yesterday morning on my drive to and from the doctor's office, I saw four SAABs. That's a lot! Even if it's just a silly game, it made me feel good to see that many on a day when I was having to be brave while doing this IVF on my own.

I'd like to buy a new car in the next couple of years. I'm really drawn to the Toyota Venza, but then again maybe a new SAAB would make me feel like he's always out on the road with me.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

IVF #2, Day 6

Just got home from the doctor's office. Today's ultrasound showed three measurable follicles - one on the left side, and two on the right. There were a few others too small to be measured. Tomorrow night, Ganirelix and Menopur will be added to my daily injection routine. That will prevent my body from ovulating too soon. This means two injections per day instead of one. I have actually had to give myself more than one injection the last couple of nights because the Follistim cartridge on Thursday night was not full. Factory defect, I guess. I've done fairly well with the shots. Just a little bruise on the one where I realized that the cartridge was not full. That kind of threw me off because they are usually over-filled.

During my first IVF, on day six I had one follicle in each ovary, and some that were too small to measure. The doctor also added Ganirelix and Menopur at that point. So things do not appear to be too different than they were a year and a half ago - medically speaking, of course.

I will go in for another appointment on Monday.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Painful Discoveries

Yesterday I spent some time sorting through odds and ends of Michael's. One of the things I came across was a day planner/organizer thing. It had a lot of old business cards in it, and some notes Michael had taken that seemed to reflect some sort of self-improvement stuff he was into way back when.

I loved seeing his writing because that's so personal, but I didn't really like the content of what I was reading. The things he chased after trying to make sense of life were so focused on self. I know this not just from those notes, but from other things I knew he turned to throughout his life before he turned to Jesus. It didn't make him any less lovable to me, but like so many people, he didn't have a spiritual compass. I asked him more than once why he put stock in some of the ideas he did instead of what the Bible had to say. He said it was because those ideas were "newer". I told him there was nothing new under the sun.

This week I've been thinking a lot about the choices he made and why he did the things he did, and I think he was just deceived by a bunch of lies about himself, life, and God. I'm glad he didn't come to the end of his life stuck in those lies, but I feel like I'm living with some of the consequences of those lies. Perhaps if we'd been married longer more of these things would have been resolved eventually, and I wouldn't have to deal with them as much as it feels like I do. It is so hard to be the one left behind.

For instance, in that same organizer I found several photographs of him and his ex-girlfriend. Now this wasn't an organizer that Michael was still using in the recent past. It had been around for a long time and nothing in it was current. I know he wasn't digging out those pictures and missing his life with her while he was married to me. Not at all. But if he hadn't been such a pack rat, perhaps he would have gone through his own things and gotten rid of those pictures to spare me the hurt of having to find them.

Several days before the memorial service, my best friend and I had gone through most of his pictures and we'd found a bunch of pictures with him and the ex. I was feeling magnanimous at the time, so we put them in a large envelope, and I gave it to my sister-in-law to pass on to her. But yesterday's discovery didn't make me feel magnanimous at all. Rather it was like a slap in the face. I quickly put those pictures in the trash.

I oftentimes feel a longing when I look at pictures of Michael that are from the time we met, up until he finally committed himself to me. I think about all the things we didn't get to do together, all the people in his life I didn't get to know sooner, and it just breaks my heart. He apologized several times about all this before he went home, but I didn't want to talk about it at the time. I didn't want him to feel bad about anything. I still wouldn't want him to feel bad, but I wish we could talk about it. I already know what he'd say because he said it to me many times in those last months:

I love you!
I married you!
You are the love of my life.

I just wish I could hear him say those things again because sometimes I still feel so insecure.

Once when we were discussing the past, and he was apologizing for the years he'd wasted in that other relationship, I asked him what had attracted him to her initially. I knew he'd stayed in the relationship after he met me out of obligation and guilt (not warranted, but nevertheless), but how had it started? He simply replied, "Sex." Then I asked him what had attracted him to me, and he said, "I just couldn't understand why you weren't married already." I know that's true because when he first started trying to get close to me, he asked me why I wasn't married. I was sort of flattered, but I didn't have an answer for him. I didn't know why I wasn't married.

Reflecting on that, I realized that whether he knew it or not, he was seeing things in me at that time that he would value in a wife. But he wasn't looking for a wife, and so he couldn't connect that question with the answer - I was meant to be his wife. That's why I wasn't already married to someone else.

One more thought. When I'm grappling with the part of our past where Michael remained in relationship with his ex-girlfriend, even though he knew he loved me and wanted to marry me and have a family with me, I feel anger towards her and I wish she had never existed in his life. But, if I'm honest with myself, my anger/hurt/grief should be directed at Michael. It was his choices that hurt me, and it was my choice to wait for him. I need to come to a point where I can forgive, and it's not the ex who needs forgiving. I need to forgive Michael, and that's really weird because I'm not angry with him. But, I guess I am in a way. I'm just not directing my anger in the right direction. Besides, it's easier to be angry with the living than with the dead.

I am really grateful that our relationship will be redeemed in eternity thanks to what Jesus accomplished on the cross for us. In eternity neither of us will be hindered by choices we made in the past. We will have time eternal to spend together and we'll be incapable of saying or doing things to hurt each other. Praise God for that.

And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, or sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.
Revelation 21:3-4

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Green Light

Just got off the phone with the nurse and she said that the doctor has given me the "green light" to begin IVF #2. My FSH was 6.5 and my Estradiol was 45. I'll start with the maximum dosage (450 IU) of Follistim tonight. If everything goes as planned, my egg retrieval should take place on the 24th.

I had to wait nearly an hour for my appointment today because they were short a doctor, a nurse, and an ultrasound machine. I've never waited any more than fifteen minutes there before. While I waited in the very crowded waiting room, I felt a bit envious of the women there with their husbands. Unless Michael was on the road, he always went to our RE appointments with me. He would hold my things when necessary, and he always held my hand during my ultrasounds. We said he was my "sherpa". I really miss having him with me during my appointments now.

Then today's nurse wasn't familiar with me, and as she was going over the instructions with me she got to the part where the husband is supposed to start taking antibiotics. I cut her off in a quiet voice and told her that he had passed away recently. I wish they would flag my file so that everyone knows and I don't have to keep telling the newer nurses. I think I will mention that to my favorite nurse the next time I see her.

I'm a bit nervous about doing this without Michael, because I remember how physically grueling it was the first time. But I will do it because I don't want to live the rest of my life wondering what might have happened if only I had. I hope and pray that this time will have a happy outcome.

Monday, August 9, 2010

I Am Missing You Right Now, Honey

The hours an elementary school teacher and a professional musician keep are quite different. When I'm working, I get up around 5:30 in the morning. That means bedtime is usually between nine and ten. Any later than that, and it's going to be a rough start for me in the morning. Michael's schedule, on the other hand, varied a lot. His only "day job" was playing in the Royal Street Bachelors at Disneyland twice a week. Most of his other gigs took place at night, and he'd oftentimes get home well after midnight.

Frequently, when I was ready to retire for the evening, he was not. Sometimes he'd want to stay up and play guitar, but usually he wanted to watch television for a while longer. The thing was that he usually fell asleep watching television, and could easily spend most of the night on the couch with the television on. That drove me nuts. I could never understand how he could sleep with the television on like that, and besides I'd rather he come to bed with me.

Once I was aware of this habit of his, if I didn't fall asleep quickly myself, I'd keep checking on him to see if he was still awake. If he was asleep already, then I'd wake him up and get him to come to bed. But, if he was awake, I'd stand in hall doorway and tell him, "Honey, I am missing you." It was my way of telling him that I wanted him to turn off the television and get ready for bed. He usually got up and did so just to make me happy.

Michael liked to listen to the radio while he "slept". Seriously, I don't know how much deep sleep he ever got leaving the television on and listening to the radio like he did. He had this old radio that he would set in the window sill near his bedside. He'd put an earbud in his left ear and lay on his right side listening to Coast to Coast for most of the night. (He loved a good conspiracy theory.) If I needed to tell him something, I had to speak up so he could hear me over all the talk about aliens and world domination.

He was so quirky, but I loved his quirks.

Honey, I am missing you right now.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Five Months

Today it's been five months since Michael went home. I can hardly believe it's been that long already. Time flies even when you're not having fun.

Grief is not about time standing still.

Michael is continually in my thoughts as he has been for so many years.

Grief is not about forgetting.

Sometimes I'm still incredulous that this is my reality. How can this be? It doesn't seem possible.

Grief is not easy to wrap your head around.

I wake up each morning with a bit of anxiety or disappointment that I'm still here, that I'm going to have to live through another day without Michael. It doesn't last long. I try and take those anxious and disappointed feelings to the Lord in prayer right away.

Grief is not just present in the darkness.

I long to go home myself. Please don't be distressed about that confession. It is very normal for grieving people to feel that way. I know the number of my days has been determined by the Lord, and I respect that. But I do look forward to the glory of Heaven, being in the presence of the Almighty God, a happy reunion with Michael, and to finally be set free from the troubles of this life. This isn't all there is, and losing Michael and drawing closer to God have given me a different perspective than I had before.

Grief can help you see what's eternal.

In the meantime, I do have things I want to experience. Of course, I'd love to get pregnant as a result of this next IVF. There's nothing more I'd like to do than spend the rest of my life watching Michael's children grow. I think that would bring a lot of joy back into my life.

Grief can't keep you from enjoying your future unless you give it the power to do so.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Family Dynamics

Yesterday morning I got a call from one of Michael's brothers who lives out of town. He said was in town for a few days, staying at Michael's parents' house, and asked me if I'd like to come out and have dinner with them. I accepted and I'm so glad I went. There were just ten of us. In that large family that's a small get-together!

We had such a good time visiting together, and the food was so good. My mother-in-law is an incredible cook. She made ribs last night, which was one of Michael's favorite dishes of hers. I've got to get her to teach me her recipe.

It was the first time that I have really felt like I have a place in their family even without Michael being there with me. I felt entirely comfortable - like I do with my own family. It's a relief to feel that way because they are my strongest connection to Michael now.

This is a huge improvement from the early days of our marriage. Michael had made the mistake of telling his ex-girlfriend that she could "have his family" because he felt guilty for breaking up with her. So the first holiday season after we were married, we went early or late to his family events so that she could have prime time with his family. It made me feel hurt and angry at the time, and I told Michael that I didn't agree with it. However, he felt strongly that it was something he needed to allow, and he thought my family was enough for us. I let it go hoping that things would change, and over the next year things did get better. We attended gatherings and she didn't, and I was pleased. It's not so much that I wanted her to lose his family, but I did think it was healthier for her to move one. Furthermore, I desired to know them and for them to know me. I was so uncertain of them that I stayed close by Michael's side every time we were there. It's not that they were unkind to me, but we were practically strangers.

When my mother-in-law stayed with me during my bed rest last month, we had a little heart-to-heart about Michael. We talked about how his well-intended decisions led to so much wasted time and several unintended consequences. She said how for the first year or two she didn't know how to relate to me because she didn't know me. I think it's fair to say that we didn't really get a chance to know one another until we had to come together and care for Michael earlier this year.

I know if we could all go back and do things again that things would be so different, but I'm happy that things have progressed as much as they have. I love Michael's family, and now I know they love me, too. Michael would be so happy about that.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Treasure Found

This morning I got a call from one of Michael's brothers who is in town for a couple of days. I haven't seen him since Michael's memorial service. He's staying with Michael's parents and he asked me to come over for dinner tonight. I gladly accepted, happy to see them all and have something other than cereal for dinner.

I had been thinking that when I saw this brother again that I wanted to give him Michael's iPod. I guess I was under the impression that the only things on Michael's iPod were favorite CDs of his. As I was getting it together, I had this sense that I wasn't doing the right thing. I tried to brush the feeling off, but I couldn't. So, I plugged the iPod into a speaker thingy of Michael's and started to look at the things that were on it.

I'm so glad I did that because I realized that in addition to playlists of Stevie Wonder, Pat Metheny, and Steely Dan were some really special things - voice recordings like him singing a bass line in the car, most of his original recordings, live recordings of groups he played with (he recorded them on the iPod during a set), a live recording of a concert we went to at the Disney Concert Hall in 2006, and a live recording of us during a church service in 2005 with him accompanying me on acoustic guitar and background vocals. That is especially precious to me as I always wanted to collaborate and perform with him, but we were rarely able to do so. Sigh...

Instead of the iPod, Michael's brother will be getting a few of Michael's t-shirts from his extensive collection, and I will cherish the treasures on this iPod for a long time to come.