Sunday, September 28, 2014

My little gift from God

I have had a really difficult time this week with my faith and trust.  I mean really difficult.  And then today I was given a very special gift.

Paxton had a serious "Binky" addiction and I always thought it was just too cute.  So when my daughter asked if there was anything that I wanted "personal" from the house, the only thing I could think of was one of Paxton's Binkies.  She searched the house over and could not find even one which was highly unusual since he must have had  20 at any given time. We concluded that Kara must have finally won the "battle of the Binky" and removed them all from the house.  I was very sad that I could not have one to hold onto.  Usually he had at least two at my house but the previous weekend he had raided my silverware drawer and taken the last one that I had. 

I had been hoping for six weeks to dream about them just so I could see them one more time.  Friday morning I awoke after almost no sleep all night and I had dreamed about the kids for the very first time.  I never saw Paxton's face but I held him and cuddled him I walked over to a railing of some sort and looked down to the floor below and there was a Binky I laughed and told Paxton that I saw a Binky.  It did not appear to be one of his and I actually thought it belonged to another child but I told him "I don't think it is one of yours but if we play our cards right little man, we can grab it and run."  He could not see what I was pointing at and I picked up the broom and used it to actually get really close to it and point so he could see it.  That was all that I recall about that dream.  I was glad to have finally dreamt of him but sad that I never saw his face and sad all over again that I wasn't able to get one of his pacifiers.

This afternoon I was at home and I started looking in odd places around my house that he may have stashed one or dropped one; under couch cushions, under beds, in the drawer where I kept his clothes and diapers.  No luck.  I had carefully checked under the bed he always slept in and saw nothing then when I walked to the other side of the room I looked back at the bed and realized that the headboard had spindles and sort of looked like the rail in my dream.  I had just checked under that bed but for whatever reason, I walked to the headboard and looked straight down behind the head of the bed.  There face-up --was a Binky.  There had been a roll of wrapping paper under there that was laying in front of it and it could have only been seen from above!  And just like in the dream, it was not one of his that I was familiar with - must have been a new one when he dropped it.  It was right in the center of the bed and could not be reached from either side and the first thing I thought of was to get the broom and use the handle to coax it out.

I sat in the middle of the floor holding that binky and sobbing tears of ..."Gratitude".  

God knew that just like Paxton did sometimes - I just needed a pacifier! Guess I'm over my mad spell with God. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

The worst part

Searching for answers, comfort --something; I just finished reading C.S. Lewis' book: "A Grief Observed".  His words resonated with me even more than my own could have.  "It is not that I am in danger of ceasing to believe in God.  The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him.  The conclusion I dread is not, "So there's no God after all, but, "So this is what He's really like."

And that is exactly where I am.

When you have lived 60 years with God as a part of your reality and you've seen His hand in so many things.  You have seen answered prayers, talked to Him, sought comfort in Him, loved Him and felt His presence - nothing is going to suddenly erase Him from your reality.  What happens instead however, may actually be worse.  When a tragedy of this magnitude jerks the rug out from under you, blindsides you, completely devastates you - all the while you are continuing to pray, as every mother does, for the safe-keeping of her children - you can't help but wonder who He really is... He doesn't cease to exist but you are left wondering if He is really trust-worthy.  Like finding out your husband has been cheating - you don't suddenly cease to believe your husband really exists - but you suddenly realize he is no longer who you always thought he was.

Your entire world is shattered.
All of my adult life I had prayed for God to watch over and care for my children and always I truly believed He did --until He didn't.  And as devastating as this entire horrendous tragedy has been to me - "That" is the worst part.  Because that makes everything else in my entire life insecure.  Like maybe I have been skydiving with a kids backpack...  It has left me feeling defenseless. 

I know that death is a natural fact of life and I know that bad things happen to everyone.  In my conscious and rational mind - I am aware of these things.  I know I am not special and that God is no respecter of persons.  It rains on the just and the unjust.  These things I've known always.  These things however, never applied to my life in such a devastating manner.  Makes me question my own motives and beliefs.  Did I only claim to love God because I felt like He was my own private "Rabbits Foot".  Was I to accept like Job says all of the good God has given and expect none of the bad?

I hesitate to even include this here because I had hoped not only to get my grief on paper so that I could get it out and begin to heal but also at some point in that healing process this would be a comfort and inspiration to others.  I can't see this being edifying to anyone except to let you know, as C.S. Lewis did me, you are not alone in these feelings of anger and disillusionment.  

Some days are better than others.  Better.  Not good.  And if not for the fact that I have my sister to be responsible to I would retreat to the solitude of my closet and perhaps never come out.  She thinks she is a burden on me during this time - she is more likely my saving grace.  I am supposed to be taking care of her and the truth is she is taking care of me much more than the other way around.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Brian's journal to Paxton

It seems as if they just take turns at me and that considering that there is so much to try and absorb - I don't feel I will ever get to a better place.  Everything is multiplied by three.

Shortly after the Sheriff's Department released the house to us - my daughter retrieved their phones and their computer.  Hoping to try and find some evidence that what they were claiming could somehow make sense to us.  What she found certainly did not do that.

It was a Journal that Brian had been writing to Paxton since before he was born. His last entry was from June.  None of us knew anything about this little journal but what a gift!

Today's post is going to be an excerpt from that Journal.
Excerpt from Journal written to Paxton Miller by Brian K. Miller.

Ok, big gap here…today is Dec. 2, 2013. We are creeping up on Christmas time and even closer to your 2nd birthday. Time flies if you’re just reading through this. You, my boy, are a whole lotta fun at 2 years old. You are extremely hyper active…but that’s just fine with us. You can literally run for hours without tiring. You love to be outside as much as you can be. It’s sad that it’s winter right now, because you really get annoyed at being cooped up in the house all day.

You have a little girlfriend that lives next door named Alisa. She is 6 years old, but comes over every day its nice outside and asks to play with you.  And let me tell you, you are quite taken with her. We have pictures of you hugging on her. I believe she is the highlight of your day. And she’s a really cute blonde kid. And she is very good with you.
Um…let’s see, you have been talking a lot lately. You are starting to put sentences together. Like-“oh no, what do I do?” You know your alphabet. You can name all the letters even if they are in the wrong order. You can count to 12. You know your colors very well and like to point them out going down the road. We hear what color everything is in the car. You surprisingly know a lot of shapes. You can recognize shapes that you can’t quite pronounce yet, like octagon and pentagon.

You are getting your room redone in the Cars movie theme…shhh, you’re not supposed to know this yet. You love that movie and Shrek.  You also watch “Despicable Me”, and a lot of “Veggie-Tales”. Your mom keeps trying to break your “binky” habit, but I sneak out and buy you a few more now and then. Again, shhh.  You love to have pretend conversations on the phone and you’re very convincing sometimes that there just might be someone on the other end of the line. You love to sing. We can’t quite make out what you are singing, but you seem to know. You love music, and are very outgoing. You speak to anyone you see.

I try to take you outside at night for a walk to get you to sleep as much as possible. That’s your favorite time with me. I just got you to sleep that way tonight. You are a bed jumper. Every time you are in our room, you crawl onto the bed and proceed to try and touch the ceiling with your head. You have tumbled off a few times, but no big damage. We put an air mattress out in the middle of the living room floor for you to play on sometimes. You will take a running start across it and then spring onto the couch flipping onto your head, upside down with your feet up in the air against the back of the couch giggling.

You insist on throwing your diapers away yourself. And you are getting pretty good at going up and down stairs, while holding my hand because I insist. You love your hot wheels cars, and you have so far, about 80 of them. You like to go through your books in your room and read them. You like to let the dog (Minnie) lick your lips as a kiss, then say “oh how sweet”. It cracks me up. And you are very good to her, with the exception of the few times you try and pick her up by her back legs and swing her around the room.  

And you are very close to me and your mom. When it’s time for bed you go lay down pretty good, but insist that I lay down with you, at least for a few minutes. I can’t tell you how much I love that time. I can put all of my daily worries away for that few minutes, and just enjoy you lying right up next to me, sometimes pulling my arm around you as you fall asleep. Definitely the best part of my day. 


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Today it doesn't matter...

why or how this happened.  What matters is that it did.  They are all three gone and I will never see them again...

Everyday for the past month and it has been a month today - We have all have been consumed with the fact that there is no way that this happened like the Detectives on the scene said that it did.

I knew my son. 

Nothing was wrong in his life to bring him to such desperation.  There were no marital issues. There were no mental issues.  He loved his wife with all his heart.  "He had plans."  I keep telling them: "He had plans!"  He did not plan to die and he certainly didn't plan to kill the family that he adored.  None of this makes sense.  Regardless of what they did or did not find that indicates there was no foul play - something still has to make sense. 

According to all that we were told, they based their decision that fateful day on the fact that "there was no sign of forced entry."  Yet, when my daughter called them to come and check on things - they entered the house through an open ground floor window!  A window hidden from street view by shrubs and it was literally on the ground - they opened it and stepped through into a spare bedroom in the finished basement.  They didn't even force their entry.  The only other thing we heard as to why they deemed it murder/suicide was that "nothing was missing".  Yet they had no idea what was or was not missing as they never asked a single soul.  I assume that meant: The TV was still hanging on the wall.  My daughter has repeatedly told them that there was another gun - his gun - which they never found and we never found later so obviously - that was missing.  We have told them repeatedly that he did not, could not under any circumstances "do this".  But they don't seem to care about that.  They had made their minds up.  It did not seem to matter that none of it made sense. 

It didn't matter what that judgment call has done to our family.  It never mattered that a man that put his children ahead of everything in his life was now going to leave this horrible legacy for his remaining children and all of us - to have to live with as well as the questions that haunt our every moment and the holes it has left in all of our lives.  He could no more have hurt that baby than I could.  I absolutely adored that baby and the only people on earth that loved him more --were his parents.  Tell me anything and I might believe it but do not tell me my son hurt that child.  That simply did not happen. Period.

Then there were all of the inconsistencies that were told to us about the extent of the investigation.  The family and friends were going to be questioned to try and determine "why" this could have happened.  That was announced on national television - but it certainly never happened.  They spoke with the family that was on the scene and every one of them told them he was absolutely not capable of such a thing and other than that they spoke only to neighbors that did not know him at all.
Then when we tried to get answers we were told all of the evidence gathered at the scene would be sent to the GBI and they would be in charge of the investigation.  A ballistics test would be done; a toxicology screen would be done as well as an autopsy.  They would compile their findings, file their own report and send it back to the local agents and this would all take about three months or so the detective told both me and my daughter.   After that time, he would be glad to sit down with us and go over the findings.

Three weeks afterwards with still no answers I called the GBI - They were not finishing up their report as I had been told because there was no report.  They had never been called and were not involved in the investigation at all.  I called the GBI Medical Examiner's office to ask when the toxicology report would be back - If they were going to tell me Brian did this awful thing - they had better find some evidence of some drug overdose or drug interaction that would explain it.  The M.E.'s office said, "We aren't doing a toxicology report.  Who told you that?  No one ever ordered one."  So no GBI nvestigation was done. No toxicology report was done.  Why not, and why were we told there would be? Now there is no evidence. The bodies have been cremated and the scene was released for clean up.  The story was released to the news media within an hour with their decision made and we, the families that have suffered this God-awful loss ---have been told absolutely nothing.

However they gave the news crews enough information to convince the entire population of North America and the U.K. that my son was a murderer totally wrecking the lives of all of our family.  His other two children have been tormented on Facebook,  totally destroying the memory they had of the dad they loved and trusted. They were able to tell their sensational news-worthy tragedy of the day - while no one that knew him even got the opportunity to question it or dispute it.  According to what little we were told, there was no hard evidence that would point to my son and yet my son's entire life was laid to waste because of the legacy he now leaves.

And because of the stigma attached to my son - we have been treated like none of us mattered or had feelings or have suffered a horrendous loss.  When I called the Coroner's office to ask about what precious little information was gathered I asked her "What were the drugs that were taken from the scene"  She told me there were five prescription bottles taken and told me what two were and then said she did not know what the other three were.  Excuse me?  So then I asked "What exactly would the autopsy reveal?"  Her smart ass answer to me was that "He died of a gun-shot wound to the head but I imagine you already knew that."  When we received the death certificates in the mail - the very professional reason for his death - SHOT SELF. 

This was my child! The child that I carried for nine months and gave birth to.  The child I cuddled and rocked.  The child that I love. 

The tragic events that have forever altered our lives were made hundreds of times worse by the judgment call made in less than an hour.

But today - today all that matters is that they are gone forever from our lives.  I will never spend another holiday with my entire family.  I will never see that baby enjoy another Christmas tree or his third birthday or play hide and seek or hear him sing in a school play.  I will never see him catch his first fish or run at a track meet or go to the prom or even break his "binky" habit.

I will never see the excitement on my daughter in law's face when she celebrates her 30th birthday.

I will never hear my son's voice again.

Whatever the rest of the world thinks of him which is yet unjustified - He is still my son and I am still his mom and I love him now and forever.

Monday, September 22, 2014

One step forward

and two steps back...

I had one day without uncontrollable sobbing.  It was good.  It gave me hope.  I started this Blog and that actually gave me a moment of “feeling” something besides profound unbearable loss.  Then today – two steps back.  

All of my life I have heard that "God will not put on you more than you are able to stand."  I now have a whole new perspective on what that really means.  God will most certainly put on you more than you are able to stand.  This is more than any one is able to stand.  But God will not give it to you all at once but in tiny bits and pieces as you are able to stand it.  And so the words that used to comfort are now scary.  very scary.
When you lose three members of your family at one time you cannot even absorb it all at once and they all three takes turns at you one at a time and so today is Paxton's day again.

When Kara and Brian married she didn't think she would ever be able to carry a baby.  She had to have an ovary removed at eighteen and then a year after they married she had a cyst to rupture in her existing ovary and was afraid they would have to remove it as well.  She was beside herself fearful that she would never be able to have a baby.  About a month after she was hospitalized for the ruptured cyst I had a dream that I saw a toddler standing in my den wearing a little hat that had puppy ears and a puppy face on the front of it.  I had really never seen a hat like that but thought it was the cutest thing.  I did not recognize the child and did not know who he belonged to but oh my gosh did I love that little boy.  It was the deepest, strongest love that I have ever known.  A love that I would look back and say had to have been the Agape Love that the bible speaks of.  I loved that child with the purest, deepest, soul-love --a love unlike any I had ever experienced in real life.  I only saw him for maybe two minutes.  He never spoke and I never saw parents or knew who he actually belonged to.  I just knew I loved him so very much.  It was not until I awoke that I knew whose child he was.

 I remember calling Kara that next morning and told her to stop worrying about never being able to have a baby.  God had shown me that she was going to have a baby.  It was a little boy and  "please hurry because I already love him so much!"  She laughed and cried and was so excited it was as if I had just put him in her arms.  About thirty days later she was pregnant.

She and Brian were in the midst of a major remodel on a foreclosure that they had bought for a song.  It was about 12 miles from us.  It was in pretty bad shape cosmetically but had great bones.  It was big enough to accommodate his other two teenage children until such a time as they left home and it even had unfinished rooms in the basement for future growth.  

Brian was very good with his hands and was a skilled carpenter and loved always having a project to work on.  It had always been his dream to build his own home from the ground up.  I convinced them that as many foreclosures as were on the market and in the shape some were in – it would feel like he had built it from the ground up by the time he got it livable.  So he took my advice and once closed, they worked on the house every free moment they had and I kept the baby while they worked.

We had a nursery set up for him in our home with a baby bed given to us by a girl at church.  We kept a full stock of diapers, toiletries and clothes for him here and from Friday to Sunday – he was ours.  I rocked, I changed, I bathed, I walked the floor when he wouldn’t sleep.  I realized quickly why God gives babies to young people.  It was exhausting.  Being older and more aware of things like SIDS,  I could hardly sleep when he was there because I was up checking on him every hour on the hour.  I feared him smothering.  I feared him getting cold.  I feared him crying and me not being able to hear him.  So finally I just gave in and went to the spare bed in the room with him.

Sunday mornings I loaded up literally everything in the house and fought with that god-forsaken complicated car seat and off we’d go to Sunday School.  I lived in secret fear that I was going to latch him into that car seat and not be able to get him out.  On several occasions I thought I was going to have to call 911 to come and bring the "jaws of life" to get him out.  Life with a baby never used to be this complicated. 
He would never stay in the nursery at church.  We tried that exactly once and you could hear him screaming all the way from the back of the building.  I retrieved him and we just never did that again.  If he got restless – we both went to the nursery.  Most of the time my seniors Sunday- School class took it in stride that our Sunday School table was going to double as a race track as he sat quietly in my lap and rolled tiny cars back and forth as far as he could reach.  Since he was literally raised from birth in my Sunday School class, he learned never to talk or make noise and he really never cried or never tried to get down.  He knew the drill and he quietly played in my lap until Sunday- School was over.  Then we moved to the Sanctuary for church service.  He recognized where we always sat in church from the time he was about 6 months old.  And he did play up and down the pew but only tried to run loose in the church once. 

When we got home it was our Sunday afternoon playtime.  He had me down in the floor crawling around the sofa playing hide and seek while he squealed with delight when I “found” him.  We played hide and seek behind the sofa pillows too my personal favorite as it kept my 60 year old overweight behind out of the floor.  As it turned out it was also his favorite game.  He would take a throw pillow and put it up in front of his face and waited for me to search him out and “find” him.  I would look under flower vases, behind 5X7 photographs, under the couch cushions, under his feet and I would say:  “Where is Paxton?  Is he under here?  Noooooo.  How about here?  Nooooooo.  Is he under here?  Noooooooooooooo.”  Each time I said my exaggerated “No” it would bring a fit of giggles from behind the pillow.  Finally he would pop his head out from behind the pillow and “surprise” me with the fact that he was right there under my nose the whole time.  And of course I would gasp in mock surprise and he would laugh hysterically and pull the pillow back in front of his face and we’d start all over.  We played this game for hours. 

No one understands why I have no problem looking at the toys scattered about but look at sofa pillows and sob uncontrollably.

He is literally everywhere in my house.  He did not visit here occasionally.  He lived here.  Not every day.  Not even every weekend – but he lived here.  His presence is in every single room.   His handmade wooden rocking horse which he called "Ye Ha" has been permanently corralled in front of my den window where he can "watch for Paxton to come" since we dragged it out of the attic and cleaned it up to see if Paxton could hold himself up on it yet.  His favorite fire truck sits parked behind the couch where he kept it because it rolled easily on the hard floor and encountered the least amount of obstacles when we got down on the floor and rolled it back and forth to each other – crashing into walls and furniture while my grown children cringed in disbelief.  His little red and yellow swing hangs from the maple tree in the back yard.  The Big Wheel that he could not quite reach the pedals on yet sits under the porch.  His CARS tent set up in the spare bedroom still.

 It seems like these would be torture to me - but they are so not.  It is me pretending he is just at his home and according to all of this – he may come bounding through the door at any minute.

Like his videos on my phone.  I play them periodically throughout the day because they bring him back to me for a little while.  I can see him running, squealing, playing, dancing and singing.  He is here-- with me -- for a little longer.  I am happy.   From the moment he came into our lives – he was the most joy I had ever known.  He was my world.  The joy has gone out of my life. 

Sometimes though I know it and have of course not spent one minute of the last several weeks that it was not on my mind.  It hits me again like it is brand new.  Just like I am hearing it for the first time.  What is amazing to me is that my body even reacts like it is brand new.  I gasp for breath and literally feel like my airway is blocked.  My heart starts to race.  My hands begin to sweat and shake and I go into a full panic and it hits me all over again with a literally physical pain that is all but unbearable.  That was today.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Four weeks...

Four weeks.  It has been four weeks since the last time I would ever hear my son's voice.

The worst four weeks of my life.

August 22, 2014 - 8:35 PM I remember the exact time because it had already been a bad day.  I had been at the Bone Marrow clinic with my sister all day.  She was diagnosed with Leukemia a few weeks ago and is going through treatment.  They had been unable to get her platelets to come up.  She was in very real danger of a brain bleed or a stroke and at 6:00 PM they finally admitted her to the hospital. 

I stayed with her until she was settled in and her husband arrived and as I was pulling out of the parking lot I checked and saw a missed call from Brian.  I called home to let my husband know I was on my way.  I looked at the clock - 8:30 PM I told him I should be home by 9:00 "and if I am not there by 9:30 come looking for me!"  I hung up and returned Brian' s call.

He was in a pleasant mood and said he had called to see what time we would be home on Saturday, he planned on bringing "The Boy" as he called him, by to see me.  He said the only thing they had going on Saturday was a Birthday Party for the little girl next door.  He called to his wife "Hey, Kara what time is the party again? 3:00 - she says it's 3:00 so we should be done by 5:00 and we will see you shortly after that."  He then told me a cute story about how Alisa was refusing to attend her own birthday party at Build-A-Bear unless Paxton could come.  Then we hung up.  Oh God, we hung up.

Nothing was wrong.  They had plans.  They had plans for the future, plans for the next day.

They had a new home.  They had their miracle baby.  They had a new dining room set.

He had just finished building a wood shed which was stacked high with firewood he had cut and split all summer long.

How do you plan to go to a child's birthday party, call your mom to arrange a visit and set a time, bathe the baby, go to bed and get up around 4:00 AM (more on that later) and walk over and shoot your beautiful wife one week shy of her 30th birthday then proceed down the hall to the bedroom decorated in the CARS Movie theme and shoot the baby that you absolutely adore and then turn the gun on yourself?  How?

How do you get from Birthday Party to Murder-Suicide in a matter of hours?

I cannot get there in my head in the four weeks that it has dominated my every thought.  As hard as I've tried - it will not go there. 

I heard what the detective said: "Ma'am, I'm sorry but this is what happened.  I see no sign of a struggle; no sign of forced entry, nothing appears to be missing.  Murder-Suicide.  End of story."

End of lives. 

Many lives.  Like Dominoes.  We all fall down.

This is where my story begins.  Not a story about how to survive this horrific tragedy as I am not sure at this point that you can.  It is the story about the struggle to get up everyday and postpone "not surviving it" as long as possible.

This is my therapy.  I need to tell it.  Somewhere there is someone that may need to hear it.  This story is for my sanity and you...