Dax is Finding Joy in Gymnastics Again

If Rory’s death was the only struggle our family had to get through for the rest of our lives, it would be enough.

Her death hit each of us, leaving cracks in so many places. I’ve found that pain finds its way into those cracks, spreading into different aspects of our lives.

For Dax, the unexpected crack, the unexpected pain, was gymnastics.

Dax started gym at age 5. He spent the entire summer begging me to do gymnastics.

I thought maybe it was more of a whim, but when it lasted the entire summer, I signed him up in September. One day a week on Thursdays.

After starting gym his first question everyday was, “Is it Thursday?” Then he spent the day doing handstands and cartwheels all over the house.

Because of his love and insistence, I signed him up for Tuesday as well.

In a few months they invited him into the pre-comp team then within a year he was moved up to the competition team.

We were out of our depths and didn’t know what we were getting into until it was too late.

But it never mattered because he LOVED gymnastics.

Fast forward to a few months after Rory’s death.

I was saying goodnight to him in bed and he expressed regret that he spent so much time away from Rory doing gymnastics. And now he doesn’t have anymore.

In the following months, he talked about quitting a few times which was so unusual for him. He stopped doing gymnastics around the house. He hardly ever went to do flips on the trampoline.

But Lance and I kept encouraging him. He found so much joy in gymnastics, we didn’t want him to regret leaving the sport.

The last couple of weeks, he’s been doing handstands all over the house again. He walks from the couch to the kitchen on his hands. Dax annoys Lance by doing handstands right into his face.

It’s made my heart swell to see him loving gymnastics again. I’ve fought back tears seeing his love and passion return.

Rory didn’t love going to the long competitions but she did love to watch Dax do gymnastics at home. She also loved to push her brother out of handstands every once in a while too.

I think she’s happy to see that joy returning to Dax.

Rory’s attempt at doing a press handstand on Dax’s parallettes.

So Many Deaths

I have a degree in history.

I’ve studied about many wars. Many struggles. Many deaths.

It wasn’t until I started to work at the National Archives and read personal accounts that something became blatantly clear.

These were sons I was reading about.

Daughters.

Fathers.

Mothers.

Sisters.

Brothers.

Uncles.

Aunts.

From that point on as I read about history, it was personal. The people that were dying on the pages meant something to someone else. Probably lots of someone elses.

And since Rory’s death, I’ve taken it one step further.

Their deaths are an empty seat at the table.

At the movie.

In the car.

In the pew at church.

When going on vacation.

Everywhere.

From November 13th, 2017, there will always be someone missing from our family.

I used to feel bad when deaths would occur, now it’s almost debilitating.

These mass shootings.

I can’t even.

So many families.

The sorrow, grief, fear that are taking over their lives.

I hope this isn’t a norm for our future. For my boys’ future.

Something has to change.

Please.

Something has to change.

My heart and love goes out to the victims’ families.

Too many empty seats.

The Lion King

We went to see The Lion King on Tuesday and it was like I was 12 again, seeing it with new eyes.

Eyes of my new life.

There were a few moments that stood out to me this time around. But none more than when Rafiki finds Simba again.

Rafiki tells Simba that Mufasa, his father, was alive. He tells Simba to follow him. They race through the oasis until they come to the water’s edge.

Simba stares down at a reflection of himself. He’s disappointed. He wants to be with his father again.

Then Rafiki tells him, “Look harder… you see, he lives in you.”

It made me wonder, as I look into the mirror, who else is staring back at me?

My Grammy was so smart. She was such a vivacious reader.

Does that part of her shine out of me?

My Grandma battled so many physical ailments without complaint and fought for her ability to stay on this earth. She was strong.

Does that part of her shine out of me?

My Grandpa knew what he wanted and asked for it. He was assertive.

Does that part of him shine out of me?

My Granny was a caretaker. She took care of all those that came into her life.

Does that part of her shine out of me?

My Grandma Smiley has the most amazing laugh. It was a high-pitched giggle. She spread joy wherever she went.

Does that part of her shine out of me?

My Rory. She loved widely and had an optimistic outlook on life. Even when life wasn’t easy.

Does that part of her shine out of me?

I don’t look in the mirror and see all those characteristics in myself. But it does give me something to work toward.

Amazing people that left before me.

I hope part of them lives inside of me.

Rory Ann Moore Foundation

A week after Rory died, we stumbled through Thanksgiving.

Two weeks after that, we limped through a move across town.

Two weeks after that, we crawled through Christmas.

By the time New Years hit, we were face first on the floor.

I lifted my head long enough to see the longest, coldest month ahead of us, with Rory’s birthday at the end.

The first birthday without her.

How were we going to get through this month?

This was going to be unbearably painful.

Lance and I talked about a lot of ideas. What we decided on was to do a service project that would end on her birthday.

I made calls and sent emails and we decided to do a service project with Primary Children’s Hospital.

We collected toys.

We made wands.

We collected crafts and bubbles.

We knew that Rory loved other kids and would want to make them smile.

We wanted to honor that sweet love.

That is the reason behind the Rory Ann Moore Foundation we created.

We wanted to remember her.

We want to spread her love.

We want to bring the joy to others that Rory readily provided in our lives.

If you want to learn more about the Rory Ann Moore Foundation, the link is here: https://writingthroughgrief.com/rory-ann-moore-foundation/

In the few days we have been accepting donations, we’ve been overwhelmed with your love and support.

We miss Rory with every fiber of our beings. Thank you for helping us remember her and honor the funny, kind, silly, loving girl she was.

What Can I Do?

There are a couple of questions that I get asked quite a bit. One being:

What can I do for people who are grieving?

It’s a great question without an easy answer. Every grieving person is different. In fact, every grieving family member mourns differently.

But I think it boils down to two main things: show up with love and be patient.

Show up

Showing up will look different depending on the person grieving and the relationship you have with them.

Are you a Facebook friend or a best friend? Show up according to your familiarity with that person.

Show up with a dinner. That’s wonderful because food is the last thing a grieving person wants to think about.

Show up and sit on their couch with them. Listen. Express love. Let them tell stories of the deceased. Tell them stories of the deceased.

Show up with cards.

Show up with emails.

Show up at the funeral.

Show up with flowers.

Show up with treats.

Show up with hugs.

Show up well after the death. Your life moved on. Theirs didn’t. Show them their loved one isn’t forgotten.

When you show up, show up with patience and understanding.

Those of us grieving are messed up.

Our emotions are at the surface. There’s a really great chance we’re going to cry. If you can ride out that emotion with us, we’re grateful we had an opportunity to talk about our loved one. To connect with another in our mourning.

Be patient with planning. Each day brings difficulties with it. Be understanding if your grieving friend is late or has to cancel. If your grieving friend has a spouse or kids, he/she is trying to juggle other people’s grief and needs as well.

Be patient with responses. Especially right after the death, my phone exploded with messages and notes of love. I read each one, they were beautiful and I was grateful. But I didn’t have the energy to respond. Be understanding of their emotional and physical limitations.

My best advice:

Show up with zero expectations, bringing in all the love.