Thursday, May 10, 2018

Life Goes On

After dropping our daughter off just a smidge late at school this morning after spending two hours running all over heck getting her her Texas drivers permit, Eric and I drove home talking about everything that happened this week and the poetics of it all.... and I thought that our conversation might make for a good blog post.

Our conversation started about how life goes on.

Whether you want it to or not..... life goes on.  Even if you think it won't, even though it might seem impossible, it will somehow go on.  With or with out you, whether you are ready or not, life will always go on.  Beautifully and perpetually it will always move on.  
But that isn't the poetic part.  That's the obvious part that most of us have already figured out by now... and I'm betting that most of us have figured it out with a big ol' mad face, cheeks wet from tears, cursing out whoever will listen because cursing feels better, and throwing a middle finger or two in the air for good measure after an especially brutal experience that the Universe threw at you without you ever seeing it coming.

For the last 16 years, this week has been the worst week of my entire life, and everyone around me knows that my entire life stops every year around this time until the day after my son's birthday when I pick up where I left off and go about my business.  Stops.  I don't care what you have to say about that.  I don't care how you all might cope with your stuff, or what advice you might have on different or better ways to cope, my life stops and that's good for me.  I take a big breather, I drink a whole bunch of wine, I do the things that I like to do, I don't do the things I don't like to do for just this one week, and I meditate.  I take each year as it comes to me, whether it's celebrating my son's life and the very few precious moments I got with him on this side of Heaven, or it's wallowing in the unfairness of his death and being a giant pile on my couch for a week straight, whatever the Universe decides to give that particular year, I accept.  

This year, my dog died.  And welp, if that ain't the shits, I don't know what is.  

Earlier this week our little family lost a fat chunk of our family when our beloved fur-baby, Brew, could no longer fight his seizures and trusted us to give him back to God.  We were not ready, and we know that Brew would have understood if we had decided to be selfish and keep him here just a little while longer, but he was not ours to keep.  He was fat.  He was the perfect kind of fat that jiggled and squished and made him look even fluffier than he really was, and oh, did that fat baby make us laugh.  I hope so badly that Heaven lets him stay fat until I get to see him again, even though that manly body of his desperately needed to lose a few of those extra pounds that his medications added.
Our hearts are beyond broken and we aren't sure for how long they'll stay that way, but I had already done the thing where I threw my middle finger in the air, cursed out the Universe and whoever else would listen, and cried until I couldn't cry anymore during especially painful moments of my life, so I knew that while we are devastated that Brew is gone from this earth, I know that eventually our lives will move forward again.  

I know this because that is what life does and will always do.

But 16 years ago I hadn't figured that out yet.  16 years ago I laid in a hospital bed laboring my dead son into this world, and I was certain, as certain as I am right now that the sky is blue, that I was going to die.  I didn't know when, but I knew that eventually the pain of losing my first child was going to kill me.  I was too sweet then to have to endure something like that, I didn't know how to endure something like that, and it broke me.  Life outside of that hospital room wasn't any better, it held absolutely zero options that could sustain any quality of life for me.  In between doses of whatever medication the nurses gave me that knocked me out so that I didn't have to feel what my body was doing, I begged God to let me sink into my hospital bed and disappear for forever, because as far as I could tell, disappearing was the only survivable alternative to walking out of that hospital with empty arms, a broken heart, and shattered soul.  I was so young when my son was born.  I lived in a state far away from my home town and family, and I was in an abusive relationship where I had made decisions that meant I couldn't leave easily.  I had no money, no education beyond my high school diploma, and no where to go.  

But God ignored my begging, and although I was a shell of what I had been only a few days before, I did manage to leave that hospital in the middle of the night less than 6 hours after birthing my son into this world.  Afterwards, life went on, and eventually.... so did I.  

What I wouldn't give to go back in time knowing what I know now and be standing outside those hospital doors waiting for that sweet, young, broken girl when she came walking out of that hospital with absolutely no prospects in front of her and shattered beyond repair.  I would be waiting for her with open arms and I would hug her.  Oh you guys... I would hug her with all my might.  And then I would tell her about all of the things that she hasn't learned yet, but will....  
I would start by promising her that life will go on, and I'd promise her how GOOD our God is, and then excitedly explain all the ways in which her life will have moved forward enough where it made room for her to be excited on the same exact day she had known extreme pain.  Indeed, sweet broken girl, you are loved so much that God worked miraculously and meticulously in your heart for years so that you could know excitement on your son's birthday - yes, this day, this same exact moment right now.  Love God, trust God, I would tell her!  Because in 16 years she will be waking up really early on this same exact morning with the daughter she'll name Isabelle that will be born in just 9 1/2 months to get her her drivers permit - and it will be so exciting!  
Isabelle will be the gift from God who will be sent to her to make her a better woman.  Because of Isabelle's inspiration into every cell of her body she will find the strength to take her toddler out of a bad situation and make a better life for them, and even graduate college too.  Isabelle will be smart.  She'll be compassionate and loving and insightful, she'll have the kind of insight that will knock you off your feet, and as she grows you'll see that she was sent here to change the world.  
Then I would hug this broken spirit again and tell her about the man who painstakingly loved her back to whole for 12 years.  He'll be a Godly man who will be her husband.  Eric will have the patience of a saint and think you hung the moon.  He'll have a terrible sense of humor but you will think he's the perfect combination of funny and adorable that makes him oddly hilarious and he'll make you laugh harder than anyone else ever could - no one will understand it and everyone will roll their eyes at you.  The three of you will be unstoppable together and I'll assure her that this broken girl standing in front of me won't be so broken anymore.  But I would probably skip the part about Brew.  

And that, is the poetic part.

When my whole life stops, when I stop my entire life this same week every single year, it keeps going anyway.  Life found a way to align a milestone in my daughter's life with her brother's birthday, and I couldn't be more grateful to the Universe for a gift like that.  Y'all might not think it's much, but to me, it was everything.  

In loving memory of Brewsky ("Brew") Merrick Schnell.
June 15, 2011 - April 29, 2018
Stay fat.


  1. This is a beautiful post. Just what I need to read this morning, so poetic and inspired.

  2. Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I just got my first dog as an adult, and I already love her so much, I cannot help but to look into her eyes loving her so, but knowing undeniably that she will completely break my heart one day. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  5. This is a beautiful post. It has given me the courage to write my story. I just felt that blogs were short stories. but seeing yours, I now know I can write about my own experiences in losing my husband and then finding a new love and have just lost him. Time Goes ON. yes it does. but I have an inner strength to pull me through and family. Thanks for your sharing. Take care Catherine