My Beloved Hobbit

I went to counseling on Friday.  It was good to have a place to cry and work out who I am without my Hobbit.  I haven’t been able to finish the autobiography that I have been working on, and I have felt a sense of loss at not even knowing about Sam’s childhood.  There is no one living who knows about Sam’s infancy or toddlerhood. He wasn’t adopted until he was six. But all the pictures that his biological grandmother gave him are in a book and I am using them to make him a scrapbook, because I am trying to fill those memory holes that not only I have no idea about, but Sam himself didn’t know about.  I will try to make a book, like I’ve made for most of my kids, so they can remember Sam and experience his life–the life we didn’t get to find out about with him, the past that we didn’t get to talk about with him because we didn’t have enough time.  I felt like this would help me somehow, help me fill up that hole that exists because there just wasn’t enough time to know all of Sam’s stories.

This is the first page:

heavensent

Grumbles

I don’t think you can appreciate how obvious Sam’s feelings were because he not only would grumble, not knowing who was around or in ear shot, but he would type out his grumbles when he was at the computer and just not hit enter. It didn’t matter, however, because his screen was so huge everyone in the room could read it. I had to force myself to not read or to try to pretend as if I hadn’t seen. Sam and his thoughts were literally public almost always. He was always really interested in truth and honesty, but he knew that it was important to not take everything people said at face value.  Sam was a scary guy sometimes.  He had that wandering eye that wasn’t quite able to focus on you when he looked at you, besides him being blind.  Being deaf just made it harder because he would grumble so much louder than he realized.  Everyone knew what he thought.  It was hard then at first to accept him at his word when he said things that did not agree with his grumbles. It became easier because his actions were so clear that they started to speak louder than his grumbles.  In the end, it was clear that what goes on inside our heads, those negative thoughts, all came out with Sam.  That was only clear because Sam’s actions: the little gifts of donuts for the kids, candies, flowers for me, going to church with us, going to scouts and young women-sitting in the foyer just to be with us, just for us to be family (as normal as we could be), being cheerful even when he was so tired of his disabilities… All those actions and many more made Sam’s Grumbles something we just ignored as an external version of what normally happens inside.  We still love him for all the little things he used to do for us.  Now we try to do things we think he would have volunteered for: Feeding families in need, working at the church, helping friends that helped us.

Letters to my hobbit 10

Sam,

Funny story, kinda… I had to go home early from work just to be able to deal with the ton of paper work that your death has brought me and I missed the bus by a few seconds. I could see it pulling away from the stop a block away. I had to wait 30 minutes for the next bus. I called the funeral home and found out they already filed your death certificate and no linger even had a copy to send me. I thought, wtf? I’ve been calling for weeks to get it! And as the bus pulled up I thought “wait till I tell Sam about this,”. I’d forgotten in s matter of moments that you had passed and it was the whole reason I was set up to complain in the first place. Funny right? In a sad, I’ve no one to complain to at home sort of way…

via WordPress for Phone http://goo.gl/j6Fzhf

Letters To My Hobbit – 9

Dear Sam,

Today, I don’t like the bedroom. Remember how I painted it dark blue with white trim so you could see the doorways a little more clearly? I know you felt a little more comfortable in the dark with only one light to focus on (usually your computer). But this is not helping me. Dear Daughter helped me put up stars on the walls and ceiling, and I even put up a blacklight, but I don’t like the dark walls. I am depressed and I can’t say that the walls aid the depression or merely reflect it.

I am having a hard time getting a hold of your death certificate. It is quite frustrating. The funeral home tells me to call the county and the county tells me to call the funeral home. The lawyer needs it, however, and I will probably just have to make a lunchtime trip to the clerks office and get a copy–which is, of course, how every girl loves to spend her lunch.

Mother’s Day was ok. #1 gave me an edible arrangement. #2 bought me new lights to put up outside on the patio–and they are delightful–then he told me later that he was leaving the church. I said “ok.” I really am not into micromanaging or putting additional emotion into something that seems fruitless at the moment. I am emotionally tapped out. This is his journey, and I guess he wants to do it alone. It’s a lot harder that way, as you could probably tell him from past experience, but it is his choice. I went to the deaf branch and gave them your suits. I went to the hearing ward too, and I will be going out on Saturday with an aquaintance from R.S. Maybe we’ll be friends. Who knows? All of this has really brought so many people out of the woodwork to tell me they love and support me. It has been wonderful, overwhelming, and bittersweet. I wish it hadn’t taken you dying for it to happen. I feel so selfish, but I can’t seem to help what I’m feeling because at the same time, I don’t think mourning is really all that selfish.

Sister Claybrook brought me the quilt she made me out of your shirts. It is wonderful.
MemorialQuilt
I try not to cry very loud, so #4 won’t hear it, though she has headphones on most of the time anyway…

Right now, I’m not certain I will stay at this job when my contract is over. If the house were paid off, I think I would stick to trying to write, live off my art, but then again, I’d probably get sick of being poor. I dunno. Today I was just really not happy with being at my job, and it wasn’t because anything had gone wrong. I have tremendous liberty there as opposed to the last job. They treat me like an adult and not like a high school student that needs to be monitored… you know… just in case I’m 2 minutes late from break. I’m trying to be practical. I’m trying to plan and make good choices, but I don’t think I’m doing a very good job.

I think our new parakeet is suffering from anxiety. The cats trying to get him every time he flies to the window probably doesn’t help. He runs from end to end of the magic window, trying to get out, until he gets tired and goes back on the perch we provide for him. He acts like I feel. We’re just trying to let him get used to being in my room, make him as comfortable as possible and happy, we hope, with his freedom–such as it is.

I really, really want to like my life–my life without you here–but I don’t. I wish I could at least be content with it and do something I thought was productive. Something I felt was making the world better, if I have to still be here. But I don’t. I had an email exchange with the probate lawyer and it doesn’t make me any more happy to be here following these bread crumbs that the spirit has to leave me because I just can’t think as clearly as I used to be able to. It’s like I have ADHD but I’m too depressed to notice. I told friends I feel like I’ve lost a limb — like my right hand — and I just don’t know how to use my left hand even half as well.

It’s more than a hand, you know. It’s more like half of my heart, the part I used the most.

Do I sound bitter? I hope not.

Why can’t I keep myself together? I just want to know when will I stop crying?

Love you.

Miss you.

Noelle

Letters to My Hobbit – 1

Dear Sam Campbell III,

Today was ok, but the weekend in all was a little difficult. I had to be home, of course, and take care of things here, and everything reminds me of you. Everything. We made it all together, so of course it reminds me of you. Today I went to Memorial Park and Fallbrook, both. I cried in both places telling people how important it was to listen to the spirit. Naturally, I have a headache now. I haven’t been very hungry, but have an unnatural amount of cookies given to me, all of them my ‘favorite’ kinds. It has been strangely hard to eat chocolate…

I’m a little mad at you for not following through on those “notes to my wife,” like you did for your sister, since your sister won’t talk to me now. I’m also a little iritated that you use Linux, so everything I have of yours is hidden in a Matrix I can’t unlock. I will either have to hope that Gordon Chamberlin can unlock it all, or that I can find someone who can. I have 2 terabyte external drives with your info on it that, if I put it in my computer, it tells me I should format the drive.

I made this little memory box thing and filled it with your beads (the wood beads you loved to make mala’s from), your Star Fleet Academy ring (remember you said you felt like THAT was where you graduated from?) your Texas ID, your personal military spec crucifix, some hearing aid batteries and shoelaces. They are all the things that remind me of you. Remember when I said I thought you had a strange obsession with rosaries? I came to understand that, and how it was mostly tactile for you, and a great focus for your meditation, but I still don’t understand your obsession with black laces (they had to be black) of a specific length. I don’t know how you knew those other laces weren’t black, but somehow you did, and tossed them into your “abyss box.”

I went through the closet this week, it’s still pretty much a mess, and I think I will ask someone to come and help me clean it out when my mom is gone. For some reason, I don’t really want to do it with my mom. Your shoes and boots and your extra monitor are still in the room. And I haven’t gone through the box with our documents. I moved Erin into our room so I can fix up and rent out the other rooms. I think I need to do something to help replace your income. I want to keep working on the projects we had planned, and I can’t do that if I’m struggling to keep above water.

Adam, our sainted renter on a bike, fixed the fridge. He also fixed the hole in the wall in Erin’s (former) room. I am letting him stay free if he will manage the house and the repairs. He has taken much of the expense of the repairs on himself, so I think letting him stay free is ‘fair.’ I have no idea how much I am actually saving, but you do know it’s about 75 dollars just for a visit from a repair man. BTW, every appliance in the kitchen was covered under our homeowners policy EXCEPT the fridge…

I can’t seem to stay focused on any tasks at home. It’s like I’m an ADHD but I can’t even find something satisfyingly distracting.

I am writing our story, but not really. It’s a sort of “what if” story, like Notes From…. I will write our ‘real life’ story later, when it’s not as bittersweet. I do still have lots of fantasy stories we made up together based on Calinor and our personal experiences. I will try to finish those one day too, but right now, I’m writing this story about what would have happened if we would have met in Banning right after I graduated. I do that at night and in the morning to distract me from all the ‘must do’ lists my head fills up with at those times. I like that it helps me remember you, and that it is easier to remember you this way. Plus, you were really hot when you were younger, and so was I, and that never hurts in a story. We talked about it all the time, remember? What would have happened if we would have met when we were younger.

I’m trying not to be upset about having to stay here by myself and finish things up here without you. I am trying to remember pioneer women who had to take care of a farm and family while their husband served a mission a country away, or I try to remember how difficult life was for you and how simple things were starting to become a challenge, and how you are free now, but it doesn’t really help. I have no idea how long this mission will be, I didn’t think, even with your struggles, that things were that bad. Everyone knew we were happy, right? So I dunno and right now, I just want to go “home,” or run and run and run and run and never stop anywhere.

I have to go to bed now, because I have to work. Work is the easiest for me to handle. It’s almost a relief. I’m glad this is the long week. I have the kids this weekend. It’s hard to try and think of things to do–of course everything we plan reminds us you aren’t here, but I want you to know that we are really trying to do the things you wanted us to do, and be the blessing to other people you always wanted us to be. We are trying to bring honor to your name, the same way you tried to honor the name of God (and fathers and husbands).

Still a little angry at you for leaving without me, but love you more than anything left on Earth.

Say hi to Jack for me.

Love, Noelle

Tasks for the New Year

Hobbit: We got a lot of stuff on the Tax Return list
Hobbit: not sure we can do it all
Hobbit: Tax Return
* Pay Credit Cards
* Pay Ticket
* Fix Plumbing
* Cut Pool Tree
* Ninja Blender
* Kitty Purse
* Boots
Hobbit: you were suggesting something else today
Hobbit: and I forgot what it was
Swampfaye: we’ll have to consolodate… let’s get a ninja kitty purse that can cut trees
Hobbit: That would be pretty awesome
Hobbit: chainsaw boots
Swampfaye: get magic plumbing boots
Swampfaye: the ninja purse can take care of the tree

Ghosts of Christmas past. (Guest Post by My Hobbit)

I will always remember this year’s Christmas. Thanks to the generosity of friends, family, and strangers, we had a better Christmas than I had any reason to expect. We were able to raise enough money through donations for the 20% co-pay coverage for a Nucleus 6 cochlear implant. It arrived on Christmas Eve. It came by FedEx, though I like to pretend it was delivered by sleigh and reindeer.

What’s more, I was able to get another pair of good quality sunglasses thanks to friends in our ward who got us gift cards for Christmas. They are Veza sunglasses, which are only sold at Sam’s Club. I really like the Veza sunglasses because they are incredibly strong and sturdy. Whenever I can scrounge up the money I look forward to adding another pair to my collection. I have three pairs now, and if I don’t lose any of them they should last a lifetime. They’re not a well-known brand, but that just makes them even more special. I feel like I know a secret that most people don’t know.

I don’t want much in the way of luxuries. I like sturdy boots, sturdy sunglasses, and a computer with a fast internet connection. I care more about whether something is durable than whether it is fashionable.

Anyway, what with a new CI processor and new sunglasses, it was a very deafblindie sort of Christmas. I’ve already set up an appointment with a specialist to have the CI assembled and mapped for the first time.

I look forward to switching from the big processor to a BTE (behind-the-ear) unit. It will be a lot more convenient. And fortunately I also have a backup CI that still works, even though it is obsolete. I am practically OCD about having backups: backup CIs, backup sunglasses, backup computers, backup boots, etc.

Anyway, it was a great Christmas. And thanks to everyone who contributed to the purchase of a new CI!

Happy Holidays,
+Sam

Sticks and Stones May Break my Bones

I always thought the phrase “words can never hurt me,” was one of the stupidest ever uttered.  You WILL be hurt by words (fat, lazy, blonde, skinny).  You WILL be offended.  The actions of others WILL adversely affect you.  How you chose to act, however, is your own choice.  There is a universal truth that says: You can’t move forward if you are blaming someone else.  This doesn’t mean that they aren’t at fault – it just means that your personal progression is on your own shoulders, not theirs.  Their success does not diminish your chances of success (generally).   Taking offense may be natural, but letting it roll off your back can become just as natural.

If you are hard of hearing, it’s like being a half breed.  You aren’t ‘deaf’ enough to be Deaf and you aren’t hearing enough to be Hearing.  There are lots of miscommunications on both sides: One the Deaf side because you are “hearing in your head,” and on the hearing side because you don’t hear them clearly.  It’s easy to take offense, but it should also be easy to understand that there are cultural perceptions on each side that easily lead to ‘offense.’  Being in between should also help you understand that it’s not helpful to be offended.

Some people are trying to offend you, it’s true.  Nowhere is this more evident than on the internet where anonymity cloaks them.  But to stay offended doesn’t really hurt them and only harms you.  I think we have a century of clear examples that blame and taking offense does not move you forward in the macro – it can only be magnified in the micro.

So let it roll off your back and move further up and further in.

Rough Stone Rolling

The prophet Joseph Smith said that he felt worn and shaped like a rough stone rolling, with all the rough edges knocked off of him.  I feel like that a lot – like a rock in a tumbler, with no control over who/what I hit in the process or where I will rebound.  How strange and funny that we feel worn smooth or thin (like butter spread over too much bread), when the world sees us as harder and more solid.  Though we feel worn smooth, we also feel less like the child full of wonder who actually found smooth stones quite remarkable…