Some days are a bit brighter than others, yesterday was one of those days and so far today is. I don't understand the dips and dives of pain and grief, I am not sure that anyone does. I know that articles have been published of the various stages and then the pendulum of many different mile stones that you will hit, I have read them but they are so inaccurate. I (and apparently others as I managed to find this on line) find the pendulum outline to be more correct if you look at the one on the right.
Nothing about this journey goes as one expects. One day I may be as unfunctional as the most mentally disturbed person you can think of and the next as awesome as ... well as me. Cause lets face it on those days I am down right awesome!
I do wish there was more understanding into what causes the really bad days so I could head them off before they grab hold and drag me into the darkness, but there is really no forewarning. It can be as quick as a switch, BLAM! tears, and they can last for 5 minutes or for days. Again there is no rhyme or reason to it. I can go to the cemetery and water her tree and be absolutely ok, when one would think that would be a massive trigger, yet come home and hear a happy Christmas song and lose my mind. It is such an unfair journey has it is, it seems that something could make it easier.
As for today, I am just going to take it minute by minute and try to make it awesome, if it turns to tears I will deal with that also, because at some point the scribble will scrabble back the other way.
I thought we had a deal this year. I thought we decided we were not going to slip into the sadness. I thought we decided this time we were going to make it through with none of this darkness business. You betrayed me.
I wish I understood why come November everything goes straight down hill for me. I don't know if it is due to the change in when it gets dark or the holidays, all I know is it is bad. I haven't made it through the fall and winter yet without wishing I just wasn't.
Before you say anything, I know the kids would not want that. I know they don't want me sad, I know they want me to live my life and be happy. If you can come up with a way to make it happy and for me to feel better for the love of everything holy PLEASE LET ME KNOW.
I realize I wish I had never left the beach now, I wish I had slowed down working and spent more time with friends and gone to church. When I walked into church on Sunday I understood that was part of what I was missing! My church family. I don't have that here.
I don't know that the sadness would have stayed at bay if I had stayed there, I just know that it didn't stay at bay here and here I feel no peace at all. I would love to hear... "hey lets go grab a drink, want to meet me at the beach, are you in for a quick run?" Those things always made it just a little bit better, I knew I would smile at some point, that just for a few minutes my mind was not focused solely on how much my heart hurt.
The bottom line here is I have made another huge life altering booboo at the worst possible time. The only thing I know to do is to just suck it up until I can financially figure out how to get back. In the mean time..
Can you please cut me just a tiny bit of slack here? I get it .. you hurt.. you hurt all the time.. please just stop hurting worse.
Much Love to you
Time and time again I hear "You are the strongest person I know. I could not do this. I wouldn't make it without my child." and the list goes on and on. I know that all of these are well meaning and in no way are meant to mean any harm. They are just your words to let me know you see me, that you admire the fact that I am still breathing after the massive amounts of tragedy bestowed on me.
One of my favorites is "I don't know how you do it?" well I am going to let you in on a little secret, neither do I. What I can tell you is I am not super man... or woman.. as this case may be. (I am not all that fond of Wonder Woman.. she is rather girlie if you ask me so I would really like it if Super Girl would just go ahead and grow up already so that my reference to Super Woman makes sense) The day the kids died I didn't gain any super powers to get me through this. I didn't wake up in March of 2010 with some kind of heart of steel that wouldn't break. In April of 2013 powers to not feel the pain were not granted to me. I am not as strong as you think just because I keep going.
I do appreciate your words, I really do. At times I feel pride in knowing that I am doing this in a way that make others see I am doing, that I have not crumbed at the loss of my child as if it were kryptonite. At other times I just want to sit down and cry when they say it because I am so tired on the inside. Just so ready for the strength they think I have to rain down on me in waves and pick me up off of the ground.
Funny thing about the heart, it keeps right on beating regardless of how incredibly broken it is. I suppose if anything that is the super power that all parents who have lost a child have been given, if you can consider it that, sometimes I consider it a curse. Our hearts are in a million pieces yet continue to function as designed keeping our bodies going one beat at a time, even when we beg it to just stop. Our minds no matter how muddled still tell our lungs to breathe in and out, our tummies we need food, our feet to move, our bodies to wake up all out of instinct. We are no stronger than you, look closely we are on autopilot.
The next time you think about telling me I am strong.. do me a favor.. look in my eyes, really look at my smile, really see that the strong isn't as strong as you think.. and give me a hug instead.
Because I am really not Super Woman.
Remember when you were a kid and your mom's response to something was "BECAUSE I SAID SO!" I do.. and I in turn passed that right on down to my kids. The most infuriating response EVER. I never wanted to do anything because someone SAID so. I wanted a reason, a purpose, an understanding of why I was doing whatever it was so then I could make the decision if I really wanted to or not. I guess my mother's issue with this was I had already probably asked why 14 times and had been given a reasonable reply and I was just stalling. I imagine as a kid I wasn't given thought provoking chores.
Later in life if you told me to do something it was not going to happen. I just didn't do well with demands, and even if you asked did not guarantee it would get done, just that I might consider it a little more, if I found the task to be meaningless and dumb chances are it wouldn't get done. The bottom line here is I like to be in control and have a purpose and at the moment I feel very very out of control and very little purpose.
I find myself wishing for a simpler time, when the task at hand were handed out and were to be done regardless if we wanted to or not. There wasn't much acknowledgement or praise for getting through it but at least at the end you got to say.. "well that's done". Back to a time when my biggest concern was could I get away with only half cleaning my room because I found the whole thing meaningless. When I wondered if they would notice if I left half a load of laundry in the dryer instead of folding it.
The tasks laid before me now, living a life without my child, battling depression and anxiety, they are no easy feats. There are no instructions, there is no one around to tell you why, there just seems to be this silent shout from the world "BECAUSE I SAID SO!!" That isn't sitting well with me, I know there has to be a purpose, a reason, a meaning behind this pain. I find myself silently screaming "WHY???" at the universe so much.
I can remember before this, before the accident, something so small would happen, a flat tire, a broken glass, a lawn mower that would not start and literally saying out loud "Why me??" How incredibly trivial and stupid was that? And now I have this huge gigantic thing that was laid on my life and I have no idea why. I wish for those days of the flat tire being terrible.
I realize that each and every day I have to battle through it, and just make it to the other side, the problem is there is just not much purpose in that struggle to just do daily, it makes the entire fight seem meaningless and petty and that the only reason is because someone said I had to, even if that someone was me. So to you Universe who is responding to my multiple pleas of why with your big fat silent BECAUSE I SAID SO! That is a lot easier said that done!
Much love to you all,
I was thinking yesterday of how many people think I am ok. That I am better that I have been, that each day is a step in a better direction. It is simply not true, but it is an emotional illusion of sorts. It is like physical pain when you hit 10 anything below it is better, but until you hit that particular 10 you thought 8 was 10 and now you are at 8 which was last weeks 10 so you think you are better because you found a worse than your last weeks 10, but the fact remains you aren't any better than you were last week, you just found a worse horrible.
Before the accident I firmly lived my life in 0 to 3, rarely if ever hit a 4 to 6 for any extended period of time, never a 7 to 10 unless there was a short period of grief or turmoil. I was a fairly lets just do this kinda girl. Since the accident my chart has shifted, 0 is now a 4 because 0 to 3 don't even register for any amount of time, 6 to 8 is the norm, and 9 to 10.. the bad days. My brain and heart can be registering a 10 yet my face shows you a solid 6. I know what you are thinking, if 10 is the worse the worse had to be when the accident happened. You are correct, that was the worst of the worst, it is not measurable, that amount of pain can't be charted or defined, what I am talking about is after the initial pain.
I try to explain this all the time, but I don't think I am getting through. Or maybe I am and people don't know what to do with it since I keep managing to get through. I don't know, it doesn't matter as there is not much anyone can do about it, I just don't want other people to feel trapped in this world of saddness thinking they are alone. The alone feeling is the worst! I see you! I hear you! Your 10 before isn't anymore and you can fake a 6 like nobody's business! You are my people! I hear your song. Yes I am making light of it, because if I don't I will drown in this. Once again the weather and the holidays have me swimming in the bottomless pit of 9 trying to drag me to 10 on a minute by minute. Struggling daily to do daily.
I know it has to be hard for my family to watch, and heaven knows I wish I could just shake it off. Just do different. Each night I go to bed with dreams of what tomorrow will be. Tomorrow comes .. and again I dream of what tomorrow's tomorrow will be. It has to get better right? It did before. Just keep on hanging on until the pit of darkness lightens. I feel like Dory.. just keep swimming swimming swimming.
Where' s the point in this post you are wondering? Oh I don't know that there always has to be a good solid point. I mean this IS my blog and sometimes I don't make good sense, but today isn't one of those days. My point is, do you know someone who is struggling? Who you know is hurting? Have you in the past few weeks been asked about a friend, a family member and your response was. "Oh they are doing well, much better than I would have thought, they are ok." Take a few minutes, stop what you are doing right now and take a few minutes and think again. Really look. Really see. Are they at a 9 but their face is showing you a 6? What can you do to help them be at a 4 for just a few minutes?
Happy dreams for a better tomorrow to all.
Do you remember when you were a kid and Christmas had a magic ring.. a magic smell.. a magic crackle.. a magic feel to it? When you knew something exciting was going to happen. When there was a peace and a love in the air that was just could not be explained?
I know that the reason for the season is Jesus, but that is not what I am talking about today. Today I am talking about THAT feeling. I think maybe as adults we lose a little bit of that feeling.. ok a LOT of that feeling due to the stresses of "I have to get so and so this.. and oh no my kid wants this toy and I can NOT find it! What do you mean I have to make something for ANOTHER Christmas party??" The joy and love is lost in material things. I am not telling you to not go out and buy gifts.. I am not trying to start a war here, but maybe don't stick so close to the list. I simply HATE that.. why is anyone going to ask me what I WANT for Christmas, then go buy it. If I want something I am completely capable of purchasing whatever thing it is myself. So all you have done is purchase something for me that I could have bought myself and it really has not much of a meaning to it. (side note unless it is a Pressure Cooker that I fell in love with and have been holding off purchasing for months now.. now that will mean something.. except I saw it and I know I am getting it.. because I made a joke about it being mine and they didn't know I was joking and kinda told me it was mine.. did you follow all of that?)
My Christmas Wish List.
I want my children back, I want Deanna and Little Dustin here.
I want my Charlie back.
I want my home back.
I want my sanity back.
I want to beat depression and anxiety for the last time.
I want to be at Peace.
I want the hurt in my heart to just ease off.
I want to feel the magic and joy of Christmas again.
I want someone to hug me and hug all the broken back together.
Those are the things on my list. None of these things can be purchased in some super store or found on Amazon, but those are the things that fill my list. I do understand that some of those things are not obtainable. That no matter how much I pray, wish or hope, Deanna and Charlie are not going to just bebop through the door and say Merry Christmas, but that does not stop the want. The other things on the list I also realize that no one else can get them for me, they have to come from me.
I have fought long and hard to beat the battles raging in side of me that you just can't see. I know that people say I am doing great, look at her she is doing ok! I wish for a few short minutes the invisible battles that we fight as humans would show themselves to those that think we are just ok. I think you would be shocked to find just how not ok I and so many others are.
I don't know how to feel the magic of Christmas again, to believe in something beautiful again, to believe in miracles and love again, but I am trying so hard to find it. I set up De's little tree this weekend, it is beautiful and sweet and her little lights are shining to heaven nightly. I have two little trees that shine sweetly in the evenings as a knit. I am pulling out all the stops to help make one little girls Christmas magical. Maybe in this... I will find the magic.
Wishing you all Christmas love and magic.
How flimsy are your branches.
That really isn't fair. I have a cute little tree, it will serve it's purpose I think. This year for the first year I felt the pull to have a tree. Like I really needed a tree. It wasn't a want it is was a need. I also knew that I couldn't open the first box of Christmas ornaments or decorations that I have, so I was faced with a dilemma. How do I pull this off...
I know, I know you are thinking go the store and buy one you dummy. No... no good. The Christmas section is avoided at ALL costs. You breeze through grab exactly what you need and OUT! Triggers my friends triggers. I know it sounds absolutely ridiculous but when I feel the darkness reaching for me like some kind of Dementor out of Harry Potter I know there are certain places and things that I just can not do. A sweet little Christmas decoration can shove me over the edge. A camo pink edged stocking and I won't be able to function for days. Yes I know my own illness that well, frightening isn't it?
To the beautiful friend who was going to actually bring a tree.. thank you. It meant more to me than you will ever know, but I suppose it was the push I needed to get it figured out on my own. I realized then at that moment no tree was going to magically appear, I knew my limits, and had to figure out the next best plan. The ceramic tree from 1973 just wasn't going to be what I needed this year... yes you heard me right we still have a ceramic tree.. green with all those crazy lights on it.
I remembered that I saved one of Deanna's little trees! (she is getting her very own live tree this year! We never have had one so this is going to be something new...) So I marched my rear end out to the garage and dusted it off. In my cleaning of the table I was going to put it on, to my shock, I found some ornaments in the drawer! I hung those on there and tada instant tree. Its not perfect by any means and it may not put off much light... but its fitting because I am neither perfect nor putting off much light these days.
(Insert long crappy words about the meaning of a Christmas Tree here... I am begging you do not Google it... it will depress you!)
I do realize that some of you think that Christmas trees are for children. They may be .. I don't know .. what I do know is that Christmas holds many many beautiful memories with my children. From matching outfits for picture time (yes I was that mom) to pajamas Christmas Eve, sweet smiles in the morning as their eyes lit up at the surprises Santa had brought, the last Christmas Eve church service... For three Christmases now I have fought to not remember. The memories were just a bit to fresh into the wounds of missing her. This year I just want to sit quietly by the twinkling lights and have them sprinkle my heart with the kids hugs and laughter of Christmas.
So if you see me this year.. just gazing at your tree seemingly lost in thought.. a hug is all that is needed.
Merry Christmas Trees to All!
I know I focus a great deal on what I need from others, or what I feel the grief stricken need from their friends and family, I won't deny that but it is needed. Recently a dear friend lost someone close and everyone kept saying "I am so sorry, I am here for whatever you need, just tell me." over and over and over. To the point he was ready to say .. my leaves need to be raked at my house. What he needed was people to stop saying "I am here for whatever you need" and have the people just do it. Please don't ask us.. we won't tell. (unless of course you are a mouthy blogger who blogs about it.. then you are being told exactly what I need.. errr I mean the blogger needs). The key is just to see the things, or remember back to my posts, and just do them. Show up! Be there! Prepare a meal, months or years out not the week of. Plan an outing. Tell us about something special you remember about our child. All good things.
Anyhoooo, this post isn't even about that, this post is about why am I telling you that you should do all of these things when I am not telling you what I am doing to make it any better. You have a great point, so I am going to take some time this morning and try to throw it out there.
The first thing I have done to help me... I have surrounded myself with the most amazing people. I have had people tell me that I just have way too many friends that it is about quality not quantity. I have to laugh at that, it's not like I am trying to rack up numbers on a friends counter or anything. The people in my life are there because they love me and I love them. Sometimes we don't see eye to eye, sometimes I get on their nerves, sometimes they get on mine. Sometimes we fight, sometimes we can't be apart. Sometimes they are in a close bucket, sometimes they are in a bucket just chilling and waiting to be needed or waiting to need me. No matter where you are in my life, please know that you are loved. Surrounding myself with these people, even though it seems to be an astronomical amount to some, have kept me sane.
The next thing.. I exercise. I get up in the mornings at some insanely crazy time and work out. It used to be every morning, now not so much but I need to get back there. It clears my head, wipes out the cob webs of lingering bad thoughts for awhile. It makes me feel like I am making a difference in my own life. Not to mention the ladies I do this with are AWWWWWEEEESOOMME!
I create, I knit, I paint, I art journal... getting my feelings out through creative expression has been a life changer. It directs my focus on to something who's entire outcome is in my control. So much of life is completely out of our control that these simple things calm the chaos for just a little while.
I run. That is different from exercise by the way. (not really but ..) I run races. I know I always say it is about the bling. It isn't. It's about control again. It is about setting out to do something and being in control of your own finish. Its about not thinking about the hurt and sadness and truly living in the moments of the run. I don't race.. I run. I can't beat anyone and I am not going to win any podiums but to me that is A OK. I run for me. (and maybe the getting a medal thing isn't all bad either)
I write. This blog is a source of comfort. Just knowing that my words may help just one person is enough. I have goals of course I want to reach many. I used to back in the beginning but depression set in and I lost sight of some of the things that helped. This blog was one of them... but as always I get back up so here I am dusting off the keyboard and letting the words flow out.
I spend as much time as I can with the people I love. Does this need any explanation?
I rescued a dog. If I could I would again. My love for Charlie and his love for me saved me in so many ways. My world without him is a darker place. I still have my little Banx but Charlie... there was just something about him that was different. I lost my Charlie a few weeks back.. again here I am getting back up. Losing him was a terrible blow and I know that his love was special, so special in fact that I would put my heart back on the line and rescue another.
I pretend. I know how unhealthy it is, I am not completely an idiot (not one word from the peanut gallery please). I allow myself to believe she isn't gone. That she is out in this world doing her own thing. I am not delusional I know this is not true.. but just for a little while sometimes I have to do this just to get through the bad days.
I talk to the dead. Not just De.. not just Charlie.. not just family.. I mean I talk to people (and now a dog) who die. Young ones.. old ones.. people I knew .. people I didn't. You may find it creepy and that is ok. To me.. if I was gone.. on the other side and no one here remembered me, if no one spoke to me. That would be sad. I probably don't even do it as often as I should. We don't know.. they may hear us. (ps I don't hear them talk back so I am not completely losing it)
The most important thing I do.
I get up each and every day. Every morning I wake up and get out of bed. Every morning is a chance to just stay there in bed and say a big screw you to the world .. thank you so much for dealing me this crap, hand I am done with you, I am going to stay right here and cover my head and just wait to die.... but... every day is also a chance to see the beauty in the world, a friends new baby, to hear your daddy say I love you, to watch your child excel, to hear of your friends college graduation, to do 3 miles with friends, to get a hiney pic from the donut, to be the one a friend reaches out to, to meet new people, to write a blog that touches peoples hearts, each and every day is a new beginning, no matter how deep into the darkness I fall, each and I every day I get up.
I always get up.
What are you going to do today to help yourself?
Is it peaceful? Is free like they say?
Does the sun shine bright forever
Have your fears and your pain gone away
~dani and lizzy
When we send a loved one home to heaven I know that many of us wonder. What is it like? Are they are ok? Are they with family? I am here to tell you that no one wonders things like this more than a parent who's child is in heaven without them. I am not diminishing the grief of losing a spouse, sibling, friend, or parent, but losing a child adds special layers of pain and questions. When our child is first placed in our arms we vow that we will protect them always. That we will ensure they are fed and cared for. That we will allow no harm to come to them. That we will raise them and watch them grow. We will be there for them through school, graduations, weddings, their own children... until something horrible happens and that is all ripped from us.
Ultimately we have failed at the most important jobs of our entire lives. I know what you are thinking .. I know what you are going to say here, we did not fail, that situations were beyond our control, we could not have stopped it, we did nothing wrong. I hear you, I hear your words, each and every one, that does not change it. While I realize that it was not me driving the car that my girl was in, I had apparently not pushed the seat belt rule hard enough. While it is not anyone's fault when a child is diagnosed with cancer there is no doubt in my mind that the questions come up of.. what if I had seen the signs sooner, what if we had gone to a different doctor. No one can tell me that a parent who has lost a child does not or has not ever questioned their own actions that led to the terrible moment that their child was no longer here. We don't mean to.. it is just what happens.
I want you to imagine something for me. Imagine that first time your child went out without you, or if you aren't to that age yet, think about your child walking out the door on their own. No adult supervision. That first movie, that first trip to get ice cream, that first walk to school alone, that first errand for you to the corner store. Scared aren't you? For the first time you have absolutely no knowledge of exactly where your child is, who they are with, who is around them, if they are being careful, are they safe, are they warm enough, did they take their coat.... a bazillion questions swamp your mind, even if the outing is for 5 minutes. Your heart and mind do not ease until your child waltzes safely back in the door and gives you that look of "What???!!!??? What is wrong with you???" when you wrap them in your arms and squeeze them a little too tight.
Now imagine knowing that your child is never going to waltz back in. That when the door closed behind them that was it. The questions that swamped your mind earlier... continue. Over and over and over and there is no reply. That is what it feels like to have a child in heaven. Are they ok? Are they safe? Are the warm? Is it beautiful there? Do they hear me? Do they know how much I love and miss them? Are they upset that I smiled today? Do they think I don't miss them because I made it two days without thinking of their death? Is the dog with them now? Do they understand how much Charlie meant and are now taking care of him? Do they have dogs in heaven? Is she getting her favorite foods? Does food even matter? Does she see me talking about her? Does she have wings? Is she meeting new angels as I meet their parents? Does she hear of young people from home coming and go meet them? Does she know I have a hard time talking to her out loud? Is she upset that sometimes I pretend she isn't dead?
Imagine if you will ... a life without knowing.
I have tried through the journey of this hell to explain to people things bereaved parents may need. Things that may help them get through another day. I think where I may have failed slightly is in giving the false hope that you could fix us. There is no fixing what we are going through, only helping make it better. We will never be ok again, we learn to carry on though the pain and questions but that does not mean we are ok. I think some how I lost track of explaining that the things we need are not a one and done. There is no list that you can check off and at the end get an A+.
Sorry if I sound a little edgy today, just feeling the pain today a bit more that other days. I wish I could tell you "hey.. why don't you abc and then I will feel better!" or "I know! I am going to xyz and then I will be happy" nope.. I can't. Believe me if I could I would. You are probably wondering by now why I keep mentioning you. Why I keep saying what YOU can do to help.. what YOU can do to make it better. Because we have no energy left, because we have done everything already we could imagine to make it better, because WE need help.
During the Christmas season many of us pull an Angel from a tree and spend money on a family we don't know so that they could wake up and have Christmas. I understand this. I think it is a beautiful beautiful thing. I wish all families that had the means would do this. (I also wish that someone monitored what went on the angels a little better... asking for shoes and clothes for your 2 year old but on yours you have a new tablet and an iPhone but that is neither here nor there) This Christmas I am asking you while you are out filling your cart with toys and clothes for a family in need to remember, there are other families in need, but they can not write them on paper.
I imagine if a bereaved parent could write an angel card it would be similar to this:
I would like my child back.
I would like to know they are ok and what they are doing.
I would like my friends to know I love them even though I am sad.
I would like my family to feel loved this Christmas even through I am not doing so good at showing it.
I would like to go see the Christmas lights with someone who would just let me cry.
I would like to set my baby a tree up but I can't see to do it through my tears.
I would like someone to tell me that the time does not matter that it is ok to still be a mess.
I would like to sing a Christmas Carol without crying.
and above all...
I would like to know what it looks like in Heaven.
I know that these things are impossible to obtain for anyone.. I am just asking you to remember that during this time of year it is especially hard for us and that we just may need some extra love, I am asking you to ask yourself ... what can you do to help someone who's heart just hurts a little more during Christmas?
Merry Christmas to all,
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