FINDING MY WAY BACK
This page is not a typical “static” blog page. I add random stories and blurbs that I feel are not really for an “official” post, but worth reading as they reflect my journey back and will help another bereaved parent know they are not alone in their pain.
WHICH VERSION AM I? Mid January 2016
I feel like there is constantly more than one version of me in any given day; the version I see myself as, the version my husband sees and the version everyone else sees, even closest friends and family. I’ve wondered which one is the authentic me, but I conclude they all are. It is not un-authentic to try to be positive and cheerful around others is it? A part of me is very positive and can laugh and be normal. So then that is me, but it represents a small fraction of me that I could not sustain for long periods of time. Similarly, it’s not fake to be quiet or reflective in the comfort of my husbands company is it? That reflects more of me, I think. However, it is truly authentic to be who I am when I am alone which can be perfectly productive, perfectly still or perfectly and horribly distraught, drowning in grief. That version is the much larger fraction of the parts the make up me. The new me. The post Aiden me.
MY PRAYER FOR THIS WEEK
THE MIND IS A CRAZY PLACE TO BE
I’m so grateful it’s not just me! From what I am understanding, parents going through this often think they are going crazy. Not just from the grief or the guilt or the questions, but by the changes in thoughts and memory and concentration. Yes, there is the difficulty concentrating and organizing. But creativity and thinking or planning ahead, even a few days, is such a challenge for me.
Thinking creatively is like trying to run through quick sand. Setting up this blog was an exercise. I wanted to use my brain to figure something out that I’ve never done before. I wanted that challenge and I needed to test it and get some neurons cranking again. Thoughts are often lost,words are lost, particularly when I’m speaking. Not quite as much when I’m writing. It is so frustrating and so frightening! I know people around me must think I really have lost my mind. I’ll forget conversations I had and who I was talking to. I hope I haven’t lost my mind, but that remains to be seen, I guess.
The most difficult part of this is when the flashes of thoughts that say, this really isn’t happening, I haven’t lost my child, I’m not that Mother, It could never be me. This can’t have happened to me. Worse are the nano-second flashes where I fully expect to hear the back door open and Aiden’s voice going “Hullo?” like he did everyday. And then that nano-second passes and I’m left with the reality.
Those games our minds play on us- Is it so one can have but one moment of relief from the grim reality of what is happening? A trauma survival mechanism? Or is it our consciousness playing out our “normal” even though it knows it can’t be? Does this only happen to parents whose child died suddenly or does this happen to all parents who’ve lost children? Either way, I don’t recognize my own mind most of the time. It’s a stranger tome. I’m not “out of my mind”, but Its a crazy place to be. I want my old mind back. The mind where Aiden is here, safe in our home.
HE DESERVES MY PAIN?
I was reading some journal entries from a few weeks ago and came across this and thought it was worth a share. I honestly would like to know if anyone can relate to this? Here it is, unedited.
Sometime in June….
It was brief but memorable- a couple moments last week, before all the graduation festivities and people came to town, I felt some relief from the pain. Maybe it was busy-ness or distraction? My abdomen didn’t hurt and I was looking forward to something-having family come in. I felt better, lighter. But I was immediately hit by this terrible sadness and guilt for not being in so much pain. It felt wrong to feel better. I felt badly for Aiden that I had relief, like I wasn’t doing him justice. I’ve prayed for the pain to ease, for something to just.stop.hurting. And it did for a time- but then I didn’t want it. ( I KNOW its crazy!) I wanted to pain for Aiden, because I love him enough to hurt like this forever, if needed. Like he is worthy of this pain. Like if I stopped hurting he might think I didn’t love him enough ?
TODAY’S LITTLE “HAPPY”
It is a beautiful sunny Saturday and I am here in the house alone again. Unexpected, but that seems to be the theme song this week. It’s all good though. I cried out yesterday and that usually means a better day the next day. So this is my little happy of the day. (I did say “little”). Not a big deal, but I love cozy spaces, especially outside. So I took our outside rug and 2 of our bright green Adirondack chairs and put them all under the little porch with a rustic “table”, a hurricane candle and coasters, so when we have storms, Dave and I can sit under the porch and enjoy them. I love thunder and lightning storms. I made a point of making them fun to the boys when they were little because I didn’t want them terrorized by them. So we would always get to the biggest window in the house, shut off all the lights and watch the magic. I hope they remember that. Finding one little thing to feel happy about everyday has been incredibly helpful. I don’t succeed everyday, but when I do, life is a little better for a time. Go find something happy to do or make.
DON’T WANT THAT TO BE US
I read this morning, in an effort to find out why things seem to be worse for us right now, that the traumatic loss of a child can make the parents more susceptible to suicide, depression, shortened life span from suicide and accidents AND make them more likely to get cancer ( particularly women ). AWESOME. I do NOT want to be that statistic but I see how it is true. I am eating well, exercising, reading, spending time with friends, writing and trying with EVERYTHING in me to get well, and still there are days like yesterday that the grief has such power and such darkness I don’t know how to pull out. But today is a new day (my mantra) and I will push forward and hope and believe and work at this. The alternative is unacceptable. I pray for fewer days like yesterday and grace and comfort in the dark days.
“Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.” Jeremiah 33:6
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
Yesterday things were a little dicey as it was. I was at the gym, on the elliptical when a kid from Aiden’s school was walking around in the t-shirt from Aiden’s memorial celebration. Holy moly, was that like a shot to my heart. The reaction was visceral. I had to leave the gym. I understand- it’s his t-shirt, why shouldn’t he wear it? But it was my son’s initials on the front and my sons #18 on the back and it is not just a shirt! It represents my son’s death! It was in my face saying to me, “your son isn’t here, but here I am running around enjoying life with his t-shirt on.” I know. You don’t have to say it. Regardless, I cried and cried hard all the way home and it kept coming. All day was a struggle. But how does one prepare for that? You don’t. You just deal. How does one not feel like it just. isn’t. fair?! Because it’s not. None of this is fair. Unfortunately I think there are going to be dozens more of those unexpected moments.
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Mathew 28:20
All I can say is thank you. I lost my son also and your writings describe and affirm my feelings.