Monday, August 27, 2012

It goes on.

As the teachers came back to school today, I couldn't help but reflect on the fact that summer is over.  Another chapter in our life has come to a close.... that 'time' just keeps on moving.  I think I could write about this topic everyday... I am amazed at the speed of time.  Thinking back on my son's life feels like it was just yesterday, thinking of his death seems like an eternity ago.  I think that is one thing a grieving parent has a hard time coming to terms with, the fact that life just continues... people's lives go back to normal yet a grieving parent is left staring at their shattered life wondering 'what next?' and is in the middle of trying to process 'why us?'...  There are still times when I see a family out and about that for some reason or another strikes me to ask myself, 'why not them?'  It is so hard to fully wrap my head around all that has happened... days when I look at Dex's photos and can hardly believe he was actually a part of my life.  I look at the photo on my blog and I run my pointer across his cheek... I touch his face on the screen... I try to remember what he felt like, what he smelt like... the way his voice sounded... but that damn time continues to pass by, taking me further from the last time I saw him and stealing my memories.  Time continues to be my worst enemy in this whole process... time doesn't wait to make sure I am ok... time doesn't stop to ensure we are able to grieve properly... time is insensitive and the harsh reality for all grieving parents is that life does go on, even when you wish it would stop... it just keeps ticking.  It continues to remind you daily that it is one day further away from the last moment you kissed their cheek, from the last time you told them you loved them, from the last time you stroked their soft skin and breathed in their scent.... each day that passes is one more day away from them and one day further into this new life we have no choice but to create.  Time is painful, but one of the hardest lesson I have had to learn is that life really does go on... there is no other option.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

the unexpected moments

Some days sorrow comes out of nowhere.  The day feels like it is moving along and all is going well... then just like that sorrow creeps into my heart and I am full of sadness.  I've been experiencing this for sometime now... its not new to me, but I am often taken off guard by the strength of the hurt I hold inside... there are times when it takes my breath away and I have to fight to catch it.  I've considered maybe these are panic attacks, but once I catch my breath I am fine, just sad.... but can function and continue on with my day, with an ickiness in my stomach that lingers all day.  It's been six months and still there are times when I can't believe it.  I can't accept the fact that he isn't here... I think that is part of the sadness I feel... in those moments I am hit with the fact that it IS REAL... that this DID HAPPEN to us.   You can't prepare yourself for the loss of your child... I don't think anyone can ever be ready for the emotional roller coaster you have to endure after a loss like this.  I struggle with the waves of pain that strike me when I least expect it, but what I am learning is that my heart, my soul, every once of my being misses Declan every second of the day, of course it is going to catch up with me on occasion.  I'm coming to terms with the unexpectedness of those feelings and realizing they are completely normal in the process of healing and that I should expect them... This week has been a sad week... it's been difficult to process what we as a family have gone through and I truly feel like his passing is something I have to process frequently...  there was SO much happening to us that week of February 14th... it was a whirlwind of tragedy, one 'no one should ever have to experience this in their life' moment after another.  Its overwhelming to me right now... but something I know I need to do to heal... I'm not expecting those unexpected moments of sadness to go away anytime soon.  Maybe they never will...

Monday, August 13, 2012

Life's list...

After feeling sorry for ourselves tonight, Nate and I decided to head out to the local winery... yes, a little wine can do wonders for self pity and deep wounded hearts.  We sat out in a secluded area, surrounded by trees, a creek and a few 1000 crickets... listening to the sounds of nature, occasionally crying and talking about life.  An old couple walked by, he was carrying a bag and he looked at Nate and with a huge smile said "she had too much to drink, so I have to carry her purse"... they both laughed and walked away holding hands.  I told Nate, 'that will be us in 30 years'... then I wondered out loud "what will our grief look like in 30 years?" How will this change us? What will we become? Will we still be so defined by our loss? How will the loss of Declan shape who we are as individuals and as a couple?  Our 'deep' conversation lead us to talking about living life like we were dying... and making sure we get the most out of every moment... and how when we tell someone that 'life is short and you never know when your time here on this earth will end' people say they understand, but they don't.  Only those who have experienced death's sting can understand how fragile life really is... so how can we live life the way we want... the reality is we both have to work, so traveling the world isn't an option... we could create a bucket list.... a list of things to do before you "kick the bucket"... well newsflash, tomorrow could be our day... is a trip to Europe really going to be my defining moment?  Is going to the ballet the most important thing I want to do before I die? I have put a lot of thought into my bucket list... and finally realized I don't want a bucket list... bucket list are for these huge plans that are unrealistic at this moment right now... I want to go to Thailand more than ANYTHING, but if I die tomorrow, like Declan did, will I consider my life 'unfulfilled'? No.  What is it that makes our life worthy and 'full'?  Tonight, over wine, Nate and I decided we have two list... a "Life List" and an "Icing on the Cake" list.  Our "Life List" consist of being as real as possible in our marriage, to be present in each other's lives every day, to be the best spouse we can be for each other... to have our kids experience life through adventures like camping, fishing, swimming at the lake, running 5ks for good causes, standing up for those who can't stand up for themselves... working a career that we feel passionate about and love, going to work everyday with a smile on our faces because we know we are right where we are meant to be.... giving our lives to Christ completely, raising our children to know Him.... My "Icing on the Cake" list consist of going to Thailand, swimming with dolphins, buying a house in the woods with trees everywhere... but if those things don't happen, they were only icing on the 'cake' of life anyway... what really matters is the type of life I lead while I am living...

What would YOU do?

What would you do if someone told you that tomorrow would be your last day with your child?  Would you be able to hold yourself together enough to do anything?  Would you take your child on a day filled with adventures and make sure it was a day full of 'living' at it's fullest?  Would you tell anyone or would you keep them all to yourself for the remaining time?  Would you hold them all day and night? Would you pile everyone into the same bed and make it a slumber party?  Would you tell them repeatedly how much you love them and how special they are to you?  Would you make sure they knew that you were a better person because they were a part of your life?  Would you take them to church, would you tell them about heaven and prepare them for the next day?  Would you cook them their favorite meal or take them out to eat... what would you do if you knew tonight was their last?  Most parents don't get to know that... we didn't.  Six months ago tonight was a night probably much like yours tonight... ordinary.   We didn't know that tomorrow our son would die.  We didn't know, six months ago tonight, that we would never sit around the living room watching TV as a complete family again.  We didn't know... how normal that night was.... I can't help but wondering what I would have done differently if I had known... its unimaginable.  I wouldn't have put him down and I would have had a hard time sharing him... I would have cherished every second of his life that I had left... I would have whispered my unending love to him as much as I could have.... I would've .... Oh, it doesn't matter I suppose.... I can't believe it's been six months tomorrow since my innocence was shattered and my world was forever altered.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Where has the time gone?

We are quickly approaching the 6 month passing of my sweet boy.  I can not believe it.  I wonder where the time has gone... Every day that passes is of course, one day closer to seeing him again someday... but that isn't comforting right now.  Unless I die abnormally young, I will most likely be around for another 60 or more years.  I can't imagine not being with him for 60 more years.  I can't imagine... I continue to wish time would stop so the memories would stay fresh, so I would remember his smell and be able to hear his adorable voice in my head... so his sister would say his name everyday without forgetting the little boy she loved SO much... so that I can still feel the pain of losing him.  That sounds crazy... but I know that the pain will get 'tolerable' and there will come a time when my breath doesn't get taken away while I think of him, where the tears won't come so easily, where my chest doesn't ache with sadness.  There will come a time when my smile isn't forced or my happiness isn't tainted by guilt... but to me, those things are all I have of my Declan.  They remind me of him daily... hourly... I'm sad... sad that he passed away and sad that time continues to drag me away from my memories of him.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Precious Memories... where were you hiding?!

“No matter how much suffering you went through, you never wanted to let go of those memories.”
― Haruki Murakami
The last few weeks have been interesting... I feel a bit like an onion... layers of memory are being slowly peeled away and out of nowhere I will experience a memory so strong that I can smell scents I smelt that day, or my fingers tingle as though they are touching his hands in the moment! Today for example, I was driving to work... nothing out of the ordinary.  I was playing a CD of music that reminds me of Declan and when I usually listen to it I think of him while he was living... I see that amazing smile he had, I hear his voice telling me a story only he knew understood... I enjoy those memories! But today it was different, I was taken back to the 17th of February.  I was sitting in a chair on the south side of the funeral home.  My aunt and uncle were standing over Nate and I as we held Dex's body.  It was the last time I held him.  I can still feel the softness of his little fingers and his fat arms... but he was really cold.  I remember Courty giving him a kiss and saying "Ohhhh... Declan's cold mom. Cover him up." We had him wrapped in a blanket and I would rub and rub his hand trying to transfer my body heat to his... but death steals any and all warmth that our body's are capable of making.  Death is truly like putting out a fire... all the light and warmth that radiates from the flames is gone very quickly when is is extinguished.  I remember the way his eyes looked... they were different than normal... almost Asian like.  I remember thinking his lips looked chapped and dry and I didn't know if I could put chap stick on him or not.  The mom in me took over and I did and they looked better.  I remember what  was wearing and the pin I had on my sweater that kept rubbing my shoulder.  I remember feeling like life was ending. I remember thinking this isn't happening to us.  I remember noting that this was the end of his passing and that after the funeral, everyone else got to go back to their life the way it was before my son died... and we had yet to begin life without our son... I remembered these things today... I suppose I always had remembered it just hadn't crossed my mind in a long time... I suspect as the months and years continue to move forward, I will have lots of memories that leave me in tears and take me back to that moment... the day and the days following his death were traumatic and filled with who knows what, but very busy... In time, when I can handle it, I'm sure my mind will slowly release these moments... will take me back to those terrible days, allowing me to reflect and process.... to use those memories to heal.