Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day 51

My Grief Wish List
- Author Unknown -

If you have been through grief you will relate to this. If you are going through it you will relate. If you have never been through this type of grief, keep this handy, it may help you one day.

I wish you would not be afraid to speak my loved one's name. They lived and were important and I need to hear their name.

If I cry or get emotional if we talk about my loved one, I wish you knew that it isn't because you have hurt me: the fact they have died has caused my tears. You have allowed me to cry and I thank you. Crying and emotional outbursts are healing.

I wish you wouldn't let my loved one die again by removing from your home his pictures, artwork or other rememberances.

I will have emotional high and lows, ups and downs. I wish you wouldn't think that if I have a good day my grief is all over, or that if I have a bad day, I need psychiatric counseling.

I wish you knew that the death of a child is different from other losses and must be viewed seperately. It is the ultimate tragedy and I wish you wouldn't compare it to your loss of a parent, a spouse or a pet.

Being a bereaved person is not contagious, so I wish you wouldn't stay away from me.

I wish you knew all the crazy grief reactions that I am having are in fact very normal. Depression, anger, frustration and hopelessness and the questioning of values and beliefs are to be expected following a death.

I wish you wouldn't expect my grief to be over in six months. The first few years are going to be exceedingly traumatic for us. As with alcoholics I will never be 'cured' or a 'formerly bereaved', but forever 'recovering' from my bereavement.

I wish you understood the physical reaction to grief. I may gain weight or lose weight, sleep all the time or not at all, develop a lot of illness and be accident prone, all of which are related to my grief.

Our loved one's birthday, the anniversary of his death and the holidays are terrible times for us. I wish you could tell me that you are thinking about them on these days and if we get quiet and withdrawn, just know that we are thinking about them and don't try to coerce us into being cheerful.

I wish you wouldn't offer to take me out for a drink, or to a party. This is just a temporary crutch and the only way I can get through this grief is to experience it. I have to hurt before I can heal.

I wish you understood that grief changes people. I am not the same person I was before my loved one died and I never will be that person again. If you keep waiting for me to get back to 'my old self', you will stay frustrated. I am a new creature with new thoughts, dreams, aspirations, values and beliefs. Please try to get to know the new me: maybe you will still like me.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Day 50

It hurts so bad.

I want my old life back.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Day 49

Save A Place For Me
by Matthew West

Don't be mad
If I cry
It just hurts so bad, sometimes
'Cause everyday, it's sinking in
And I have to say goodbye all over again

You know I bet it feels good to have the weight of this world off your shoulders now
I'm dreaming of the day when I'm finally here with you

Save a place for me
Save a place for me
I'll be there soon
I'll be there soon
Save a place for me
Save some grace for me
I'll be there soon
I'll be there soon

I have asked the questions why
But I guess the answers for another time
So instead I pray, with every tear
And be thankful for the time I had you here

I wanna live my life Just like you did
Make the most of my time Just like you did
And I want to make my home up in the sky Just like you did
Oh, but until I get there...
Until I get there...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Day 48

When Zavier was here, I would take him with me into his closet to pick out his outfit for the day. There is a lamp in his room near the closet door. I would go on to 'teach' him how to turn the lamp on. It is a touch lamp, so I would grab his little hand, touch his hand to the lamp and tell him that was all he had to do and the lamp would turn on.

On Sunday night, I went into Zavier's room and turned on his nightlight. I walked by his room again at about 11:30 pm when I double-check that the doors to the house are locked. I made certain that the night light was on.

On Monday morning, I walked into his room to turn the nightlight off and found the lamp brightly lit. After checking with Felix and Juls, I am confident that neither of them turned the lamp on...

Day 47

Everywhere I look there are babies. It's as if I have never seen so many babies. Babies everywhere. And it hurts.

I want it all to go away. I want it to be over.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 46

We went to Bo's Place today. I am hopeful. I think it is a good place for Juliana. For all of us, maybe.

My biggest responsibility in this life is to protect my kids. It seems I have failed my son. I can not fail my daughter.

Day 45

Tonight I fell asleep in my daughter's room as I lay holding her while she cried herself to sleep. It tore me up how little I could do to comfort her. She wants her brother back and I can do nothing to bring him to her.

It isn't fair. My son is gone and now I must watch my family attempt to navigate through this world of hurt. I want to fix it. I want to help. I want to take away their pain. Today is Felix's birthday and he wanted only for us to be happy today. We had a good evening.

Then we came home to our neverending reality.  I know we will all be ok, but none of us will ever be the same. Our home, our family... will never be the same.   

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Day 44

It is so hard to be three when we should be four...

Tomorrow is my husband's birthday and it breaks my heart that we will be unable to celebrate it with our son.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Day 43

Jesus, hold me now

I need to feel You in this place
To know You’re by my side
And hear Your voice tonight
Jesus, hold me now
I long for Your embrace
I’m beat and broken down
I can’t find my way out
Jesus, hold me now

Jesus Hold Me Now - Casting Crowns

Friday, February 19, 2010

Day 42

Several weeks ago, I dreamt that my son had been sent to us to teach us how to pray.

Up until now, I suspect I've always been a bit afraid of praying. I was afraid to pray for help that wouldn't come. I was afraid to pray and be left disappointed and disillusioned.

I am slowly, almost painstakingly, learning to pray how I should live, by faith. 

I will live by faith when my reality can not carry me.

I will pray as I once dreamt my son was sent here to teach us.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day 41

I am constantly reminded that tomorrow does not always come.

As I type with tears streaming down my face, I struggle against the words I feel compelled to write. I'm afraid that the words of pain, sorrow, anger and despair are becoming a habit and in a strange way a bit comforting as it is becoming what I know.

The thoughts and words I seek, of hope and faith, do not come easily in this moment. So, I will pray. Not my short, generic prayer that has become all too common place in recent weeks. I will make a conscious effort to pray from the very depths of my heart and soul. I will give thanks and I will ask for...grace.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 40

Still searching for answers...maybe I'll always be searching for answers.

Lent begins today, 40 days until Easter. It has been 40 days since the death of my son. 40 days of pain, anger, hurt, and tears. And there will be another 40 days after that, then 40 more and 40 more for all the years to come. I am not blind to the kindness, selflessness and good I've seen in others during the past 40 days. I am eternally grateful to family and friends...both old and new friends alike.

But, my broken heart is still my broken heart. I am trying to put myself back together. One day I may be close to whole, but I will never be complete and the pieces will never fit quite right again, if they ever did. I will remain forever bruised, battered and scarred. It is a most significant part of who I am becoming.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Day 39

Maybe...just Maybe...things will get better...still so hard to tell...

What I do know is that,

Every morning I wake up...I am one day closer to my baby : )

Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 38

My son would have been 5 months old today. I can't stop getting those emails that say "Felix Zavier is 5 months old this week". I guess if I tried hard enough I could figure out how to unsubscribe. The truth is, I am not ready. I want to know what he should be doing right now. I am as obessesed with it now as I was when he was here. It breaks my heart and yet I want to know. Maybe I will always want to know.

Do I think that God took my son to teach us a lesson? No, but I have to believe there are lessons to be learned. A lifetime of lessons.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Day 37

Happy Valentine's Day? Will there ever be another Happy holiday? I never thought holidays would include trips to the cemetary. And now, in all honesty, I can't imagine a holiday without a trip to the cemetary. I like to think Zavi sees us getting balloons ready for him and setting them free to be carried by the breeze high into the sky.

I guess this is part the of the dreaded 'new normal'. It did not escape me that the cemetary was actually quite beautiful today. It is still hard to go to the cemetary and yet it is difficult to leave. I know Zavi is not really there and more likely he is where we are, goes where we go.

I will not let Zavier go, but I will learn to live with him in Heaven. And try to make my peace with that. I don't think he can ever be really gone to me. I just have to learn how to live with him in a different existence.

Felix and I worked a little today on the big quilt. It should be completely done tomorrow. We are finishing up the binding here at home. So far so good.  

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Day 36

Juls won 2nd place at the Bulldog Races this year. We are very proud of her. Last year Felix had to work and was not able to see the race. This year he was there cheering her on. Felix is taking such good care of us. I love him more than I ever have.

Sometimes I want to be left alone to be sad and cry when I know the rest of the world is still hustling and bustling. I feel the need to be still and not move. Sometimes I feel the reality of the nightmare is still sinking in.

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. I am missing Zavi more than ever. I still feel that I am moving way too slow to keep up with the world around me. My thoughts are scattered and I don't feel 'together'. I don't feel quite capable.  I'm slowly beginning to realize that there will always be days on the calendar that will be harder than all the rest. As the days go by, there has not been one moment that I don't feel that constant ache in my heart. There is always the feeling that something is missing.

A friend sent me the poem that follows. I thank God that my son and I are forever connected.

The Cord

We are connected,
My child and I, by
An invisible cord
Not seen by the eye.

It's not like the cord
That connects us 'til birth
This cord can't been seen
By any on Earth.

This cord does it's work
Right from the start.
It binds us together
Attached to my heart.

I know that it's there
Though no one can see
The invisible cord
From my child to me.

The strength of this cord
Is hard to describe.
It can't be destroyed
It can't be denied.

It's stronger than any cord
Man could create
It withstands the test
Can hold any weight.

And though you are gone,
Though you're not here with me,
The cord is still there
But no one can see.

It pulls at my heart
I am bruised...I am sore,
But this cord is my lifeline
As never before.

I am thankful that God
Connects us this way
A mother and child
Death can't take it away!

Author Unknown

Friday, February 12, 2010

Day 35

Tomorrow is Juls' big race. She ran this race last year and won 2nd place. I can't help but remember that last year at the race I was pregnant. Now, one short year later.  My baby has come and gone. I can't understand how it is possible to have been so happy and so extremely sad in such a short period of time.I brought my son home and, too quickly, had to send him home to Jesus. In all my dreams for my son, I never dreamt I would see him buried.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Day 34

I have a daily quote application on my iPod. This is the quote from a few days ago.

What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be not forever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flowers;
Grief not, rather find, Strength in what remains behind,
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be,
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of Human suffering,
In the faith that looks through death
In years that bring philophic mind.

By William Wordsworth

My brother is here. My parents will be here tomorrow. Juliana's competing in the 2nd Annual Bulldog Race on Saturday. On Sunday we are planning a picnic at the cemetary. We will take balloons and fresh flowers to Zavier for Valentine's Day. I hope the weather improves. I made a few phone calls today to arrange for my family's participation in a support group. It was not easy but I am hopeful that it will prove to be a beneficial experience.

It is still cold and rainy outside and quite frankly that suits me just fine.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day 33

On Monday, I woke up and almost immediately realized the date was Feb. 8. Exactly one month. I got dressed, dropped off Juls and went to work. I cried as I listened to Zavier's CD during my commute. I wasn't worried. This has become something of a daily ritual. It is usually over by the time I get to work anyway. That Monday morning I just couldn't shake it. I couldn't listen to anyone ask me if I was ok without battling the tears that constantly threaten to come. I couldn't stay. I left and haven't been back. Truth be told, I am afraid to go back. It is unlike me to be so out of control of my emotions.

It seems I'm afraid of so many things these days. I am so disappointed in myself. I am supposed to be stronger than this. I have never in my life been so unable to keep up. Never has everything seemed so out of my control. I don't know how to fix it.

One day at a time is the best I can do...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Day 32

One day I will allow myself to feel without barriers, without crutches to prop me up, without these walls it seems have been built in preparation for this very moment. One day the relentless waves of sorrow and grief will come crashing down despite it all.  But right now I will sew. I will quilt and sew in my feeble attempt to withstand the pain. Right now I am too afraid.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Day 31

Pretending is exhausting...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Day 30

I hate that babies die. Not just my baby. Babies.

At the cemetary yesterday...two new babies.

Tomorrow will be one month since I was forced to do the unthinkable, to bury my son. My baby boy. A part of my heart and soul is gone. Gone with Zavier. My new normal seems to have begun and everyday I despise this unavoidable new normal. I do not want it. It is not welcome and I will not embrace it. I can barely accept it.

I once lived in a world with a baby, bottles, diapers, blankies and baths at the kitchen sink. Now my days are filled with...I'm not even sure what. But, my world now includes never ending days, restless nights and trips to the cemetary.

At this time last month we found out we were pregnant. The months couldn't pass fast enough. We were so eager to meet our baby. It seems now that the almost 4 months he was here flew by, entirely too quickly. One short year later, our boy has come and gone. It seems almost impossible, but it's real. I have to remind myself everyday that it is real. He was here and now he is gone.

I am almost desperate for my heart to catch up with the things my mind already knows.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Day 29

This morning I awoke to a house filled with suffocating silence. I lay there as usual dreading the long day ahead. Felix was already at work. I heard a TV turn on and slowly made my way to the living room to check on Juliana.

She was laying on the sofa with one of her baby brother's baby blankets and two pictures of him. I began to move the pictures so I could sit beside her. She quickly interupted me. She wanted me to leave the pictures alone. She was pretending her brother was there with her.

How do I not crumble? What do I say? What I want most is to pretend with her. I want to say, "Great idea. Let's do it. Let's forget for a while." Instead, I sit on the other side of her as she begins to cry. I feel her pain, I feel Felix's pain and then there is the world of hurt that is mine alone. How do I help them? I lack the knowledge, the understanding. I do not have the words that will make a difference.

I tell Juliana to go ahead and cry, that it is ok and I will cry with her.  After what seems like an eternity, we get up. We drive to the cemetary. This is the first time Juls goes with me since the day of the funeral. Our mood seems to improve during the drive. She claims to like it there. She draws, with her finger, in the sand on our baby's spot. 'I love you' she writes.

She is reluctant to leave. She seems peaceful. She talks about taking balloons and gifts to Zavier for Valentine's Day. As we walk to the Jeep, she whispers to her brother that we will be back soon. I gently remind her that Zavier will not stay at the cemetary. We are his family. We are a part of his home. Where we go, he goes. Forever a family. Always Zavier.  

Friday, February 5, 2010

Day 28

4 weeks. It has been a long difficult week. I sincerely thank God for the absolutely awesome people he continues to put in my path. The journey continues to scare, confound and amaze me.

As if to prove my point, when I stopped to check the mail after work, I found an article from a prison newspaper sent to me by one of the awesome people in my life. It was the most perfect end to the insanity of my week. I can't imagine how this must sound, but I honestly feel this message may have been from God himself. 

A Baby Asked God
Submitted by Arturo Salazar
            Rudd Unit

A baby asked God: I heard that you are going to send me down to earth.

God answered: Yes, I'm sending you to your new home and you will live there 'til it's time for you to come back.

The baby asked God: But why, if here I don't do anything else but sing songs and be happy?

God answered: In your new home, you will have a family, and you will also sing songs and be happy, and you will be loved.

The baby asked God: But who will take care of me?

God answered: Your angels will be waiting for you. Your angels will take care of you and will also protect you, even with their own lives.

The baby asked: But how would I talk to my angels if I don't speak their language?

God answered: Your angels will teach you how to talk and will also tell you the sweetest things you have ever heard.

The baby asked: But who will play with me?

God answered: Your angels will play with you and will also teach you how to do different things.

The baby asked: But how would I talk to you if I I won't see you anymore?

God answered: Your angels will teach you how to talk to me and put your hands together and pray, and I will always hear you.

The baby asked: God, before you send me down to earth, can you please tell me the name of my angels?

God answered with happiness: You would just sincerely call them, Mom and Dad.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fear-------Casting Crowns

Oh, what I would do
To have the kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realms of the unknown
Where Jesus is,
And he's holding out his hand

But the waves are calling out my name
and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
time and time again
"Boy, you'll never win,
you'll never win,
you'll never win."

Oh, what I would do
to have the kind of strength it takes
To stand before a giant
with just a sling and stone
Surrounded by the sound
of a thousand warriors
shaking in their armour
Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand

But the giant's calling out my name
And he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
time and time again
"Boy you'll never win,
you'll never win,
you'll never win."

But the stone was just the right size
to take the giant down
And the waves don't seem so high
when I'm standing on top of them looking down
And I'd soar with the wings of eagles
if I could just ignore the sound
Of the waves and the giants,
the waves and the giants in my mind

Lord, you've not given me a spirit of fear
But of power and of love,
and of a sound mind
So from now on,
I won't let the tempter's lies
turn my eyes away from the prize

That you have set before me.
That you have set before me.

Day 27

Today I pulled into a gas station with my Jeep on empty. I was quickly informed that there was no gas available. I could not help but notice a shiny, black hearse at one of the gas pumps. I'm no longer shocked by these 'coincidences'. Is that God? Maybe...Maybe not. It's clearly been a bad week. I'm sure by now it must be pretty clear the kinds of crazy things that were running madly through my head. I won't even attempt to comment further.

Psalm 13

O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever?
How long will you look the other way?
How long must I struggle with anguish
in my soul,
with sorrow in my heart every day?
How long will my enemy have the upper hand?

Turn and answer me, O Lord my God!
Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or
I will die.
Don't let my enemies gloat, saying "We have
defeated him!"
Don't let them rejoice at my downfall.

But I trust in your unfailing love.
I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
I will sing to the Lord
because he is good to me.

It is very much like I am still trying to catch up with my life. As soon as it seems I am making progess, it all falls apart.

The good news....I still believe.  My faith will not be so easily shattered. I find myself going back to my Day 23 often. I feel the need to read what it is that I believe. I do still believe. My faith will not be destroyed.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Day 26

I don't know where to start. I will keep it short tonight. I'm literally exhausted. Again.

After much debate with myself, I went to class. I dreaded introducing myself. I heard everyone else say a little something about themselves and naturally, a little something about their children. With my heart pounding and legs shaking, so did I.

I got home and began to finish up some school work. After about 5 minutes, we hear a loud boom and all the lights went out. In the words of Bon Jovi....Hey God, Tell me what the hell is going on!!!!!!!!! Give me a flippin' break. I didn't get a miracle, but don't I at least deserve a break for my effort, for not going insane.

I said all of that out loud to Felix. I regret it. He agreed with me. He ranted and raved with me. We have never, both, been so dejected at the same time. It was scary. Usually, it's one of us at a time and the other is there to pick up the pieces.

I wouldn't have been able to sleep without posting my 'Day 26' so I'm at my sister's apt. trying to get as much done as I can.

To this point, possibly the best advice I've received is that maybe....I should stop trying...if only just for a short time. Maybe I should stop trying to be strong, understand, stay positive. Maybe I can just whatever it is I happen to feel like being. Be selfish...think only of myself and my hell. Not forever, but maybe for a day...or two.

Maybe then I can truly begin to move forward.

The question is: Do I have the courage?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Day 25

I'm getting so tired of this. And it has only been 25 days. I have sincerely been trying. Giving it my all and then some.

Today, I dropped Juliana off at RE (church). I decided to go to the gym for a quick 30 minute workout. I was on the treadmill. I glance up at the television. And the words seem to scream at me....Underestimating SIDS...That is the glaring headline on whatever newstation that happened to be on.

Are you kidding me? Is there not some evil cosmic force trying to crush me? Is that a sign? Is that a message for me? Is that what I'm guilty of?

I'm sorry. I am so sorry. I don't feel like I can do this.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Day 24

Father, Will you come and open up our eyes...

I want to understand, but maybe that is where I am going wrong. Maybe I need to give up trying to understand. Maybe having faith is being able to not always understand. Maybe it is trusting without knowing. Maybe it all goes back to believing.

Every morning when I wake up, I wonder if I should, wake up. Every morning my heart breaks. Every morning I remember what I will never forget. Every morning I swallow a cocktail of bittersweet emotions. Emotions brought on by memories, good and bad.

Every morning I consider taking the easy way out. For me, that would be closing my eyes, calling in to work, staying in bed, shutting out the world,  giving in to the darkkness that is constantly threatening to consume me. It seems it would be so easy to stay home and get lost in the memories, the hurt, the anger, the loneliness, the frustration, the confusion. Tempting.

Instead, I choose life. I choose to get up. I go into Zavier's room, turn off his nightlight, and warily peek into his crib.  I go into Juliana's room and wake her up. I reluctantly welcome the pain that is quickly becoming a familiar friend. I wouldn't dare wish the pain away. I want only to make peace with it. I will accept it and learn to live with it. It is now a part of who I am.

I go about my day as best I can. I am thankful for the people who say that I am so strong. I am thankful that the truth is not always so plainly visible. If only they knew...If only they could see...everything that is so wrong with me.

Nonetheless, I choose life. I choose to get up. I choose to believe.