CYG 2017

So clearly I’m not going to hit every day of this exercise and that’s ok.  It’s all about self love and healing and I’m not going to muck that up by stressing myself out.  Sometimes all I can do is my best and I’m learning that that’s ok.

CYG Day 4: Belonging

I could write a novel about this topic, how it has felt to find ‘my tribe’.  I’m lucky in that I have taken some of my closest friends with me into this new normal.  It made the transition much easier.  Did we lose friends, yes.  It’s taken me a long time to make my peace with that.  It’s easier because of all of the new people that have stood by us.  Most of them never even knew Benny, but they have seen us at our worst and helped us through.  These people amaze me.  Where others would have turned and run, they have stepped up. They have allowed me to be unapologetically who I am.

I think of all of the other bereaved families that we have met.  The tribe not one of us wants to be in.  The amount of love and support from these people has helped tremendously.

CYG Day 5: Soul Therapy

I’m supposed to do something today that makes me feel good, that feeds my soul.  So I went for a walk with a friend and then snuggled my baby for a nap.  It was a great day!

CYG Day 7: For the First Time

Today was supposed to be about doing something new to honor your child.  I’m still thinking on this one.

CYG Day 9: Clear and Let Go

This topic couldn’t be more fitting right now.  I feel like since we made the decision to move, we have been clearing out a lot of the useless ‘stuff’ in our lives.  We got rid of so much stuff, but we still have a ways to go.  It’s truly eye opening when you take your whole life and pack it up.  Ours fit in a 10×20 storage unit, 2-10×15 units, a 24′ car trailer and some various outdoor items tucked at friends houses here and there.  We do not need so much stuff!  I have made it my mission to get rid of more.  Even though we are moving to a larger home, that does not mean we need more stuff.  It just overwhelms me at this point.  And I thought we had it under control!

 

 

 

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Capture Your Grief 2017

I did this project a few years back and really enjoyed it.  Because it’s been such a crazy few months, I thought it would do me good to jump back into this again.  The project can be found Here in case anyone else wants to join in.

CYG – Day 1: Sunrise Blessing

Ok, so I see the sunrise, alot.  It’s usually in the company of a beautiful little lady.  She typically wakes around 4 AM for a snack and then we snuggle and snooze until the rest of the house wakes up.  This is probably my favorite part of the day.  I get to wrap my arms around her warm little body and breathe in that sweet baby smell.  20171003_220810There is no better way to start my day.  All too soon she will be too old to do this with, but I will enjoy it now.

CYG – Day 2: Rise + Shine Mourning Ritual

Today I was supposed to set an intention for the day.  How I wanted it to be.  I didn’t start out my day with this goal in mind, but I certainly ended it that way.  Things have been super stressful.  Today I took the time out to stop.  I actually relaxed.  After I stopped feeling guilty about it, I was able to take a step back and realize it’s time to get back to basics.  I need to get back to yoga.  I need to get out and go for a walk to clear my head.  I need to enjoy the company of great friends.  My husband and I need to take time out for our marriage to catch our breath.  These things need to become priorities.  I need to sit down every once in awhile and check in with myself to see what I need instead of just going, going, going.  I need to give myself a break every now and then.

CYG – Day 3: Meaningful Mantra

This is one of my favorite quotes that I found after Benny died.

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Life Can Still Suck

For weeks now, things have been going wrong.  Ok, that’s an understatement.  They’ve been going terribly wrong.  I cannot begin to explain the amount of stress happening in our lives right now, both personally and professionally.  I just want to scream ‘Uncle!’ so that I can maybe get a break already.

I won’t bore you with the details but it has to do with moving, taking over another business and having a baby all within the last month.  The easiest part of all has been the baby, believe it or not.  She is the calm in the midst of our storm.

My husband and I want to kill each other all of the time because, well, stress.  The kids are dealing with a new sibling and a move gone so wrong and all of the uncertainty of our lives right now.  There has been a lot of crying and acting out and not just from the kiddos. We’re all just a little maxed out over here.

But every time someone asks how we are, or says they don’t know how we’re doing it, I put on my brave face, shrug my shoulders and say, ‘we’ve been through worse’. It’s true.  We have.  There’s not much worse than losing a child and all of the hopes and dreams that go along with their future.

It’s given us perspective on how bad things can get and how quickly they can go wrong.  I always remind myself when I start to freak out that it isn’t as bad as losing our son.  I punish myself, feel guilty for getting frustrated or upset at the way life is going.  It could always be worse.

I need to stop this.  I’m being unfair to myself and my emotions.  Yes, in all reality things could be worse than they are now for us.  But that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t allow myself to be pissed off or upset when things go wrong.  I need to stop the comparison and just dive in and own what I feel.

I need to stop feeling guilty about being sad or upset if something goes wrong.  Life, outside of grief, can still suck!  It’s ok to feel that way. Guilt be damned!

Today I realized how true this is and I’m done.  I want to scream out loud that it’s ok for me to admit that it sucks right now.  I want to own it and cry and yell until I have it out of my system.  Until I feel ok about it.  Until the guilt is gone.  Until I allow myself to be able to feel emotions outside of my grief and realize that that too is ok.  That it’s part of my path.  I have to stop letting the grief define me and instead begin to define the grief.

Just Moving.

Thirteen years ago Parker and I set out to purchase our first house.  We were 24 years old and living in our first apartment together.  I had some money left to me from my mom and it was fairly easy to get a mortgage back then.

We started looking about 30 miles west of Boston, but there was little in our price range.  We knew that we could handle a fixer upper and looked forward to getting our hands dirty.  Because the market was crazy at this point, we ended up looking in Worcester.  It was much farther west than we wanted, but it was what we could afford.

I remember pulling into the driveway of 72 for the first time.  We got out of the car and walked through the jungle of the back yard and I knew.  This was it.  It was exactly what we wanted.  We went inside and took in the wood paneling, shag carpeting and green metal cabinets.  Looking back, I’m overwhelmed at the amount of work we took on with this house.  But over the last 13 years we made her ours.

At first it was Parker, myself and our crazy pack of cats and dogs.  We celebrated Christmas’, birthdays and hosted numerous parties.  Parker proposed to me in that house after we lived there for a year and a half.  We had our wedding rehearsal on our front lawn.  It’s where we began our marriage and started planning our future.

We found out we were expecting our first child within those walls.  I had so much fun setting up a nursery and spent a year painting a barnyard mural.  Teriffied as all new parents are, we brought home a little baby girl.  She got to spend 8 years growing up in that house and playing in that yard.  She learned to walk on the hardwood floors in our living room and spent numerous Halloween’s trick or treating around our neighborhood.

Once you have kids is when you really begin to meet your neighbors.  We were lucky to have some kids move in over the years and be able to form a close knit community.  Some of these people have become our closest friends.

Because our daughter needed a sibling, we had a son.  Suddenly we were busting at the seams, but in a good way.  There was so much laughter and love.  Such noise and chaos that can only come from 2 kids, 2 dogs and a cat.  Life was good.

When my son died right outside that very house, I thought that our world was over.  I could not imagine how we could move forward.  At the hospital, my sister asked me if we wanted to go home or would we rather stay at a hotel.  I paused for a moment, but decided I wanted to be home and sleep in my own bed.  I didn’t know it at the time, but I was making a very monumental decision.

That aside, our community came together to take care of us in numerous ways.  These amazing people that were our neighbors took care of us and held our hands during the hardest time in our lives.  We were so lucky to have this support system.  These people took care of us and showed us so much love.  It helped us to be able to grieve.

Over the course of the next year I struggled with our home, the driveway mostly.  I refused to step foot where the accident had happened.  I closed the door to my son’s room and didn’t go near it for a good 3 months.  His toys were still all over the house and the baby gates were a constant reminder of what was missing.  It was awful.  But it was still my home.

Even after all that had happened, it was still my safe place, my bubble if you will.  After the accident, I was teriffied of going out, being anywhere where ‘something’ could happen.  I mean if an accident can occur right outside your home, then surely much worse can happen out and about.  I felt safest in that house.

Over time, I slowly put my son’s stuff away.  The baby gates disappeared.  Toys went into his closed up room.  We remodeled some of the house and these projects got me excited about the house again.  They gave me something to focus on, something to change.

We began to heal in that house.  It didn’t happen overnight, but slowly over time.  Like a catepillar in a cocoon working towards becoming something beautiful.  Let me tell you, it was a lot of work and a lot of therapy.

A year after the accident we decided we were ready to try again.  We were willing to give the Universe another shot and give our hearts again.  I miscarried in that house.  I think I was more angry than sad at that point.  I was so pissed that we could lose something more.  At that point I wasn’t scared, I was damn determined that we get another shot at love.

We brought Fletcher home to that house nearly 9 months later.  It was hard having another boy, especially one that looked so much like his brother.  We struggled.  I had no choice but to accept the driveway as it was because this little boy had to be carried to and from the house in his carseat safely.

Eventually we made the decision to move Fletcher into what was his brothers room.  It sucked at first.  I rocked him in the same chair where I last sat with his brother, looking at an almost identical face.  I added Fletch’s name to the wall, right below his brothers.  It was as if they were sharing a room.  In some ways that was true as all of Benny’s clothes were still in the dresser, same as the day he died.

We raised another boy in that house for 2 years.  We held our breath until he was older than his brother had been when he passed.  I panicked over every sickness and accident and would google myself into a frenzy.  We spent 15 months of sleepless nights with that little guy as he settled in.  Those walls somehow held me together.

When we found out we were expecting again, we knew our days in this house were numbered.  We were crammed in there and had eeked out every available square foot of living space.  We hemmed and hawed.  We loved this house, but it was time to go.

I was ok with the idea as an abstract.  Maybe it wouldn’t sell.  Then we’d be stuck and have to make it work.  Well it sold, and rather quickly.

Then I was excited.  We were moving!  A new house to decorate!  A fresh start.  Then it was ‘we’re moving forward?’, ‘moving on?’.  Nope.  Just ‘moving.’

Just moving.  Leaving our home behind.  Taking our kids out of their house.  Walking away from where we raised and lost our son.  I can honestly say that I haven’t cried this much since my son died.  And this was our decision!

I’ve had a few months to really think about this.  I am heartbroken to leave my house.  It is the longest I have ever lived anywhere and there are so many memories and so much of my life tied up into this one house.  Not one room has been left untouched, we have spent countless hours making that house into exactly what we wanted.  Our home.  I am absolutely devastated.  Just because we decided to leave doesn’t make this any easier.

This house is where Benny lived.  It’s where he took his first steps, said his first words.  It’s where he’s real to me, where he exists.  This is so hard to walk away from.

It’s also where he died.  It’s the last place that I held him.  It’s where our lives completely changed.  It’s taken me a very long time, but in this process of moving I’ve come to realize that I finally made my peace with it.  I feel ready to move because I’m ok with this house.

I cannot describe how freeing that feels to be able to say this.  I never imagined a time when I could feel this way about this house, I didn’t think it was possible.  Maybe it’s because we’ve redone the house since Benny’s passing, or because I’ve brought other babies home here.  Whatever it is, I’m so glad that I chose to come home the night of the accident.  It allowed me (forced me) to deal with the reality of everything.  It was a massive part ofy grieving process.  It’s just taken me a long time to figure that out.

Thirteen years almost to the day that we purchased our home we said good bye.  Someone else is living there now.  God, it pains me to say that.  I’m broken up even as I write this.

We said good bye to our house and our community and it is killing me.  I have brokenheartedly had to say good bye to some of the most loving people we have ever met.  Sure we’ll still see them, but I will miss being outside and waving and chatting with everyone.  It’s just not the same.  So much of what made our house a home were the people that lived around us and supported us.

We won’t go far, but it is so much further out of my comfort zone.  My bubble is gone for now.  It’s time to make a new one.

 

Back to School

We’ve been super busy.  New baby, moving, new business, stick a fork in me.  I’m just trying desperately to keep my head above water.

So feeding the little lady today I was on Facebook scrolling along.  Then I saw it.  The picture of the little boy Benny’s age with his big smile and first day of Kindergarten sign.  I completely missed that yesterday I should have been dropping off two children to their first day of school.

How has that much time passed already?  I remember thinking I wouldn’t make it through the day and now here we are nearly 4 years later.  Two more kiddos.  Darcy in fourth grade.  Life just moving along.

Another milestone over.  And I didn’t even realize it.  Sigh.  This doesn’t get any easier.  Just different.

Double Rainbow

After much angst and waiting, Perry Jane finally made her way into the world on 8/11.  Just another sign.  Benny passed on 11/8.  Also a Friday.  At about the same time she was born.  It feels like life is trying to give back sometimes.

I am amazed every time at the heart’s capacity to grow to love another child so instantly.  I am so head over heels for this little lady.

She is the opposite of Fletch.  She exudes peace and calm.  There is so much tranquility wrapped up in her little body.  Will she stay like this forever?  Probably not.  I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts.

I keep telling Parker that we have one that looks like Benny and now we have one that has his personality.  She reminds me so much of how Benny was as a baby.  He didn’t cry for 6 months, just made noises to let you know he needed something.  There was this amazing calmness about him.  He was the complete opposite of me and I loved it.

Another baby loss mama said to me once that I would get to enjoy this child.  That I needed Fletch, but that I would get to enjoy Perry.  There’s probably some truth to that, even though I hate to admit it.  Maybe it was because I was so busy this pregnancy, but I wasn’t as terrified.  I didn’t feel like I was waiting for something to go wrong as much as I did with Fletch.  I didn’t have as much anxiety.

That’s not to say that the next 18 months won’t teriffy me.  I’m sure it will be the same roller coaster that we were on with Fletch as we wait to pass the imaginary line when she will be older than her big brother.

He will always be a part of them.  I will likely spend the rest of my life looking for pieces of him in them.  It’s how he will live on for me.  It’s awful and amazing all at once.

Here we go again.  Hoping and trusting in the Universe.  Looking forward with open hearts while we remember the past.  Just doing our best.

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