I haven’t written a lot. I’ve been in a weird place. Things have happened that I’m not ready to talk about yet. Let’s just say that I’m done with the Universe…for the moment. We’re no longer friends.
But I digress, because today is a good day.
We have been blown away by the continued love and support of our friends and family. They have grieved alongside us and helped us to heal. They are missing Bennett as much as we are, yet they have continued to put us first. These people show up, hold our hands and hearts as we continue to muddle through this year. There has been so much love.
Today my heart is so filled with the love of people that were mere strangers before November 8th last year. These people stepped forward and made it their mission to put a smile back on our faces. They donated their time and resources to make our lives better in whatever way they could. We’re overwhelmed by their love.
Today is a good one, in a sea of loss. Today I am able to look at our lives and appreciate all that we have and smile. Thank you for that, all of you that made today possible.
Every word is spot on. The only thing worse than losing Benny was watching Darcy lose Benny. We were blessed with amazing resources for Darcy right after he passed. We were so lucky to find Darcy’s therapist. There’s nothing like hearing that we have ‘a well adjusted child that is blossoming.’
At first Darcy was closed off emotionally. She wouldn’t talk aboit her brother, it made her too sad. She had started having awful night terrors again and began acting out and throwing tantrums. She didn’t know how to deal with her grief. Some 10 months later she and I are scrapbooking a ‘Benny Book.’ She sleeps with her ‘Benny Dog’ and we will start going through his room so that she can take some of his toys. She’s invited his memories back into her life. I’m so proud of my doodle bug!
Dr. Donna Schuurman is the Executive Director of The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families in Portland, Oregon, and an internationally recognized authority on grief and bereaved children, teens, and families.
Attending the 5th Annual Grief Education Conference this week in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I hear her speak on the topic: “Fostering Resilience in the Aftermath of Community Trauma and Loss.”
She is a gifted speaker, sharing not only her professional stories of working around the world with children after unimaginable losses, but her personal stories as well.
I want to focus on one of the most important topics that she discussed, the “Needs of Grieving Children.” As she speaks I find myself questioning whether my interventions with my child were right after the death of his father.
Grieving children need good modeling – if you are crying, tell them why, say you are sad without trying to cover…
For the past 2 years we’ve had an open house at Parker’s shop. It’s been a day of food, fun and well, cars. It’s hard to think that Benny won’t be with us this year dragging his blanky all around the pavement, or walking up and shaking hands with our guests. I miss that personality of his.
In Benny’s memory, this year we have added a ‘cruise’ to the Open House. Benny loved being at Parker’s shop and just being around the cars. He would try to grab keys and would stand outside of the cars impatiently saying ‘open’ so that I would open the door and let him get behind the wheel. Even at 17 months, he was a gearhead.
We will be cruising through Historic Holden and Princeton, enjoying the mountains, farmland and architecture. This is an homage to our little man, who would have liked nothing other than to be there with us on this journey.
100% of the proceeds of this event will go back to the Greg Hill Foundation, who supported us when we needed it most. Landmark Article
We went to our first wedding since the accident in August. Weddings in general make me emotional, I’m a happy cryer. You get to witness two people pledging their life and love for one another surrounded by the support of friends and family, it doesn’t get much better.
It was a close friend’s wedding, Parker was the best man and I was doing the reading during the ceremony, so unfortunately I had to hold it together. It had been so long since I had felt so much love and happiness that I had forgotten what it felt like. It seemed like the perfect day.
Then it happened. I didn’t see it coming and I was completely taken aback, I felt as if someone had slapped me in the face. They did the mother son dance to ‘Simple Man.’ I tried very hard to hold it together, but I had to walk out of the reception. I tried to go to the bathroom to breathe, but ended up outside on a park bench sobbing. I don’t think that I’ve heard that song since the accident. It was heartbreaking. Here I was facing everything that I lost. Thank goodness for good friends that come find you when you fall apart on park benches and cry with you.
I try very hard not to dwell on what never will be. I’m afraid that if I do it will destroy me. I already feel that I’ve been robbed of my graduation, wedding, birth of my children without my mom. Rationally I know that Bennett will never grow up, but until that moment I hadn’t thought about the fact that he will never get married, he’ll never know that happiness. I’ll never get that mother son dance. Pieces of a life never lived.
I don’t really know what to say. I cannot believe that it’s been 10 months. 10 months since I held him. 10 months since I kissed him. 10 months since I breathed in his little boy smell. 10 months since I’ve seen his smile. 10 months since I laughed at his antics. 10 months since I shook my head and secretly smiled when he was misbehaving. 10 months.
I have a lot of anger. I’m not really sure what or who I’m angry at, but I’m angry all the same. I’m angry that we have to live in a world without my son. I’m angry that Darcy doesn’t have a sibling. I’m angry that people have disappointed me. I’m angry that time keeps marching by, yet I’m still stuck here. I’m not sure where ‘here’ is though, some place between the past and the future. I couldn’t really call it the ‘present’ because I don’t always feel like I’m here. I just exist.
My therapist thinks I’m using my anger so that I don’t have to deal. I would agree. Being angry is so much easier though! It’s easier to write people off rather than deal with the fact that they have disappointed you. I enjoy how freeing it feels to have a good rant and let it all out. It keeps people away and leaves me less vulnerable. They can’t hurt me as much from farther away. I want to go back to my bubble, where there was never any judgment, just acceptance and support.
I don’t know where to go from here. The common theme seems to be that this is about everyone else and at some point it has to be about me. I have to own my emotions, no matter how awful they feel. I have to stop turning away from the hurt. I have to try to be me, but not the old me, that person no longer exists.
I think back to where we were a year ago and I have no idea how we got here. Sometimes it feels like I’m living someone else’s life. This wasn’t supposed to happen! We’re not supposed to be here! I want to yell this, but there’s no one to yell at. My wise friend Sue said it best the other day when she said that it’s amazing at how little control we have. Just one little thing can set something in motion that you can’t undo.
So here I am, scared to move forward and scared not to. Terrified of feeling empty. I miss my son.
I’m a member of the club that no parent wants to be a part of. I have a tattoo of hurt branded on my heart. I have experienced a loss that no one can understand, unless they have lived it.
This club unfortunately has several members, too many. So many of them have become a part of our lives. They have reached out to us and showed us more kindness and love, and they were mere strangers 10 months before. Thank you all for welcoming us with open arms. Thank you for standing by us when others could not. Thank you for always being there.
During the worst time in our lives, we’re lucky. Lucky to have these amazing people to stand beside us. I wish that none of us had to be in the club. I wish that we didn’t have to meet each other this way. I wish a lot of things.