I spent a lot of late nights last year looking for ‘others,’ other moms and dads that were in the same crappy situation as myself. I wanted to understand what we were in for, I wanted to understand how they handled it, I think that i just wanted to understand something.
I very quickly noticed a pattern in those that were further along, year two was harder. I started going to grief meetings and I was being told the same thing, watch out for year two. I couldn’t fathom it. How could it possibly be worse than those first few seconds after Benny was hit? How could it be worse than when we had to tell Darcy that her brother was dead? How could it be worse than it was holding him for the last time???
November 8th, 2014 came and went. We got away to the Cape, I couldn’t be in this house, where it happened. Against all odds, we had a very nice family vacation. We went to the beach and wrote Bennett’s name in the sand as the kids ran around, not fully comprehending what the adults were feeling. We visited the cemetery briefly as it was biting cold that morning and windy on top of the hill where he now lies. Several amazing people sent us beautiful tokens for Benny in the mail.
That weekend I felt contentment. The anxiety of the date came in advance and we dealt with it, but November 8th, 2014 wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I’m sure that the little guy in my belly is a huge part of that, the ability to look forward and hold onto some hope for my future family.
The other side of November 8th, 2014 has been different. It’s as if a line has been drawn in the sand and it’s now ‘time to move on.’ I couldn’t feel more different from that, but it’s the feeling that I get from others. All of a sudden I was expected to make decisions again and start moving forward.
People stopped talking about Benny, they had moved on. It was a subtle cue that I was to do the same. Yes, we still have an amazing support system, it had just gotten much smaller. People stopped asking how we were. The expectation was that we had moved forward, especially because of the new baby. For me, it felt like he foreshadowed Benny’s death, that now everything was OK, because we were having another boy. I don’t think anyone meant it to come off that way, it just has.
One of my close friends said it the best when she said to me that we had time off to grieve, we had therapists to talk to. They had to go back to work the next day, bring their kids to school and daycare, make dinner and lunches. They didn’t get the time to grieve that we did. They didn’t get the chance to wrap their heads around any of it, so they moved on, because that’s what they had to do to survive.
I can understand it, I truly can. I just don’t want to. I want the world to stop turning for everyone else, because it did for us. If that’s selfish of me, so be it. I still cannot give a free pass to those that have disappeared or expected us to move on. A year is not long enough to grieve a child, period.
After a year of shock and numbness, you awaken to see that everyone expects you pick up and move on. They want you back the way you were, which will never truly happen. You all of a sudden have to make some large, life changing decisions that you have been avoiding over the past year. The biggest decision, is who are you going to be now, how will this child’s death affect your life? How on Earth are you supposed to move forward? And how do you do it when you feel like the world is judging you for still grieving the child that you’ve lost?
Yeah, maybe year two is harder.