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.
9 thoughts on “My Thoughts on Year Two”
I think that what happens is that Benny’s accident is hands down, the most unimaginable thing that could happen to a person/family. People tend to think that if they can avoid thinking about it, than the unimaginable can’t happen to them too. They push it out of their daily lives as soon as humanly possible but when they see you, you remind them that this happened, can happen and did happen. That’s on them. I didn’t even know Benny and I have moments all the time when my son giggles or cries or something, where the loss I feel for you takes my breath away. To be his mother? Forget it. There would never be a time, not ever. I would be a pile of grief for the rest of my life and so would every single person who expects anything more from you. Having any sort of expectation that you should start “moving on” in your life, or getting passed it, is almost as unfathomable as the accident itself. In my opinion, this kind of expectation is just so that they themselves don’t have to think about it anymore. The pain of even the thought of it is too much for some people so they project that onto you- the person who’s actually living through their worst nightmare. It’s a self preservation technique that is super sh*tty to the people who don’t have the option to self preserve anymore, whose sense of self is vacant. People just want to rush you through it so that they don’t have to feel sorrow anymore. If you’re “okay” then they can be okay. It’s selfish, but it’s all too common. I’m sorry that this is the phase you are stepping into now. :(. I am so beyond elated for your family though that you have hope once again with your new baby on the way but one does not subtract from the other any more than a new sibling in any family erases an existing member of the family. Benny was, is and always will be your family.
I love the line, “One does not subtract from the other any more than a new sibling in any family erases an existing member of the family.” Very well said!
I have friends that have said the same thing. The dad would post about the unexpected hardships of year two (as opposed to the “expected” grief of the first year, the firsts, the support, the understanding). I think like Katie said, for those of us who are following your journey and still thinking about you and your family, especially those of us with children close to Benny’s age, his death and your grief are still very much a reality for us and we will never forget you guys. I have actually felt a deep yearning for your son FOR you, if that makes sense, just recently. And sadly, there are people in my life (no one you know!) who have told me that I need to “move on” from “it.” Humans are funny that way. We are all one big happy group until someone disrupts it and makes things a little uncomfortable, right?
I get people wanting to stay positive and only talk about safe topics, but it gets old. It doesn’t change anything for us. The people that continue to seek us out, ask how we are, are there to talk and constantly call/email/text are simply amazing (yourself included). I think that you’re right, people are uncomfortable with grief (more like uncomfortable with grief going into the second year). Everyone wants to be there in the beginning to help and then they start disappearing as it becomes too hard to be a part of the process. I honestly think that is what makes year 2 so hard, the lack of support. We’re thankful for everyone that HAS stuck around though. It’s a fine line.
yeah… it’s like, year two is telling you point blank that this won’t end. I’m sure things change as the years go by, you cope differently, but he’s still gone. Some people I guess can’t handle that. It’s definitely not an excuse, you guys didn’t choose to have to ‘handle’ this either! I think I can thank my mom for teaching me that life isn’t easy and all we can do is be there for each other in the hard times and be there to celebrate the good times. We should all be there for both whenever we can!
Yes, Tara explains it perfectly for those of us who have been following you through this. Like she said, especially with our children being the same age, the yearning feeling for you to touch your son’s little nose, his cheeks, his hair- it is SO strong. At times, crushing. Regardless of the fact that it has been over a year. I have also had people close to me say similar things to me that they have said to Tara and I find it really sad. We won’t ever forget Benny or you guys. Something makes me think of him or you at least once a day, no matter how small that thing is. That’s just how it’s going be. I can’t fathom anyone ever expecting you, his MOTHER, to move on.. at any point. I pulled up next to a car yesterday in a parking lot that had a sticker on it that said “I’m the mother of an angel who’s in heaven”. I realized that she was in there somewhere, walking around that store- in pain. I felt sad that she needed a sticker to remind people that her pain is still there. She could have been one year out, two years, three years or thirty. She shouldn’t need a bumper sticker for people to understand that- and neither should you.
Oh my, how sad! I love the bumper sticker analogy, thanks!
I so remember year two being monumental and having so many of the same thoughts. I wrote a post about something similar http://wp.me/p3lVEh-8K talking about who is left in your address book after a loss. I think it is primarily worse because we are less numb, reality is now real and we know without the protection cocoon of shock that they are not coming back, this is not a bad dream!
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