Amazing, perfectly written, it’s like he’s in my head. Best piece on this I’ve read so far.
CYG – Day 22: Dreams + Rituals
Do I dream about Benny? It’s been awhile. I wish I could dream about him more often. He was the one that told us about Fletch. Both Parker and I had a Benny dream and knew instantly that we were pregnant and that it was a boy, before I ever took a pregnancy test.
I wish that I could hold him in my dreams. I would never want to wake up, but remain in dreamland, but that’s not reality.
For Benny’s birthday we gather at the cemetary to remember. We go for a walk around the neighborhood where he grew up and we release balloons. It’s turned into a day of celebration. We get to remember who he was and how many lives he touched in those hort 18 months.
The anniversary of his death is somewhat different. We head to the cemetary with Tara and Chris and the kids and then we head out of town. I cannot celebrate that day, nor do I want to remember it. I’d rather not be near the house either. It just feels better being somewhere else for a few days.
CYG – Day 20: Forgiveness + Humanity
My favorite part about the description for this topic is humanity. It’s the human aspect that I think we sometimes forget in our disappointment/anger in others. I will be the first to admit that I have very high expectations for those in my life, which might be why when they don’t act as I would expect, I have a very hard time dealing with it.
I also have a very short fuse and a very long memory. I can forgive, but it takes me a very long time to trust again. I always hope for the best in people, but expect the worst.
It’s very hard for me to move forward with people in my life that have wronged me because of how I grew up. My father is an alcoholic and I was left with him after my mom died when I was 16. He wasn’t a very nice alcoholic and was a disaster after my mom passed. Looking back, I realize how lucky he was that I was such a straightlaced teenager. I could have gotten away with so much and he would have had no clue. It was as if I lost both parents when my mom passed. He wasn’t there to care for me when I needed someone so desperately.
I think one of my largest lessons learned from my father is humanity. To look at him as an imperfect human. Is it ok that he fell apart? No. Will he have to answer to my mom some day? Absolutely. But he is who he is. I cannot change him. He’s an imperfect human in a really crappy situation.
I spent YEARS so angry with him. I still am, but it’s tempered down now. I don’t know that I’ve made my peace with it, more just that I’ve grown up a bit and am able to handle it better. Distance has probably helped as well.
I know my limits when it comes to him now. I’ve learned his limits as well. I suppose it’s all a part of growing as a person. This has taught me that sometimes it takes years to forgive someone and it’s a process. But that’s ok, every journey is different.
CYG – Day 19: Music
The night of the accident and several days following, I had 90’s rap music stuck in my head. I’m sure it was a PTSD side affect, but it was so bizarre that music (and not great music) was my crutch those first few days. This topic is probably one of my favorites because I share so many song lyrics and songs on my blog. I love how I can be listening to a song and singing along and suddenly I realize how poignant the lyrics are. Here’s a few of my favorites centered around Benny. They speak to me because of different reasons.
This was the first song that Benny sang (rather ironically). He and Darcy would sit in the backseat and sing the ‘Roar’ chorus.
This song is just so hauntingly beautiful. It was also used in the slideshow for Benny on Parkers website.
Amazing. I’ve loved this song forever, always thought of it as a lullabye until now.
An oldie but goodie. Benny will be forever young.
This song destroyed me last summer at a close friends wedding. He danced to it with his mother, which was a massive trigger for me.
CYG – Day 18: Seasons + Symbols
Autumn makes me think of Benny. It’s where I have my clearest memories of him and when he passed.
The strongest symbol for Benny is sunflowers. The reason is My Sunflower Story.
CYG – Day 17: Secondary Losses
Secondary losses are those that are felt after the loss of a loved one. Looking at this through the lense of someone nearly two years out, I cannot believe how much has changed in our lives. That day, that moment, those 6-9 seconds that now define our lives.
I’ve talked extensively about the relationships that are no more. There are people that just couldn’t be a part of our ‘after,’ our new reality. Losing our son was too real for them, like a disease they could catch. They were there for the services, said to call them if we needed anything and then just faded away slowly.
I used to love driving. I had an awful commute and spent hours in the car everyday, but I (disturbingly) loved it. Even though I was outside of the car when the accident occurred, driving reeks of responsibility. It also made me realize how unsafe cars are in general. Sure, I’ve been in several accidents before, mostly fender benders. I still won’t drive further than 30 miles or so. I now prefer being a passenger, which comes with it’s set of challenges for Parker as I constantly panic over his driving.
I’ve left my job. This was (mostly) my choice (see driving above). I couldn’t imagine being in the car again for hours on end. I couldn’t imagine seeing my clients again, most of whom I had known for years. I honestly couldn’t imagine the responsibility at first, the long hours, the focus needed to get stuff done. I wasn’t in the right mindset to handle my own projects, never mind someone else’s.
I lost the ability to answer questions about my children. The worst ones are ‘how many kids do you have?’ ‘what do you have, boys, girls?’ and ‘how old are they?’. Something so simple, gone.
I’ve lost my carefree child. Darcy was so young and innocent when Benny was taken from her. No four year old should ever have to endure what she has. She has no trust in the universe now either. Her innocence is gone. She’s scared if we’re late, thinks something has happened. She panics when anyone is sick, often asking if they can die from it. She often asks me how old I’ll be when I die. I can no longer promise her like I would that everything will be ok. She’s become incredibly sensitive and insecure. It is so painful to watch your living child grieve when there’s nothing you can do to fix it.
I loved my house. Sure, it was tight, but it was ours and we had done so much work over the years to make it ours. It was where we brought our babies home to from the hospital, where Parker proposed to me, where the kids grew up and made their first friends. Until recently, the driveway was off limits to me, I wouldn’t venture there. This proved troublesome because that’s where Darcy’s bus stop was, the mailbox, where I could park without getting ticketed during the day (trust me, it happened when I parked on the side street). I only started using it again because it was the only way that I felt safe carrying Fletch into the house. Now I’m trying to figure out where to put Fletch for the time being. I don’t want to take away Benny’s room, his dresser. It looks more and more like he’ll be moving into the closet for now (which isn’t as bad as it seems, it’s 5′ wide). I feel like I lost my house and security it once provided.
I’ve lost my ability to trust myself as a mother. I survived, Benny didn’t. This is something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Mommy guilt x 1,000,000. Since the accident, I noticed that I have problems on stairs. I couldn’t figure it out until I talked to my therapist and she pointed out that my body has physical memory from the accident. I’m nervous carrying Fletch down the stairs, anything downhill. It brings me back to the accident.
I miss being able to meet new people and not think, ‘do they know??’ I hate that that causes me anxiety and insecurity. I want the ability to go out and just have fun and not worry if people know about what happened or not.
I’ve always been a bookworm. I love getting lost in other peoples stories and adventures. I find now that I cannot fully focus or concentrate on a book. I’ve started several since the accident and two years later I can honestly say that I’ve only finished a handful. I used to read several books a month! I keep trying though.
I feel as if the universe has let me down. I can no longer trust that ‘everything will be ok’ or that ‘everything happens for a reason.’ I’m constantly convinced that something bad will happen to Parker or the kids. I’ve always tried very hard to see the good in every situation, make lot’s of lemonade. These lemons are too sour and there’s not enough sugar in the world to change that.
CYG – Day 16: Creative Grief
There are lots of different things that I’ve started doing since Benny died. Blogging, which started as a release for me has turned into so much more. Daily I think about several things that I could write about and I maybe get to about 25% of what’s in my head. It’s been a great way for me to process what’s in my head and try to make sense of it all. Gardening has been an amazing outlet and let’s me get my hands into the Earth and create something that can sustain my family. We’ve held two successful fundraisers in Benny’s memory and raised money for the GHF. Since the accident I’ve taken up yoga, which has been an incredible release for anxiety and stress. I haven’t been since Fletch was born and need to get back ASAP. I physically feel different from not spending my yoga time relaxing.
There are lots of things that I would like to do in the future. I would love to start a charity in Benny’s name, but I need to wait until I don’t have an infant at home. I would love to get back into painting, I used to really enjoy it when I was younger. I also think it’s something that Darcy would love to do with me. I love being able to include her in anything creative.
CYG – Day 13: Regrets + Triggers
I have plenty of pre-grief regrets, but this is supposed to be about my grief regrets. I suppose I have a few of those too. My biggest regret is how selfish this whole thing makes me feel. There are days that I just feel like it’s all about me and my pain and there are so many people out there dealing with their own stuff. It’s hard to realize sometimes that there are other things happening outside of what happened to us.
I regret not writing sooner in the process, I think it would have been helpful. I regret that I don’t write nearly as much I want to, need to. There are so many things in my head fighting to get out.
I regret not getting my life back together sooner. Looking back, I feel like I was in a coma, even though I was present. I wish that I had picked myself up a little sooner.
There are triggers everywhere. Most of the time, I don’t even see them until it’s too late. A song, a picture, someone asking how many kids we have, blond toddlers, the list goes on. It’s one of those things you never expect until it’s too late and then you’re in the midst of it biting your lip, blinking your eyes and catching your breath and hoping that it passes quickly.
CYG – Day 12: Normalizing Grief
This post is supposed to be about anything that you felt wasn’t ‘normal’ about your grief process. Parker and I were very fortunate to be surrounded by some of the most amazing people that pretty much told us that anything goes. We were never made to feel weird or awkward for feeling what we were feeling. We also never judged one another about what we were feeling either. We are pretty lucky to have an amazing support system.
If there’s one thing that I’ve learned, it’s that there’s nothing ‘normal’ about grief. We often don’t think about death until it’s upon us because it’s too depressing. And then you’re stuck in the middle of it treading water. Everyone’s reaction to grief is going to be different, each journey unique.
CYG – Day 15: Wave of Light
I’m going out of order, but I really wanted to keep this post for today, which is pregnancy and infant loss day. While Benny was older, I really relate to the others that have lost babies, as well as grieve our miscarriage following Benny. Today is for all of those mammas out there that have suffered through this in silence and I know way too many. Hugs.