CYG – Day 6

CYG – Day 6:  Books

Today we are supposed to share books that have helped us along the way.  After the accident so many people gave us books.  I haven’t opened one of them, I couldn’t, still can’t.  I’m just not there yet.  I have found the most comfort from reading others blogs.  It’s not polished or edited, but real and raw.  I have connected with so many people through blogging and I am so happy to have this outlet for myself as well.

CYG – Day 5

CYG – Day 5:  Empathy

So often as bereaved parents we talk about all of the things that people shouldn’t say, shouldn’t do.  We are so consumed with our own grief that I think we often forget that others just don’t know how to deal with us or that they have problems of their own.  I will be the first to admit that I have become selfish.  I have become completely self centered in my grief, where my pain is the worst pain imaginable.  Every once in awhile I will read something that reminds me that us grieving parents aren’t the only ones that got the shaft and it brings me back down to Earth.  That being said, here are the things that you COULD say and you COULD do for someone that has lost a child:

  1. Talk about their child!  Not talking about them is way worse!!
  2. Be there in whatever capacity you can.
  3. Don’t talk, listen.
  4. Instead of telling the bereaved to call you if they need you, just show up.  They will not call!
  5. Help with arrangements if you can.  No one wants to plan a funeral for a child, least of all the parents.
  6. See if you can help organize something in the child’s memory.  A scholarship, a garden, etc.

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CYG – Day 4

CYG – Day 4:  Light & Dark

This is an interesting topic for me because it’s something that I deal with daily between Benny and Fletcher.  I’ve written before that I don’t know where one begins and one ends sometimes.  I think any parent that has a child of one gender and then goes on to have another probably confuses the memories, calls the child by the wrong name, etc.  What makes it even harder is the resemblance between the boys.  When Darcy was born she had black spiky hair and looked like Parker (obviously that changed), but both boys came out blonde and looking like Darcy and I.

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Benny’s a little older than Fletch in the photos, but the resemblance is there.  My mother in law had a photo at her house and Parker and I weren’t sure which child it was.  I’ve decided this is a good thing and to go with it.  Fletch certainly has his own (whiny) personality that sets him apart from his brother.

There are days when it’s hard though, when I’m exhausted and covered in spit up and I think to myself, my goodness, would we be dealing with this infant stuff again if Benny were here?  Would we really have had more kids?  It’s hard not to get really angry in those moments, to not think we’d past all of this and dealing with 3 year old stuff instead.  I’m being brutally honest here.  Now, I would never wish that Fletch wasn’t here and after all that we went through to have him, I know how lucky that we are.  Those moments are rare and fleeting, and I wish it wasn’t always one or the other, but that we could have them both here together.

This is my dark.  My one or the other.  It sucks.  I could never choose between my boys, I love them both so much.  It was never my choice in the first place.  Some days it feels like a choice though.  When I realize that the day has passed and I haven’t spent any real time thinking about Benny, but I spent the whole day with Fletch.  The guilt is insane.  I haven’t been to the cemetery since Fletch was born.  I’m working on figuring out how to have both exist in my life.  It’s this weird balancing act that always seems out of whack.

Fletcher is my light, he is my happiness and my hope.  I would do anything in the world to see him smile or get a chuckle out of him.  There is nothing that I love more than to snuggle that little man or see him interacting with Darcy.  He has brought so much life into this family.  He has brought so much happiness into my life.

How do they coexist together?  How do I grieve when I am so happy?  Anyone that thinks having another child after yours is deceased makes it easier is dead wrong.  It makes it complicated, because Fletcher’s life will always be intertwined with Benny’s death.  It’s so hard to grieve and feel joy simultaneously and that’s what I’m struggling with.

CYG – Day 3

Day 3 – In Honour

I started this blog in honor of our son Bennett.  I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about grief, anger, hope, etc. but today is all about Bennett.  I’ve written bits and pieces about him here and there, so I’m thinking today that I’ll share some stories.

About a week or so before the accident, we were having some family time in the living room.  Parker and I were sitting on the couch and Benny was in his climbing stage.  He kept climbing on the coffee table and looking at us with that Fletcher twinkle in his eye looking for our reaction.  After about the third time of this Parker decided to turn the table on it’s side.  He looked at Benny and said ‘good luck!’  Well, not to be outdone, Benny climbed right onto the table on it’s side while Parker just started shaking his head.

When Benny first started walking in the summer of 2013, he would run from his bedroom to the bathroom at night for his shower with Darcy (baths weren’t an option with this child).  He’d do his little naked dance and inevitably pee the entire way.  It got so every night I would follow him with a towel.  Darcy finally turned and looked at me one day and said, ‘Mom, why don’t you just put him on the toilet?’ (duh).  So we started every night and that kid would go.  He was only 15 months when this started, but he would actually use the toilet and figured out how to hold it until then so that I wasn’t cleaning pee off the floor every night.

Benny was a pretty calm little guy as far tempers go.  With Darcy things were often a battle of wills, with Benny it was just so much easier.  He was a very mild baby too, didn’t really cry for the first 6 months.  As a toddler, he was usually very happy and pretty easy to parent (as far as attitudes go).  It was rare for him to throw a tantrum, but when he did it was hilarious!  I would often have to look away and laugh as he would get onto the floor in frustration.

Benny was a dream baby.  He slept through the night early on, he rarely ever cried and was SO even tempered.  There were days that I would panic that there was something wrong with him, Darcy had been so spirited from birth.  Benny was my snuggler.  He would find that spot on your shoulder in your neck and just settle in.  He was a terrible napper, but just so happy all of the time.  I was so lucky to have had such an easy going baby.

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Capture Your Grief

Ok, so I’m starting off this year’s ‘Capture Your Grief’ late.  I’m exhausted, having just walked 60+ miles in Philly and then hopped in the car to arrive home and deal with 2 kiddos alone in the middle of the night.  Parker is still down in Philly for some car stuff for the week.  If things seem disjointed, bitchy or all over the place, this week, you’ll kniw it’s because I’m holding down the fort alone this week.  But I digress.

This is supposed to be a photo exercise, but I found the topics lend themselves to writing as well.  When I’m done, I want to go back and see this years CYG against last years.  How have I grown?   Where do I seem stuck?  Grief is a process.

CYG-Day 1:  Sunrise

Day 1 is supposed to be a sunrise picture.  I never would have taken one before because I was not a morning person.  Over the last few weeks I’ve been carving out ‘me time’ early in the morning to get some training walks in.  I thought I would hate it, boy was I wrong!  I love being able to get outside and plan my day in my head before anyone else in the house is even awake.  I feel so spoiled having that time to myself first thing in the day.  I’m enjoying the fresh air and how it helps me to sleep better at night.  So, no, I do not have a sunrise picture per se, but more of a daily sunrise exercise/meditation to start my day off right.

CYG-Day 2:  Intention

This is a tough one for me to answer because there is always so much that I want to do and never enough time.  So here’s a list to try to simplify.  I intend to honor Bennett’s memory by:

-Continuing to work with The Greg Hill Foundation to raise money for other families affected by tragedy

-Loving my husband, even when I don’t want to (just trying to be honest here)

-Spending more time playing with my children and less time doing housework, using cell, etc.

-Continuing to talk about Bennett with family and friends

-Trying to be a more patient and kind person.  I’ve spent too much time caring what others think and sweating the small stuff.