10 Years

‘Parker, when I first met you, I knew that you would be a good friend, but I never dreamed that we would be standing here together 7 years later.  I know that I’m the lucky one in all of this because I get to spend the rest of my life with you.  You, who have become my very best friend and the one person that I know I can always trust in.  You, my little Packard freak, that I’m so proud of.

I have never felt the way that I do today, a mixture of hope, excitement, love and happiness.  Today is really about making new memories and reminiscing in the old.  You are my future, my heart and my life and I have never been happier than I am at this moment right now.  I love you and know that this is an amazing new beginning for both of us.  I’m so lucky to have found my one true love.’

‘Sheryl, who ever thought that when I met you 8 years ago that we would be standing here today.  You are the most generous, loving, caring, unselfish person I know.  I promise to love you, respect you, laugh with you and cry with you.  You are my best friend, my better half and from this day on we spend the rest of our lives together making memories of us.’

-Our Wedding Vows

9-30-06 3652 (2)Ten years ago Parker and I made promises to one another and shared our love with our friends and our family.  We vowed to always be there for one another.  We promised to love one another.

One of the last songs we played at our wedding was ‘Better Life’ by Keith Urban.  When you get married you have these preconceived notions about how your life is going to be.  Hell, as a child, I dreamed about this.  Everything is always so perfect in your visions for the future.  Sure you talk about ‘sickness and health’ and ‘better or worse,’ but on your wedding day you only expect positive things to happen in your future.

I never expected my future title to be ‘grieving mom’ when I wrote those words and made those promises.  No parent does.  I never expected the last 3 years of my marriage to be filled with PTSD, counseling and grief.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would have to call Parker sobbing uncontrollably and tell him to get home right away, that something horrible had happened.  I didn’t expect that we would say good-bye to our little blue eyed angel just as his life was getting started.

We were numb for so long.  Both of us just absolutely terriffied, looking to each other to make it better.  Both suffering with PTSD, flashbacks and nightmares.  Clinging to one another trying to figure it all out.

Parker would cry in the morning and I would cry at night.  It worked for us for awhile.  He wanted to be surrounded by Benny’s stuff while I needed it shut away, with a few minor exceptions.  No two people grieve the same way.

With a ton of love and support, we survived that first year.  Then the second.  Then the birth of our second son.

Now it’s getting tough again as Fletcher creeps ever closer to eighteen months.  How did time pass so quickly?  How are we here again?  How come he looks so damn much like his brother?

We are struggling.  Parker handles things very differently that I’m comfortable with.  We’re working on it.  I guess that’s all we can do.  That and hold our breath until we cross that eighteen month threshold.  That’s marriage though, working through the tough times.

I read these vows now and I’m trying to remember those two people that wrote them.  They had so much hope for this amazing life together filled with happiness.  I miss them. I miss their innocence.  More days are happy than not, but there are just some days that are tough.  When just existing feels hard.

On September 1st, we celebrate 10 years as a married couple.  I had no idea what the future held when we made those promises all those years ago.  I don’t know what tomorrow brings for us and our family.  I do know that I love that man more today than when I wrote those words.  I’m lucky to still call him my best friend.

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I had forgotten

Tonight I went out with the girls to see the movie Bad Moms.  Absolutely hilarious, loved the message it sent.  I loved every moment of that movie and how it portrays how hard we moms have it.

At the end of the film, the cast was talking with their moms, sharing stories from their childhoods.  It was cute and funny and I found myself thinking, how would this work if one of the girls had lost their mom?  I watched the banter between mother and daughter and smiled.

Then one of the mom’s started tearing up and saying that she was so proud of her daughter as a mother.  She said that she was a great mom.  Such a simple, beautiful statement.  It nearly broke me in two as I realized that I will never hear those words from my own mom.

It’s been over twenty years and I am still shocked at how hard this hit me.  It was like a punch to the gut, realizing there was still more that I have missed.  I have been walking around for so long with this gaping wound on my heart and it was like someone sticking their finger in it.  Nothing has affected me as much as this has in so long.

It reminded me that no matter how normal I think I am, all it takes is a little trigger to remind me of all that I’ve lost.  It’s not as if I’ve ever forgotten my son or my mother, quite the opposite actually.  We talk about them all of the time in my house.  It’s more that I realized again how much was missing from my life.

I’ve cried buckets of tears over me not having a mom, over my children not having a grandma.  There are a million times that I wanted her here to fix things, like moms do, especially when my son died.  But I never once thought about how much I needed to hear from her that I’m doing a good job.  It never even occurred to me until tonight.

One of the lines in the movie is that parenting is so hard because you don’t know if you’ve done a good job until the kids are grown up and then it’s too late.  My mom never got to see what strong, independent daughters she raised.  She never got to see me as a mom.

I forgot how awful this feels.  I can’t believe that something so simple can turn me into a puddle so quickly.  So much of my life lately has been centered around the kids and I think that I sometimes forget that I need to take a break to check in with myself and see where I’m at.  And when I don’t, tonight happens.

I know it will never end, but when it hasn’t happened in awhile, it takes me a moment to catch my breath.  I wish that I could tell her what a good job she did.  I wish that I could tell her that I had a really happy childhood because of her.  I mostly just wish I could hug her and feel just for that one moment that everything would be ok again.

Anxiety

Living With High Anxiety

A friend shared this on FB.  So much of it rang true for me and so mich of it used to be because I was ‘too busy.’

Now anxiety is different.  It changes once you’ve lost a child.  Now it centers on my children’s well being and less on me.  Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I care a little too much what people think.  It’s just different now.

It’s the anxiety I used to have over the kids x 1,000.  Mass shootings, bacterial infections, accidents, etc.  My brain can come up with any set of circumstances.

It’mothering to exhaustion.