Reality TV

In the Fall I posted about the show  This is Us.  I was amazed by how much they touched on grief in the first episode.  While the show jumps around throughout the span of the triplets life, you see glimpses of how the family has moved forward.

I have to be honest, I was hoping for so much more.  In the first few episodes they touch on the baby’s death.  The family cries, the mom has a hard time bonding with the new adopted son and then life goes on.  I haven’t heard about it since.

No one has mentioned the baby.  There has been no mention of if the baby is buried somewhere or if it even has a name (which I assume it doesn’t because they were going to use it’s name for Randall).  Birthdays go by and they talk about ‘the big 3’ but there’s never a mention of the fact that on that day they also lost a child.

The episode where Randall eats shrooms and feels like a replacement for the baby that passed makes sense.  How would he not feel that way?  I know it was a different time and people weren’t expected to grieve like they are given the space to today.  I get that.  I still expected more.

How does mom not look at those 3 kids every day and not see one missing?  How does she not feel that inside?  We’ve never seen that.  Maybe it’s coming and I should just wait, because the show jumps around.  I’m frustrated.  Even in present day, no one talks about the baby.  Why?

And Just Like That…

Parker messed up royally.  Why is it when we give them a little praise that they feel like it’s a free pass?  No I did not write that last blog to give him the freedom to make poor choices.

It sounds like I’m talking about one of my children, ‘make better choices…’. Sigh.

Things in his life were out of control last summer.  We talked about it and I told him he needs to change.  I would be there to support him, but he had to put in the work.  As much as I like to be in control, I hold no illusions that his issues are his issues.  I cannot fix them for him, nor can I take them on.  All that I can do is support him.  And decide how much I am willing to invite into my life.

I said in the last post that there are days when yes, I question him and us.  This is one of those days, this is what it looks like.  I will not hide it or pretend things are OK when they are not.  This is marriage.  And I’m not ashamed at all to show just how imperfect it is after child loss.

He has his demons and I have mine.  I have learned over the last few years though, that I cannot take on his demons or his failures.  I can just hopefully help him through them.

It’s hard when you know just how short life is.  It makes you really question what works and what doesn’t and puts things into pretty clear perspective.  God, adulting is hard!

I Won’t Give Up On Us

I Won’t Give Up On Us

We were listening to some lullaby music on Pandora tonight and this song came on.  I love these lyrics and this song and how meaningful they are.

Over three years ago Parker and I stood together teriffied at what had just happened.  We were not prepared for what lay ahead.  Nothing prepares you for child loss.

Our therapist said that we were a good match because we both had pretty tough childhoods.  We were already survivors in our right.  Maybe that instinct just kicked back in.

We were friends first, for a long time before we dated.  We’ve always been very comfortable with one another.  Maybe that made it easier.  We didn’t feel like we had to be brave for each other.  We could just be.

We’re alike in a lot of ways, but so different.  I’m more aggressive with things that I want, I’m strict with the kids and I like feeling in control.  Parker is more laid back with most things.  He can change plans on a whim and time means nothing to him.  There are times when I wonder how we DO work.  But his strengths are my weaknesses and vice versa.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say there were many times that I wanted to give in.  I think that’s pretty normal in any marriage.  I’m sure there will be many more in the future.  I just look at how far we’ve come in the last 3 years.  He knows my pain better than anyone else.  He has fought alongside me to make this marriage work.  He has loved me when I didn’t know if I could love myself.

There are no guarantees for the future, we know this only too well.  I just know that I will continue to fight for us.  We are far from perfect, but damn we’re good!

 

ACA

Trust me, it was never my intention to write about healthcare on a blog dedicated to grief.  I feel the need to share our story though so people understand exactly what this repeal could affect.

After my son passed, I was physically and mentally not able to return to work.  I was out on short-term Disability that I had paid into with my company as a benefit.  Coverage began in November and lasted 3 months.  While on that, I maintained my insurance, but had to pay what would normally have come out of my paycheck, roughly $400 or so a month.

When I was switched over to long-term disability in February, again a benefit that I paid for, my insurance coverage was gone.  I was receiving 60% of my salary and had to pay 100% of my healthcare.  When all was said and done, I had roughly $300-$400 left over monthly to pay for a mortgage and bills.  This was completely unrealistic.  We were so lucky that people had raised money for our family (including the Greg Hill Foundation).

My husband owns his own business and was struggling with the loss of our son as well.  He went back to work, but he wasn’t the bread-winner in our family and his business was still in its infancy.  As newly grieving parents, we were doing the best that we could with a horrible situation.

We had applied for coverage through the ACA and we were finally accepted in June.  This was a huge weight off our shoulders as we could now actually use the disability money to help pay bills and our mortgage.  I’m not sure how you’re supposed to cover all of that plus the cost of insurance on 60% salary.  It’s just not possible.  Especially in a time of emergency.

This whole experience opened my eyes to how quickly it can all be gone, all of that security that we have in our lives.  By November, my LTD refused to cover me anymore because they felt that I should be farther along in my recovery of my son’s death.  Suddenly we were left to seriously sink or swim.  I wasn’t ready to go back to work, so we had to make my husband’s business lucrative.

It’s been 2 years.  We have worked our butts off to turn his business into something that could support our family.  The only support system that we have left in place is out healthcare coverage.  Even though we are making money, we still fall within the income guidelines to be eligible for help.  In a year or two from now, I hope that isn’t the case and it’s something that we will be able to afford on our own.  We’re just not there yet.

In a million years, I never thought that our family would need help.  I had a great job with benefits.  My husband’s business was doing ok.  Things were looking up.  I’m here to tell you that it can all change in the blink of an eye.  And those benefits that you receive through work probably won’t cover half of what you need financially.

I’m terrified at the thought of losing our health insurance again.  We have 2 little kids and we are doing the best that we can to make life better for them in the wake of their brother’s death.  We have come so far and worked so hard to get where we are today.  I hate to see things begin to go backwards now.

Below are the phone numbers of the members of the GOP that are wanting to put the brakes on the repeal.  Please call, email and please share.  We need to help them to understand how this personally affects every one of us.

(A  lot of these numbers were busy when I called, you might be better off emailing.  That way, there’s a papertrail as well).

 

Thanks.

3 Years ‘AA’

I have been hiding out.  Every part of my being has resisted writing about this since November 8th.  It has been a long, dark road from there for me.

I haven’t wanted to write this out of fear.  Fear of the unknown, fear of judgment, fear of offending someone.  Please understand that this is my point of view based on my life experiences.  Walking a mile in my shoes and all that.

I’ve been desperately sad. Three years is a very long time to not hold or kiss your child.  It’s nearly double the amount of time that I got to have him on this Earth.  That broken part of me that happened on November 8th is still there.  It will always be there.

My daughter is now 3 years older as well.  She was so little.  Even though we speak of Benny often, I can see that her memories are fading a bit.  It’s awful.  I hate it.

My youngest son has now surpassed his older brother in age.  Think about that for a moment.  It seems like that defies logic.  It does for me.  I wish more than anything that they would grow up together as brothers.

I look at my husband as the only other human being who completely understands me and this pain.  I cannot imagine what this would be like without his love and support.

I have made it three years, survived the unimaginable.  I hate this anniversary that marks the passage of time away from my son.  Every year is different and hard for various reasons.  This year was different however.  Because November 8th was also Election Day.

I tried so hard to separate my son’s tragedy from the circus that was going on.  It was hard not to get sucked in though, it was hard not to be excited.  It was the first time that my daughter was old enough to understand what was going on.

We went to the cemetery and brought Benny some be trinkets.  My younger son sat in the grass and played with his departed brothers toys.  It was bittersweet to watch.  On one hand, they were playing together, on the other hand, it was close as they would get.

When we came home we began watching the electoral map.  I tried so hard to distance myself from it all.  It shouldn’t have mattered as much as my Bennett.  Maybe that’s why it was so alluring, it was a break from our reality.

I stayed up and watched.  Completely heartbroken.  Completely shattered at what was happening.  I honestly couldn’t figure out why I was so upset.

My husband kept saying, ‘don’t let this get to you.  Today is about Benny.’

That’s when I understood.  He was right, today was about Benny.  It was about why I’m still here.  It was about all of the love that we felt after our lives fell apart.

I felt disillusioned.  In the moment that I understood that Trump had won, I felt that love had lost.  You see, love is why we’ve made it as far as we have.  The love that I share with the many family, friends and strangers that have lifted us up.

At least if I have to live in a world without my son, I was convinced that it was a good world, a kind world, filled with love.  Now I’m not so sure.  I’m confused.  I’m devastated that what I thought all along, isn’t quite true.  For me, it’s like learning that Santa isn’t real.

So bear with me.  And if you don’t share my views, at least please respect them.  I cannot help the way I feel.

Judgment

Well, I guess a little fight with an ignoramus from the comment section of a blog the I LOVE and relate to is what the doctor ordered to get me writing!  I don’t know what it is about this week.  The ‘judgies’ are out in full force!

A close friend posted about the twin boys and the dresser video, which I’m assuming by now everyone has seen.  His comment, besides criticism to the media, ‘where were the parents?’  I almost stopped breathing from the rage that I felt boiling inside.

I am so damn tired of this.  I am so tired of this new parenting method where we all try to ‘one up’ each other and cast criticism over EVERYTHING!  And honestly, I don’t care if you do it in the privacy of your own home, gossip away!  Talk about the friends that you feel give their kids too much sugar, or sweetener or whatever the ‘toxic’ ingredient is this week.  Get it out of your system, I’m certainly not innocent!

Maybe that’s a bad example.  The bigger problem is judging those that we do not know.  We’ve never seen or talked to, but feel it’s ok to do so because we’ve read their story in the paper or heard about it on the news.  And we feel all emboldened behind our computers.  Just stop, PLEASE STOP doing it over the internet!!  Stop making accusations and judgment calls on situations that you know nothing about.

I never saw blame after the accident.  Not one comment.  I feel like that whole thing started to happen more in the years that followed.  What is happening?  How is this not cyber bullying-adult style?  How is it any better than what our teenage counterparts are doing to each other?

Enough already!!  I can’t take much more.  We need to stop tearing each other down as parents.  I realize as I write this that I wasn’t so good at taking my own advice with said commenter.  I need to do better.  We all need to do better.

Here’s a link to the blog.  Every word in it is spot on.

Parent Shaming

 

Changes

A blog that started out all about my son’s death took on a life of its own and morphed into what it is today.  After going back and reading through so many of my posts, I realized how many different topics I covered, other than just Bennett.  His death was bigger than just him, it had a personal effect on his sister and future siblings.  It affected my parenting. It affected my relationships with others.

It took me awhile to get the guts to change the format on here.  I felt like I was possibly taking away from Bennett by changing the name of the blog.  But it was time.  Please bear with me as I try to categorize my posts into the three different pages that I have added;’Sunshine’ which is all about Darcy and how it has been raising a child after loss, ‘Angels’ which is dedicated to Bennett and miscarriage, and ‘Rainbows’ which is dedicated to Fletch my rainbow baby.

The format will still be same, all of my most recent blogs can be found on the main page, ‘Sunshine, Angels and Rainbows.’  I’m hoping that by pulling past blogs into the other pages by category, it will be easier to click-through than by how it’s set up by month now.

I have a lot of catching up to do writing wise too.  There has been a lot going on that I haven’t quite found the words to move forward with yet and I’m trying to be sensitive.  I’ll get there.

Hope the New Year has found you well.