My article on joining a grief group has been picked up by The Mighty. Check it out!
In the last year I’ve found that I have received most of my news information from Facebook. Since the accident I do not watch the news or really follow current events. People post a lot of that (especially now), so I have no choice but to see it.
Parker and I are friends with many people on both sides of the political spectrum, so we see some really interesting stuff. Political beliefs are one thing, but very often I will notice that someone from the right will post about XYZ and then someone from the left (completely unrelated) will post something refuting XYZ. So this is when I feel like I need to be educated and go in search of the facts.
I liked it better when I was ‘in the bubble.’ Where the worst thing that could happen, already did. Ignorance is bliss and I liked my small little world where very little information got in.
A friend of mine recently posted on FB that she ‘chooses humanity over fear,’ in referring to the refugee crisis. Of all the posts that I read concerning this, hers was the most researched and she was able to back up her viewpoint.
But I’m not here to write about politics. I’m the last person that should be making an argument for either side. What struck me was how she said she ‘chooses humanity over fear.’ Parker and I have been talking about it for days now and I’ve come to the realization that we don’t have a choice, fear is what we know.
Now I’m not speaking in reference to the refugee crisis, but rather this whole ISIS threat. As far as I’m concerned, they have won with us. They have met their end goal. I’m fucking terrified. I know what it’s like to lose a child. I don’t ever want to be there again.
A week ago we were considering taking Darcy to see A Christmas Carol, that idea ended last night as I’m reading that we should ‘stay away from large crowds.’ Yes, we’re being paranoid and we get that. Yes, we let ISIS win by sheltering ourselves, but it’s not a choice for us. I didn’t choose fear, it chose me.
I do not like the hold that it has over our lives, but it’s going to change how we do things, where we go. I honestly started looking into home schooling, this is how paranoid I’ve become. Parker, who is so often my voice of reason when I’m being crazy looked at me last night and said, ok, I’m onboard. He said to me, ‘we know what it’s like to lose a child, it changes how you view things, what you feel threatened by.’
So now I sit here in panic and wait for something bad to happen. I know it’s not healthy and most of the time I can snuggle the kiddos and make it disappear for a bit, but it’s always there in the back of my mind. What if…
So I need to write one more entry for CYG to close it out, but in order to do so, I need to look back at where I was last year relative to this year. Suffice it to say, it’s going to be awhile.
I’m curious how different things look through the lense of 2 years out opposed to 1 year out. Yes, there are obvious things have changed, such as Fletch, but it’s supposed to be about where I’m at in my ‘grief journey.’ I don’t know that I like that term because ‘journey’ implies that there is an end. There is no end to this.
I cannot believe that I’m writing about this 2 years out. It all seems so foreign to me now. It’s like that awful thing that happened to someone else-but it actually happened to me. How is that even possible? 2 years out and I still cannot wrap my head around losing Benny and I was there! I guess not too much has changed in that department.
He would be 3 1/2 now. I can’t believe that. He would be in preschool. Maybe he would play soccer or do gymnastics. Maybe he and Darcy would fight like siblings do. A lot of ‘maybe’s’ and ‘would’s’ here. More like ‘should.’
I miss him every day. I watch Fletch, who is so like his brother, and wonder what kind of mischief they might get into together. They have the same flirty smile and deep dimples. I watch Fletch play with Darcy and I’m so filled with happiness and sorrow all at once. There’s someone missing from their game, there always will be.
I’m not surprised at how much I miss him, but rather how much I miss my mom. I feel like every time something big happens, I miss her more. I missed her at graduation, both high school and college; I missed her at my wedding, but most of all I missed her when I first had kids.
My grandmother was right down the street from us growing up. She came over after school and did our laundry, ironed and always had fresh baked cookies and butter cake. My mom’s family is close and I have so many amazing memories growing up with that family during holidays. I miss that. I want that for my kids.
I think what made me miss her most this year was the absence of our remaining parents. Not one of them acknowledged November 8th. No phone call, no email, no text. It probably wouldn’t bother me so much if at least one of them remembered. The worst thing for a grieving parent is the belief that their child is being forgotten. Well, thanks for that.
I know that if my mom was here, she would have been there. She would have been there so much over the last 2 years. She would have been an amazing support, she would have been a parent. It kills me. It’s grief compounded.
2 years out sucks too. All of it still feels so unfair. I mourn for Benny, I mourn for my mom, I mourn that Fletch will never meet his older brother. I’m assuming it will just get harder too, because he’s our after. He doesn’t know what he’s missing. Kind of like Darcy with my Mom. She doesn’t know what she’s missing. It breaks my heart for both of them.
I wish that I could say that it gets easier. It’s like parenting I suppose, it doesn’t get easier, the grief just changes. What used to set you off a year ago is ok and another trigger has taken it’s place. You start to lose another part of that person. It sucks.
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.