This is so very true. As a mom I put a whole ton of pressure on myself to do ‘all the things.’ All the time. It’s exhausting.
My brain is constantly swirling with my to do’s for work, for home, for my kids and sometimes even myself. I often joke that my brain looks like an internet browser with 30+ tabs open. Because, well, life. And that is a lot. All of the time.
Sometimes when you’re running like that all of the time you forget that you can stop. The Earth will not stop spinning and fall off its axis. Your to do list will still be there tomorrow.
When Benny died, the world paused for me. Those to do’s suddenly disappeared. Everything just stopped, it was almost as if time stood still. All of a sudden I wasn’t running, hell I was barely crawling.
Me, who always had a plan always knew the next step, had nothing in my sights. I was injured so I figured I’d be home for a few weeks from work. Well, a few weeks turned into a few months and then a year, and then a decision to leave my career. I walked away from a job I loved with people I adored. And it took me a year to come to that conclusion.
I didn’t drive for about four months after the accident. I couldn’t handle the responsibility of being in control of a motor vehicle, even though we were hit outside of my car. It all seemed like too much. It took me about 18 months before I would drive longer than a half hour. I still won’t go longer than an hour or two by myself in the car. And I used to sit in my car from 3-5 hours a day at my old job.
What’s my point? Be kind to yourself. Grief takes time, so take time for grief. You do not have to figure it all out today. One of the best pieces of advice we were given was to not make any big decisions / life changes during that first year. It may not work for all but it worked for us. It gave me a chance to get my footing back and decide what was next for us so that we could start walking towards what the future held.
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.