Point of No Return

I remember when Darcy was born how important it was to me that I get her on a good sleep schedule.  I was so worried about being able to get back to work and handle an infant.  I worked with her during my measly 12 weeks off to try and get on a schedule.

We did ok.  I made all of these rules, like no sleeping after 5, we adhered to a strict bedtime schedule of bath, swaddle then nursing in a quiet, dark room.  I was worried about spoiling her.  I was concerned that I was never going to get a good nights sleep.  And then I got laid off.  Oh, the irony!

Being on a schedule and having a routine definitely helped with all of my kiddos.  I look back now though and laugh.  I was making myself crazy trying to control the sleeping habits of an infant.  Why?

I stressed out over the lack of sleep (as if you can control it).  I would look at nighttime as an endless hell that must be endured, sitting up for hours feeding an upset baby.  I had it in my head that successful mommying=happy sleeping babies.  Some twisted idea we all get as every single person asks you ‘how is the baby?  Is he/she sleeping through the night?’

I found with Benny that I was way more relaxed when it came to sleeping schedules.  Maybe it was just his laid back personality, or the fact that he nursed himself full in 5 minutes, but he was a great sleeper!  And all without my militant sleeping rules.  I felt comfortable bringing him into bed in the wee hours of the morning and snuggling with him (this was before i knew all of the dangers of cosleeping).  I felt more easy going and confident in my mommying abilities.

I don’t know if it was loosing Benny or just because Fletch was, well, Fletch but sleep became hell again.  Truyh be told, it was probably a combination of both.  I was super stressed all of the time of screwing up, or of something bad happening.  Child loss changes you as a parent.  Anxiety over took common sense and I felt like a novice mom again.  I was scared to bring him into bed.  I was scared for him to sleep alone.  No matter what I did I was scared.

And Fletch was hard work!  He didnt want to be put down when he slept, ever.  I put more miles on my glider with that kid than any other.  He always knew when he left your arms and would wake right up.  It was like he had he same insecurities that I had and was nervous being too far away.

And now there’s Perry.  We should be seasoned at this whole sleep thing by now right?  Wrong!  The 4 month sleep regression hit us hard and we’ve been reeling ever since.

I’m tired of being scared.  I’m tired of being tired.  I’m done with being stressed about sleep.  We’ve entered the point of no return.  A point where the old me with just one baby would have freaked out.

I have a toddler and a ridiculous work load.  A tween (my God!) with a ridiculous amount of activities.  I’m already tired enough and scared enough to not sleep because anything you do nowadays as a parent is wrong and judged.

If I fall asleep nursing, I could drop her.  If I pull her into bed, Parker could roll over. We have a friend whose infant fell out of bed and cracked his skull (he’s fine thank goodness, very healthy little guy) and I’ve read just about every article on people smothering their babies on accident. No win situation.

So now, Parker sleeps in the guest room and I get a queen bed to myself until Perry inevitably wakes up in her bassinet (the second I walk into the room, I swear she can smell me).  She has her side and I have mine.  Shes not rolling yet and has a nice buffer to keep her from rolling off the bed.  She sleeps, I sleep.  And I love every damn minute of it.

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I love hearing her breathe close by.  I love being able to relax knowing she’s close.  I love letting go of a little bit of that anxiety.  Do I miss Parker?  Sure.  A lot.  But I only get baby Perry for so long.  She’s nearly 6 months old.  All too soon she’ll be mobile and this bed sharing will be a thing of the past.

There are no guarantees in this life.  I want to hold onto whatever I can for as long as I can.

 

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Today

Today was not a good day.  The further we walk down this path to home ownership, the more painful the journey.  Someone please stop this ride we’re on, I want to get off.

We got the green light that we are building a house.  The plans are complete, the finishes are picked and construction is set to begin soon.  A totally new chapter in our lives.

And then we got word today that our temporary rental has sold and we have to move.  Temporarily.  Again.  Before the final move.

I bawled my eyes out over a bag of donuts while little Fletchie kept asking me what was wrong.  I tried so hard to explain that his little life would once again be interrupted.  My heart was breaking because he finally stopped asking to go home to the Chester Street house and now calls ‘the big brown house’ home.  He’s finally settled.  And now we have to leave.

We were finally to a point where Darcy’s room was unpacked enough for her to have a friend sleepover.  She had settled in a bit.  I’m sure the idea of moving was an adventure, but I don’t think she ever bargained for this.  We’ve taken this kid out of the only home that she ever knew.  She grew up on Chester Street and has the most memories there.

I was finally starting to put away some of my mommy guilt for this whole mess that we’re in.  I was feeling like, ‘ok, we got this!’. Only now we don’t.  By a long shot.

This whole journey was terrifying enough without all of this extra crap.  It was hard enough to walk away from Benny’s home.  It was emotional enough to acknowledge that it was time for us to move forward.  And now I’m beginning to wonder if this was all a mistake?

And oh sure I’ll probably feel differently in July when this is all (hopefully) over.  And I’ll probably ‘look back and laugh’ (oh my God if one more person says that to us!).  But right now, right at this moment, I’m upset.

I’m upset that it seems like everything has to be so much harder for us.  Because the grief that we carry every damn day isn’t enough.  Because the amount of times that I question myself as a parent isn’t enough.  Because the amount of anxiety that I have in any given situation with my children isn’t enough.  ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,’ well screw that!  Enough already, I’m done!  Here I am waving the white flag screaming I SURRENDER!

I give up.  I am desperately tired of all of this.  I know that home selling/buying is supposed to be stressful, but this is beyond anything I ever imagined.

So Universe, enough.  We’ve had it.  Please back off.  Please stop making a tough situation harder.  How are we ever supposed to deal with any of our grief and make some peace with it when these other life issues rear their ugly faces?  I still haven’t really come to terms with leaving Benny’s house yet because it’s been such a whirlwind.  I can only process so much.

We knew moving would be hard.  We expected it to hurt.  Not like this though.

The Unreality of it All

I was driving somewhere today and thinking about how disconnected I felt from Benny.  I was wondering if the accident really happened, if he was really real.  From time to time it’s hard for me to grasp the reality of it all.  I was feeling empty.

Did he really die?  Did we really survive that?  Did I actually carry and give birth to 4 children?  There are just times that I cannot wrap my head around it all.

Then I figure it’s just my mind’s way of protecting itself.  I was giving myself a break from the pain of it all.  Let’s face it, the holidays suck as a parent if you’ve lost a child.  I was enjoying a few moments of ‘unreality’.

Then of course I feel guilty for even having these thoughts.  Has my life become so busy that I’m not taking the time to stop and really tune into my dead son?  What kind of mother am I?

Fast forward to this evening and I’m relaxing on the couch watching Scrubs with Parks.  It’s probably the last show that I would expect to get to me, but it did tonight.  Now that I think about it, there are several episodes that deal with death and grief and the different way the characters handle it.  Sometimes serious, sometimes not.  Maybe that’s why I love this show.

Tonight the main characters that are doctors were dealing with a patient that was afraid of dying.  They talked about how they hoped that their last thought would be a happy one.  The episode closes with “maybe in the end all you can really hope for is your last thought is good, even if it is just about the taste of an ice cold beer”

Wow.  Just wow.  This brought me back from my ‘unreality’ super quick.  It was the punch in the guts that made me feel raw all over again, even these 4 years later.  Now I’m sitting here wondering how I could have ever felt any type of disconnect from Benny’s death.

I’m also wondering what his last thoughts were.  Was he scared?  Was he still groggy having just woken up?  Was he confused by my frustration at him being awake?

Or can I really just hope that death is like they say in the movies?  That your life flashes before your eyes and it’s like watching a movie.  His movie would have been short, but my God it would have been wonderful.  He made so many people so very happy and he was so very loved.  Maybe that’s all that I can hope for then.  That those last 7 seconds were happy thoughts.

The Last Time

It’s 12:30 AM.  I haven’t slept a wink yet.  I have to get 3 small children out the door and off to different places tomorrow morning before I head into work.  Then I have to get as much work done as possible because said children will all be home with me next week.  Oh, and it’s going to snow tomorrow, so it’s early pick up for school.

This seems to be my story as of late.  My little perfect sleeping angel hit the 4 month sleep regression.  Now I get to see her at least 2 times before I actually get in bed, usually 10 minutes after I close my eyes and then 2-3 more times in the next 5 or so hours before I have to be up for the day.

I have pretty much kicked Parker out of bed so that Perry has her own space.  I’m all paranoid about her falling out of bed or Parker rolling over on her, so now she has half of a queen sized bed. Little turkey.  She doesn’t know how good she has it.

And as much as I complain (oh how I complain) and as grumpy as this lack of sleep makes me (super grumpy, just ask anyone in my family), I just keep reminding myself, ‘enjoy this, it won’t last forever.’

She won’t always be this little.  She is my last and I need to enjoy every stinking moment of this.  I need to soak it all in.  She won’t be little forever.  She won’t always need me.  There are no guarantees.  Just breathe.

I remember sitting in the dark nursing Darcy for hours.  This was before the Advent of cell phones (good, now I’m truly dating myself).  I would get so frustrated.  She took so long and I had no idea what I was doing.  It was hard and lonely.

Sleep deprivation is real.  I understand why it’s used for torture.  I am exhausted.  I am barely functioning.  Good luck to anyone that has crossed my path these last two weeks.  Clear rational thoughts have left my head.  My crazy is showing.

I miss my husband.  It’s weird that he’s sleeping down the hall.  It’s lonely waking up without his body next to mine.

This too shall pass.  All of it and it will be something else.  But I won’t get this back.  I won’t have this little chubby snoring angel.  Everyday she is growing and changing.  Everyday she is getting older.

She’s our last baby.  I wish she would stay little.  But then that seems selfish because I also am excited for her to grow and experience life.  I just can’t fathom not having a baby.  I can’t imagine my baby growing up.  I’m not looking forward to my ‘lasts.’

The last time that I pick her up, or the last time that she cuddles on my lap.  The last time that she needs me to feed her or the last time that she takes up half of a queen sized bed.

Life is fleeting, there are no promises.  So even though I’m not in love with this sleep deprived state, it will end.  She will change.  And it sounds crazy, but I will probably even miss this a tiny bit.

4 Years ‘AA’

I miss my son.  Sometimes so desperately that I feel like I can’t even breathe.  Other times it’s a dull ache.  I miss who he was and who I think he would become.  I miss who I was.  I miss our life from before November 8th.

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We are officially 4 years after the accident now.  Four whole years.  I think back to the broken people that we were.  We are still not whole, I don’t anticipate that we ever will be.  We will live the rest of our lives ‘incomplete’.  We are learning to deal with that.

I was just reading my other ‘AA’ (after accident) blogs.  I’m amazed at how much my life has changed.  It gives me a glimpse into the shattered person that I was and how I have had to put myself back together.  It has been a slow process.  I don’t think that there will ever be a point where I will feel ‘healed’ or ‘better’.  It just is for now.

Every day a part of me is sad or anxious or both.  I’m terrified of what could happen.  I nag my children, constantly trying to keep them safe and close.  I snuggle the little ones a little too much, just wishing that they would stay small forever.  I worry constantly how Benny’s death will shape his older sister’s life.  I’m wistful for the naive life we lived before, where we couldn’t even imagine something bad happening.  I’m sad that I miss my son.

He would have gone to kindergarten this year.  He would have been 5!  If I concentrate really hard, I can almost see him heading off for his first day of school.  He would have been a big brother.  What I would give to see him and Fletcher playing together!  Maybe he would have played a sport or taken up drums, or furthered his interest in the cars.

Four years later and I still don’t have any answers.  I don’t know why this happened.  I don’t know how different my life would have been if it hadn’t.  I celebrate my mini victories and life milestones as they occur and try to take each day as it comes.  Grieving is hard work!  Choosing to find joy in each day is even harder.

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Stuff

Sigh.  I don’t know where to begin.  I don’t know when it began.  Maybe I’ve been like this forever.  Maybe the grief intensified my needs.  I’m going to admit it here, shout it out loud to hold myself accountable, I have too much stuff!

There, I said it.  I thought I was doing good before the move.  I felt like I had gotten rid of so much stuff!  It’s really hard to sift through 13 years of living in one place.  Parker and I both had our own stuff and lot’s of it.  We had lived on our own before.  It didn’t seem like much until we put it together.  Then add in 4 kids and pets and a house that is busting at the seams!  It is completely overwhelming.

And that’s just life.  We all probably have too much stuff at the end of the day.  We can all feel overwhelmed by it.  First world problems.  Here’s where it gets complicated though.  Grief compounds this.

My mom died when I was 16.  You’re damn right I want to hold onto as many memories of her as I possibly can.  I have to teach my children about their grandmother because they will never meet her.  It is so important to me that they know who she was and where they came from.  Does that mean that I need to hold onto her early 90’s mint green track suit to do so?  Or her costume jewelry from the 80’s?  I honestly don’t know.

Once someone is gone, how do you make that distinction about what is important to keep?  Even some 22 years later I don’t have any answers.  I try really hard to hold myself accountable.  I try to weigh how important it really is to hold onto a physical memento.  I’ve been able to let some things go. Others have been harder.

What do you do with 10 lbs. of toddler clothing from your deceased son?  I’ve had a few blankets made with some of the clothing and I’m thinking of having memory bears made for the kiddos, but what do I do with the rest?  I was able to talk myself into donating some of it, but there is still a good trash bag full.  How about the diaper bag that remains untouched from the day he died?  Sure I’ve looked at it.  I just don’t know what to do with it now.

There’s this whole Konmari method of cleaning out where you’re supposed to ask yourself if the item in question bring you Joy.  I’m not sure these items bring me joy, but they bring me back to a point in my life that I can’t ever get back to.  When things were simpler.  Less heartbreaking.  My ‘before’ if you will.

Do I need these things?  Probably not.  I don’t know how long they will remain in boxes in the new house simply because they are not items that we use on any type of frequent basis.  But still they comfort me, knowing that they are there.

I don’t know how long it will take me to let go.  Maybe never.  I guess that will just have to be ok for now.

'How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.'