GOD

Darcy said to me tonight, “there’s one thing that I don’t like about God.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah, the fact that he doesn’t keep people around forever.”

Ugh, it kills me that she’s such an old soul now, she’s lost a lot of her innocence.  No child should have to go through this.  So unfair.

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Words

I feel like I should write, but I don’t know what to say.  Benny should have been 2 on Saturday.  We should have been opening presents and blowing out candles.  Instead we visited his grave and sent messages on balloons to heaven.  Saturday was surprisingly ok because we took the high road, we celebrated his life, however short it was.  I felt lucky that he was mine, even though it was only for 17 months.

I don’t know how long I will last on the high road before I fall off and start to resent the Universe again.  How long until I will feel bitterly angry and sad at all that has happened.  For now, I’m going to enjoy this break from the pain, however brief and be happy that he lived, be happy that I was able to love him, and be happy that he was mine.

The ‘List’ of how to treat bereaved parents

DO allow them to express as much grief as they are able and are willing to share with you. DO allow them to express as much unhappiness as they are feeling and willing to share with you.

DO allow them to talk about their loss as much and as often as they want to.

DO be available to listen, to run errands, to help with the other children, or whatever else seems needed at the time.

DO treat the parents equally.  Fathers need as much support as mothers.

DO accept their moods whatever they may be, you are not there to judge.  Be sensitive to shifting moods.

DO encourage them to be patient with themselves and not to expect too much of themselves.

DO encourage them to not impose any “shoulds” or “I should be” on themselves.

DO give special attention to the surviving siblings in the months to come (they are often in need of attention which their parents may not be able to give).

DO offer to take surviving siblings to school, birthday parties, and extra-curricular programs.

DO let your genuine concern and caring show.

DO offer to be a friend.

DO recognize that grieving has no time limit and varies from individual to individual both in the way they express their grief and the time required to stabilize.

DO talk about your memories of the child and the special qualities that made the child endearing.

DO acknowledge the loss through visits, phone calls, sympathy cards, and donations to a charity meaningful to the family.

DO appreciate that your bereaved relative or friend doesn’t always return phone calls right away.

DO remember that when you phone, even if it is to only leave a message, the bereaved feel comforted by your efforts.

DO extend invitations to the family.  But understand if they decline or change their minds at the last minute. 

DO tell the bereaved family how much you care.

DO remember it is usually the simple little things you say or do that mean so much.

DO continue to support bereaved parents well beyond the acute mourning period, even if it means years.

DO be sensitive that being in the presence of other children of similar age to the child they lost may make the bereaved parent uncomfortable.

DO give the bereaved time to resume the activities they participated in before their loss.

DO learn how to give good hugs. The bereaved need every heartfelt hug they can get.

DO expect your relationship with the bereaved to change. When you are bereaved, every relationship is affected in one way or another.

DO talk to your children about the loss.

 

DON’T avoid mentioning their loss or the child’s name out of fear of reminding them of their pain (they haven’t forgotten it!). DON’T change the subject when they mention their child.

DON’T tell the bereaved parents what they should feel or do.

DON’T have expectations for what bereaved parents should or should not be doing at different times in their grief.

DON’T avoid the bereaved parents because you are uncomfortable (being avoided by friends adds pain to an already painful experience.)

DON’T make any comments which in any way suggest that their loss was their fault.

DON’T say “you can always have another child.”

DON’T point out that at least they have their other children (children are not interchangeable; they can not replace each other).

DON’T say “Your loved one is waiting for you over there,” “God wanted him,” “It was God’s will,” or “God knows best.”

DON’T say “you should be coping or feeling better by now” or anything else which may seem judgmental about their progress in grieving.

DON’T say that you know how they feel (unless you’ve experienced their loss yourself you probably don’t know how they feel).

DON’T tell them not to cry. It hurts us to see them cry and makes us sad. But, by telling them not to cry, we are trying to take their grief away.

DON’T try to find something positive (e.g. a moral lesson, closer family ties, etc.) about the loss.

DON’T say, “If you need anything call me” because the bereaved don’t always know how to call and ask for your support.

DON’T force bereaved people to talk about their loss. They will engage you when the time is right.

DON’T expect grieving parents to be strong and don’t compliment them if they seem to be strong.

DON’T assume that when a grieving parent is laughing, they are over anything or grieving any less.

DON’T wait until you know the perfect thing to say. Just say whatever is in your heart or say nothing at all. Sometimes just being there is comfort enough.

 

May

When they first told me my due date with Benny, I was terrified that he would be born on the day that my mom died those 15 years earlier.  His due date was May 18th and my mom died on May 25th.  It just all seemed so wrong.

As luck would have it, he was born on May 17, exactly 1 day before his due date, just like his sister.  The question is, how do I navigate May now?  With all of these awful reminders about the people that I love that are gone?  Over the last few years I have finally made it through May in ok spirits, what the hell do I do now?  I feel as if I’m navigating through a minefield.

As luck would have it too, several family and friends celebrate birthdays in May.  What do I have left to celebrate?  Everything that has been taken from me?

6 Months ‘AA’

14 - 21

I don’t know what to say.  I’m unsure how we’ve made it this far, keeping busy I suppose.  I still cannot wrap my head around any of it and it’s been 6 months.  I mean, I was there, he was in my arms and I still cannot believe that it has happened.

I’m not sure if it’s better or worse having Darcy around.  She’s been having such a tough time since February, we’ve been so focused on her.  Kinda puts our grief on the back burner.  I wish I could just give into it, but I can’t because she needs me so much.  The most independent little girl needs me.  I’m not sure if it scares me or makes me feel better.

We buried Benny on the 8th, just Parker and I.  It was exactly 6 months since the accident and he was born on a Thursday, it seemed fitting.  I think we were worse off leading up to it.  I felt very at peace when we did it, he has his little headstone or ‘Benny statue’ as Darcy calls it. It says ‘Captain Crazy.’ It’s weird to see his name, to actually put his remains in the ground, but we did it. He had his ‘bop’ (his paci), his tick tick from Mike and a little car.  We sat on the running board of the Packard (of course Benny’s last ride was in style) and talked.  We talked about Benny, about his memorial on his birthday, and we talked to him.  We said good-bye.  It made it real for me, which has been hard.  I don’t want to visit my son in a cemetery.  It’s all just so unfair.

We brought Darcy there for Mother’s day.  She did good, liked the idea of decorating for Benny, bringing him flowers and toys.  We brought him a truck and a ball.  There was a mason jar there with Daisies and sunflowers.  I’m not sure if they were for Benny or his neighbor, but regardless it was fitting.  Another sign, but this time from my Mom, Benny and of course Mason.  Darcy wanted me to read to her the names of all Benny’s neighbors, or new ‘heaven friends’.  It kills me that a 5 year old has to even know about a baby cemetery.  Again, so unfair.

I barely survived my first Mother’s Day.  It’s already a tough day because mom is gone, but now Benny too.  How much can one person take?  When Darcy was born I was finally beginning to enjoy it again, but then started to miss mom unbearably.  I feel like so much had already been taken from me, why Benny too?  I don’t get it.

A switch flipped today.  I finally started crying again, really giving in.  It’s all too real and the numbness seems to be wearing off.  I cannot believe that he will would be 2 on Saturday.  He only had one birthday to celebrate.  It’s so unbearable to think about.  I want him back, I want to be planning his second birthday instead of a Memorial.  I hate this.  I hate this.  I hate this.

Tomorrow

Tomorrow we bury Benny.  It’s been 6 months since we said good-bye and I’m still not ready for this.  This act makes it real, forces me to face reality and really deal with the fact that the accident did happen.  It just doesn’t seem right.

It will just be Parker and I.  Darcy is too young to grasp the concept of cremation.  It will just be us to say good-bye, as it was just us to say hello when he was first born.

I didn’t think it was possible to hurt anymore.  I didn’t think it was possible to cry anymore.  I want him back.  I want to hold his hand in mine and walk along the wall at Darcy’s school.  I want to see him in my rearview mirror while driving.  I want to hold him close and read books at night.  I want to run my fingers through his curls and kiss his hair.  I want to rough house with him and hear that laugh, see that mischievous smile.  I want him back.