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.
A little delayed…
I cannot believe that you would have been 7 years old last May. I still picture you as a chubby and adventurous toddler. I’m at a loss at how to wrap my head around who you would be as a 7 year old.
I think of all of the first rights of passage that you have missed at this age. First day of school, first best friend, to name a few. It makes me so sad to think of all that you have been robbed of.
Every once in awhile I see a boy your age and I pause. I try very hard to see you, who you would be. It’s hard. There was a boy at the playground your age with your name right after your birthday. But I’m sure you already knew that.
If you were still here, you’d be enjoying your summer break and gearing up to enter second grade. That seems impossible to me. You’d probably play all kinds of sports and we wouldn’t know what to do with your fearlessness. My anxiety kicks into high gear just thinking about it.
It’s tough to watch your siblings grow and mature and only have those 18 months of memories with you. My mind cannot sometimes understand why that is. These 5 and a half years have really messed with my natural perspective on time.
It’s been rough. It’s hard to think of what it would be like because so much has changed. I have changed. When you died you took a piece of me with you and that’s ok. I wouldn’t want to be the same. I couldn’t be.
Keep sending those signs buddy and keep looking out for us. We need your love and guidance every day. Love you forever.
My article on joining a grief group has been picked up by The Mighty. Check it out!
In a perfect world, I would have 5 children. I cringe every time that I go to the doctor and they ask how many times I’ve been pregnant. I then have to tell them that I have 3 children at home, one that has died and I miscarried.
Im not sure I ever really processed my miscarriage beyond anger. We had just finally decided to start trying to get pregnant again after Benny died. It had been nearly a year and we were emerging from our grief fog and felt ready.
We were shocked when we were pregnant on our first shot. It took us four months with the previous two. It really made no sense, we were getting older, but alas, here we were. I saw the two pink lines on our eighth wedding anniversary. It felt like kismet.
I was excited and nervous. Still a little shocked it happened so quickly. We were due on May 8th, which happened to be exactly 6 months from when Benny died. It would have been a year after we buried Benny’s ashes.
I wasn’t really sure how I felt about all of that, but I decided it was life’s way of turning lemons into lemonade. Parker and I were truly excited. It was that hope that we had been looking for.
Then I got the call from the doctors office, my numbers weren’t increasing, my hormones weren’t going up enough to sustain a pregnancy. I started bleeding and as soon as it had started it all came crashing down. We barely made it 6 weeks.
I was beyond angry. How could this be happening after all that we had already gone through? It all felt very unfair and I was livid. It felt like we were in a better place with our lives and then this was a slap in the face. I felt cheated.
And I was alone. This loss was so completely different from losing my son. Few people tell people before 12 weeks. I now had to quietly grieve by myself. This was a different kind of hard.
I began to panic. What if I couldn’t get pregnant again or sustain a pregnancy? What if we weren’t able to have more children? I began to imagine the worst and try to figure out what our options were. We knew we wanted more children and that was the hope that propelled us forward.
Then one night about a month later I had a dream. It was about 2 little boys playing in the sand at the beach. One was Benny. I woke up and took a pregnancy test and was pregnant again. Before I could really even process my miscarriage, here I was again.
This time was different. I was anxious about miscarrying again and every other possible thing that could go wrong. I was really scared. I didn’t sleep because anxiety and pregnancy do not get along. I was a nervous wreck.
Something about that dream though took a little bit of the edge off. I felt like it was sign for me to breathe and know it would be ok. And it was Benny introducing me to his little brother Fletcher.
And here we are 5 years after that loss on May 8th. That babies due date. I’m the only one that grieves this day. Carrying this silent grief is tough. If you’ve lost a pregnancy I see you and I’m so sorry for your pain.
This was the day I was dreading. They say it’s every parents nightmare when they have lost a child, that people will forget.
It’s been five years and they have moved on with their lives. I don’t want to say that we have too, we are learning to grow through our grief. Every day is different.
They were there. They saw us. They were with us. They grieved alongside us. But somehow they forgot him. Somehow they forgot what this did to us as a family.
I know that this is about their character, but it still hurts. It hurts to have to explain ourselves. It hurts that they are so far removed now that they just don’t get it. It hurts that they forgot.
I will never forget him. His dimpled smile is etched in my brain. The feel of him in my arms is locked safely within my heart. For me, he will never go away.
So I was scrolling through the Facebook tonight and reading about a celebrity who had a mishap and their child was hurt as a result. I was impressed said celebrity kept it real and was willing to share that accidents happen. I was scrolling through the comments because let’s face it, the content there is usually better than the story. Then I ran into this little gem.
If you can’t tell, I’m feeling a little unsettled and snarky about this comment. On one hand I get that it’s a joke and said in jest. It was not said towards me or anyone in particular. Hell, I would have said something similar six years ago. Before I knew.
It turns my stomach a bit that she’s repeating what her doctor told her. What an awful thing for anyone that practices medicine to ever say. How absolutely horrified would I be if those words were spoken to me? The implication in them is that if your child isn’t still alive, than you as the parent are to blame.
It’s not funny anymore and I’m horrified that I ever joked in such a manner. Unfortunately we joke about it because we think it can never happen to us, it’s a way of distancing ourselves from that reality that death can happen. To anyone. At anytime. Even our children.
Know better, do better. That’s all that I can do.