Pandemics, Paranoia and Loss

I am having a hard time putting into words what I’ve been feeling the last few days. Anxious is probably a good place to start. Maybe followed by feelings of vulnerability and lack of control. I’ve been feeling exactly how I felt right after the accident and Benny died.

It’s hard to even write that because nothing concrete has even happened to trigger these feelings. It’s the not knowing what is next with Covid-19 that is eating away at me. I am struggling.

I’m feeling overwhelmed as both a small business owner and a mom. But I’m mostly feeling overwhelmed as someone that has witnessed tragedy close up. It causes me to pause and panic. I want to know all that I can so I can best prepare for whatever outcome we may face when this is all over. And call me crazy, call me paranoid, that’s fine. My reaction is my own and is a reflection on my life and my experiences.

So we may make choices that you don’t agree with concerning ourselves and our family. We may be a little more paranoid and a little more afraid than you.

I’ve held my son as he died. This is not something that I share lightly, but rather to explain that we will take every step that we can health wise and financially to keep ourselves from going through something like that again. I know that children seem pretty safe with this virus and Parker and I are also pretty low risk. But there are no guarantees in this life. And unfortunately, we know that all too well. I will do anything to keep my children safe from hurt.

I also would never want to pass this sickness onto someone that is immunocompromised or elderly. That alone is enough to keep me home and minimally at work. I don’t want to be the reason that someone else has to suffer.

I’m scared. Loss has scarred me in a way in which I will never heal from. It makes me anxious when others may be complacent. It makes me recognize each little thing that can wrong every day.

It has also taught me about love and hope. And I don’t take either of those lightly. I am humbled by the amount of both that are part of my every day life. And I desperately need to hold onto them in the coming days to see me through.

I have no idea where this ends or what will happen. Just know that if you have suffered loss and this Virus is leaving you on edge and feeling completely vulnerable, you are not alone. It’s ok to not be ok. We will get through this easier if we can acknowledge this and realize that we are all in this together. ❤️

Denying Myself

How many of us do this daily? We walk around with a smile on our faces while in reality all that we really want to do is cry. Because we are dying on the inside missing the hell out of our loved ones.

Look, people mean well. They want you to feel better, they want you to move on. Even those closest to you. They want you to be happy. How much of our happiness is derived from someone else’s needs?

I have children, so my grief sits somewhere in a back corner. When my son died my daughter didn’t want us to sit around crying. We did, everyone did for the first few weeks and then slowly it became less and less. I still cry, in the shower, in the car, putting the toddler to bed, in the pantry. My lovely private places.

Why the hell can’t I show this to my kiddos? I have no problem showing them anger, happiness, why not show them sadness? Why not show them that grief can be handled healthily? Why do we hide our sadness?

I’m legit asking. I wish I could explain why vulnerability is bad. I wish I could understand when I was taught this concept. Maybe it’s a coping mechanism I’ve picked up. Who knows?

One of the only places that I can be my true grieving self in at my grief groups. I can be real with my anger and sadness over my son’s death. And it’s ok. It’s my ‘Benny time.’ And I look forward to it all month because it’s like offloading so much that has been stuffed down deep inside.

And here obviously. Here I am still in my protective bubble. And I know that most anyone reading this gets it. And even if they don’t, they can empathize. Because wearing this mask is exhausting sometimes.

#thisischildloss

Rainbow Baby Woes

I hate that feeling that something bad is going to happen. Because the unthinkable has already happened to us, it shouldn’t again, right? Or is it because it has happened to us that I know how quickly things can fall apart?

A sniffle, a bump, a fall. I panic. Instantly. I Google everything to make sure I watch for symptoms of what ‘could happen.’ There’s always this little niggling voice in my head saying something can go wrong. They can get sick. They can get hurt. They are not invincible. Your children can die.

Maybe it’s because the baby is so young still, I now worry the most about her. Maybe it will get better once she crosses the 18 month mark. There are three of them to worry about and it’s exhausting sometimes.

I can’t sit here and say, ‘oh, that will never happen to us,’ I no longer have that naivety. I miss it. The pure ignorant bliss of thinking my children will always be ok.

I wish I didn’t over think the way I tend to. I wish that my family didn’t have to know tragedy. I wish that Benny was still alive.

 

Change Needs to Happen

I cannot sleep. I have spent nights poring over the Florida school shooting stories.  I am not okay.

I dropped Darcy off at school on February 15th and thought to myself, ‘what if this is it? What if someone decides today that they want to enter her school and shoot a bunch of innocent children and educators?’

I’ve had these thoughts before.  Mostly when Darcy was in kindergarten and her classroom was on the first floor of the school.  I remember thinking to myself that it was a good thing that she was in the second classroom in that hallway, farther away from the front door.  I guess in my mind it gave her more time to escape.  She entered kindergarten less than a year after Sandy Hook. An exit strategy shouldn’t be what you think about for your kindergarteners classroom.

Then Benny died and this anxiety grew.  At the time we were clinging to Darcy as our port in the storm, what if something happened to her as well?  Last week brought that all flooding back.  I am terriffied. I am sad. I am sick.

Seventeen more families feel our pain. They have lost a part of their hearts in such a senseless manner. I know what they are going through and I am so sorry for their pain. I am sorry for what lies ahead. I am sorry for how this will shape the rest of their lives. A loss like this irrevocably changes you.

I am scared to send my daughter to school. I get it that this is terrorism at it’s finest and that I shouldn’t be scared. But I am. I’ve already held one of my children and had to say goodbye for the last time. I sat in the hospital and stroked his hair, smelled his sweet smell, kissed his head and handed his lifeless body over.

I have spent the last 4 years clawing my way out of PTSD and anxiety and trying my hardest to help my daughter and my husband do the same. This is the future that these families face. This is the future that these surviving children who were in that school face. You cannot witness a trauma like that and go on living your life. It alters you in ways you can never imagine.

I am furious. Disgustingly furious that this happened, that this continues to happen. That more parents have to live through the loss of a child. And still nothing changes.

I am repulsed that we ask our educators to work under these conditions. There are over 30 children in my daughter’s class this year.  Thirty.  How can a teacher and an aid be expected to hide 30 kids?  Why should they be?

This is not a political issue to me, but rather a moral issue. Until you have stood where I have stood, until you have walked in my shoes, please do not lecture me on politics. I am coming from a place of loss and I feel very strongly that what took place in Florida, Sandy Hook, Columbine, what is taking place in this country, is something that can be prevented.

I want to be able to send my child to school and not be scared that it will be the last time that I see her.  I don’t want to be this mother that is constantly on the edge of her seat, filled with anxiety and dread that she will lose another child.

I have signed up with Everytown and  Mom’s Demand Action.  I need to be able to put this energy into something.

I am sick for Florida.  I am tired of the excuses. We should not live in a country where we send our children to school to die. Change needs to happen.

 

Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

I feel it happening again.  Admittedly this time it took much longer for me to unravel.  I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not though?

I’m 5 weeks from welcoming another baby.  A little girl.  After everything, Darcy finally gets a sister.  Things feel completely incomplete (if that makes any sense?)

They’ve had me on Unisom for most of this pregnancy for sickness, so sleep has been a blessing.  Now as I’m nearing the end though, the insomnia is stronger than the pills and I find myself back to where I was when I was pregnant with Fletch.  Scared, sad, lonely, angry and just generally exhausted.  These rainbows really take a lot out of you.

The hormones probably don’t help either.  Or the screaming toddler or 8 year old with the attitude of a teenager. Sigh.  I thought this pregnancy would be easier, emotionally at least, because it was a girl. Well it’s hitting hard now.

It’s a reality smack of everything I’ve lost all over again.  It’s knowing that my mom isn’t here to help, which has been horrible with each pregnancy.  It’s knowing that Darcy gets to grow up with a sister, but Fletcher will never know his big brother.  They will never share that bond.

Maybe it’s because this is it for me.  I should be excited for that, I haven’t had easy pregnancies.  But it’s just another ending, another chapter of my life over and that makes me sad.

I cannot believe that she will be my fourth.  In a million years I never thought I would have so many children.  In a million years I never thought that I would lose one.

Pause

Fletch is not feeling well.

CAM02025

He’s whiny (more than usual) and running a slight fever.  It’s most likely teeth, but now I panic.

He’s finally sleeping AND napping and doing it well.  It’s like he’s a new baby.  He won’t settle tonight though and is uncomfortable, which tells me he’s not feeling so hot.  That and he really didn’t eat much at dinner.

I’m scared.  This is the first time that he’s really been sick.  I’m writing this with him in my arms as I try to convince myself that he will be ok tonight.

No one likes seeing their child sick.  I don’t like where my thoughts go, how paranoid I get.  This is what happens.  There’s no trust that something awful won’t happen.

I think it’s become worse now that he’s older.  Every day we creep closer to him hitting 17 and a half months.  I cannot bubble wrap him and stick him in a helmet.  He’s going to get sick, he’s going to get hurt, it’s just so tough not to completely fall apart when it happens.

It’s time to pause and just breathe.