Pictures

We’re leaving on vacation tomorrow and I had promised Darcy that we would work on a scrapbook of her and Benny. Of course I forgot to print out pictures, so here I am at midnight uploading to Wal-mart in my frenzied last minute panic.

I just sent 187 pictures to be printed. 187 memories of my family complete. 187 times when we were whole. 187 times before the accident that made us a family of 3 again.

I don’t often go here, because it hurts too damn much, but I’m sad tonight. I think some part of me goes about my day playing a part, as if Bennett didn’t exist. What an awful way to live my life. It’s too hard to remember what actually happened, so I think I’ve processed it as if he’s gone away. Not tonight.

I’m looking at these pictures and it devastates me so much to see my kids together. That will never happen again, Darcy will grow older in pictures alone. She has a brother that she doesn’t get to see, or touch or laugh with. There is no feeling on earth worse than this right now. IMG_4260

I know that I had it all and now it’s gone, he’s gone. I cannot get Darcy’s comment out of my head when I told her to play by herself, ‘but mom, I had a brother.’ It’s brings so many happy, painful memories to my mind. I cannot stand being alone in this house with her, it reminds me too much of what’s missing.

I had a son. His name was Bennett. I miss him.

Sometimes…

About 8 years ago, my 3 Day walking team and I put out a cookbook. I was going through it tonight looking for something and found these words that I wrote,

“sometimes people just pass through our lives and only stay long enough to make a difference.”

How very true indeed. When I think about all of the lessons that my children have taught me about life and love I feel lucky. They changed me, they changed my marriage and they made us a family. They made my life whole.

So my life is a little bit more like a donut now, there’s a big piece missing from the center, my munchkin is gone. I never thought that I would have a boy, it seemed such a foreign idea to me because I had two sisters. It hurts to remember all of the laughter that that little boy brought into my life. How coy he was when he smiled and how ridiculous he was when he tantrumed (it really was quite funny). He made me so happy and balanced out his sister. They were yin and yang. Maybe it was because they were so young yet, but they rarely fought. Most of the time Benny had Darcy in stitches, laughing hysterically over some antic that he had pulled. He was a performer and comedian and could have done so many amazing things with his life.

Today I was cleaning in my room and Darcy was behind me every time I turned around. I finally told her she needs to learn to play by herself for a little bit. I was picking something up off the floor when she said to me, ‘it’s because I don’t have a brother anymore to play with.’ It was a good thing that I was bent over so that she couldn’t see my face. How does one even respond to that? It was like someone physically stabbed me, it hurt so much. I wish I can make it all better, but I can’t.

Benny taught me happiness and laughter. Everything could be funny with him around. He taught me about patience like never before. He taught me about having a little boy and loving a son. Mostly he taught me life is short, there are no guarantees, how presumptuous of us to assume that there is a tomorrow. His life changed me, his death changed me. I miss the laughter and smiles. I miss Darcy’s playmate.

My Doodle Bug

Over and over people say to me, ‘I don’t know how you do it.  I don’t know what I would do, how I would go on.  You’re so strong.’  While this is said as a compliment, people need to realize that there’s no choice.  I don’t have the option to not be strong, throw in the towel, I have a 5 year old.  There is a little girl that needs me to still be her mother, to take care of her and love her.

I had two children.  Because one is gone, I don’t have the option to shut down and stop living life because I’m grieving.  I lived through that when my own mom passed and my father couldn’t deal with it.  One of the first things that I promised to myself and Parker was that I wasn’t going to disappear, that Darcy would still have me.  This doesn’t make me strong, this makes me a mom.  

For every person that is doubting what they would do in my situation, you would put your children first, period.  After you have to look your 5 year old in the eye and tell her that her brother has died, believe me that you will do everything in your power to make sure that she feels safe and loved.  You would move heaven and earth to make it ‘better’ for the surviving children.  Even on days when I am on the floor in the kitchen crying, I know that if Darcy needed me in that moment, that she would come first.  This doesn’t make me strong, brave maybe.

We’re lucky that we sent Darcy to Kindegarten when we did, otherwise she would have been with us that Friday.  When that thought crosses my mind, I cringe.  I’m thankful that she was safe at school, happily ensconced in pretend play with friends.  I’m fortunate that we have the most amazing neighbors that came in and took charge of her in what could have been a terrible situation when she got home from school.  These are people that responded before we even had a chance to ask them.

We are lucky we have her.  Without her, I don’t know that I would get out of bed every day and put one foot in front of the other.  She is beautiful, outspoken, courageous and brave.  She is my little doodle bug, as tough as they come.  She saves me everyday.  I’m so lucky to have her in my life and that I get to be her mom.  I spend a lot of time missing Benny, but I also spend a lot of time realizing that I have this amazing person in my life.  She gives me so much hope for the future.  She makes me feel lucky to be a mom.  Love you to pieces my doodle bug!Image

6 Months ‘AA’

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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.

Questions

IMG_4115Today Darcy asked me about the accident.  The first time that she asked came across as accusatory, she wanted to know if I was paying attention, if Benny was strapped in tightly.

She started off by asking how my mom died, and then why.  I knew what was coming, so I braced myself.  I tried to remember that she’s only 5 and not to tell her more than she’s asking for.

It started simple, ‘Mom, how did the accident happen?’. ‘We were outside of the car and it began to roll.’ ‘Oh, how did you get hurt?’ ‘The car hit us.’ ‘You should have been in the car.’ ‘We had just gotten home, we were getting out of the car.’ ‘Oh.  How did the car hit you, I don’t understand?’ ‘My door was open and it hit us.’  ‘Where was Benny?’ (Insert the sound of my heart breaking, if there’s anything left) ‘In my arms.’ ‘How did you get hurt?’ ‘The car door knocked us on the ground.’ ‘Did you cry?’ ‘Yes’ ‘Did Benny cry?’ ‘No…he was gone.’ ‘Gone where?’ ‘To heaven baby.’ ‘Oh, I didn’t know it can happen that quickly.’ ‘Sometimes it does.’ ‘OK, I thought the car had runned you over.  Maybe we should change the driveway, plant grass instead, that way if you fall, you won’t get hurt.’. Silence, don’t really know what to say to that.  Of course I’m driving, so I can’t completely break down.

After a few minutes I said,’sometimes things happen that don’t make sense, like my mom getting sick or the accident.  We’ll never know why it happened.’  ‘I think a spring in your car broke.’ ‘I think we live on a hill.’ ‘Oh, yeah.’. ‘Are you OK with what we talked about?’ ‘No, I’m not Mom.’ ‘Me either…’