Lately I have found so much solace in the writing of other’s. This piece spoke to me on so many different levels.
Tonight I went out with the girls to see the movie Bad Moms. Absolutely hilarious, loved the message it sent. I loved every moment of that movie and how it portrays how hard we moms have it.
At the end of the film, the cast was talking with their moms, sharing stories from their childhoods. It was cute and funny and I found myself thinking, how would this work if one of the girls had lost their mom? I watched the banter between mother and daughter and smiled.
Then one of the mom’s started tearing up and saying that she was so proud of her daughter as a mother. She said that she was a great mom. Such a simple, beautiful statement. It nearly broke me in two as I realized that I will never hear those words from my own mom.
It’s been over twenty years and I am still shocked at how hard this hit me. It was like a punch to the gut, realizing there was still more that I have missed. I have been walking around for so long with this gaping wound on my heart and it was like someone sticking their finger in it. Nothing has affected me as much as this has in so long.
It reminded me that no matter how normal I think I am, all it takes is a little trigger to remind me of all that I’ve lost. It’s not as if I’ve ever forgotten my son or my mother, quite the opposite actually. We talk about them all of the time in my house. It’s more that I realized again how much was missing from my life.
I’ve cried buckets of tears over me not having a mom, over my children not having a grandma. There are a million times that I wanted her here to fix things, like moms do, especially when my son died. But I never once thought about how much I needed to hear from her that I’m doing a good job. It never even occurred to me until tonight.
One of the lines in the movie is that parenting is so hard because you don’t know if you’ve done a good job until the kids are grown up and then it’s too late. My mom never got to see what strong, independent daughters she raised. She never got to see me as a mom.
I forgot how awful this feels. I can’t believe that something so simple can turn me into a puddle so quickly. So much of my life lately has been centered around the kids and I think that I sometimes forget that I need to take a break to check in with myself and see where I’m at. And when I don’t, tonight happens.
I know it will never end, but when it hasn’t happened in awhile, it takes me a moment to catch my breath. I wish that I could tell her what a good job she did. I wish that I could tell her that I had a really happy childhood because of her. I mostly just wish I could hug her and feel just for that one moment that everything would be ok again.
So I did some googling tonight as to the history of Mother’s Day because I was curious how it all started.
A woman by the name of Anna Jarvis held a memorial ceremony in May of 1908 three years after her mother’s death. She wanted to celebrate her mother’s life and all that she had done for her children. She was honoring her late mother.
Anna’s mother Ann Reeves Jarvis had had thirteen children over the course of her life. Seven of her children had died before Anna was born. Seven. She was a bereaved mother.
Because of a lot of hard work on Anna’s part, the US recognized Mother’s Day as an official holiday in 1914.
For those of you missing your moms today, this holiday was started for you. For those of you missing your children today, this holiday was also started for you. It was grief that brought forth this effort to create a day just for Mom’s.
So when you think of Mother’s Day, don’t just associate it about being for those that are here. It began for those that are not. Happy Mother’s Day!
So I need to write one more entry for CYG to close it out, but in order to do so, I need to look back at where I was last year relative to this year. Suffice it to say, it’s going to be awhile.
I’m curious how different things look through the lense of 2 years out opposed to 1 year out. Yes, there are obvious things have changed, such as Fletch, but it’s supposed to be about where I’m at in my ‘grief journey.’ I don’t know that I like that term because ‘journey’ implies that there is an end. There is no end to this.
I cannot believe that I’m writing about this 2 years out. It all seems so foreign to me now. It’s like that awful thing that happened to someone else-but it actually happened to me. How is that even possible? 2 years out and I still cannot wrap my head around losing Benny and I was there! I guess not too much has changed in that department.
He would be 3 1/2 now. I can’t believe that. He would be in preschool. Maybe he would play soccer or do gymnastics. Maybe he and Darcy would fight like siblings do. A lot of ‘maybe’s’ and ‘would’s’ here. More like ‘should.’
I miss him every day. I watch Fletch, who is so like his brother, and wonder what kind of mischief they might get into together. They have the same flirty smile and deep dimples. I watch Fletch play with Darcy and I’m so filled with happiness and sorrow all at once. There’s someone missing from their game, there always will be.
I’m not surprised at how much I miss him, but rather how much I miss my mom. I feel like every time something big happens, I miss her more. I missed her at graduation, both high school and college; I missed her at my wedding, but most of all I missed her when I first had kids.
My grandmother was right down the street from us growing up. She came over after school and did our laundry, ironed and always had fresh baked cookies and butter cake. My mom’s family is close and I have so many amazing memories growing up with that family during holidays. I miss that. I want that for my kids.
I think what made me miss her most this year was the absence of our remaining parents. Not one of them acknowledged November 8th. No phone call, no email, no text. It probably wouldn’t bother me so much if at least one of them remembered. The worst thing for a grieving parent is the belief that their child is being forgotten. Well, thanks for that.
I know that if my mom was here, she would have been there. She would have been there so much over the last 2 years. She would have been an amazing support, she would have been a parent. It kills me. It’s grief compounded.
2 years out sucks too. All of it still feels so unfair. I mourn for Benny, I mourn for my mom, I mourn that Fletch will never meet his older brother. I’m assuming it will just get harder too, because he’s our after. He doesn’t know what he’s missing. Kind of like Darcy with my Mom. She doesn’t know what she’s missing. It breaks my heart for both of them.
I wish that I could say that it gets easier. It’s like parenting I suppose, it doesn’t get easier, the grief just changes. What used to set you off a year ago is ok and another trigger has taken it’s place. You start to lose another part of that person. It sucks.
I just heard this song for the first time tonight and I’m a puddle. Such powerful lyrics with a message that I know all too well.
All of this ‘Berenstein’ vs. ‘Berenstain’ Bears nonesense has me thinking. I distinctly remember ‘stein,’ but have talked to other folks that remember ‘stain.’ I don’t get it, I really don’t and I’ve been reading articles most of the evening trying to wrap my head around it all.
I was reading one article aloud to Parker that talked about a parallel universe existing or several, where there were other ‘me’s’ that make different decisions. I looked at Parker and said maybe Benny’s alive in another universe. Maybe I brought him into the house like I was going to and then tried to take the key out of the car. Maybe we never went out that day. Maybe we never bought our house, but one with a flat driveway. Maybe, maybe, maybe.
It really got me thinking though, maybe there was no Benny in another universe because I never went to Wentworth and I never met Parker. Maybe my mom didn’t die of breast cancer and I ended up going to school in Virginia as planned. It’s amazing how much one little decision can affect the course of your life. I have no answers for the Berenstein debate. I do not understand how something that I swear to be true isn’t. There’s so many things about this life that I simply do not understand. Maybe there isn’t an answer, it’s not black and white.
Back in May, right before Mother’s Day, I went on my second grieving mother’s retreat. It was much easier the second time around because I knew so many of the mom’s from last year and my support group in Worcester. I wasn’t as anxious going into it. It was an amazing day of relaxation, yoga and being amongst friends. At the close of the day, we sat down with Peggy Huddleston, who authored the book ‘Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster’ where she talks about the mind/body connection and illness/injury. She also lost her son and was working with us to get into a relaxed state so that we could communicate with our loved ones.
I was a little dubious. I still couldn’t explain my experience with Maureen Hancock and I certainly wasn’t a medium. I had a hard time relaxing the first time that we did it. It was almost like being hypnotized, it’s hard to explain. I’ve always been a mind over matter type of person, especially when it comes to pain, but I was distracted by the person sitting next to me shifting around in their seat. I was seeing flashes, Benny’s face, but I wasn’t sure if I was seeing them because I wanted to or because something else was going on. We went around the room and shared what we saw and Peggy led us through the relaxation again and told us to ask our loved ones a question.
I panicked, I had no question for Bennett. I didn’t want to ask him if he blamed me, I wasn’t ready for that. I thought about it and figured I would just ask if he was with my mom. I’ve received so many signs from Bennett and so few from my mom over the years. I wanted to know where she was.
As Peggy put us under the second time I was really able to relax. At first I saw Benny’s face in my memory, but not Benny at 18 months, but an older Benny, a 3 year old Benny (which he would have been at the time). I’d never really imagined him as older, I wouldn’t let myself, it hurt too much. For whatever reason, this is what I saw. It was like looking at a movie with no sound. I asked him if he was with my mom and the picture changed to when he used to play her organ and shake his curls like Jerry Lee Lewis. I wasn’t sure if he was telling me no, or what. The picture shifted again and all of a sudden I was watching him walking. Then the picture zoomed out and he was holding a yellow balloon in one hand and my moms hand in the other. Clear as day, they were walking away from me.
I wasn’t sure if I saw what I wanted to or I was actually able to communicate. Peggy said not to question it, but logical me figured it was too good to be true.
A week later, my friend/neighbor Angela was chasing down WXLO to try to get tickets for their Mother’s Day brunch. At the last minute she was able to win some tickets for myself and another mother who had lost her teenage son exactly a year ago on that day. The brunch was at Uno’s in Millbury and the morning show was broadcasting live. They had a medium there and a nice little spread of food. I had no idea what to expect, as Angela had just messaged us the night before to let us know that she got tickets.
I’ve been warned by friends to be suspicious of mediums. My experience with Maureen Hancock was amazing, but I had taken every precaution so that she wouldn’t know my name. This time, we got the tickets the night before and they were in Angela’s name. There was no way that they had my information.
The medium started with a family behind us and honestly, I felt that I had my closure. I had what I wanted from Maureen and I was silently hoping that Angela’s friend Heather’s son would come through for her.
As the medium was walking around she said that she was getting a Margaret name. When no one spoke up I said that Margaret was my mom’s middle name. She asked me if her name began with a J, guessing Jane and I corrected her with Joan. She said that the she was sitting in the empty seat next to me. She asked me if there were 3 kids in my family growing up to which I said yes. Then she asked about the baby. I asked her which one, and she said that my mom welcomed the baby and was with him. She said he was in very good hands. She asked me if my grandmothers name was Anna, to which I said yes. My mom said she is with my kids and that my daughter has family blood (she’s a spitting image of me and my mom). She said that I’m very close with my mom’s sister (Aunt Dorothy) but that she’s very different from my mom. She asked me if my mom was sick to which I said yes. She said that my mom was the center person in our family and after she died that I took on that role. She said that my dad never recovered and deserves a ‘swift kick’ for falling apart on us.
I’m sure there was more, but my mind was blown. Even if the medium had my name prior to the event, there’s no way that she could have come up with that information. My mom died in 1996, none of this showed up on a google search with my name. She knew my grandmother’s name. I have no explanation. A week prior I was asking her and Benny if they were together and why I never get signs from her and instantly I have answers. I got validation.
After the readings were all over, they pulled a name from a hat for someone else in the room. I was hoping that they would pick my name so that I could give a reading to Heather. I was sitting there in my head saying please Benny and mom over and over. So they picked my name. And Heather got her reading.
I can’t make this stuff up. I can’t even begin to understand most of it. I don’t have an answer. Maybe it’s ‘stain’ maybe it’s ‘stein.’ I don’t know. I’m thankful that those damn bears got me to finally write this post that I’ve been holding on to since May. Believe it, or not, it happened. I can’t explain it, it just is. It just keeps happening, he keeps sending me signs and giving me exactly what I need. God I miss him.
The night of the accident, I had both of our Facebook pages taken down because we were scared that the media would pull information/pictures from them. It was almost a year before we reactivated Parker’s because he needed it for work. Mine remains down and I use Parker’s. I couldn’t fathom dealing with people from back home that didn’t know about the accident. I was already the girl who’s mom died in high school, I didn’t want another title.
The other day I dropped Darcy off at camp and was talking to Tara while toting around Fletch. A woman approached me said, ‘I don’t know if you remember me, but our girls took dance together at the Y.’ I recognized her and began to panic. Darcy was in dance when I was pregnant with Benny. We had a few play dates, birthday parties with this family and Benny had been there. She knew Benny and probably had no clue about the accident.
She asked how old Fletch was and started asking about Darcy. I redirected the conversation to her girls and hoped she would leave it at that. Tara was standing next to me and I knew she could tell as much as myself what was coming.
‘How’s your other son, Bennett I think? How old is he now?’. Now I’ve become pretty adept at telling people that he passed. I’ve never told anyone that knew him before. It was awful. Her reaction, the silence, all of it. I’ve been living with it for nearly 21 months now, but her reaction brought it all back, how truly awful it really is that he’s gone. It cut through me.
I felt bad for her, to ask such a simple question and get such an awful answer. Where can the conversation really go from there? She said she was sorry and I said it’s OK, which it’s not. We talked for a few more minutes about dropping her daughter off at camp and she left.
As soon as she was gone I think that Tara and I took a collective breath. I didn’t have to say much, Tara knew. It was like being on a train headed for a collision with no brakes.
The irony was that I had toyed with the idea of putting my FB page back up, but I don’t think I’m ready for that. For now, I’m ‘Parker.’. It’s a good thing that Parker really doesn’t care what I do as long as I maintain his business page. Things that were so simple before have become so complicated.