A month and a half after Benny died it was Christmas. Instead of sending Christmas cards, I was sending thank you cards to amazingly generous people that had helped us out. The second year, I decided there was no way that I could ever send a Christmas card again. It felt weird without my entire family being involved. five years later, not much has changed for me.
My sister sent this to me today and man does this author speak to me. Maybe some day I will be ready to send out cards again, maybe not. That’s the funny thing about grief, everyone’s path is different.
Send the cards. Or dont. Just do whatever makes this season survivable. Sending love.
This is one of my favorites. We had readings from The Velveteen Rabbit at Benny’s service. I can’t read this story without choking up a bit.
CYG – Day 4: Light & Dark
This is an interesting topic for me because it’s something that I deal with daily between Benny and Fletcher. I’ve written before that I don’t know where one begins and one ends sometimes. I think any parent that has a child of one gender and then goes on to have another probably confuses the memories, calls the child by the wrong name, etc. What makes it even harder is the resemblance between the boys. When Darcy was born she had black spiky hair and looked like Parker (obviously that changed), but both boys came out blonde and looking like Darcy and I.
Benny’s a little older than Fletch in the photos, but the resemblance is there. My mother in law had a photo at her house and Parker and I weren’t sure which child it was. I’ve decided this is a good thing and to go with it. Fletch certainly has his own (whiny) personality that sets him apart from his brother.
There are days when it’s hard though, when I’m exhausted and covered in spit up and I think to myself, my goodness, would we be dealing with this infant stuff again if Benny were here? Would we really have had more kids? It’s hard not to get really angry in those moments, to not think we’d past all of this and dealing with 3 year old stuff instead. I’m being brutally honest here. Now, I would never wish that Fletch wasn’t here and after all that we went through to have him, I know how lucky that we are. Those moments are rare and fleeting, and I wish it wasn’t always one or the other, but that we could have them both here together.
This is my dark. My one or the other. It sucks. I could never choose between my boys, I love them both so much. It was never my choice in the first place. Some days it feels like a choice though. When I realize that the day has passed and I haven’t spent any real time thinking about Benny, but I spent the whole day with Fletch. The guilt is insane. I haven’t been to the cemetery since Fletch was born. I’m working on figuring out how to have both exist in my life. It’s this weird balancing act that always seems out of whack.
Fletcher is my light, he is my happiness and my hope. I would do anything in the world to see him smile or get a chuckle out of him. There is nothing that I love more than to snuggle that little man or see him interacting with Darcy. He has brought so much life into this family. He has brought so much happiness into my life.
How do they coexist together? How do I grieve when I am so happy? Anyone that thinks having another child after yours is deceased makes it easier is dead wrong. It makes it complicated, because Fletcher’s life will always be intertwined with Benny’s death. It’s so hard to grieve and feel joy simultaneously and that’s what I’m struggling with.
Day 3 – In Honour
I started this blog in honor of our son Bennett. I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about grief, anger, hope, etc. but today is all about Bennett. I’ve written bits and pieces about him here and there, so I’m thinking today that I’ll share some stories.
About a week or so before the accident, we were having some family time in the living room. Parker and I were sitting on the couch and Benny was in his climbing stage. He kept climbing on the coffee table and looking at us with that Fletcher twinkle in his eye looking for our reaction. After about the third time of this Parker decided to turn the table on it’s side. He looked at Benny and said ‘good luck!’ Well, not to be outdone, Benny climbed right onto the table on it’s side while Parker just started shaking his head.
When Benny first started walking in the summer of 2013, he would run from his bedroom to the bathroom at night for his shower with Darcy (baths weren’t an option with this child). He’d do his little naked dance and inevitably pee the entire way. It got so every night I would follow him with a towel. Darcy finally turned and looked at me one day and said, ‘Mom, why don’t you just put him on the toilet?’ (duh). So we started every night and that kid would go. He was only 15 months when this started, but he would actually use the toilet and figured out how to hold it until then so that I wasn’t cleaning pee off the floor every night.
Benny was a pretty calm little guy as far tempers go. With Darcy things were often a battle of wills, with Benny it was just so much easier. He was a very mild baby too, didn’t really cry for the first 6 months. As a toddler, he was usually very happy and pretty easy to parent (as far as attitudes go). It was rare for him to throw a tantrum, but when he did it was hilarious! I would often have to look away and laugh as he would get onto the floor in frustration.
Benny was a dream baby. He slept through the night early on, he rarely ever cried and was SO even tempered. There were days that I would panic that there was something wrong with him, Darcy had been so spirited from birth. Benny was my snuggler. He would find that spot on your shoulder in your neck and just settle in. He was a terrible napper, but just so happy all of the time. I was so lucky to have had such an easy going baby.
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.
Another thing that comes along with grief is lack of memory. Again, I don’t know if you just stop paying attention to everything or if you just don’t care anymore. I always prided myself on having an excellent memory. Parker’s has always been terrible (unless it’s driving directions or automobile related), so I’ve always had to depend on my own memory to keep everything straight. Sure I had a calendar and reminders on my phone, but once I wrote something down, I committed it to memory too.
I’m better than I was a year ago, but it’s as if the memory part of my brain broke and whoever put it back together again forgot a part. It feels like I can no longer store or process all of the ‘stuff’ that goes on daily. The fogs lifted a bit, but I still can’t see clearly.
This is why I needed to blog all of my Benny memories before Fletch was born because I was so scared I would forget or get the boys confused. I still so frequently call Fletch Benny and I’m scared that I will interlace their babyhoods and confuse them. I needed that written history to keep them separate.
This is why Fletch still sleeps in our room. I’m scared to move him into Benny’s room. Sure, the crib has been down for awhile (Darcy’s using it as a headboard) and sure it’s cluttered with baby crap, but it also holds my Benny memories. His name is still up on the wall and his clothes are still in the dresser. It’s the one part I cannot bring myself to change.
It was so hard cleaning out his room last winter. We really hadn’t been in there much since the construction started, but I needed to start sorting baby items. Well, mice had gotten in through the attic opening, so I knew it was time to take down the crib and do a thorough cleaning. We gave Darcy the crib as a headboard and were making good headway until we happened upon hid shoes. I was alone when that happened and just lost it and knew that there was no way I could touch his dresser.
I’ve gone through all of his old clothes from birth to 24 months and have bags full that will someday get made into blankets for us. I couldn’t put Fletcher in them, thank goodness we have friends that have hand me downs. His dresser still sits full with the clothes that were in there the day he died. Untouched now for nearly 23 months.
I don’t know what to do about it. I’m afraid if I move Fletch into that room then I will lose my Benny memories, or confuse them with Fletcher memories. Fletch could probably use his own space. My therapist says I should split the room and try to make space for both, but it’s such a small room and I don’t think there’s room for another dresser. Besides, I’m nothing if not practical and it will make me nuts to have a dresser that we don’t use in such a small space.
So instead the room sits empty. I have no answers. We made that room for Benny when he was born. He didn’t move in until he was 6 months old because it took us so long to finish, but it’s his room. I don’t want new memories in there to cloud my memories of him.
We hope to move eventually, but for the short term, there are no answers. Benny bunked with us for 6 months, I suppose that gives me roughly 3 more months to try and figure this out.