This right here is exactly what I’ve been seeing and feeling. It’s really, really hard to miss my grief groups. I love that we can meet online, but I miss being in the room with my people vs. looking at them Brady Bunch style.
There’s just something about being able to put your hand on someone’s shoulder in a show of support. I miss my hugs from my special people that just seem to know when I desperately need them. I miss hugging those that hate hugs, but need them nonetheless. I miss losing myself when I’m in a room surrounded by other grieving souls, but knowing it’s ok, because here I am safe.
This too shall pass and we are one day closer to all being back together. And I cannot wait. Until then, I will see you all back on my screen.
I was home with my little rainbows the other day when my four year old son came over to me with tears in his eyes. I was potty training with the 2 year old, which consists of whisking her through the house before she can pee on my carpet whilst she screams at me that she has to ‘go right now!’. So I’m in the middle of wiping butts and washing hands when her brother approaches me with big crocodile tears running down his cheeks.
‘What’s wrong buddy?’ I’m asking not really paying attention as I’m trying to clean up the mess his little sister made. ‘I really miss Benny. I’m sad that he died.’ he replies standing there clutching his big brothers picture in his hand.
It was as if someone punched me in the gut, or maybe more accurately, the heart. This beautiful child of mine never even met his older brother. He was born nearly 2 years after he died. It completely throws me when this little 4 year old has these very intense moments of loss.
Later in the day my son was talking about music and how sad music makes you feel your feelings, especially when someone dies. Then you cry. This little guy may be more emotionally mature than I am.
And what am I supposed to do with this? Never in a million years did I expect my rainbows to feel the loss of their brother they never knew this deeply. The whole thing is baffling and overwhelming. My older daughter who knew her brother has been in therapy for years and we’ve all been getting the help that we need. I guess I figured that Benny would be an abstract idea to these ‘after’ children.
Maybe it’s because we have pictures of Benny up all over the house. We talk about him and share stories. We celebrate his birthday and visit him in the cemetery. My children have been raised surrounded by tragedy and death and the realization that young people die too. It’s awful to even pen these words.
I wish I knew how to best handle these moments when they happen, or at least be able to be better prepared for them. But like most instances in parenting, it’s learning as you go.
So I got down on his level and hugged him tight. I told him that I was sorry that he missed his brother and it’s ok to be sad. I cried because it made me miss his brother too. It made me miss everything my boys never got to do together.
As I collected myself the kids became busy with Batman and my son had moved on. He accepted the fact that Benny was gone and he was ok with it, for now. I wish that I could be as resilient in grief as children are.
We have little ones, so naturally we have seen Frozen II. I think I am more excited than my children are for when this movie is released on DVD. Disney has wrapped so much feeling and emotion into an hour and 43 minute movie. Now that I have memorized all of the songs from Frozen II (we play them on repeat constantly), I am desperate to watch it again. The lyrics are so unbelievably poignant and speak to me on many different levels.
If you haven’t seen the Frozen movies, the premise of this particular song is when the snow man, Olaf, is trying desperately to make sense of something that makes no sense. He was created by magic in the first movie, so he is younger and is seeking knowledge. He also tends to be very dim witted (yet lovable) and seems to think that age equals understanding.
Last Friday I turned 40. And even though I had been listening to this song over and over on repeat for the last month, I didn’t realize the message in the lyrics. And how absolutely absurd and hilarious they actually are. I can tell you that no matter what age you are, everything will absolutely make no sense.
The more that I have tried to rationalize the awful things that have happened in my life, the more I have realized that that is not possible. With age, the only thing that seems to make sense is that nothing does. I have changed my thinking from an ‘Everything happens for a Reason’ type of person to a ‘Shit happens’ type of person. Because sometimes things that happen that have no meaning or reason.
When we try to justify something tragic, we do harm to those involved by disregarding the severity of the situation and their feelings towards it. The only one that we make feel better is ourselves because we are creating distance between ourselves and their tragedy. I have been guilty of doing this and I’m sure it’s just a survival instinct, along the lines of ‘that couldn’t happen to me.’ I am now of the mindset of ‘know better, do better.’
I have learned that death, love, loss, tragedy and human emotion don’t make much sense. And I’m making my peace with that. It’s a process to retrain your thinking, but a sudden tragedy will do that to you. Thank you Disney for recognizing how silly of a concept trying to make sense of the insensible is.
Besides where this article reads that ‘crisis happened for a reason’ there is so much truth. You will never be the same. If you can take that new version of yourself and look at them and be the tiniest bit happy with what you see, then I call that a win. We get so few wins in this dance of grief. Take what you can get.
Do things ever seem like they’re going so great, so you forget to let yourself grieve? I mean, we can’t forget to grieve, we’ve lost a piece of our selves. But do you ever not let yourself grieve?
I’ve started about 5 blog posts and written down a few more and just can’t get myself to finish them. I cannot make myself sit down and write them. It’s super frustrating. I cannot let myself go there right now. And I’m not even sure why.
Maybe I’m scared if I do, it will negate what’s going right in my life. And then I feel guilty if I’m not confronting my grief, because what kind of mom does that make me? There’s so much damn guilt in grief.
I remember being upset in the beginning of this journey for feeling happy. It just felt wrong. Happiness felt out of place in this new normal. Now I feel guilty for not allowing myself more time to confront the sadness. And there’s so much. Even after 5 years there’s so much more sadness. Especially in the month of May.
I’ve spent more of my life dealing with loss than not. And I still cannot figure this shit out. I am exhausted.
So my fellow grievers, none of this makes sense. There are no stages or steps to grief, just a person trying to survive the unthinkable any way that they can. And that’s ok.
On February 1st Perry, my youngest rainbow baby officially became older than her brother Benny who passed. Now both of my rainbows have outlived their brother.
I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t tough. Part of me sighs in relief that Perry has made it past 18 months and the other part of me is sobbing inside. That perfect little boy will forever be frozen in time at a year and a half. It nearly breaks me.
Time makes no sense and just keeps moving forward, further away from my Benny. His two younger siblings will never hear his laugh, pull on his curls or touch his dimples. They will know him in memory only.
I am trying to understand what that looks like to them. Benny will forever be this idea, something that existed way before them. I only hope that we can show them how real he was.
As the years have passed, Darcy has forgotten. She was so young when Benny died and the memories seem to be fewer and further between. It’s heartbreaking. A lot of the time it’s as if we are reintroducing her to him as well.
Time is the enemy and the hero all at once. As cliche as it sounds, it can heal. It can breathe joy back into a broken heart. We’ve been lucky to have the other three. We’ve been lucky to have each other. I just wish we could have it all
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 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.