Tag Archives: Signs

Connecting the Dots

Today I had a doctor’s appointment and I was talking to the nurse who taking my blood pressure, weight, etc.  She was talking about how she lived near me and how awful our hill is in the winter.  Of course at this point in the conversation I’m wondering if she knows ‘our story,’ but this is a fleeting thought as we continue to talk.

I have to admit that she looked familiar, but I figured that I had just seen here there before.  We’re chatting away when she stops and looks at me says that she doesn’t really know how to say this, but she was there, in the road with me the day of the accident.  She was one of the nurses that gave Bennett CPR.  I didn’t know what to say, I was completely caught off guard.  I had known that there were 3 people to do CPR on Benny, but it was all such a blur.  The police had no information for us on who was involved and we found the others on our own.

About a month after the accident, my sister found an article from the T&G that interviewed this nurse that had been on the scene of the accident.  Quite honestly, I had no idea that she had been involved at all until after the fact and I had contacted her to thank her.  She was the only person that I had still not met.  Until today.  I got to hug her and tell her how thankful we were that she stopped to help us, to help Bennett.  She said she would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Just another amazing stranger.  A hero among many that showed up for us that day.  How amazing for her to cross my path over a year later.  I have to think that this is the work of a little blue eyed angel.

Advertisements

I Said It

A week or so ago I had a doctors appointment. I was sitting down with the nurse and an intern to go through the normal ‘stuff’ and she and I were chatting. I had seen her at the doctor’s several times and we had always exchanged pleasantries.

She asked me how many children I had. My normal answer is to say that I have a daughter. This time I said that I have two and I held my breath to see where the conversation would go. She asked how old and I told her that Darcy had just turned six. I then took a deep breath and said that I had a son and that he had passed.

The intern kept doing what she was doing, completely unfazed, but the nurse stopped and looked at me. She asked if I had just said that my son had passed and I told her yes, he had. She looked at me and said she was sorry and I kept waiting for ‘the look.’ What happened next took me by complete surprise. She told me that she had lost one of her daughters 2 years ago. She was one of ‘us’, she got it. She talked about her daughter and I talked about Benny.

I wanted to give this woman a hug, she had just made the first time that I really told a stranger about Benny pretty damn easy. I was sad for her too though. Here was this woman that I had talked to several times, never knowing that she knew all too well my pain. We’re everywhere, moving forward through life, even though we don’t want to.

This moment brought me up short. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so alone. It was like the hospital all over again. Another stranger reaching out and making it ok for us. I truly believe that Benny was all over this too.

Day 8 – Resource

Today I’m to focus on resource, what has helped me along the way in my grief journey.  Goodness, where to even begin with this one…

People.  Many, many people have done amazing things for us.  I can write lists and lists of names, we would be here forever.

My friends, I do not know what I would do without your love and support (TARA!!!!).  Those of you that have stood by us and put us first, there are no words besides thank you.  After the accident it was like they swept in and took control of everything.  They took care of us.  You, that still read everything that I write, you’re the ones.  You amaze me with your patience with us and your love.

My family, there are some members that have just gone above and beyond.  You were there when I lost my mom and you have been there for me again.  I know this hasn’t been an easy journey, so thank you.

My co workers came in out in droves and spoiled the crap out of Darcy after the accident.  I really work with an incredible crew of people that truly care.  It’s a large, dysfunctional family.

Strangers, these people that are neighbors, or live across the state.  We didn’t know you before November 8th and now I cannot imagine my life without you.  You have stood by us, while others have walked away.  You have taken a stranger’s little boy into your heart.  Your love is so healing to us.

My fellow grieving moms, where would I be without them?  My Donna’s and my Sue’s that were strategically placed into our lives because of the accident.  How amazing is it that our sons brought us together when I needed it most.  Thank you Brian and Ryan.

Blogging has been a major resource for me.  What started as a very personal journal turned into something so much more.  I’m now part of a community of grieving mothers.  I’m connected with people that ‘get it,’ that speak the words that I often cannot.  There is so much kindness in this community, so much love, so much understanding and NO judgement.  I have met the strongest group of women.  I’m so thankful for their love and support.  I don’t know what else I would be doing at 1 AM without them.

The Greg Hill Foundation has had a major impact on our healing.  They may not be a grief resource necessarily, but being involved in an organization that gives so much back to the local community has helped us tremendously.

Our counselors, Kate and Annie.  Kate has worked with both Parker and I over the last 11 months.  She gets us, she’s our cheerleader.  She’s helped us to hold it together and work through our grief together (as much as we can).  She helps to be my voice of reason and is always quick to point out my accomplishments.  Annie has worked with Darcy since January and has been so instrumental at helping her to deal with her grief and be able to move forward.  She has worked closely with me and now Darcy is to a point where we see her only once a month!  This is a huge deal (not that Darcy is happy to lose her ‘Annie time.’).

We’ve been blessed in so many ways.  I do get very angry at the Universe, I feel that it’s taken a lot from my life.  When I’m able to take a step back though, it’s brought a lot of wonderful things into my life too.  This isn’t tit for tat, by any means, but it truly helps to be able to look at the positive every once in awhile and appreciate just a little all of the beautiful people that are a part of our lives.

DSC_0130

Consequently, I just noticed that my bib number for the Benny’s Bunch walk contained his birthday, out of order…5-17

Kisses

Darcy and I went to the library yesterday.  When I walked in, there were tons of toddlers in the kids area, running around, making noise, and I couldn’t help but smile.  We didn’t go there often with Benny, but had been in the fall right before the accident.  It’s hard for me to be there.  

There was a little man there, maybe 16-18 months.  I was looking at him and smiled, then went to search the computer for books that Darcy wanted.  I wasn’t really paying attention to what the kids were doing until one of the mother’s called out the name Bennett.  I couldn’t believe it.  I had never met another Bennett when the dude was alive, I couldn’t believe that there was one in the library.  His mom asked him to put the bus away because they were leaving.  Our Benny had a yellow bus, it was his favorite.  It was the only toy I ever let him bring to Sandy’s and he would vroom it all over her house.  

I’ve been seeing his name everywhere since I’ve been home.  Most recently in a book I read (couldn’t tell you what it was about because my focus is all screwed up again) the characters last name was Bennett and she had PTSD, how appropriate.  Parker’s Aunt once told me she considers this ‘a kiss’ from our children.  It’s a beautiful way to think about it.

While in Canada, I had a Benny dream, the first in a long time.  He was older, maybe 4 or 5 and dressed in a tux or suit and I think he was going to be in someone’s wedding (bizarre).  He looked at me, all handsome and grown up and told me that he loved me.  It was a surreal experience, because even in my dream I realized just how significant this was.  Some part of me knew that he was gone, this wasn’t one of those dreams where you wake up and think he’s still alive.  I knew in my dream what a gift this was.  Tara dreamed about him a few days later.  Keep it coming bud.  We’re used to being on our toes where you’re concerned.

Some Perspective

14 - 1 (4)So, as I’ve said before, my heart wasn’t really in the walk this year. Believe me, I’m not proud to admit it, but it is what it is. All of a sudden losing my mom at the age of 49 didn’t seem like the greatest tragedy anymore.

Sure, I trained, but I think more to get me up and out of the house. It gave me something to focus on other than the tragedy that has become my life. Sure I raised the money (and then some) because we are blessed to have some amazing people in our lives. I couldn’t believe that after all of the support that we received following the accident, people still donated to my 3 Day walk.

So, if I’m being honest, I wasn’t really excited to walk. It felt weird to be there to try to raise money for cancer when someone can die in a car accident just as easily and there’s not a thing that you can do. I was very conflicted this year. How do I honor my mother and grieve my son simultaneously?

Opening Ceremonies hurt. I stood there amongst survivors and those who had lost their mothers just like me and I felt horrible. How can I grieve for a woman who lived 49 years (which now seems long to me, amazing what a little perspective can do), when my son didn’t even get 18 months? How can I even begin to wrap my head around it? I really wanted to leave. I was ready to admit defeat and walk away. It no longer felt like my battle. There was so much sadness and all that I could feel was everything that I had lost.

What kept me there was all of those donations, all of those people that I felt that I had made a promise to. So I walked. Day 1 was rough to say the least. I blame it on the fact that Tara is now 30 and this has caused both of our bodies to age. Truthfully, I think we both had a shit year and probably weren’t ready to deal with the walk not only physically, but mentally, but we forged on.

I didn’t expect Bennett to be there, I should know better by now. I had noticed as we were walking several different banners with sunflowers. I smiled and took it for the sign it was. As we were crossing the street, I went to look closer and stopped dead in my tracks as I noticed the dates on the banner-the day he was born and the day he died. Tara had to yell at me to hurry up and take the picture because the light had changed and I was still in the middle of the intersection gaping at what was in front of me.

14 - 1 (5)

 

 

Mind blown, once again, but it was yet another sign from the little guy that I was where I was supposed to be. We then passed by the Bennett Arboretum. Sign number 2.14 - 1 (8) Our tent number, just happened to be B-88, there was that number again, this time preceded by the letter B. Never mind all of the coke cans that read ‘Mom’ or the fact that the only song that I heard at the last pit stop on Day 3 was ‘Carry on.’

We walked through crowds of people, all cheering us on. People were on the side of the road handing out tylenol, water, soda, jello shots (!), you name it. They came out in droves to support us walkers. I’ve walked Boston for 9 years and I have never seen anything like the community support that showed up in Michigan (sorry Boston!). The crew was phenomenal and so encouraging. It made those first 22 miles bearable.

When we made it camp that first night I felt relieved. I was beginning to remember the joy that comes out of being involved in an event like the 3 Day. We sat down to dinner and watched the different entertainment that was on the stage. Up walked a woman that was 32 and stage IV – perspective. She was diagnosed at the age of 29 with Metastatic Breast Cancer – perspective. She was emotional, she was scared, she was inspiring. The light bulb dinged and suddenly I remembered why. I remembered that I did this walk to heal from my mother’s death, but it has become so much more to me. I remembered that this wasn’t about me or my son, but something so much bigger (that was a hard pill to swallow, not sure how long it will last). I remembered why I walk, why this is so important to me. I had to look outside my own grief, which wasn’t easy once it’s become a part of your every day life.

Then I looked at my life. What if I had been diagnosed at 29? How would Darcy’s life be? Would there even be a Benny? For the first time in a longtime, I actually felt grateful – perspective. Now I’m not going to tell you that Days 2 & 3 were a breeze, but remembering why I was there, feeling it in my bones that I was 100%, absolutely where I needed to be made it easier to carry on.

It was a good weekend. It was a good reminder to me that there is life outside of my grief. Sometimes we’re just so blinded by it, that we can’t see. It was a glimpse. Now that I am home again and on the other side, it sucks. But I will hold onto everything that that 32 year old woman said to remind me why I walk.  In this instance, I was not powerless or helpless.  I could fight back, I could walk.  I don’t know yet how to ‘fight back’ after what happened with Benny, I’m not sure if I ever will.  I think that’s going to be one of my biggest obstacles, feeling powerless.  At least for one weekend, I had a little perspective, a little breather from the endless grief.  Thank you 3 Day.  Thank you mom and Benny for keeping us moving.

Benny’s Garden

After the accident, Parker had these grand ideas about creating a garden/zen like space somewhere in our yard. If you don’t know my yard, it’s the kind where wild things grow, where nature takes over and landscaping is a battle. When we bought our house some ten years ago, the yard was so overgrown you could barely see the front of the house. I remember walking through the backyard and feeling like I was in the book ‘The Secret Garden.’

For years we’ve tried our best to tame our wild things. For years we’ve also tried our hand at a vegetable garden to no avail. We tried to grow them in pots from seeds, than seedlings with no success. This year I figured that if my soil could produce such beautiful flowers and an abundance of weeds, logically it would be the best place to grow our vegetables.

Parker borrowed a rototiller and built raised beds. Darcy and I had planted seeds back in March and some of those we were able to transplant, but most of them didn’t make it. We had tried sunflowers, but they also were sun fried and wilted. So while Parker was on the Great Race we planted cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, strawberries, squash, corn, pumpkin and beans from seedlings. I really had no clue if this would work or what would grow, so Darcy and I planted a little bit of everything. We put up some netting, watered nightly and sat back and watched the garden bloom! It finally worked!

Darcy and I began calling this our ‘Benny Garden.’ I hung my wind chimes out on a tree nearby and bought a large metal sunflower and hung it on the fence. We moved our ‘Benny light’ that was given to us by a stranger from the roadside memorial and put a little picket fence complete with pinwheels, Benny’s favorite.

At the same time we bought the seedlings, we bought more sunflowers and tried again to grow them in pots. I eventually moved the pots over to the vegetable garden and was excited when the sunflowers actually began to grow! What was even more exciting were the sunflowers that were mysteriously growing in both raised beds. The only ones that we had planted were in the pots and now 10+ sunflowers have started to sprout up everywhere in the beds inexplicably. Perhaps inexplicably isn’t the right word. Once again, my little man’s work.

Just when I feel like I haven’t gotten a sign in awhile, something so concrete happens. People say that it’s happening because we are open to it, but I would say it would be hard to miss what’s happened in the last 9 months.