Missing My Mama

This weekend is SO hard for me. I’ve lost my mom and my son. Add to that the snow, a pandemic, some murder hornets and by golly this is shaping up to be an explosion of anxiety and emotion!

What a weird year to be alive. It’s truly hard to try to stay present too with everything going on. Things seem to change from moment to moment, facts are no longer facts until they are again and the entire world is feeling the weight of the chaos happening right now. I keep saying it’s a lot because well, it is.

And you know what always makes everything better? Mom. I cannot tell you the number of times I have said in my head over the years, ‘I want my Mom.’ Anytime something big, awful or happy happens, it’s my first thought. It plays in my head on a loop.

Even though I’m forty, there is still nothing I would want more than to speak with my mom. To have had her there for all of the important and the tough times. Twenty four years later and little has happened to change that.

I’m going to share something I wrote 4 years ago because it still rings true. Happy Mother’s Day to all of the Motherless Daughters. I see you. I know what you want this Mother’s Day.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/what-ive-learned-in-the-20-years-since-my-mothers-death_b_9856944

Siblings Day

April 10th is Siblings Day. Everyone posts pictures on social media of their siblings or children. I took a picture of my 3 while we waited in the car at the vet for the dog and all I saw was the missing piece. Another day that is just so hard after losing a child.

I came across this article and after reading it, felt a little lighter. Because just like Mother’s Day, Siblings Day was actually started from loss. A woman that lost her sister created the day on her sister’s birthday to memorialize her. My heart breaks for those have lost their siblings, their first friends.

https://modernloss.com/what-siblings-day-means-to-someone-with-a-dead-sister/?fbclid=IwAR0zTE146mjja2rPKU0DrlSaZiiKR_j_k1rjk-RSyCt34BRV01YrzkI36wM

I’ve been lucky in that sibling loss is about the only loss that I haven’t had to face. I’ve been lucky because I have my older sister. We have different mom’s, but you would never know, because we have more in common with each other than most would with an 11 year age gap.

She’s my person. She’s my go to for most things in life. Not only because she’s my sister, but also because she stepped up when my mom died when I was 16. She was the one who took me to visit colleges when I was a senior. She was the one that gave me my first credit card (and I’m sure promptly regretted it). My sister was the one who helped me to plan my wedding and spent countless hours with me when I had questions about my babies as a new mom. My sister was at the hospital when my son died and helped to plan his Memorial. She was there when my babies were born to help out at home with the other littles.

She didn’t have to do any of those things. We didn’t grow up together, we actually lived in different states. We didn’t get close until I was older, mostly due to the age gap. I am lucky. And I don’t think I have ever thanked her for everything that she has done. Because when I write it all out, it’s a lot. So thank you Deb. You are amazing. And I love you.

The Lesson

I’ve read several posts about all of the beautiful things that we will learn from this pandemic. That we need to slow down. That we need to spend more time with family. That we shouldn’t take simple things for granted.

There are definitely things that I hope change. I think the entire system of education and healthcare has been shown to be insufficient at best. For the first time parents are seeing how fucking hard it is to be an educator in this country. We have learned that our current healthcare system doesn’t work if everyone doesn’t have access to care. We’ve learned that the hourly wage earners are our heros and that our health care workers wear invisible capes. The way we view the world has changed.

And I get that we need a silver lining. We as humans need to bring some meaning into this madness. But at what cost? Is it fair that someone had to suffer in sickness or even die for you to learn that lesson? Is it fair for us to bypass another person’s anguish for our own reasoning?

I am struggling with the memes. All of the happy anecdotal memes that speak of the great things that will happen because of the Covid-19 pandemic. I understand them. I even agree with them. But deep down they bother me.

I know that a lot of people have died. And when people try to add reason to that I have a very hard time. It comes across almost like a crude sacrifice. As if one person’s death is ok because the environment is doing better or it forced Little Johnny to become closer with his dad.

Nothing happens for a reason. Our loved ones do not die for a reason. There is no lesson in any of it. They die and you do the best damn job that you can of picking up the pieces and figuring out what you’re supposed to do next. And who even knows what that means?

I will never find reason with all of the loss in my life. I will not look at this disease and massive loss of life as a lesson. I know what it is to lose someone you love suddenly and expectedly. Neither is easy or fair.

This is complicated for me. Yes I hope that there is change and yes I hope that people recognize that the way we were doing things has failed. But the death of 80,000 people shouldn’t be used as a lesson. It’s unfortunate that it’s taken this for us to open our eyes. So many of us afflicted by grief already know not to take things for granted already. Now the world has joined us.

Covid Grief

https://www.theverge.com/2020/4/1/21202122/coronavirus-grief-mourning-isolation-funeral-die-alone

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.

Pandemics, Paranoia and Loss

I am having a hard time putting into words what I’ve been feeling the last few days. Anxious is probably a good place to start. Maybe followed by feelings of vulnerability and lack of control. I’ve been feeling exactly how I felt right after the accident and Benny died.

It’s hard to even write that because nothing concrete has even happened to trigger these feelings. It’s the not knowing what is next with Covid-19 that is eating away at me. I am struggling.

I’m feeling overwhelmed as both a small business owner and a mom. But I’m mostly feeling overwhelmed as someone that has witnessed tragedy close up. It causes me to pause and panic. I want to know all that I can so I can best prepare for whatever outcome we may face when this is all over. And call me crazy, call me paranoid, that’s fine. My reaction is my own and is a reflection on my life and my experiences.

So we may make choices that you don’t agree with concerning ourselves and our family. We may be a little more paranoid and a little more afraid than you.

I’ve held my son as he died. This is not something that I share lightly, but rather to explain that we will take every step that we can health wise and financially to keep ourselves from going through something like that again. I know that children seem pretty safe with this virus and Parker and I are also pretty low risk. But there are no guarantees in this life. And unfortunately, we know that all too well. I will do anything to keep my children safe from hurt.

I also would never want to pass this sickness onto someone that is immunocompromised or elderly. That alone is enough to keep me home and minimally at work. I don’t want to be the reason that someone else has to suffer.

I’m scared. Loss has scarred me in a way in which I will never heal from. It makes me anxious when others may be complacent. It makes me recognize each little thing that can wrong every day.

It has also taught me about love and hope. And I don’t take either of those lightly. I am humbled by the amount of both that are part of my every day life. And I desperately need to hold onto them in the coming days to see me through.

I have no idea where this ends or what will happen. Just know that if you have suffered loss and this Virus is leaving you on edge and feeling completely vulnerable, you are not alone. It’s ok to not be ok. We will get through this easier if we can acknowledge this and realize that we are all in this together. ❤️

Empaths

Do you know what’s truly beautiful? When someone can look at you and know your pain without ever having gone through it themselves. And they get it, they truly get it. I’ve never felt more seen in my life. My feelings have never been more validated.

I’m still floored, all these 6 years later by the people that chose to be a part of our grief. Some were in our lives before, others showed up after. These after people have chosen to put the waders on and trudge through this shit show of emotion with us. And they are truly incredible.

True empathy is a rare thing and we have been so lucky to see so much of it and have many empaths in our lives. My children get to see community and love in it’s truest form. And I am so thankful for that.

I am humbled by our village and those that chose to show up. I feel so lucky to have these amazing people in our lives. And to the one that saw through my pain, I am overwhelmed by your capacity to understand it. Your heart amazes me.

#thisischildloss

Finding A Light

I have been struggling. The winter is so damn hard for me sometimes. The monotonous days stuck indoors are really hard. As much as I love my children and I love working with my husband, it can all just seem repetitious.

I am desperate to feel the sun on my face and spend hours outside. I want to feel grass beneath my toes and watch green leaves sway in a lazy Summer breeze.

At the same time, I love snow, I love skiing, I love sledding. But I don’t love the darkness and the cold. And it gets to me. I can feel myself sliding, moving backwards. I’m more tired, I’m more irritable. I’m way less motivated to do anything. And once I get into this slump, it’s very hard to ‘unslump’ myself.

There’s all this talk about, ‘being your own light,’ which is great and all, but what if you can’t be? What if what you’re going through is really hitting you hard and you can’t find a way back out? There’s a lot of pressure to fix yourself, by yourself.

This last month has felt this way to me. Just a lot of stuff weighing heavily and I know that the endless winter weather doesn’t help.

I hate the feeling of sinking. I know when it’s happening and sometimes I welcome it for the break that it is. Sometimes I just need to zone out (as best as you can with 3 kids) so I can try and process whatever this new grief slap is so that I can get through it. Sometimes I get stuck. Sometimes I just can’t find my light.

This time I recognized it for what it is. I am feeling stuck. I am feeling sad. I can’t turn my own light on right now. And that’s ok. I didn’t try to fight with myself or self deprecate. I knew I needed something.

Sometimes you need to borrow a little light from someone else. And I’m ok with that. I can’t be everything to everyone without needing a little help myself every once in awhile.

I’m ok with borrowing some light while I take the time to make mine bright again. The one thing grief isn’t is consistent. You can be fine and then all of a sudden something comes along to knock the wind out of your sails. For me it’s been several something’s.

So I’m ‘unslumping’ with a puppy, something I swore up and down that I would never, ever do. We’ve always rescued the big dogs that no one else wants. But sometimes you have to go outside of what you would normally do. If death has taught me anything, it’s certainly to take chances or do something I wouldn’t normally do.

Meet Dutch

Sometimes ‘unslumping’ means getting out of your normal routine. Sometimes it means go for a walk, get outside. Or maybe treat yourself to an ice cream or a haircut. There’s nothing better than when I feel good on the outside how it helps me feel a little bit better or the inside. Or, go get a puppy. You only have one life, do what you want to make it a little bit better.

#thisischildloss