Tag Archives: grief

Blue

24 Nov

After Sammy’s death, we pretty much threw all of his things in plastic storage containers and stacked them in the closets in his bedroom. We just weren’t ready to go through his things, and I certainly didn’t want to give anything away for a while.

I’ve written blog entries about some of the things we have donated or shared with other children with HPE, so I have let go of some things when I knew there was a need by another child.

Five years later, Steve and I are currently in the process of cleaning out those closets and transitioning Sammy’s room into an office where I can do my work for Families for HoPE and hopefully begin working on Sammy’s scrapbook again.

As we empty and clean his room, I can’t help but think about the weekend in 2003 when we painted and prepared the room for Sammy. He was about 6 months old, and we decided that Sammy needed more space and the amenities of the master bedroom would be better for the nurses who worked with him at night while we slept.

With the help of our family, we spent an entire weekend painting and getting the room ready. By Sunday evening, we were able to officially show him his new room.

As I carried him into his room and laid him down in his crib, I was shocked by what I saw. The dark blue walls reflected off of Sammy’s pale white skin and made him look blue! I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony. My baby with a tracheostomy who had a knack for holding his breath was in a blue room that made him look blue! What was I thinking?

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It’s time…

6 Jan

“The reality is that we don’t forget, move on, and have closure, but rather we honor, we remember, and incorporate our deceased children and siblings into our lives in a new way. In fact, keeping memories of your loved one alive in your mind and heart is an important part of your healing journey.” ~ Harriet Schiff, author of The Bereaved Parent

This weekend marks Sammy’s 4th heavenly birthday. It doesn’t even seem possible that four years have passed since the last time we held Sammy in our arms.

This weekend, Steve and I are taking a road trip to West Virginia to visit David, one of my favorite little guys with HPE. On what would have been Sammy’s 6th birthday, we made this same trip. The goal of that trip was to deliver Sammy’s wheelchair to David. This time, we are delivering Sammy’s bath chair to him.

We have only given a few of Sammy’s things away because I just haven’t been ready to part with things yet. Everything holds such meaning and memory, but maybe it’s time to take pictures of things and let some things go. There are other children who need or want these things that have just been sitting unused in my closets for 4 years.

So, I’ve decided to make a scrapbook for my memories… including a picture of Sammy using the item or playing with a toy, a picture of the item or toy by itself, and a picture of the recipient using or playing with the toy. In addition to the photos, I can journal a memory, share my feelings on letting go, or my thoughts about the recipient(s). All there for me to look at whenever I want.

It won’t be easy, and I know I’ll need help to do it, but it’s time.

I Lost My Child Today

6 Jan

I lost my child today.
People came to weep and cry,
As I just sat and stared, dry eyed.
They struggled to find words to say,
To try and make the pain go away,
I walked the floor in disbelief,
I lost my child today.

I lost my child last month.
Most of the people went away,
Some still call and some still stay.
I wait to wake up from this dream.
This can’t be real. I want to scream.
Yet everything is locked inside,
God, help me, I want to die.
I lost my child last month.

I lost my child last year.
Now people who had come, have gone.
I sit and struggle all day long.
To bear the pain so deep inside.
And now my friends just question, “Why?
Why does this mother not move on?
Just sits and sings the same old song.
Good heavens, it has been so long.”
I lost my child last year.

Time has not moved on for me.
The numbness it has disappeared.
My eyes have now cried many tears.
I see the look upon your face,
“She must move on and leave this place.”
Yet I am trapped right here in time,
The songs the same, as is the rhyme,
I lost my child……Today.

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It’s a no-mascara, Kleenex-carrying kind of day…

28 Dec

On a typical day, I have wardrobe drama. That’s where I stand in front of the closet trying to figure out what I’m going to wear. If it’s toward the end of the work week, it also includes wracking my brain in a desperate attempt to remember what I wore earlier in the week. Back when I was younger and more self-centered than I am now, I would tell my mom that I wanted a wardrobe change when I died. I wanted an outfit for the evening calling/visitation, and then I wanted a different outfit for the funeral the next day. My reasoning was that I didn’t want to be caught dead wearing the same outfit twice. Thankfully, I’ve grown up a lot since then.

In recent weeks, the morning drama has been more focused on whether or not to wear mascara. If the mood is good, I wear it. If there’s a possibility of tears, I don’t. After Sammy passed away, I don’t think I wore mascara for at least a year; that was a no-brainer.

Today is a no-mascara, Kleenex-carrying day. Steve and I are going to Cincinnati today for a “celebration” service for Lula, one of Sammy’s friends. I say Sammy’s friend because she and Sammy are hanging out in heaven together now and that is a great homecoming celebration. The tears and mourning are for her family and those who must now continue on without her physically present in their daily lives.

My heart breaks for broken-hearted parents because I know the pain they feel. The emotional pain is obvious to us all, but I know the physical, mental and spiritual pain that they will experience in the coming days, weeks and months, and I’m helpless to do anything about it.

Today, I will witness two parents who will show unbelievable strength and courage. It’s the same strength and courage I exhibited 3 years ago, and while they’re being strong and courageous for everyone else, I will be shedding the tears that they are trying to hold back.

Today, the mascara remains in the tube while the Kleenex doesn’t stand a chance of surviving.

Graduation Day

23 Sep

Yesterday was graduation day, but there weren’t caps or gowns; no turning of the tassel or playing of Pomp and Circumstance.  To the rest of the world, it was just another Wednesday night, but to us it was a milestone.  Yesterday, we officially “graduated” from grief counseling.

Steve and I began meeting with a therapist two months after Sammy passed away.  Although I think we were probably doing okay at that point considering what we had been through, it seemed like a logical thing to do.

I let Steve select the therapist and make the appointment.  We met with the therapist weekly, and after the first few appointments, I just felt like it wasn’t really helping me much, although Steve was really connecting and making good strides in his mourning.  After about 6 weeks, I began to see how each session was building one upon the other and gradually I felt the sessions were making a noticeable difference.

For the next 18 months, Steve and I would continue our weekly sessions with the therapist. Occasionally, we would need to reschedule due to a conflict on the calendar, and if we missed a week, I could definitely feel it.  But in time, we began scheduling appointments for every other week, then monthly.

Participating in counseling was therapeutic and was one of the best decisions we could have ever made.  A few weeks ago, I was thinking about our sessions, and it occurred to me that we’ve been in grief counseling for 2 1/2 years.  “2 1/2 years?”  My next question to myself was, “Why are we still in therapy?”  That’s when I knew that we were ready for graduation day.