A post I shared with friends and family yesterday..
5 years ago this AM, I woke, next to my husband, on a pull out couch in a family room connected to the NICU. I had to face the reality that this would be the last morning I would be going to my son’s bedside. It was the last morning I would hear my husband whisper “Good morning, I love you” to our son. No one knows the reality of pain and grief until you have to see the look of fear and helplessness on the face of your husband and know in your heart that you can never change it. Never take it away, Never make it better. It was May 16, three days after my first Mother’s Day. It was a Wednesday. It had been 20 days since we left our home in sweat pants and t-shirts heading to the hospital as I was bleeding. That day, we rocked, read stories, and just cuddled. At 4:19 pm, I sat in a rocking chair holding our son as a DR kneeled in front of my chair with a stethoscope pronouncing our son. May 16, 2012 1619 hrs. Despite it all, we are blessed as many families never get to hold their children, to feed them, to read stories. We have so very little but to us those 19 days are a whole life, The life of our only child. Even though you see us at the store, just us, pushing a cart of groceries. We are not a family of two. We are a family of three. We are parents, we have a son and his name is “C”. He had eyes of blue, curls like his father with hints of red, his mothers nose, his fathers feet. He was 39 cms long and weighed 1442 grams. He was a 28 weeker. I was in active labour for 15 hours before being taking for an emergency C as he was breech. Today, I had to watch my husband leave for work, crying and in pain. All I can do is be here when he returns and we will go and visit our son. To those that read this I do hope one thing rings true. If you are able to tuck in your child tonight, feed them supper and even if there is a tantrum, above all else remember you are the lucky one…..do not take advantage of your gift. To “C” with much love Mummy and Daddy..
Today, I sit at my desk. I am not really working. I do not get much work done this time of year. My mind is elsewhere. Sleep is also not something I do much of. I read. I immerse myself into the written word. Another person’s tale, their reflection, their picture. My reality forgotten when the page is turned.
Tuesday, will be the 5th anniversary of the death of our son. This weekend I will be celebrating my 6th Mother’s Day. We are still a family of three. Our arms are still very much empty.
One never knows what life will bring. To be 20 and looking ahead at 30 and 40 and 50. One never knows the love, stress, pain that one will endure. I do not wish you to think there is not happiness in our lives. There is, however, there is very much pain as well. That pain is ever-present and never-ending.
I am awaiting my tulips to bloom, spent my first Sunday at the lake for the summer. I am doing a walk with my friend in a couple of weeks as she has just been diagnosed with MS. I belong to Quilt Guild and just finished up our Quilt show with 320 items on display. My sister and my nephew were just home to visit.
Although, life is busy and never-ending that does not mean that my life is a constant joy. We do what we can, however, we do cry in the car on the way to work, or sit in tears in the living room early on Sunday morning. The house is still, nothing is moving.
This path was chosen for us. I have decided to accept some detours and create some on the way. It is all that I am able to do. I do not have the power to change it or make it different.
Life continues to be a struggle. My family still do not understand our feeling and wishes at times. My mother and sister cannot understand why my husband and I cannot hold our nephew. It is not possible. I am his mother. My arms are a very special and sacred place. They are where the love of our live took his last breath. I have tried to speak of it in a sense for them to understand. That does not mean we do not want to be around. To be involved to be part of it all.
I am being and doing what I can, what I am able.
This weekend I celebrate the life of our son. I will spend time with my husband, just the two of us. I will check my flower beds and wish for spring tulips.
Grief, is a lifetime journey. As with everything in life, our experiences mold our life, change our life. No, I am not debilitated. I am able to function, I get up, I dress, I leave my home. I live a productive life generally. Work, house, yards, gardens, quilting, reading, travel. But each thing I do and each place I visit I do so as a grieving Mother. I see things through a different filter.
Wishing you all a very Happy Mother’s Day and sending much love to those that will be standing grave side with me as we visit the resting place of those must precious to us.
Four years ago today was “C”‘s official due date.
Four years of longing. Four years of wishing and dreaming.
56 cycles with 55 ending in nothing and one in a miscarriage.
I look toward the future. I still hope and dream. I am not ready yet to say that I am done and to close up shop. Not that the shop is working anyway but as long as you keep it open there is still a chance right??
Well it seems that my turkey dinner will be had 850 miles from home.
My parents are making the trip to see my sister and baby that weekend.
The apprehension has already started. Days away from home. Might be alone as it depends on if Hubby can get time off work. Oh yes, and the baby in the room, my nephew.
Will my sister understand that I do not touch or hold babies? I am still not able to. Will they feel slighted? Oh, land. Will they understand that me coming and being there is all that I can do? All that I can handle. If she goes to term he will almost the same ## of days old as “C” was.
Four years ago, I was at home preparing to go to my son’s funeral. I have been up most of the night. I just returned from getting my hair done. I have thick, straight, baby fine hair. It does what it does and I have the best hairdresser, that made the day far less stressful.
The day mostly is a blur. Arriving at the funeral home. The drive and surrounding drives were packed with cars. My pastor was warned. There could be 10 or there could be 100. As it was, I believe there were 170+ people there that day. Our pastor had married us 8 years previous and used many of the same scriptures from our wedding day. It had great meaning for my husband and I.
We then made the 10 minute drive to his grave. We had internment followed by my husband reading his last bedtime story. Then it was over. There we stood hand in hand. Looking into the grave of our only child.
This photo is etched into our son’s headstone.
Today feels much the same. The weather is a bit darker. However, there is a breeze. The emptiness, dread and sense of nothingness has not changed in 4 years. No matter, the time, the space, the distance. A grieving parent cannot outrun, out travel these thoughts, these feelings.
Today, I thank God I had 19 days with our beautiful son. Today, I am grateful to be able to call myself his mother. Today, I feel like the single biggest failure.
You remember those moments. Those thoughts. Those dreams. You remember each and every wish and demand. I begged God to take me instead of him. I begged him to protect his life. I begged him for my husband’s sake to protect his only child. When you have sat vigil at your child’s side watching and protecting them. Begging for their life only to have to beg God to take them from this world so that they will suffer no more. Time does not matter. Whether, they lived a day, a week, 19 days or 20 years. It is your child. Your life.
On the weekend, my husband and I went to town to get my summer flowers. I have many perennial beds and I do up a few pots for around the drive. In the 2 hours we were in town, we came across 3 different families that were in our prenatal class with us. Each of them now have 2 children. The reminders, the constants are always every present in our lives. It was difficult. I told my husband that I was ready, I needed to go home now..
These past 6 weeks much has taken place. Our cousin that was expecting. She had started contracting at 20 weeks 5 days and was hospitalized. She got ill the first week of April and delivered at 28 weeks 5 days. He weighed 3 lb s 3.08 oz and 15″ long. He has done well and is over 5 lbs. These weeks watching and knowing from afar have not been easy. They are most fortunate. No infections, no assisted breathing from day 1. One hopes so much they truly do understand just how fortunate they are.
I will be having a nephew come September. My sister is doing well. I knew in my heart it was a boy when she told me 10 weeks ago. It seems I am correct. All tests are great. She is nearing 39 and opted for amnio. Now, I mentally just look toward the markers, week 28, week 32.
Tonight, I will drive up the road to his grave. I will say goodnight and blow him a kiss. I will tell him that I love him so very much.
Each year I have a goal. To be done shopping and wrapping by December 1st. My goal is to not feel rushed, stressed, crazy, nuts, annoyed at the stores.. The list goes on.
In the past years this has been increasingly more important. I cannot handle the people. I want to be involved but parts of me cannot. I cannot handle the elbow to elbow at the stores. The pushing, the tones of annoyance. I cannot handle listening to Mother A and Father B yelling at their respective children because they are in fact behaving like children.
I am sitting pretty good. The shopping is 97.5% complete. The wrapping is 60% complete. I started to decorate yesterday. No, the tree is not up. However, my husband has a Holiday Birthday so I leave the tree up until after New Year’s so that gives me a bit of time at the first of the month.
The past couple of weeks have been crazy. I have spent a total of one evening home. Go here go there. Midnight Madness, Black Friday, Tree Lighting in town, run errands, birthday parties, making crafts for this one and that one.
There is a Historic Site in my area that decks out for Christmas each year. All decorated to the nine’s and the ticket sales help with the upkeep and restoration. I have been wanting to attend for years but have never been able to fit it in. This year was a charm! It was beautiful. All the lights shimmering. All that was missing was a dusting of snow.
Christmas has always been one of my favorite holidays. After “C” passed away the meaning left us. I no longer find much joy in the season. My whole reason for the hustle and bustle is gone. Well half of my reason. Although, no one under 10 lives at our home Santa always makes a stop. I have found over the years that I just want to be home. To close the door. To spend the time at home. I do not want to run here and there. I do not want to be on someone’s schedule. To change my life to fit their time. I do not wish to sound selfish. However, it seems that we are always the ones to change. To adjust, to fit in. No one ever wants to know if it works for us.
I cannot handle seeing all of the children. I find Christmas Eve service the hardest. All the little ones in their Christmas best. They are so very adorable! Most likely, we will not go again this year. We will go and spend time at “C”‘s grave.
We have received news in the past week that there will be another new addition to the family June 2016. Yes, in a family the size of ours it grows exponentially each year. We do our very best. We are so happy for them. That they will have the joy of a child in their life, however it once again reminds us of our loss.
Today I sit and I cry. My husband and I went to the woods yesterday. We cut down a tree. Tonight, I will decorate it for my son’s grave. It will have white twinkling lights and a huge silver star. White snowflakes and ribbons of red and white. Tonight, I will send all my love and wishes to my very own little Angel. Love, Mommy.
Last evening, I was taking a stroll on my treadmill. Which is conveniently located in front of the TV. As I flicked through the channels I decided to watch “Roseanne” re-runs.
Mistake # 1.
Who knew, that watching a show that had brought much laughter into our younger lives could make one cry so much. Yes, the show is considered a sitcom. However, if you sit down and watch a few episodes, you will soon realize the messages within. Last night’s episode “Her Boyfriend’s Back”. Found Becky and Mark borrowing Dan’s bike for the night without permission. We saw Roseanne & Dan trying to parent a teenage daughter. Becky learned the ultimate lesson of disappointment. She realized that making her parents angry was one thing but disappointment was far worse to endure. We see the love Dan felt for his daughter as he tried to bridge the gap between then after their falling out. Roseanne went to Mark and expressed her love for her daughter and silently told him that she only wants him to treat her as she should be.
Throughout this entire 30 minute show, flashes of my future kept coming and going. We will never have these times and arguments with our son. We will never be at wits end because he had started dating a new girl and was missing curfew. We will never get the opportunity to sit and chat and talk about that pretty new girl and the color of her hair and tease him about their future. As I sat and watched the show the tears continued to fall.
Who knew “Roseanne” could be so deep!