Category Archives: death of a child

Light a candle.

Let us take time this season to reflect on the year,

to reflect on how those that grieve showed little fear.

Whether hearing names or looking at photos of occasions passed,

we were finally able to smile and possibly laugh at last.

Courtesy of our little angels who play among God’s side,

giving us the strength to face each day while acting as our guides.

Light a candle on December 9 and every day of the year too,

so they may look down from the heavens and see a beautiful light show all the

year through.

May our Baby B rest in peace. Play nice in God’s garden and sleep well.

We miss you so.

 

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Where do you find courage?

“Well maybe we can start on the beginner wall.”

“Mom, I’m not like 4 ya know! Just get me on the tallest wall!”

Oh boy. So, he climbed. He climbed and climbed until he rang the loud old, bell. As I glared up, he smiled ear to ear. No fear. No care in the world. Climbing down, he’s shouting, “See Mom! Parents don’t know everything right?!”

I sometimes wish I had his courage. I wish I could revert back to childhood, where I only cared about hopping on my red Big Wheel, racing down the sidewalk with my pig-tails in the breeze. A simple life, like T, who wants a playdate all hours of the day, even if it’s 9:00 p.m. on a school night. His strength, a child’s strength, is just surreal to me. I want to fall to pieces sometimes because of the heavy grief, yet looking at him, I wonder, “How does he do it?” I believe it is because children simply live “in the now” and enjoy every bit of it. As adults, however, we know more of fear, worry and consequences.

I worry what will happen as he ages; will he remember B more, or less? I worry about making the family feel “complete,” as it once felt. Now, the holidays are approaching. Not an easy time for anyone in the grieving process. Heck, getting out of bed can be a tedious task at times, let alone sitting with large groups of people at holiday dinners. However, one learns to put worries aside. Faith teaches us B will be waiting to see us once again. Until that time, we will try to be more like T: Live loud in every moment and be courageous.

Where do you find courage?

 

The world of Lego pieces

The passing of B’s second Angel Date has left us simply numb, which is why this writing has taken some time to reappear. We find that time doesn’t necessarily heal, but rather, just passes. We notice T and his friends getting taller (and a little bit louder!) and B’s tree getting fuller.

Two years ago, we didn’t know what life would be at this point, missing B beyond words. Yet, strangely enough, our current situation is somewhat like T’s latest obsession: Lego’s. One purchases a set of Lego’s for a ridiculous price, builds it according to the plan, only for it to get torn apart the very next day! We planned our family with a purpose, read all the books and heard all of the advice about raising children, only to have our family torn apart. Awful.

However, remember, one can always rebuild the Lego pieces, creating something exciting and new. This is our current status. We fluctuate through all stages of grief, yet our lives continue, in a rather “okay” way. We would not have thought that two years ago. Who knows where we would’ve ended up as a family. So, we cannot say it gets better after a loss, but we can say one becomes more appreciative of time.

Savor the moments. Sit down in silence and build a new Lego city together because sometimes there are no words that need to be said. Sometimes you know exactly how the other feels.

Shadow boxes

“What do you miss most?”

The question comes up every now and then when we speak of B. My husband and I miss his hearty laugh while T misses the way B would yell from the crib. The difficult part has been how to treasure those moments as keepsakes. So, we have created shadow boxes .

We got together in B’s room and each chose some of our favorite items belonging to B. My husband chose the “old man” floppy hat and T chose some loud, obnoxious toys; I had to choose B’s socks! The child had such huge feet for a 16 month old! Thus, we took all of these items and made lovely shadow boxes. They now hang rather beautifully in B’s room. I look at every item in those boxes and I can recall an exact moment in time with B.

We have other items belonging to B that we used to create special gifts for family members, like pillows from bibs and blankets. We wanted to do a nice gesture to those who loved B most. Of course, in our families, everybody wanted more items! It is just that we couldn’t part with what little we had left of B.

God only gave us 16 good months with our boy, so we will never have his first tooth that fell out, his first day of school picture, and well, I cannot go on. That being said, we are a little selfish with the things he left behind. We treasure his first pair of shoes, the last set of dirty clothes that we never washed, his little lock of hair…

The shadow box creation was another activity that gave us time to speak with T about B, keeping the lines of communication constantly open with him and showing him our support. Creating shadow boxes can be a wonderful experience to honor those special moments in the present or moments we can now only reflect upon.

Gutter balls.

“Mom, if I bowl a strike, I’ll have good luck! If I get a gutter ball, then it’s your fault!”

“Okay then, T!” I replied, just smiling as I shrugged my shoulders. Really?! I love it when everything becomes the parents’ fault. Quite funny, if you ask me.

Yet, T made us realize that bowling somewhat reflected life. Whether you roll a strike or land in the gutter, you pick up the ball and continue to play. So relatable to life: we must continue to live no matter what is thrown at us.

Just last night, we continued to talk about our bowling outing and how B would have enjoyed it. T thought that B would have been taking every turn, whether it was his turn or not, because he was a beast! He had the rough personality and T is Mr. Sensitive. We savor these family outings, like bowling, because life can become so hectic these days. Family time has to be a priority.

As we got ready for bed, T said, “B is SO not going to let me get gutter balls again! I’m lucky because I have an angel and my friends don’t have a baby angel who will stop the gutter balls!”

Yep. That one got to me…Tears flowed…followed by a smile. Dear old dad even got teary-eyed.

May we all dream about our baby angels who watch us through life and help us avoid our “gutter balls.”

You cannot tell anyone how to feel.

I was recently sent this poem by a dear friend. She was waiting for the appropriate time to share it with me, and admitted that she found it via internet research. I am thankful she shared it, and I did shed several tears as I read through the lines. I thought I should share it with others, because we never know how someone is feeling, or what it may truly be like to live with a loss. I think my surviving son, as well as my husband and I, struggle with some of these emotions that the poet shares. Yet, we are creatively working through our grief. I always say that those that grieve must wear disguises or masks, because there are some days we simply cannot speak or move, and yet we do. It is amazing.

“Don’t Tell Me” by Shawty Dew Whap, copyright 2012 www.gspoetry.com

Please don’t tell me you know how I feel, unless you have lost your child too.

Don’t tell me my broken heart will heal, because that is just not true.

Don’t tell me my son is in a better place, I want him here with me.

Don’t tell me someday I’ll hear his voice, see his face, because beyond today I cannot see.

Don’t tell me it is time to move on, because I simply cannot.

Don’t tell me to face the fact he is gone, because denial is something I can’t stop.

Don’t tell me to be thankful for the time I had, because I wanted more.

Don’t tell me when I am back to my old self you will be glad, because I’ll never be as I was before.

What you can tell me is you will be here for me, that you will listen when I talk of my child.

You can share with me my precious memories, you can even cry with me for a while.

And please don’t hesitate to say his name, because it is something I long to hear every day.

Friends please realize that I can never be the same, but if you stand by me, you may like the new person I become someday.

It will swallow you whole (if you let it).

Now that the weather has been warming up, everyone has come outside to socialize and catch up, since winter hibernation has ended! It is wonderful to see and hear the children laughing and playing. Sports season has come upon us, so we get to see families we haven’t seen in some time; it is quite enjoyable. With that, however, comes the dreaded question, “How are you doing? Are things better?”

Wow. Are “things” better? Hmm.

I get annoyed by such a simple question of, “How are you?” And for goodness sakes, what do you mean by “things”?! I never really thought about the meaning or interpretation, really, until we suffered our loss. Now, the question just annoys me. I never know how to respond, and I usually respond in a polite manner. Yet, I just want to casually say, “How do you think I should be?” or “What do you think?” Basically, “Hell no! But I think we are doing a pretty damn good job of keeping it together!” My husband and I just shake our heads and smirk at one another.

People ask other questions that make me reflect more on the process of grieving, like, “So, how have you been feeling, and how can I help?” Honest, upfront, and comforting. People that know me, really know me, understand how sensitive certain topics can be and know how easily I can speak about certain topics. I have come to have strong opinions lately! I do get annoyed, more now than ever, by lack of compassion or selfishness. I have learned to read people better, become a better listener. I have also become a great observer, seeing how people relate to each other. I think it is because we have become more compassionate; this journey has not made us an angry family. Nor has it made us a family that has fallen apart, which some may have thought.

I look at our journey, thus far, as this: Your sadness will swallow you whole, if you let it.

We are sad, will be sad, and accept that it is okay to be sad over this. Miss him with every second of every minute and every breath. Completely natural. Yet, I accept that I have laughed, been out with my girlfriends, had dates with my husband, attended family functions we all love to hate, taken up boxing, stayed up late to watch reality television…I accept living in the now.

We are living. We are not questioning why or how or when or who. We are grieving, yet we are living. Some people can’t, or choose not to, move beyond losses. Some cannot appreciate what wonderful happenings are occurring right now. Well, that can be very sad. We, however, will not let sadness make our lives miserable.

Advice to all: You certainly know life is too short. So, what are you waiting for?