Elephant in the room

I bumped into an acquaintance yesterday, a gentleman I had not seen is a few years.  I asked about his family.  He asked about my husband.  We chatted about cars and the weather and the news – but we both felt the elephant in the room.

I noticed he chose his words carefully, even stopping mid-sentence and re-phrasing.  He started to ask “How is the fam….. – How is your husband?”

I smiled and pretended not to notice.  He was avoiding making any reference to my son.  I know he knows of our loss – and I know he was trying to be considerate.

Why is it that way?  Kind, caring people gingerly step around the elephant in the room.  Is it because they don’t know what to say?  Is it because they are afraid of upsetting me?

I am grateful for the dear friends and family in my life who invite me to talk and share about my son.  I will always be his MOM and I will always miss him and I will always love him. I need to talk about him.  When I walk and speak with my Heavenly Father, we chat about my dear son often – HE listens.  I know HE does.

Does anyone else notice this elephant avoidance behavior?

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Mom is such an amazing word

I remember the very moment I was honored with the title of Mom – my heart was filled with love.

Mom is just such an amazing word.

The first time I heard my baby call me MOM – I thought my heart would burst! Love, joy, devotion, protection, fierceness – so much is wrapped up in that word, MOM.

I remember the last time I heard my baby call me MOM. Knowing it was the last time is unbearable!

Peaking out of the Pit

February 25th marked the third anniversary of my son’s death – my only child. The pain just overwhelmed me an I let myself slide down into a dark pit. I still did all the things I had to do such as go to work, farm work, house hold chores – but my mind was in a very dark place. I have not blogged in weeks. Just couldn’t. I kept reading others blogs and, as strange as it may seem, that helped.

Oddly, I felt so disconnected from life, people, everything – but reading your blogs lifted me. I am now peaking out of the pit, just peaking. Thank you – for somehow being a lifeline. Your stories, your willingness to share – it is light.

I am trying to practice mindfulness – being present in only this moment – mind you I said “trying”.

Self critic – a bully and a victim

Do you ever stop and think about how many mean things you say to yourself everyday. If I had a dollar for every time I called myself fat or stupid, I would be able to pay cash for that Alpha Romeo I want. I would never treat my friends that way – I love them. Today, in just the last hour, I called myself a fat cow, an idiot, a dummy, and a few other words I should not write here. Wow. When I look at these words written in front of me – I see a bully and a victim – and they are both me!

Why do I do that? I blame myself for my son’s illness. I blame myself for my husband’s issues. I criticize myself when the house isn’t spotless or the dinner isn’t perfect. How do I stop?

I do so many things I don’t want to do.

I don’t want to pretend I am OK when I am not.

I don’t want to bully me.

I don’t even want to eat these cookies.

STOP!!!

I need to get back outside. Back in the saddle. Back in the garden.

For now, I am putting away the vacuum cleaner – AND the cookies, and heading off to my craft room with my Charlie dog.

After the clown show

You see, grief doesn’t end, at least not for me. In 18 days, it will be three years since I lost my son. To the world, I am “OK”. Because I get up everyday and put on the clown show. I smile, socialize, interact – everything the world has come to expect from me. I have to – I am the strong, responsible one.

At the end of the day, when the clown show is over – when all my adult responsibilities have been fulfilled, I can curl up with my dogs – alone, in the dark. Then, I can grieve. I remember. I cry. I smile. I love. No clown. No pretend. Just me.

The clown show is exhausting to me. I welcome the dark, late at night.

I don’t think I want to be a clown anymore – maybe, just maybe – people will just have to accept that I am different now. I need to learn how to stop pretending.

I’m angry

You show your pain

I hide my pain

I’m angry

You fall apart

I carry you

I’m angry

Everyone worries about you

I am invisible

I’m angry

You say I am strong

But I know I hurt too

I’m angry

I am responsible

I am the adult

I’m angry

I love you

I worry about you

I’m angry

I am sinking into bitterness

I am invisible and forgotten

I’m angry

I have to be strong

To be strong, I have to be angry

I don’t know how to stop being angry

The Birthday

Today is my Son’s birthday. He should be 37. He should be with his lovely wife and precious son. He should be with his Dad and me. Instead, he is permanently 34 years old. I can’t hug him. I can’t see him. I miss him so much. Time heals nothing. The ache is so deep, constant – exhausting.

Today, despite the recent cold spell – a tiny lady bug was sitting on my kitchen counter, next to my Keurig and coffee cup!!!

I scooped up my little visitor, held him, and sobbed. I whispered a secret message to my son, and released the tiny messenger.

I do believe in signs and visits. It made me feel better.

Breathe

Holidays are tough when you are grieving. I will always be grieving. I try to hold onto the light, the good things – but there is such a gaping hole. According to my grief counselor, I am dealing with delayed grief, or what ever label one attaches. I always feel like I have to be the strong one, the responsible one – so I hold everything in – take care of business. SO – Here I am going through the 3rd Christmas without my son, my only child and – it isn’t any easier for any of us. My husband is hospitalized, so I am holding down the farm. So, I spent the holiday with my animals and a nasty respiratory infection. Finally gave in and went to the doctor. My asthma was flared up and needed a treatment. So I spent my morning in a the medical center, doing a nebulizer treatment – 2 years, 10 months, and 6 days after my son died of a severe asthma attack. Each breath cut through me – I will finally had to admit how guilty I feel – he got the asthma from me, I know it. I feel like it is my fault, my punishment and I don’t know why. No matter how many times I tell myself, it isn’t my fault and it isn’t about me – I can’t stop the thoughts. They attack in waves. I love my GOD so much, and I lean on the GREAT SPIRIT for comfort and healing, and I know HE did NOT TAKE my child, HE received him in love, just like HE loves me.

Still – the thoughts come. My son, a young, successful Emergency Room Doctor just finished a shift saving lives. Why couldn’t they save him? He saved lives. He made a difference in this world. Why is he gone and I’m still here? What do I do? I hate these thoughts – I suppressed them as long as I could – now I have to let them out so I can let them go.

Breathe. I tell myself just breathe and let it go. I needed to lance this abscess so I could get this poison out.

I needed to spend this holiday in my home alone so I could deal with my grief, and not be responsible for anyone else. I don’t have to put on the brave face. I am spending this day in prayer, in healing – just me and my dogs (and hugs on the horses, mule, cat, – and patted the goose). I absorbed their love – pure, honest love.

Maybe, if there is any good that can come of my grief journey – it is to share the revelations – tell someone you love them and give them a safe place to express their grief. Everyone needs to express the dark thoughts without judgement or condemnation or fear of rejection – Don’t hammer a broken person over the head with the Bible. Remember, it is the word of GOD, not a weapon. Instead, Hold their hand and pray with them.

If you are hurting, you have to breathe and let it out – scream it out – curse it out – even break something if it helps. But the abscess never heals unless it ruptures. I hold onto my big Ol’ Charlie Tarheel (My German Shepherd) and I cry and I pray. Strange as it sounds, I believe he is my spirit animal, sent to guide me to a closer spiritual relationship and a stronger faith. That works for me. I pray everyone in pain finds what works for them, to bring healing. Please, don’t give up. Continue the journey.

Prayers.