From the moment our daughter, Ryann was born Joey was madly in love with her. She has always been his princess and although he loved his boys, his love for her was different.
The worst part of Joeys passing has always been the pain the children feel. The fact that they will have to grow up without their dad and never be able to experience life with him. But Ryann's pain as always been the hardest. She remembers him not just stories about him. He actually remembers life with him. She cries out at night for him. It's heartbreaking. She is overly sensitive and emotional. She cries if a bug dies because death is real to her. She understands something children should not.
Some moments can be so complex it just floors me. Tonight Mike and I were grilling out in the back yard and taking turns playing ball with his daughter Shelby. We had good music going and a beautiful warm sunny sky. At one point I went in the kitchen to clean up some things and they followed me inside. Mike started dancing with me to a sweet song that came on, and Shelby followed soon after. Before long, we’re all three dancing around in the kitchen together like dorks. Shelby is laughing like crazy and it’s positively a moment from a movie. One of those moments you remember forever, and as soon as it happens, somehow you know you’ll always remember that random silly moment.
The next minute I can feel the underlying emotions stirring. Before long, I’m escaping upstairs with the convenient excuse that I need to write my post for tomorrow. Which was true, but I also needed a moment to myself and I didn’t even understand why.
So I’ve been upstairs a few moments now, had a little cry and collected myself enough. I can hear them still outside playing ball and laughing. Why aren’t I laughing anymore? What even just happened? I’m at a loss for the reason enough that I don’t really want to bother Mike with it when they’re having such fun. It’s more a thing I need to be quiet with a moment to understand.Read more
On mother’s day just past I spent an hour trying to calm my three year old daughter because she didn’t want to get out of the shower. It was a huge tantrum that left the both of us floored and in tears. Admittedly for a while after John passed I let her walk all over me because I didn’t have the energy for a tantrum if she didn’t get her own way. So her behaviour problems towards me are my own fault. As I stood my ground with her and watched her tears fall while she kicked and screamed, I felt defeated. Though I stuck it out with her, for her, because she needs me to be strong. It’s not easy.
On March 31st, in NYC, I was honored to be chosen to give a TEDx Talk, at Adelphi University. My talk was about how we, as a society, need to change the conversation about grief and loss and death, and change the way we treat both the people we love who have died, AND those that are left behind to miss and grieve them. The talk was performed live in front of an audience of about 400, and also was live-streamed on the internet all over the world. The response was insanely amazing and instant, to the live talk. For the past month and a half, I have been patiently (impatiently) waiting for the green light from the TED corporate people, to release my talk into the internet, and be able to finally share it all over social media. Well, my release date was Wednesday, and so it is now out there for the world to see, online, where it will remain forever.Read more
I don't really have anything particular to write about this week. No news on the house, work is going, school is going.
In the middle of it all, I am feeling that ring of sadness around it all. Sad that my life has changed so much as a result of losing Mike, sad that he isn't here to share it with anymore, sad that my future will not include him.
Just the normal, obvious feelings of grief that don't go away.
It seems this word is the one that best describes my life since I dealt with the trauma stemming from Chuck’s death.
It was difficult, when I sought trauma therapy, to accurately describe why his death so traumatized me.
His hospice time, and the drama involved in that, though I very intentionally shielded him from the drama. There’s always drama when someone dies, in one way or another. Family dynamics, right?
Watching him choke to death…definitely trauma inducing.
Saying goodbye to this man whose very breath was my breath…trauma inducing.
The intensity of the words thrown at me after his death, that made me doubt for a second, whether I’d known the man I lived with for 24 years…there was lots of trauma involved in that. Not from the words themselves, but even the vague nano-thought that I’d doubted him…god, that was hugely traumatizing to me.Read more
(So, I wrote this last year on Mother’s Day. I tried and tried to write this week, and the more i did so, the more it read just like the below. So instead, I’ve decided to re-post it, with an update on what has changed, a year later. A year further from losing Megan, and another year growing with Sarah.
I’ve underlined in parenthesis my updated perspectives and thoughts. It’s an interesting examination of what a year can bring...or not bring)
Happy Mother's Day to all the amazing moms out there. Especially the ones who are doing it solo. It's the hardest thing I have ever done. Being a mom is something I always wanted and I love my children. I love having a big family. But it's definitely not something I wanted to do alone. Now I'm mom and dad. I'm working two jobs and going back to school. While raising four kids. And I am blessed to have them. But when you do it alone it becomes way more stressful than you ever thought possible. I look up to you all who have been doing it longer than I have and give me the courage to know it's possible to make it. It's possible to still give your children a wonderful life.
I choose to not celebrate Mother's Day. I should probably embrace it and be grateful for all the loving words and small gifts but two years ago on Mother's Day I had to sit my children down and tell them their daddy was dead. It's a day I will never forget. My youngest boys didn't understand, my oldest understood all to well. And my daughter I will never forget that pain that in a second of being told her daddy was gone, arose on her beautiful face. She cried and told me that when he left Saturday night he told her he was never coming back. She cried and said please daddy come home, he laughed and said calm down I'll send you presents. And she looked at him and said no all I want is you.
It’s Saturday night as I write to you all. Today started out rough. The anticipation of Mother’s Day looming always gets to me. It's no surprise - I've been dealing with some of the triggers of this holiday for over 20 years since I lost my mom young. But there are more layers these days, leaving it even tougher at times to navigate. Thoughts of wishing my mom were here to share in my current life. Thoughts of all the other mother figures in my life, who I now live so far away from. Thoughts of Shelby, who seems to breeze through such days with incredible ease, yet still I wonder… is there a moment here and there when she is thinking of and missing her mom? Moments when it’s hard? Or is she like I was, too busy being a kid to really stop and feel all of that at such an age?
There are thoughts of Mike’s wife, Megan, and how much I adore her family and simultaneously feel like she should be here to be celebrated and honored instead of me. There are even passing thoughts of children I might have had with Drew, and what our Mother’s Days would have been like. And of all my widowed friends who did or did not have children that this day is also so hard for. To say the least, it’s a complex day that seems to have a trigger coming at me from every angle.Read more
I am strong, but I am also fragile. My heart feels as though it’s in ever changing pieces, but full at the same time. I am terrified of love, but long for its place in my life again. I am very self-assured but insecure of life around me. Because there are no guarantees and no promises. I make progress daily through this heart ache and take steps to move forwards, to trust in the unknown again. Because I know life is too short to wait for happiness.
Sometimes though just one small trigger takes me back to a day I don’t like to remember and with the memory of that day fear consumes me.Read more