I’m Still Here

It is almost 4 years now that my son died. It seems like a lifetime. Sometimes, I look at his picture and it becomes yesterday for a little while.  Yesterday, when I could hug him, tell him how much I love him and look into his sweet blue eyes. So much has happened after losing him and yet, I am still here. There were times I wondered if I would be for much longer, after all, everyone dies eventually. The reasons for dying are all their own. I think it is the one thing we cannot find an answer for so it causes us more pain.

My oldest brother died a couple of weeks ago. For me, it was so sudden that it left me totally shocked. Not him. He was so strong, self-assured about his life. He lived the life he chose and as far as I know, he was content, happy. So, why? I don’t know about his life the last three years, but I heard it was good. I feel sad that I was not there to share or be a part of it. Still, he was happy. He loved his family, worked hard, played hard and now he is gone. Pancreatic Cancer. I think it hit him like an exploding volcano. What I feel is not near the same as the pain for my son, but that does not mean it is not a deep pain. I had cancer last year and here I am. I am still here. So why him and not me? Am I feeling sorry for myself? Oh yeah, you bet I am. He will see my son before I do. When they operated on me, my heart stopped in the middle of surgery. They massage it back to life. I didn’t know about it until a few days later and my first thought was why didn’t they just let me go. I have come a long way from that day.

Now, I search for things that bring me joy or make me happy. I started out painting pictures. They brought me a touch of happiness, but not enough. After a few months, I joined an online Karaoke and found that I loved to do that but it was not what I was looking for. I wanted to create beauty. The painting and singing had their own kind of beauty, but they were not what I was looking for. Then one day, I pulled out my old beading kits. I have found the joy I was looking for. It surprised me that it helped fill my heart. Now, I will start a web page for my jewelry and sell it so others can have beauty in their lives. I create. Oh wow. I create. There are necklaces, anklets, bracelets and soon earrings and it brings me great joy that I created them and one-day others will wear them.

It took me a long time and a lot of hits and misses, but I found something that can bring me joy. The sadness and pain will always be there inside my broken heart. But we learn to live with it. In the beginning, we can do nothing but want to die with those we love. Time is the only thing that can bring us a little further from the horror and loss. It is a long hard road full of holes and cracks ready to know you down over and over. Get up my friend, walk the road and search for some joy to help you through. Once you find it, it becomes a tribute to ones you lost. I am forever your friend and am here if you need me. Take that step my friends. With all my love, “Forever Mom.”

 

 

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Photographs and Memories

I am now into my 4th year and I still want someone, anyone to tell me it was just a nightmare, that it never happened. The loss of my son weights heavy on my heart every day. Some days it is not as severe, but then there is the day that is as raw as it was the moment it happened. Those are the days that I cry most of the day and wonder why I am still here. Why did I not just drop dead when he did, why?

When I got my cancer diagnoses last year, it did not affect me or scare me. My thought was ‘well, what will be will be. When they told me my heart stopped on the operating table I only wondered why I did not sign the do not resuscitate. But I looked at those two who stood by my bed and knew why I was still here. I love them just as much as I love Tim. Each operation I had, my hope was that I would see him, talk to him, hug him. Did that happen? I don’t know. If it did it was wiped from my memory.

The meds they put me on does not fill the hole that is in my heart, nothing does, it will be there forever and a day. But they do help keep me on this earth. There are days when I just want to leave that note, the one that says how sorry I am to put them all through this again. On those days I have to breathe through it and find something, anything, to keep my mind from it. How horrible to do to them what was done to me. It would be selfish and cruel with the knowledge of what comes after. I know too much to put them through it too. Too much. For they already have holes in their hearts too.

My friend lost his son over 10 years ago and he still grieves severely. He understands what I am going through just as I understand him. The day he found his son I prayed that it never happened to me. I prayed every day that it would not. Then it did and I lost my faith in the goodness of god. There was no mercy. My friend still suffers but he is learning how to keep himself from following his son. We are in the same boat, he has been in it longer than I but we still ride the storm at the same pace. There are calm days and then there are stormy days. One has to learn to ride them out until they become calm again.

I write today because it is a stormy day. Nothing brought it on, it was suddenly there, a squall that was ready to tip the boat if I allow it to. I am not allowing it to. I let the tears come and accept that there will be days that they pour out like a faucet left on full blast. It is almost impossible to stop the tears. If someone just looks at you wrong, or what you feel is wrong, they will flow. If words come from someone be they kind or not, the tears may flow. On these days, the mind does not see the world or people or words in the same way.

4 years, such a long time yet so very short. A moment ago, my son said he loved me, just a moment ago, 4 years ago. People think one should be over the grief of losing their child. They have not lost one yet you see so they have no idea, No idea that child loss is forever. There will be no new memories, we hold on to the ones we have,  We have to forget the future we hoped for them, the happiness we wanted them to find. Now, we have photographs and memories. It that all that is left? Yeah, it is but it is better than nothing.

I have so much I want to tell his son and daughter, but they are young yet. I have to wait to tell them until they hit an age of understanding. Another reason to hold on to this world. I have many reasons to stay and one to go. It does not make my memories of him less or my love. So, for now, the tears have stopped and I thank all of you for that because I know you are seeing my words and wishing me the best. I will hold tight to those photographs and memories and love those around me. Much love to you all from a ‘Forever Mom.’

 

Counting Time

I no longer count this time in seconds, minutes, hours, days or month. I count it in years. It is three years today, Jan 5 that my son died. Nothing in the years to come will change that one fact or anything about that day. it will always be there, always be the same. My heart hurts as much now as it did that first moment of loss. I hope that one day, it will soften even just a little. On many days throughout the year, I try to be positive, I try not to dwell on he who is lost to me, but on this day, that is not possible. It is forever etched on my broken soul.

I see the amusing, loving and amazing little boy he was. The hard to handle teenager and the loving father to a wonderful little boy. There are still moments that it is hard to believe he is gone and never coming back. I can’t pretend otherwise for that path leads to greater pain. I hold the love I have for my husband, daughter and grandsons in front of me as a guiding light to get through my darkest hours. Most of the time, that is what keeps me alive, keeps me moving forward in a world missing one.

There are so many different emotions connected to grief that at times, one thinks they have always felt that way. It is hard to remember a time when the hurt did not lurk just below the surface. We don’t hold on to the pain because we want to. It holds on to us. To lose one so loved cannot be forgotten or laid to rest for we are left behind and we feel that everyday.

Many want to know how long the sorrow lasts. It could last forever. It depends all on you and how you are able to negotiate through this giant mine field. There are no easy answers or fixes, there are not even hard ones. Maybe that is why we feel we have been set adrift in a stormy sea without a paddle. No one can help us, it is ours and ours alone to survive or die. The one thing others can do, even three years or ten years or twenty years later is to give us shoulder to lean on for a little while. Words do not help but mostly cause immeasurable harm.

I hear Tim’s voice in my ear saying “I love you Mom.” And I have not doubt that he did. I whisper back, “I love and miss you Tim.” And he knows that is true. It is so damn hard to lose your child no matter what age they are. They have been a part of your life from conception until the day they die and even then, they stay a part of you. So many memories but they never seem to be enough, never enough. My life be gentle to you as you travel this road that so many have and will again. Love and Light… “Forever Mom.”

Stand Proud for America

Colin Kaepernick  you make me ashamed. Not ashamed of America, but ashamed that you get paid millions to be an ass. Yup, I said ass though I think of stronger words but I am not that type of person to say or write them. You blame all of America for problems that quite honestly, happen to all walks of life not just black lives. You must be blind not to see that we all have issues and are not blaming everyone in America for that is what it is, blaming everyone.

Kaepernick, take your millions and make a difference instead of whining on the side-lines of a football game that pays you more than you are worth. When you get into your expensive car do you think of those less fortunate? When you walk into your fancy home do you think of the homeless? When you eat in an upscale restaurant do you think of those who have no table or food to put on it if they do have one?

Yes, you have the right to stand or not stand but frankly, your reason for not doing so sucks. ALL LIVES MATTER, do you get that or do we have to shout louder? Really, show me a country that would treat you better. America is not perfect but it sure beats living in war torn countries who don’t care for any lives doesn’t it?

It is embarrassing to call you an American. We Americans, as a whole, stand proud regardless of your shameful display. I’ve known good cops and bad cops, good blacks and bad blacks, good whites and bad whites and the list goes on and I have never blamed all of American for the bad. Grow up and stand up for the country that helped you succeed. I am just a middle to lower class American citizen who loves football. You being a sh#t won’t change that. I will struggle to live today, tomorrow and probably next week but I will never blame America for my problems.

 

This Crooked Road

Every day, when I pull up my Facebook, I see so many posts from people who have lost a loved one. It matters not if it has been a day or years, the pain is real. I feel your pain because of my own loss. We realize that ones who have lost no one will not understand why we are still in pain. Yet on this crooked road, we meet many who get us. And even as we wished they did not travel this road, we are grateful for them as they are grateful for us.

This road will never be straight and true for it has changed along with us. It has become our sorrow and our savior. Not all the turns are bad ones or good ones, they vary as we walk along. One day you may turn a corner and realize quite suddenly that the pain is less, not gone, never gone, but a little less. That is you, learning to live with the sorrow. Don’t fall back in fear that you are forgetting them for you are not. You are just learning to adjust to the pain.

There will be days that the road bends back on itself and the pain becomes all brand new and like it happened yesterday, just breath through it, the next bend in the road is coming up. Days like that will happen less often but remember, they will happen, it’s okay to cry, take this day for yourself. Block people out if it helps, do whatever it takes to help yourself at these times. Be selfish with your heart, you have that right.

Our greatest sorrow is the loss of our child. It does not matter at what age we lost them, they are a part of our flesh, our blood, our pride and joy, our sorrow. This is not to say that the loss of someone is not greater to everyone. All loss is great. The loss of a mate is the loss of a million memories, whispered love, moments of joy. They are a part of our DNA. I have friends who loss someone from every walk of life, ones who were so close to their hearts, let no one tell you that your loss will go away, ignore the words of those who don’t know when they tell you the platitudes of sorrow. It’s up to you how you travel this crooked road, for it is your heart that is involved. I wish you all better days, less pain and someone who understands where you are on the road. Remember to breathe and turn the corner. All my Love… “Forever Mom.”

 

I Hear Your Voice

Every day, I hear him. I heard the last words he said to me and feel I am one of the few who was lucky enough to do so. ‘I love you, mom.’ Yes, those words I hear often. Mostly when I feel pretty down and sad, I hear Tim say those words exactly as he said them the night before he died. For a long time, I felt it was just me bringing those words up. Now I think he sends them to comfort me when I hurt too much for words in this world. So if you think you hear them, know this, you do. Pull the comfort they are offering you for they are for you and you alone. Feel their love, for they do send it continuously. This is what I have come to believe.

As I go through the Chemo, I feel Tim near by, rooting me on to continue this fight. I hear him telling me that everything is okay, that I have much to do yet before it is my time. I believe him, he should know, right? He has become one of the chosen, sent to carry me through in a way he could not have done here on earth. It does not make his loss any easier, yet still gives me the will to move forward. I miss him more than I will ever be able to express, but that is my burden to carry. Love never dies when your child has moved on, it only goes deeper, becomes painful for a long time, but still full of love.

This new crises in my life won’t overshadow the loss of my son, I don’t really see anything able to that except the loss of my living child and grandbabies and they would be right up there with him. I hope to not ever experience that. I finally have hope, joy, anticipation in my life again. It lives alongside the sorrow and maybe that is how it is suppose to happen. I have my down days, oh yeah, who doesn’t? That’s okay, he still will say ‘I love you, mom.’ It makes me cry and pulls me out of myself to look outward instead of staying inward.

I am half way through my chemo now and yes, it can be hard at times. Too many pills, too many bills, but I try not worry. I have a whole system of people who pick me up every day, sent me love prayers and blessing. I have prayer groups all over the U.S. and Canada and overseas. So many loving and caring people, how could I stay down for long, all I have to do is reach out and they are there. Thank you all, it’s be a rock road but you all try to remove the rocks that I may trip on. Thank you can never be enough, I love you. ‘Forever Mom.’

Grief’s Gifts

When we first loose someone we love, confusion comes to live in our lives. The deeper we loved them the stronger the confusion is and longer lasting. I have been through Two years four months and thirty days of confusion. Time makes a difference for as it goes along, the overwhelming senses of hurt, loss and pain change. One still feels the confusion, but it has softened a little. It’s little things like when you know you did something but you go back and find out it is not done. Times like those we start to wonder if we are also losing our minds. I think that loss in death changes the pathways our thoughts travel and closes off other paths. Some are for our own protection, others are for our lessons in life, yet still others are teaching us new ways to live without those we love. Such a hard, unending, process. The wheels of healing in any form are slow and agonizing.

Some of us are healing without realizing we are because we still feel, and probably will forever, the pain of loss. I don’t expect that to go away. I still cry for the son who loved me. Who wouldn’t? But I also laugh when others give me memories of some of the crazy stuff he would do that I didn’t know about. The kindnesses he showed to so many. The times he took the blame for others bad choices and actions because to him, that was being a true friend. So there are many things left to remind me of how wonderful, ornery, bratty and sweet he was. I cried the other day because he was not here to hold my hand as I go through this cancer. I realized that was selfish. My daughter holds my hand any time I need her and I need her a lot, she just doesn’t know it. I hear her voice and feel better.

The gifts that loss has brought me is a closer, deeper understanding of my family and friends. It gifted me with many people that love me for who I am and would help me on a moments notice. It gave me a greater appreciation of those around me, a deeper love. In the beginning, I did not want love. Love hurts, so does loneliness and living only in your head and your memories. I find I can love now with complete honesty. I speak the truth no matter how hard it is for others to hear it. My interests have changed and that is good. I paint differently now, Keith says the whole style is different. I sing Karaoke, never never have I done something like that and I love it. I am going back to writing, but I know that has changed too, which, after someone reads my books they are probably glad for that. 🙂

I do smile more, laugh more and enjoy others company where once that seemed impossible. It is not a betrayal of the one you love, for they are right there with you, smiling, laughing and enjoying what you are doing. I take my grief out once a day and look at where I’ve been and wonder where I am going. There will always be times, at odd moments when I cry for my son, but at the same time he left me the gift of his son. I have the gift of my daughter and husband and so many others, friends and relatives alike. So I think what I am trying to say is: accept the gifts that grief brings you. They will not make up for your loss, but they will help you along your new pathways. Share your love. “Forever Mom.”

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