Monthly Archives: April 2015

Bereaved Parents….you’re not alone

‘We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in. I had to learn what I got, and what I’m not, and who I am.’

As of today when someone asks me how long ago my child died, I have to say 2 1/2 years. Where has the time gone? And why hasn’t the pain gone with it? At least some….Granted I’ve made leaps and bounds within my journey of grief, but the pain is no less. How I handle it has changed. How it effects me is different. My tears are not as frequent. But the pain is exactly the same. My heart hurts just like it did as I watched her take her last breath. It’s shattered. It’s broken. Never to be fully repaired. 
  
I know it might seem to some that I’m in constant grief, but, I promise, I’m not. I just try to be very open and honest and true about the journey I’m in. When I first lost my daughter I struggled with more than just her death. I felt alone. I felt my husband, who witnessed what I did, was the only one who understood. He did his best to keep me occupied so the grief didn’t completely consume me. It took a little bit but then I started having fun again. And I felt guilty. Like cry because the guilt was horrible. 
I disconnected from social media for fear of being judged. I didn’t want to post my fun, happy times because my child had just died….how could I be smiling and having a good time? I didn’t want to post my true, heavy times either…. I felt I was depressing my friends (I was because I was unfriended by quite a few- people can only watch a train wreck for so long), that people thought I should be ‘over it’. I felt judged no matter what I shared with my ‘friends’ on social media. I think the truth is, I was judging myself and I felt ‘wrong’ during most of my moments. I truly only saw 2 kinds of bereaved parents on social media – ones who disappeared or never posted anything of their child and the ones who only posted their grief, every day, and spoke of their struggle and reasons to continue living. I eventually realized there was no ‘wrong’ way to grieve but I knew I didn’t want to be either type of bereaved parent. I had/have plenty of reasons to continue on – sharing my daughter’s legacy is one. And I needed to speak my daughter’s name freely and often. 
I decided during my child’s first Angelversary that I needed to share – for my therapy process as well. I wanted parents to know that grief is hard. Bottom line. But I wanted to share that it comes and goes – riding the roller coaster and letting the highs and lows happen as they do is so therapeutic. I wanted to share that even after 2 1/2 years my heart is still broken. I know it will stay this way, but I also know that I, myself, is not broken. I’m capable of receiving great happiness in life – all while keeping my daughter’s memory alive. I wanted to share moments (like my nightmare – refer to the last blog ‘Dream….I mean, nightmare’) so parents can relate and know they’re not alone. No bereaved parent will have the same journey through grief, but they, at least, can know they’re not alone in the craziness and that no part of their journey is ‘wrong’. 
  
  


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Dream…I mean, nightmare

I’ve really struggled over the past month with trying to corral the words that are running rampant in my mind. They haven’t been so easy to gather. It’s been hard enough trying to understand my own emotions with the move….packing up Parker’s stuff….passing her bed onto another child….saying goodbye to that chapter- that house….moving into The Parker Lee Project warehouse….receiving the blanket that was made from Parker’s clothes….to making our tv debut on our local news channel. See what I mean? So much stuff has gone on….so many emotions, not too mention so many emotions happening just at one time. I had some mini meltdowns while packing up and moving, but nothing too terribly bad.  

 

Now, today…..today’s a whole other story. I had full on blind sided by grief, ugly cry, melt down today. You see since the day that Parker passed I asked her and prayed for her to come visit me in my dreams. I imagined it would be like movies or like the dreams some other parents tell of…to see her, again, laughing, or finally dancing, or saying momma for the first time. I honestly just wanted to see her happy. That’s it. However it came. Just happy. Well it took 2 1/2 years but she finally made her appearance within my dreams…or really I should say nightmares. It was horrible. I woke up abruptly, gasping for air. You see I finally saw my daughter again and it wasn’t a video that’s been etched into my memory, it was her. It felt so real. And it broke my heart. There was my beautiful daughter, in her car seat, on a porch, surrounded by feet of snow. She was wearing a shirt and pants and she was screaming. I could tell she was screaming because she was in pain. She was freezing. And she was looking right at me. Her eyes were begging me to help and I couldn’t get to her. And then I was awaken. 

I was startled originally. And then I tried to tell my husband about it and it was hard just to get the words out. I cried as I told him and then I thought I was ok. An emotional release helps me process and move forward usually. As I started my drive in I realized I wasn’t ok. All my mind could do was replay that image. That screaming. It was horrible. I cried. I tried singing. I cried some more. Tried to distract my mind in other ways to no avail. In between the replays my mind raced and played tricks on me. I questioned it all. Why did she finally appear in my dreams? What did it mean? Why couldn’t I help? I felt like a horrible mom. I immediately felt like I had put her out there. Why? There’s no way in hell I would’ve done that! What did it all mean? I couldn’t stop crying. 

Once my shirt, arms, whatever had taken their fair share of tears and couldn’t hold anymore I searched for napkins, tissue, something. What did I find? The package of tissues that I used at Parker’s funeral. All I did was cry harder. Damn triggers. I was so distraught I couldn’t even do all that was on my itinerary today – I can only remember a handful (or less) of other times that I let my grief control what needed to be done for the day.  

 

I had a few people mention that maybe it was her way of wiping my tears for me. I think that’s a good way to see it. I do know I won’t be begging for dreams any longer. I’ll keep an out for signs from her instead – like the first Cardinal at the new house coming right up to the window on Easter as we were all eating. She was with us.