Mommy O’ Mommy

I miss my Mommy. All the reasons that I have told myself this year to make her death easier are now steaming piles of cow pies. She is no longer in pain. After losing my son and grandson, I told myself that now she has her boys again! She is no longer grieving! Now she is up in heaven with my Granny, Grandpa and her three grandsons! And better yet, for once in my life, this is the natural order of existence. Burying your parent, not parent burying child.

Truth is, I need my Mom right now. I need to be able to talk to her. To tell her what is troubling me in my life. Tell me how to fix some problems I am having in my little family. To give me her unfiltered opinion on where some people can go and rot, then tell me that if I hate I am not getting into heaven. That was my Mom. She would rip someone into shreds if they hurt one of her girls feelings and tell us about the fire and brimstone of hell if we did the same. I need my Mommy to tell me that someone I am so worried about is going to be fine. I need her to tell me that people can change their ways. I need her to tell me she is proud of me for taking a new path for myself. I need her to tell me that I am spoiling my kids. I need her to tell me that Harper is the most beautiful blue eyed little girl! I need her to tell me Maggie is not a child she is a horse dog. I need her to tell me to slow down when I drive. I need her to ask me if I am hungry. I need her to tell me what Victor is doing now on Y & R. I just really need my mom to pick up the phone and tell me she loves me.

I thought I could be the big girl she raised me to be but I am not. I am a mess. I have things I want to talk only to her about and she is not here. My best friend is watching her Mom slip to the other side. I want to be able to tell her all the things people told me to make me feel better. But they are words and they don’t help. It is horrible.

One day, out of the blue when you think your day is going to be okay, a thought will brush lightly across your soul and you will crumble. Mine was when cleaning out the greenhouse. When I got I my greenhouse I planted so many herbs! Not one came up. Not one single sprout. Mom told me I didn’t hold my tongue right. A few days before I was crying on the way home from work and told her just send me one sign, any little thing that she was watching over me and my brood. While cleaning out the greenhouse, after being planted 8 months before, there I find 2 pots full of cilantro! I thought “Oh she is watching me!” I brought them into the house to repot and put in the windowsill. Then I picked up the phone to call and tell her. I broke. She is gone. I can’t call her.

I just need my precious, beautiful, funny and amazing Mommy. For just one more day. One more day!

I’m back and reclaiming my JOY

It has been quite a while since I have wrote. There has been a lot going on. I had surgery. Church has kept us going. Our kids and everyone else has kept our calendar full. My daughter announced that she is going to have a baby so I am going to be a Granny. My niece has moved in. School is out and summer fun is underway. So so much is keeping us busy that I would like to say that is why I haven’t put pen to paper. But sadly it is not.

I have let something terrible happen in my life. I have let someone take my joy away. Actually more than one person. But to start, I let the words of someone who is very bitter with their own life get to me. Get into my head and into my heart. I let this person strip me down to the core with her words and leave me questioning everything in my life. What makes this so sad? This person knew the right words to say and how to use them. Even sadder, none of the words she said were true or even relevant. I had never in my life been spoken to with such hate and anger as I was then. Even though I knew everything she was saying was just pure hate, I let it sink in until it took my joy. I let this person who is so miserable in her own life, damage mine.

It caused a ripple effect too. It started with me feeling down from the words. Then it had me questioning the things said. This caused me to start letting other things get to me. Other people’s problem became like bricks on my shoulders. I let the words and actions that were so tiny aggravate or hurt me like they were the worst in the world. I even let someone at church almost rob me of my safe place at the altar. I would show up to places with an escape plan already in place and dread in my mind. I was only happy at home in my comfort zone.

What brought me out of it? I just dug in deeper and read more of my Bible. I did more praying and even more praying after that. Then one night last week, I had just had it. I realized that I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t joyful. I was sad. I was lonely. I was faking my way through so much of life that I quit even really living. So I reclaimed my joy. I took back my happy. I gave all the burdens that I was taking on from others back. I turned a deaf ear to negative and an eye to the positive. I for the first time in a long time got the urge to write again. I gave the hateful person that started this downward spiral to the Lord and her words to pray. I hope she finds happiness somewhere in her life and gets right with God. But for me, I am reclaiming all that is good, happy and joyful for me.

And now the writing begins……………….

Lil Sis Got Hitched! Part 1

My littlest sister, Jessi Rae, got married this past weekend. These past few weeks have been a whirlwind of her crazy wedding planning. It seemed as if everyday she was making yet another list that had the same things from the day before’s list. It almost got to where when I saw her walk in with a pen and paper, I wanted to run! But she is the baby so we made lists. And more lists, And more lists.

She wanted to do most of the wedding herself and not pay people to do things that she could do. Or things that I could do. Like baking and cooking. So the last few days before the big day, I was a candy and cookie making fool. But I was also a crying babbling fool. I just didn’t know how I was going to get through her getting married! Why did she have to be grown? Why were my kids grown? WHY WHY WHY!?

Jessi is 16 years younger than me. I know! How gross is it that my parents were still making babies when I was in high school? Anyway, that is something for my therapist to deal with. When this little baby was born, I didn’t think I could ever love anyone as much as her. Yes, I had two other sisters but this one was special. She was perfect. Being the oldest, I quickly took on the role as “other Mother” to her. Jessi was my practice baby and I loved her so much that I didn’t think I would ever want a kid of my own. in fact two years later, I was told I would never have children and it really didn’t bother me because I had her. Well, that idiot doctor was wrong because a few months later I was able to tell Jessi that Sissy had a baby in her belly.

Because Jessi was so little when Richie was born, they were more like brother and sister, Richie was her living baby doll and she adored him. When Luke came along, she had another baby doll to play with and the 3 of them were inseparable. Everywhere we went, we had Jessi right along with us.Everyone thought we had three kids. I don’t know who was more excited when we found out that the 3rd and last child was going to be a girl, Jessi or everyone else. Now she had a real live girl to put dresses on and tote around. And dress up and tote around did she do. Jessi was more like my daughter than my sister and we had her every chance we could.

These sweet little babies grew up into aggravating little turds. Aunt Jessi turned into the confidant and alibi they needed. While I am still scared to hear all the things they got into, I am grateful that they have had someone to lean on when they couldn’t with me. The sweet little kids that played in the mud grew up to be adults before I could blink.

Jessi had a baby girl and then a baby boy who are more like my grandchildren than my niece and nephew. I love all my nieces and nephews but these two are just so special to me. I literally sit and cry sometimes because I love them so much. We went through losing Richie and my heart broke for Jessi. She lost more than a nephew, she lost a brother, While I lost my first born son, my heart broke because I could not take the pain from my kids and Jessi. But through our ordeal, we had this very special man to lean on…. Kevin.

Kevin is the one that Jessi has chosen as her life mate. We always been very hard on anyone that Jessi has ever brought around and no one was ever good enough. I used to say that if a man was hand picked from heaven and sent here, I still wouldn’t like him totally. Well, I think Kevin was hand picked by Jesus and sent here. He has always been the nicest and sweetest to all of us but it wasn’t until my darkest that I really saw the heart of this man. The week after we lost Richie, I was always turning around to him being right there. At night when he would go home, I would find little notes and messages from him saying he loved us. Since the moment I lost my son, he has been there to lean on and hasn’t left yet. I knew that he had gotten close to the kids but was not aware of how close until then. He mourned as if he had been raised from the start with Richie. When he was lifting me, Jessi and the family up, he had tears of loss in his eyes.

Beyond how great he is in our times of needs, Kevin is just the most fabulous, Dad! He not only took in Lexie and loved her as his own but he is dedicated to her. Shae has not one need or want that he doesn’t fill. He steps in for Father/Daughter days with pride. He really and truly loves her without any thought to biological ties. She is his, end of story. And the way he is with Kane. From the second he knew Jessi was pregnant, he was in love with a child he never met. And now that he has met him, they are best friends. I have sat here trying to find the words to describe how amazing of a Dad he is. There are none that do it justice. He is just simply unconditionally devoted to loving that little boy.

The love story between Jessi and Kevin is like something from a romantic comedy. Me and my sisters just laugh at the two of them. One minute they can be arguing about the stupidest thing on Earth and then Jessi will look at us and say, “He is just so good looking I can’t even take it!” Or he will just look at us and say something corny like, “I love her so much I can’t imagine life without her.” We just look on bewildered and slightly jealous. They are so obsessed with each other that they had no choice but to get married and stay together forever. They have ruined each other for other people. If Jessi ever says she wants something, you can bet your last nickel that Kevin will have for her very soon. If Kevin wants something, Jessi will make sure that it is a priority. NEVER EVER LEAVE YOUR PHONE UNATTENDED AROUND THEM! If you do, there will be tons of pics where they just take one after the other of themselves. One day we all went on a family outing and Jessi had my camera to take pics. Out of almost 200 pictures, only 50 were of the trip, there rest were them cheesing it up.

I have spent so long talking about them in this I never got to the wedding! I will do that in the next one! Lil Sis got hitched and I am still a crying mess. They have  a true love stroy, an endless love for each other and a lifetime of dreams to fill.

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At least…..

“At least you had 20 years with Richie” If I had a dollar for every time I have been told that! I could I certainly could live high in the hog until the end of my days! I usually just nod my head and not think about it. But in the past few days it has really struck a chord with me. Does this mean I am luckier in my son’s death for the 20 years as opposed to someone who only had a few days, weeks or years? I am going to give four different death stories that have touched my life. They all have different amounts of time and circumstances. Then we will see who is luckier.

Let’s start with Renee. She was pregnant and excited for the new life she was carrying. Her family was busy buying everything they could get their hands on. Then she went into early labor. Just a week before the six month mark. She fought for more than a week and then the doctors had no choice but to deliver. Little Ian was delivered and only survived just shy of 2 hours. In this short time she held her baby, loved him, prayed for him and memorized every part of his tiny self. Time with her child: less than 2 hours.

Zack was the son of Tonya. Tonya spent ten years trying to have a child. Then when she gave up, God blessed her with a son. She raised Zack for 18 years. He was on the way to his high school graduation rehearsal when he was in a car accident. A few days later in ICU, he turned 19. Five days after that, he succumbed to his injuries. In the 19 years Tonya had Zack, she raised him, loved him and lived for her only child. Time with her child: 19 years 5 days.

Richie was my son. He was my firstborn of three. If you have been following my blog, you know our story. Summing us up because I will spend hours writing of his life, he was called home after an auto accident almost two years ago. Time with my child: 20 years 5 months 23 days

Ricky is the son of a precious lady named Mrs. Laurie. He is one of two sons she had. He fought hard to beat cancer but lost his battle in March. He was a loving husband, father and grandfather. Time with her child: 52 years 5 months 21 days

So which one of use Mothers is luckier? Is it one that has lots of memories to cling to? Lots of memories at times that cause us to want to scream because they are nothing more than memories now? The one that got 19 years with  her only child she didn’t think she would have? The one that had 20 years and but has her other children? 52 full years with a son that she thought would bury her? I could go into great detail about what each has and what others don’t. The one that has grandchildren from her child to watch versus the one that will never have a grandchild. The way people say it it almost makes me think that I should have one the lottery. Oh I had 20 years so bells and whistles and confetti should come out. On and on I could go!

But why compare. If we all four were to sit down to discuss our stories together, we would all have the same feeling… This is horrible all around. None of us is luckier for the amount of time we had. None if us are sitting around thinking about how the time we had was just the right amount. Not one of us would say that if we had a minute more it would have just ruined our lives. Or one minute less would have been much easier. You cannot put an amount on time when it comes to your children! The natural order a Mother thinks is this: The perfect amount of time we should have with our children is the time we have until our death, not theirs. That is the most perfect time no matter what it is. No matter how many other children we have. No matter how many memories we have.

I am not lucky for the 20 years, 5 months and 23 days I had. I am grateful for the 20 years, 5 months and 23 days I had. Forever grateful! Anytime we have with our children we should be grateful for. No matter what age our children are called home, we will mourn the could haves. We will forever wonder what they would be doing at this time in their life. What would we be doing. All I know is each and every day when I talk to God, I ask him to give my son love for me and ask him to just let me live one minute longer than my children still here with me.

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I know tomorrow isn’t promised so SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE!

I am fired up today! Since the minute our son passed away people say things like “tomorrow isn’t promised’ and such. I have always brushed these little saying off and let them roll away with the wind. Since taking my me time this summer and trying to heal, it seems as if this is everyone’s favorite saying. If I don’t go to something, they say it. If I do go to something, they say it. If some random person dies that I hardly know, they say, “You know better than all of us that tomorrow isn’t promised.” Well, guess what???? NO CRAP SHERLOCK! I DO KNOW THIS! WHAT IS YOUR FIRST CLUE THAT I DO? MAYBE THE FACT THAT I BURIED MY 20 YEAR OLD SON?

Yes, tomorrow isn’t promised. I promised my son that he would be going off to his new job and being the best ever at it. Promised him that I would be calling him the next morning to make sure he got up. I promised my son that we were all going to go to the mountains in a few months. Promised his brothers and sisters that he would be there for Wednesday supper. Promised his brothers and sisters that they could pick up the playful joking in a few days. Promised my husband that him and Richie could go to some tournament they were looking forward to. I promised myself that I would watch my first born become the best Richie he could be. I promised myself that I would have little Richies running through my house and would be spoiling them like crazy. I promised myself that I would continue making family dinner twice a week every week until I was too old. I promised my three children that they were going to get to fight over who I would live with when I got that old. You know what? I promised my whole family and myself that we would be having Taco Tuesday that New Year’s Eve and would spend it together having game night! Well, you know…..I DIDN’T GET TACO TUESDAY BECAUSE MY SON DIED THAT MONDAY.

I am well aware tomorrow isn’t promised. I live it every day. It is the first thing I know in the morning. I know it all through the day. I know it night when I lay my head down. I know it when I pick up my phone to ask Richie what time he will be home. I know it when I see the pain in my children’s eyes. I know it when his birthday comes around. I know it when I don’t have all three of my children at my supper table. I know it Christmas, Easter, birthdays, Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. I Know it at 1 pm, 3 pm, 10 am! I know it every single second of my life.

What makes me even more angry is the people saying it. Not every one that says it means it to upset me. But the ones that say it to guilt me! It is more they are saying it out of their guilt. They missed the opportunity to know my child whole heartedly and now feel they need to say it to make amends. Your loss now shut up. Then the ones that have not spoken to me in months that say it to guilt me into coming to something they are doing. The ones that I have cut out of my circle and now use it to get me to open the door again. Then the ones that say it just to say it. I do not play the death card. I never use my son’s death as an excuse for anything so why are they using it? Stop saying it. Stop using it!

This has been building with me for weeks. I told my husband that I would no longer got to anything we were invited to if someone said that to me. He agreed. So if you say it, I will not come and will take a break from you for a while also. So please, KINDLY SHUT YOU PIE HOLE!

And yes, I know that some of you are gonna say to keep me away anyway…. for that, thank you! Jerks!

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Bandages

When I first got to the hospital to see Richie, I didn’t know what to expect. What does someone who has been in a freak car accident look like? My mind had built up a scenario that had me scared to death to walk in the room. When I got in the room, he was laying there with nothing wrong with him but lots of white bandages around his head. I looked him all over. He had not a scratch on him. All 10 fingers. All 10 toes. Freckles in all the same spots. Just the white bandages. It looked as if they had rolled miles and miles of white gauze around his head. I could just see the tips of his ear lobes hanging out. He was perfect except for the gauze.

I have been in counseling or therapy as some call it. I call it crying time. Sometimes angry time. I spent an entire session recently on wondering if I am crazy. See, I now have a fear of white gauze. When I see it, I panic. It cuts me to the core. I feel like I have been punched. I lose my breathe, my mind and all sense of what is around me. My mind feels like it is going in every direction at once. Screaming as loud as it can. My brain is yelling for thoughts to get out of my head and all while trying to tell my body to calm down and remind me to breathe. Breathe in, Breathe out.  I cannot look at it. Not just head bandages. Any bandages that are white. Someone had their finger wrapped in some and I immediately went back to being in the hospital room looking at my son and the doctor telling me he was gone. Like I was magically transported back by a genie blinking her eyes.

I have been told things to do to make it better or to try and help. Apparently I have PTSD. Not just for war heroes like I thought. I talked to my cousin about it and he told me,”That S#$@ is real. Take your time to heal. Cause it may never go away.” I asked the one counseling me. And Josh was right. It may never go away. You can just learn to live with it and cope or maybe you don’t. Another cross to bear along with unending grief from the loss of my precious boy.

So why am I being so open about it? Why do I feel the need to share about my fear, hate and anger over white gauze? Because with the way media sharing is now days, I cannot go one day without seeing a person laying in a hospital bed wrapped in gauze! Every single day there is someone that shares some picture with a story of the pictured and their accident. How we need to pray to heal them. Yes we need to pray! We need to pray hard for them. But does the world need to see them in the bed fighting for their life? Why can we not just share a picture of them as if they were up and running? Do you think there will be less prayers without a picture like that? Truthfully I doubt half the people even looking and sharing the picture are praying for them. Most are just doing it to show the “gory details” and to be able to way they saw them that way. At the hospital, we had a strict no media policy. You could ask for prayers on Facebook but you were not allowed to post pictures of Richie in the hospital bed nor were you to give details that were not approved by me. The news story of his accident was not to be posted because it was not fair or respectable to the family. Why do we as a society want to see the pictures and stories like this? I have been there! You do not want to see it. It is not a spectator sport, not a gossip item. It is a human life and families are involved. Respect. It all comes down to respect for others.

So I am asking each one of my family and friends…. with my most sincere heart…. Please if you are friends with me on social media, watch what you post. What may seem like an innocent story to you can be a horrible reminder of loss to others. It can be a trigger into a world of panic and despair for others. There is no need to see people dying in a hospital bed. No need to see blood, bandages and any other thing like that. And truthfully if I am being honest, I do not need to see the picture of the accident site. None of us do. We can pray with just a picture of the person smiling.

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UGH! Some Women!

Yesterday I posted on the blessing of a prayerful friend! Today I just have to vent over “friends” that are just the opposite.

We all have them in our lives. The friend that has done everything bigger and better. I have one that when she saw that I love to write and had started blogging, all of a sudden came out of the closet as a writer. I was not looking to her for praise over my writings, I had looked to her for guidance on if I should be sharing them like I do. Guidance I did not receive but I did get to hear all about how she has wrote blogs, books and magazine articles but “never published” them.

Then I have the a friend that I shared with her some of the hardships I went through as a child and how I was trying to reconcile them. She all of a sudden shared with me how her struggle was so much bigger and grander. She apparently even had to walk to school barefoot in the 2 foot of snow when she lived in South Florida. I got that story after I shared with her how we went without power at times because of my Father’s drug addiction.

How about the friend that is always sicker than you? Or their family has had scarlet fever, monkey pox, yellow fever, bubonic plague and leprosy all because you said your house was passing around a stomach virus. Why one up sickness????????

Women that just can’t let you share a life moment and be supportive. They have to find a negative. Or say you only got it because of this or that. I had one lady who is no longer in my circle say I was only getting support because I had a child die.

I have a “friend’ right now that I am really struggling with. She is constantly talking about the way her kids could die. Constantly telling me how she doesn’t want them to die like my son. Truthfully, I think she is sickly jealous that this is a struggle she can’t make up. Death of a child is nothing to brag about or covet!

So what I guess I am wanting to know is….. Why is it so hard for women to just be happy for each other? Why can we not celebrate in others joy and accomplishments without backlash? Why do we feel the need to one up? There is a big difference in sharing life experiences and testimonies and being a snarky jerkwad! As I was reading my bible this morning, I read in Proverbs 14:30, “A sound heart is the life of the flesh:But envy the rottenness of the bones.” Why do women envy?

Yes, I know at times we ponder why the blessing is happening to the other person when we have been praying for our own. That is human nature and self. I have learned one thing and that is that we will get the blessing when it is our time. When a friend receives a blessing and shares, I pray thanks for them. When a friend is sharing a struggle, I listen, give advice if I can and pray for them. If I have been through a harder yet similar trial, I share it in a way of love. If a friend tells me how their child won the spelling bee, I do not one up them by saying my child got first place at the science fair.

I have been holding back on sharing things with people that are supposed to be closest to me because I am scared of the disappointment I will receive from their response.I have even stopped sharing things with family because I no longer feel the love of each others lives. No longer do I shout praises of thanks because most are not thankful with me. I have once again tightened my circle to the women that uplift me, support me and are just filled with unbiased love.

Remember: Women should lift other women up. Women should love and pray for others even when it seems unfair!

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My Chicken Nugget Rant

When we went into town earlier today, Jeff and I decided that we would grab a burger somewhere. Little did I know that this decision would bring forth my anger over McDonald’s chicken nuggets. The conversation in the car went like this:

Jeff: We will just go to McDonald’s so you can get your cheeseburger and I can get some nuggets.

Me: Man, now I want some nuggets.

Jeff: Well, get the nuggets.

Me: But I want the cheeseburger too.

Jeff: Well get the burger and one of the 4 piece nuggets.

Me (And this is where the angry rant started): No, because then they will think I am fat. A 4 piece? What is the point of a 4 piece anyway? They should at least give you 5. 4 just ticks you off. And why do they only give the kids 4 pieces in  kid’s meal? A 4 piece was never enough for my kids. If you steal one of them then your kid only has 3. That just makes you look like a bad parent. At least if they gave the kid 5, you could take one. The nugget system is just screwed up there.

Jeff (who is laughing uncontrollably): You are really fired up about this. How about I just get a 20 piece and you eat some of them?

As you can see, I have a short fuse with things lately. Today, it was nuggets that have set me off. There was a lot more to the conversation but I would love for you to keep a good impression of me. But I am sure you can agree with my logic. 4 is too little for an adult. You can’t steal a nugget from your child’s 4 piece without looking like a jerk. At least I have a husband that will share his 20 piece.

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You Really Wanna Know Mr. Osteen?

I keep getting asked how I am doing. I guess people think that because we are about to hit 18 months into the grief journey that things are just peaches and cream, rainbows and pots of gold. I am actually quite the opposite. I haven’t written on it because I have been trying to sort out this mind of mine that seems to be getting more frantic and loud. But after reading an article a fellow blogger shared about Joel Osteen’s views on grief, I had to share. Osteen believes that after a certain amount of time that grievers are only wanting pity. Well, Mr. Osteen, here is my response.

I am 18 months in this new life that God has dealt me. For 18 months, I have made sure to put others before myself. My children rarely see me cry. I make sure that each day they are not living in the shadow of their brother’s death. My husband and I have struggled to keep this family that was 5 and now 4 as normal as possible. We have struggled to keep our marriage strong when we have no words to ease each others pain and are lost as to how to be partners when our life is broken. I have to the best of my ability, and often failed, tried to keep up appearances at family events. I have tried to go to parties for other people’s children. I went back to keeping children one month after the death of my son. I never missed a school event with my daughter. I made sure my living son knew he was just as important to me as my angel son. If I was asked to do something, I 97% of the time did it. The other 3% I just mentally couldn’t. I never quit putting others before myself. I never said no when asked to do something for the church. I have smiled and tried my best to keep up a sense of the old life I had while trying to learn this new life. I will admit, I failed a lot. I failed my husband numerous times. I have even failed my children. I have horribly failed my sisters and mother. But I did the best I could to try to keep the hurt, sorrow, pain, and aching I felt to myself and not lay it on the shoulders of others.

So Mr. Osteen, do you really wanna know where I am at today in my grief? I am worse off today than I was the second the doctor’s gave me a time of death. I am worse off than the day we put my boy in his grave. In fact, 18 months of faking it and trying to be strong has taken a toll on me mentally and physically. I spend most nights tossing and turning. Releasing a days worth of built up tears. I do not want to attend any family events at all because my family is the broken link. I spend most days waiting on the clock to strike 5 so that kids go home and I can start my new rituals. What new rituals you ask? Well, Joel, can I call you Joel? I used to be very OCD about my house and life. The birth of my children’s half sister quickly let me see that this curly haired little toddler was winning the battle of messes. Now the OCD is back and I have the belief that if my house is spotless nothing tragic will happen to us again. My house was a little messy when we got the call of Richie’s accident. In fact, everything bad that has directly happened to us has come at a time when the house was a little untidy. I have been cleaning the house completely. Each room has been getting a deep cleaning. I dread having to get up in the mornings to take care of others. Nothing to do with them, I just can some days barely guide myself much less others. I hate answering the phone. People start conversations with “how are you?” I text very few people. Only the ones I can be real with get them. (A very short list) I am no longer the one at church that speaks to every single person. I sometimes fake reading something so that I do not have to socialize on Sunday mornings. I am exhausted by the end of Wednesday night Bible study because I have to fake happy on the bad days. I do not watch the news because it sends me into a tailspin of PTSD. I hate FaceBook because people seem to not understand that seeing wrecked cars and kids in the hospital bring back images that haunt me every single day. The sound of a train horn makes my heart leap into my throat. I only watch movies after they have been cleared by others for my broken mind to watch. TV holds little interest for me. The Travel channel is safe I have found. I hate 6:44pm on Sundays and the 29th of every single month. I feel as if I have won the lottery if I make it to 3:30pm on the 30th or a Monday and my living children are still living. I cannot eat chicken, mashed potatoes and corn in the same meal. Tried once and had almost had a nervous breakdown. I have started panicking about where my deceased son’s belongings are. Even though I know they are safely packed away in my guest room, I still have to go see they are there. I do this numerous times a day. It is all I have left that is tangible of him. I now get up numerous times to see if my living children are still breathing as they sleep. (They are 18 & 20.) A scratch on one of them has me thinking that the limb will be amputated and they will die. I text them constantly to see if they are safe. I text their friends if I do not get a timely response. I hate leaving the house other than once a week grocery shopping and church. I have certain things that we can not do on Sundays because if we do, one of my children will die. I am failing as a friend to the ones that are closest to me. I can’t remember when I last wished someone Happy Birthday when I was the one that was always the first. I cannot concentrate on tasks that are dear to me. I start projects and quickly lose interest.I spend some days pretending so convincingly to myself that Richie will be coming home that afternoon that by 4pm I feel like I lost him all over again. Sometimes I think that I put myself back into shock just to shut my mind off.

Even worst than the mental effects is the physical ones. I constantly have stress and tension migraines. I break out in bumps and itch like crazy if one thing starts getting out of the “new normal” I am enclosing myself in. I feel tired all the time but cannot sleep. And the absolute most terrible thing…. My heart constantly feels like it is constricting. It literally hurts all day every day. I believe my heart broke the day they told me Richie had passed. Since then I can feel it 24 hours a day. You really never know your heart is there until you experience a loss so gut-wrenching that you cannot even fathom it until days later. Then you are fully aware of its every beat. Every bloody thump against your chest feels like you are being stabbed. Do you understand the heart hurt Mr. Osteen? I am constantly on high alert, waiting on the next terrible thing to happen so my muscles are always sore. My nerves twitch. I have developed little ticks of nervousness. Some others never notice. I just feel like I am always in pain yet have no sickness.

Mr. Osteen, I have done it your way. I have not asked for self pity. I have hated conversations that revolve around me and my loss. I have put others first. I have not wallowed in my pain shutting myself off from the world. Where has it gotten me? It has gotten me no where. I am worse off than I was 18 months ago. I took care of everyone else and did not take any time for myself. So what am I to do now? Do I tell others that I need time now all this time later to be alone and grieve with no responsibilities? Do I continue doing what I am doing and hope it gets better? Quite a predicament I am in. There is no time limit on grief. Some parents lose a child and have another in a year later. Some can never imagine another child in their home. A wife can lose her husband and marry 6 months later. A husband can lose his wife of 60 years and pass away silently that night in his sleep from a broken heart. There is no book on grief. I hate the self-help crap people have been sending me. It would help to shove it up their wazoos. (I forgot to add the part about my quick temper being even quicker.) So please, Mr. Osteen, what do I do now that the way you wrote about does not work? You can email me your answer at mrsjschell@gmail.com. I will be awaiting your response.

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No, I Am Not Living In Death

Isn’t that something odd to proclaim? I am not living in death. I have been accused of this a lot lately. In fact, I have friends and even family that say they can’t be around me because of this. I am just at a loss.

They seem to say that since the death of Richie that I only surround myself with other parents that have lost children or the people I have met through organ donation. Well, maybe I have. When I hear of another mother or father that has lost a child, my heart breaks for them. So yes, I reach out. When I lost my son, Stephanie, Angel, Lisa P. and Judy were at my side because they knew what I was going through. The way they told me that all I was feeling was okay helped me tremendously. It made me regret not knowing what to say and reaching out to them more when they were going through their personal tragedies. Now when I here of anyone going through what I did, I go to them, call them or send a card. I reach out after the funeral because I know first hand that it is harder then, Yes, I have reached out to people that I do not even know but have met through my blogging. In fact, Sherri has become a great friend and I have never even met her! The organ donation world has showed me hope. I see the stories of life continuing. It gives me great joy and a sense of hope to meet the people who are living because of a gift. When I meet a donor family, I feel a kinship of sorts. I know the pain of loss they are feeling and the great pride they feel for their loved ones who gave. I was once “new” to this world too. I know the confusion they feel at first. I reach out just to be a friend. I answer the questions they have or send them to someone who has an answer I don’t. I just listen most of all because that is what I needed when I started this journey.

I do not live in death. I am perfectly capable of separating death from life. I have been to plenty of things that I have never even said the words death, dead or dying at. I am very comfortable with telling a group of Moms what Richie did at age 2 without crying or wanting sympathy. It gives me a great sense of comfort to be able to talk about Richie as if he were still here with people. Just because I say his name in conversation does not mean I want pity. It simply means that I am telling a story about him just like I do Luke and Savannah.

It may seem as if that is the only ones I am around anymore are the ones I have met in “death”. This is not entirely my fault. I have watched as Jeff and I are left off some invite lists. Some that are very hurtful. We have watched as some family, close family, completely cut us out of their lives. And when you bump into them at the store? We get the “we have been busy” excuse. Jeff and I have not been to busy or grieving too hard to reach out to people. Even if it is a text or card, we reach out. Maybe our circle does include more “death” friends than longtime friends and family, but that is all we have most times.

I am still a friend, cousin, niece, sister and aunt. Jeff is still a friend, cousin, nephew, son and uncle. And whatever else you may call us. We do not want any pity. We do not want any one to feel as if they can’t be around me. We do not surround ourselves with death. But the death of our child is always with us. If We can’t handle being around someone or somewhere, we will bow out quietly and gracefully. We are not and do not want to live in death.

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