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!

Wth Jesus? Wth?!?!?

Lately, all I can do is think, Wth Jesus! Wth were you thinking giving me this life? I know that we are not given more than we can handle by you but WTH? Am I really this superwoman you believe I am? Why must my life be spent living happy moments under the veil of grief that covers me? Why did you choose me for this particular life? Wth? Is it because you knew I could put on a brave face for everyone else? Do you know that under that apparent brave face is a hollowed out space of nothingness? A space where I do not know what I really feel at any real moment? It is just a space where I hide myself to keep any real emotions or feelings from showing. A space where I have learned to live with private tears, private hurts, loneliness and sorrow. Torn between wanting to run from it all and being drawn back to the ones I have to take care of. Never stop running. Run from people, places and things. Run until everything goes away and no one knows me. Where no one knows this brave face. Where I can be the me I want to be. Just run until I shed off all the expectations of the ones I love, of the people watching. Just run until this life falls off my shoulders and I become so light I can fly with the dragonflies. Am I destined to always be here where I have to do what is right for others and not for myself? To be black on the inside while fake rainbows beam from the outside? Wth? Wth? Wth? Just let me run!

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.

In-Loving-Memory-A-Pair-Of-Shoes-Mothers-Loss-Of-A-Child-

595

595. That is how many days since I last held my son’s hand. .595 days.

1 year, 7 months and 18 days since I kissed his cheek last.

85 weeks since I last cried on his chest.

14,282 hours since I last felt his heart beat.

856,944 minutes since I last watched him sleep.

51,416,688 seconds since I last felt complete.

595 Days, 2 hours, 24 minutes and 48 seconds.

595 days

richsam

Self Under Construction

Well, I did it. I have officially decided to take time for myself, I have decided to for once to take care of me. This decision has racked me with pain, guilt and many sleepless nights. By all means, the outward appearance that everyone sees is of someone who is smiling, handling life and seems “okay”. The truth is that person has mastered putting on the face of happy deception. In reality, I spend my nights tossing and turning. Crying and screaming into my pillow. I spend my days with headaches and pure exhaustion. On the days that are good for me, there are the moments that fleet across my mind and will have me crying hysterically for a brief second. But that second is enough to leave me just ready for the day to end so I can crawl into the bed with sleepless exhaustion.

I was spending my days taking care of children when I could barely take care of myself. It is hard to put on a smile and fix grill cheese for these innocent faces when you just want to be alone. It has not been fair to them or me. They are not getting the best me they deserve. How do you answer them when they ask why you are crying? Well little child, I am crying because I miss fixing my son peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Or how about I am crying because Richie used to play this game with you and it hurts me now to do it. Not fair at all for them to have this sad mess instead of the MumMum that used to dance with them and sing at the top of my lungs over the littlest things. Not fair at all.

So what do I do when the last child leaves each day. I immediately go into shut down mode. I do not want to deal with life. I do not want to do anything. I want to go to bed at 5:30 and sulk in my own world. This is not fair to my husband or two children living at home with us. Well, Luke and Savannah are grown you may say. They can take care of themselves.Jeff can get his own supper and let you rest you say. Yes, they can and yes at times they do. But is this fair to them. They did not sign up for this grief ride either. I am the Mom. I am to take care of them no matter their age and I am to be the Mom. They do not deserve a Mom that shuts down from life every evening and does not share in their life fully. I should be making meals for us to eat around our table and hearing about their day. Instead they have been getting a Mom that is quick tempered, stressed, red eyed, frazzled and just a teary mess. My husband does not deserve to come home to a wife that tells him she has had a bad day and is going to bed the minute he walks in the door. How many moments have I missed with them that I can’t get back? Have I gone on too long like this that they no longer desire to be around me?

Then there is this….. Jeff and I have no more children we are responsible for. They have been raised, graduated and are off making there way in the world. What do we do now? We have always taken care of them and put them first always. I can’t count how many date nights were spent with a car load of kids and their friends because we didn’t want to leave them. Now what do we do? Are we even still close enough as husband and wife to be us? What if we don’t even like each other? How do we be us with just us? This scares me more than anything. How do we handle being married with just us? We are having to learn each other all over again.

Now the biggest one…. How do I take care of me? I have always taken care of others. My kids, their friends, my husband(s), others people’s kids, my family, my friends and even the daggum hamster! Now how do I take care of me? I have decided to start counseling to work through some of the things that are haunting me.Things that have haunted me since childhood. I have decided to rest. That is the hardest adjustment so far. I cannot sit still from thinking I have to do something. I am going to write, read, cross-stitch, volunteer at church and just take a walk. If I want to stay up all night crying, I will. If I want to scream at 12:34 in the afternoon because I want my son back, I will. If I want to go have lunch with my handsome son Luke, I will. If I want to go rambling with Savannah, I will. If I want to surprise Jeff with a picnic lunch in his office, I will. (I have always wanted to do that) I will do what makes me happy. I will take care of myself. I will for once let the grief out instead of holding it in until everyone else is taken care of. For once in my life, I will be under construction to be a better me for me. Not for others. Please pray for me. Aside from burying my son, this is the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

self_under_construction_t_shirts-rd4d1c24a3bac4719b64aaffd70cbdc40_im1ml_1024

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.

wpid-374020103_640

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.

still_here#

UGH!

First I want to say that I am not wanting sympathy or anything! I am just posting this because I am having one of those days. I have to get the feelings out of my head, through my fingers. So please, don’t pity me and let my written emotional diarrhea begin!

It is only noon and I have already been through every emotion I can. I am angry, sad, happy, worried, hurt and all in between. I have no idea what has triggered this day. Maybe lack of sleep or a slight sunburn from the extremely fun day in the sun yesterday. Maybe it is guilt because I had fun yesterday. I don’t know what it is but I am just over it. I am missing my son so bad that it feels like I have been gut punched today. I am missing my living children because they are always gone living their life. I am upset that the boy was snappy at me this morning for no reason. Aggravated because the girl decided to wash clothes on the one morning I could sleep in a little. Frustrated because I have no clue what to make for supper with no desire to do it anyway. Depressed because I am just not wanting to fold the massive pike of laundry that has built up. The dog has been spazzing out and running up and down the hall all morning and when she does get still, she farts constantly. I am hurt because I feel like I do not get any recognition of pride from the ones I look for it most in. I feel like nothing I do matters to anyone around here. I feel like I am not as important to most of the people that I put first and on pedestals, I am sick of hearing about the latest Monticello scandal when people should be rallying around a little girl in town that lost her father in a senseless shooting. I want to go back to the beach. I want to go to the mountains and sit on my Uncle’s porch and have him tell me it’s all going to be okay. I want a back slapping hug from my Granny. I want to eat a bowl of strawberry ice cream with my Grandpa. I am wondering if I was as good of a Mom all these years as I should have been. Did I give my children all they needed growing up? Do they resent me because I could not give them all they wanted? I am worried about my Mother, what reason I cannot pinpoint. I feel fat. I feel ugly. I am mad at myself because I have those superficial feeling. I am at a loss to fix a relationship that just never comes easy. I am at a loss as to how to make some things at home better. I miss Dillon who has moved to another state. I miss my house being filled with teenagers during the summer. I am mad because I feel the empty nest. I just ate a handful of Cheet-Ohs so now I am feeling really fat. I feel like a failure as a friend for not being there for everyone like I should. I feel like I am too needy at times. I am tired of keeping things inside when they make me want to explode. I am terrified of making changes soon that will benefit me for the better but may upset other people. I am sick of saying yes. I dread saying no. I just want to go back to bed. I just feel UGH!

ugh-shirt

10 months

Dear Richie, This evening it will have been 10 months since I heard your laugh and your voice. 10 months since I got that sly little smirk you would give me when I told you to behave. 10 months since the last words you said to me where,”Bye Mum! I’ll see you tomorrow! I love you!” 10 months since I heard you, Luke and Savannah teasing each other before you got in the car to drive away. 10 months since the last time I felt whole. I have listened to your “Team Bacon Strips” story over and over this morning just to hear your voice. Just to hear the way you would tell a story and have us all engrossed in it. I don’t know why today is hitting me so hard. Maybe it is just because these past few days I have felt defeated. Or maybe it is the service this weekend. Normally specific dates mean nothing since everyday hurts the same. But today I can’t quit crying. Today I feel as if could give in. I just need to feel you today more than ever. I just need to hear you one more time. I love you my precious boy! Love you bunches and muches, Mum

What I would give for you to send me a selfie of yourself out of the blue again

What I would give for you to send me a selfie of yourself out of the blue again