Today, I cried.
Nothing unusual. This is my first blog entry, though, and maybe you don’t know that. My thoughts come from the place of so much emotion, so much sadness, and such a big hole in my heart. Why do I feel the need to share them with you? I often feel like everyone is forgetting about my little guy and I just want people to remember, but also to learn, understand, and somehow be comforted if you are going through something similar.
My thoughts today are in response to those people that say things like “You’re doing great!”, “I can’t believe how well you’re coping”, ‘I’m surprised you’re ok, I don’t know what I would do?”, “How do you even go on?”, or the most recent rendition from a hotel maid, “I would die myself”.
Let me be clear. We are not OK.
I’m not OK.
In fact, I’m kind of a broken, crazy, jerk.
How do I know I’m not OK? It literally takes me over an hour to get out of bed in the morning. I debate with myself every day, after I wake up to the horrifying image of him, no longer in his body, in my daughter’s arms that last night and the events surrounding that. I relive it, EVERY FREAKING MORNING. Do you know what it’s like to not want to open your eyes?
I also know I’m not OK because I can only get by each day going through the motions. I can’t do normal day to day things without having a side bar conversation with myself, crying, shaking, having a panic attack, screaming, or even throwing up. Take these ‘normal’ activities:
I can’t drive somewhere in my car without looking in my back seat and seeing him, in his car seat. I’m reminded about this every time I see the chocolate pediasure stains in my car. I can’t stop looking in my back seat for him. I can’t stop even though I literally should be facing forward to drive, don’t you think?
I can’t eat at Golden Corral, Perkins, Panda Express, Olive Garden, Wendy’s, Panera, a local restaurant we know of on the water, so many places- without seeing his face and what he was eating in those places.
It took me forever to eat scrambled eggs again. I can now, but I still cry every time I make ‘eggies’ and I eat eggies every day. I will never be able to look at pediasure again. I absolutely hate the idea of kettle corn. Cream cheese makes me shaky and seeing a child with puffs in their hand leaves me sobbing.
I can’t drive by or even go near a specific hospital or even ANY hospital. I go out of my way to avoid it or I’m quite sure I will drive my car into it at warp speed.
I can’t go down the baby aisle in the grocery store without my heart racing, without crying. You’ll often find me sobbing over a bottle of juice, diapers, or hot wheels cars…on my knees sobbing in the middle of the aisle.
I can’t watch videos or see pictures of kids, not even those that are in my family or are children of friends. I can’t run fast enough away every time I see a child that is almost 2 or in a stroller or doing things that Aiden should be at his age. Seeing children makes my heart physically hurt and makes my knees weak. I ask out loud, “Why can’t we have our baby with us?”.
I can’t go to church. I can’t walk in without shaking. I am so angry at my God right now, I can’t make it to church and I can’t talk to him or pray to him. He knows this, but it’s a piece of me that is missing. I am missing my whole spiritual self. It’s just, gone.
I want to slap anyone that tells me that Aiden is in a better place and he’s no longer suffering. I understand people don’t know what to say, but don’t say that. I have no tolerance for people that have ‘bad days’ because they lost a sock or got stuck in traffic. Don’t make me slap you for no reason. See, I am kind of a jerk!
I don’t want to celebrate holidays. I certainly will not celebrate Christmas or engage in tradition and I can’t even fathom trying to decorate for Halloween or see kids dressed up for Halloween. These have always been two of my favorite holidays, now, I feel…nothing.
Mickey Mouse gives me the worst reaction. My stomach wrenches when I see a child with a stuffed Mickey and I gag when I hear the Hot Dog song. What kind of a person does that?
I’m afraid of police men, ambulances, doctors. I know this because my heart skips a beat and I break out in a cold sweat when they come in my path.
I cry when someone tells me they have a fever. I sobbed hysterically when my 18 year old son had a fever and a sore throat and a rash and was at the urgent care. But, we’ve been through so much worse? Doesn’t mean I’m not frightened out of my gourd that something will happen to someone I love. My absolute worst fear…that this could ever happen again.
I sob every time I hear the songs Hello, Shutup and Dance, This is My Fight Song or In the Arms of an Angel.
Seeing a plane makes my head hurt, seeing the moon makes my eyes hurt, seeing frogs jumping in the water makes me clench my teeth so much that I may break one someday.
Alas, somehow, I do get up in the morning. I do eat eggs. I do get in my car, I have several Mickey Mouse stuffed animals in my direct sight every day, I have the fight song as my ring tone, I have giant canvas pictures of Aiden at Perkins and our local restaurant on the water that I see every single day. I sleep with his froggy and my husband and I fight over his blanket at night. I look for the moon, I look for planes, and I giggle a little with clenched teeth when the frogs jump. These things keep Aiden near me, alive, even though I have to go through a knee jerk reaction to get to a place of acceptance.
I do finally get up in the morning because I have to work to live and to keep some sanity. I have kids, three beautiful grown children that by the grace of the God I am so mad at are still with me and still need me to help and protect and love them. I get up because I somehow am under the delusion that I am a necessary voice to save kids in the future. We promised. We promised Aiden we would make a change in the world and fight for all other kids so this wouldn’t happen to another family.
I won’t ever be ‘me’ again. I feel like a rougher, stronger in some ways but weaker in others, more fearful, less loveable, more distracted, more distant yet more alert and aware, slightly more watery version of myself. I won’t ever be “normal”. I will always grieve, I will cry and sob many times in a given day, I will work to get up every day (God Willing), I will worry about everyone I love and keep my kids extra close for as long as they will let me.
But, every day, I will also look forward to those brief moments when I can smile at the thought that I loved this boy so much and the memories are cherished and appreciated. I hope you will all still accept me for what and who I am now and I hope you will never have to understand that going on isn’t an option, it’s just what happens. Life happens still, what we do with that time, though, is up to us. I feel like anyone that has a great loss knows exactly where I am coming from. Trust me, I understand you.
Next time, I will try to be more uplifting and let you know why we choose to go on in the way we do but I can give you a hint, it’s because I’m Aiden’s Grandma.