I decided to blog about some FAQs and comments that I get..In particular I notice that as time goes on I get more judgmental themed comments on the blog. Im ok with that.. I have a thickish skin. ..
But i’d be lying if I said it wasn’t part of the reason I blog publicly less .. I still need the release I get from writing.. but it does make me more hesitant to share..
I am realizing more and more how misunderstood the way I am choosing to do this whole grief thing is.. So I figured why not tackle a few of those constants.. or the ones that have bugged me the most.
** “Do you get counseling, you need counseling**”.
I try to explain it this way. One. I need lots of counseling, A “ish-ton” one might say. So I get it in a mulititue of ways. Traditional talk therapy, bereaved parent groups/friends, the gym and my blog.
Two and perhaps the most important thing for you.. any of you to know. If you met me on the street you would have no idea. The blog is a window into the deepest darkest corners of my mind and heart.
Not the main part. A real part yes.. but not the loudest.. Not even the most honest part of me.
But I believe by digging in and cleaning out those corners with the elbow grease of my blog I will be better in the long run … And thus far I have found that to be very true.
My sister said recently as I have been coping with the end of year 3 and the start of year 4.. She said that the random day in July might not be hard.. but that the “milestone days” or the moments that jump up and hurt.. Well they will just knock me straight down and back.
BUT- just because I ache..ache as badly as I did the week she died doesn’t mean I haven’t made tremendous strides.. It actually means the opposite I think. I am hyper aware of the lows.. Because I do have the highs now too.
Thank you for caring I hope that all makes sense
** “Its so good to see you smile.”**
Again this blog is my outlet.. of course I miss her. .. everyday. But my grief doesn’t control me. Not even close.
Actually quite the opposite.. Because the vibrancy and the color I can see in this life now is so much richer. Because I know. I know the darkness too.
I have this newfound ability to embrace the moment. And not bank on or obsess on the future. .. That is a gift. .. a gift I would trade back for my little girl anytime.. But gift none the less.
It has helped me to learn to forgive and try not to judge others too.. That the guy that cut me off on the freeway might be headed to the hospital.. or the parents that have their “way too old” child in a stroller might have a really good reason for it. .. Because we never really know the whole story.. Even if we think we do.. even if we read their innermost thoughts shared on a public forum. .. We just only see that snippet. ..
Its not that anything I have ever written isn’t true. It is. Every word. Its just not my constant truth. Not my everyday overarching truth.
*** You are hurting your living kids.. they will resent you etc.. ***
Well I’d be lying if I said this didn’t sting a little.. Or if I said this wasn’t a huge personal concern of mine. .. But not for the reasons anyone has ever mentioned. I worry they will be mad I have shared any of their experience publicly. .. But I have. And I likely will continue to do so.. until I don’t. But I am fully aware that I am making a choice for them right now.. and one day they may thank me.. or they may not.. I guess I just feel like thats pretty much the definition of parenthood… We do our best to muddle through.. and our kids will thank us for the choices we made… or they won’t..
Raising surviving kids after child loss doesn’t change the essence of parenting.
The biggest thing for us has been to always admit we don’t know what the hell we are doing.. just like we have never really known the “correct” way to parent. We do our best to treat each child according to their needs…
Just like Tony and I deal so uniquely in our processing of our grief, our kids do as well.. especially as they grow their needs change, we try to address it as best as possible. I wrote once how a “jennifer song” came on and one boy begged me to turn it off and the other one begged me to turn it up. So I pulled over got the one the one didn’t want to hear out and let the other one rock out in the car.. I wrote how torn I was on not knowing who to be with.. because they both wanted me.. And I realized only while writing it that I could have improved on that moment of parenting..
So basically… I am 100% sure we are making mistakes.. just like I always have as a parent.. But I also know we are also having some incredible successes and that my kids know (at least right now) they can ask for what they need. Like my much more private guy.. the one who hates crying.. He asked to go back to the bereaved family camp we went to previously.. He has asked for more personal therepy and we are delivering..
No doubt about it though. I am doing some of this wrong. My kids do not have the perfect childhood.. but then again.. they never did. .. Just now some of the wrongs will be different than they would have been if their sister hadn’t died.
We are a big emotions family. Always have been.. Our kids have fears. They have pain and sadness and anger.. They get that from us. ..
But they got love and they got joy. They have giggles and positivity.. And they get that from us too. And they get a helluva lot more of the latter. Of that I have zero doubt.
I appreciate all the comments. Even the harsher ones that have come up as of late. .. Because they clarify things for me. ..
They make me question myself. .. They make me question still choosing to share.. Because I am learning so many people don’t seem to understand what this blog is for me. A outlet. For the dark.. for the scary .. for the deep. That it is not my constant state of being.. but rather the antithesis of it.
Writing this blog .. giving a voice to the fears and the dirty inside. Its helps prevent it from becoming my reality.
I share so others that are walking in my shoes know they are not alone. I share because it helps me so much to read a entry like this by my friend Jaime.. about how she feels looking back at her daughters final hours..
And I share because I read so much of what I feel and write about shared by other bereaved parents in private groups and forums. .. I have wondered why its not shared more publicly.. but now I get it. I think we are scared of getting judged .. of getting told we aren’t doing this right. For a long time I was spared those comments .. And for the most part I still am.. but they do happen .. And they can be hard to digest.
But I have learned I am grateful for it. Because I am me. I am always me. Push and I push back. Can’t help it. So when I am told (based of off this entry) that I deserve my guilt and my pain. That I am awful because I let her suffer.. It makes me take a truly honest and hard look at it. .. And it forced me to admit.. The unthinkable. The thing that for some reason is terrifying to admit. ..
Its not my fault. And I did the very best I could. ..
Its hind site.. it that after the fact 20/20 vision that allows room for that crushing guilt. Its not reality that gives it life.. Its just regret and time that does it. Time to think and obsess.. Time to back track and plan and re-plan for what has already occurred. ..
(And for any other bereaved parent reading these words thinking you will never get to this point.. Keep working at it however you need to and you will. .. I know you doubt it so much right now.. but you can do this. .. and we both know you will have to do it over and over again, because that is just the truth of child loss.. But you can. .. we can do this. )
Along with that cruel hind site is the crush of the loss of the time I counted on. The lifetime of hers that I counted on getting to make so much more positive than negative. .
I’m not exactly sure why.. but its still so hard to truly allow myself to feel .. To acknowledge the ultimate truth..Its not my fault and I did the best I could…because I love her. And she still died.
i love you jennifer
and because of that
i will always
be so sorry
..until there is a cure..