There's no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

For Cathy

Dear Cathy in Missouri,

Thank you for the insightful and loving comments that you left on my previous post. I clicked on your username in order to find a link to email you, but it wouldn't allow it. So, I am glad to just respond to you here and hope that you read this post. Maybe it will help someone else as well.

There is so much wisdom and truth in the excerpt that you included in your first comment...from the book, "Seven choices...". After I read it, I felt such a rush of relief and peace. It sums up what I would love to say, but feel that I lack when I try to put it into words. For this reason I read, read, read and read about others who have suffered such a great loss. I gain the connection that I need to get me through the day. When I read that someone is feeling the exact same way that I am, I can reclaim a small bit of my sanity. Thank you for including that means more to me than you know. Because it is so true...there is nothing that will ever make the death of a child okay. Ever.

As for your second comment...this has been an area that I struggle with constantly. I would expect that most people who are dealing with such sorrow are feeling the same way as well. How do we deal with those who are not suffering as we are? I have to say that, even though it is a living nightmare to be where we is no easy task to be on the other side either.

The fact is that it is a lose-lose situation. I spend almost every minute of every day thinking about my precious Mark...about how I found him in the water...about how I miss his smell and his laugh and his mischievous nature...about how he looked lying in the casket...about him being buried...about how I should have a little 4 year old son running around the house and giving me hugs and kisses. I could go on and on. And, it isn't as though I just think about these things. They all evoke the same pain as when it all first happened. It is torture and it doesn't seem to be alleviated by any of my pleads and prayers to God. That isn't to say that He doesn't hear me or that He doesn't may just be that the pain is all a part of the refining process that I am in. The fact is, there is absolutely no possible way that anyone who hasn't been in this situation could even begin to understand how all-consuming it is. Every minute of every day. Emotionally draining with no end in sight. Just a lifetime of the same.

So, what am I to actually expect of others? I can't expect them to actually understand how awful this all is. Only to be in the situation itself would one understand. However, almost everyone that I have talked to since Mark died has the absolute best intentions possible. In fact, I can't think of anyone yet who has intentionally tried to say or do anything hurtful to me. Have people said things that hurt? Yes! But, as much as it hurts, it was coming from a pure heart...I truly believe that. I believe that most people know that there really isn't anything to say that will make it better, but their words are an attempt to convey the love that they feel for me. Even when someone makes a comment about how it will all be okay and that Mark is in heaven and everything is wonderful and we should be so happy to think about seeing him again one day...well, that is all fine and good except that they didn't lose their child. I try to deal with them by telling myself that they wouldn't say those things if they were in my shoes, but that they are still trying to help. It also helps for me to try and remember what I used to "believe" before Mark died. There are times that I know I would be thinking some of the same things that others think of me...however misguided and ignorant. It is like someone trying to tell you how to take care of your pet fish by telling you what they do for their pet hamster. (I know, terrible analogy...I couldn't think of anything else.)

It is normal for people to want to move on and for them to want us to "get over it" and live again. They do, essentially, want to "fix" us so that they can have their old friend or relative back. The person that they used to know. Most days, I try to function as everyone expects because I have 4 other children who need that as well. Truthfully, I could sit and cry all day, every day because it just hurts that badly, but I wouldn't be a mother to my girls that way. I suppose it is all a big act...just pretending as though everything is okay and that time is healing, even though it isn't. There just isn't a good alternative since the world didn't stop for everyone else like it did for us. My husband still has to go to work and I still have to do all of the "mom" things that need to be done. I love my girls every ounce as much as I love Mark and they deserve all that we can give. Some days it is more than others.

To be completely honest, before my son died, I was probably one of the worst comforters ever! I felt such hurt for someone who lost their loved one, but I never knew the right words to say. In fact, I probably said some extremely stupid things to several people who were hurting. I wish that I could change that. I have learned that listening is the best that anyone can do. I have been blessed with several friends and family members that are willing to listen anytime I need to let it all out. I call on them less and less because it is just the same old pain, just a different day and I don't want to continue to burden them...but I know that they are there nonetheless.

From your comment, I do get the idea that maybe there has been someone who has said hurtful things to you regarding your faith...thinking that you are lacking faith because of sorrow. Absolutely ridiculous! And, I don't know exactly what I would say to someone if they said that to me, but I hope that if they ever do, that they say it on one of my "better" days so that I can say something that I don't regret later. For me, the knowledge that I will see my Mark again doesn't alleviate the suffering, the emptiness and the sorrow...but it is the absolute only comfort that I have. It is the only truth that I can hold on to that will get me through the day. Everything else is lost...he is not here...he never will be here again and I still can't believe that it is true...that a loss so great and an emptiness so overwhelming has overtaken my life and yet, I am still supposed to carry on. It really is absurd. My other alternative would be to check myself in to the psych ward in the hospital and live out my days. At times, I have considered it seriously, but I am confident in the fact that God wants more from me than that. Otherwise, He wouldn't have allowed this all to happen. I don't know how I am going to get through tomorrow, or the next day, or the next...but I know that even if I live for another 60 years with this pain in my heart, God has a plan. It may just not be the life that I would have chosen for myself. I have accepted that a life full of suffering may be the life God wants for me. I try and remind myself that I have so much to be thankful for as well.

I don't know if any of my ranting helped at all. The bottom line is that there are no answers. We can only do the best that we know how from moment to moment and believe that everyone that loves us is trying their best too. We are all imperfect people living in an imperfect and sinful world. Come quickly Lord Jesus.



Saturday, July 10, 2010

Happy 4th Birthday

Happy Birthday my sweet Mark.

I would love to see your precious 4 year old face coming around the corner this morning...greeting me with a grin. You were such a happy guy when you woke up. If you were here, I would give you the biggest birthday hug and kiss and fix you your favorite breakfast.

It was difficult to get out of bed, knowing that there will be no birthday party to go to and no cake to eat. No presents and no pictures of you opening them.

Instead, we will go to your grave. We know you aren't really there, but it is as close as we can get to you...the son and brother that we love so much. Your flowers are fading and so I bought you new again. It won't bring us any peace, but nothing really does. We just want you back.

There are no words to describe the hurt that we still feel. The pain isn't any less that it was the day you left...just different. I ache for you with every breath. I wait for the day that I can hold you again. Until then...I love you...Happy Birthday.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

gallery pics and the dreaded month of July

From my 5 (almost 6) year old niece...Bella. :)

Thank you Isabella!

From my friend, Georgianna. I love the shells...I know that Mark would be just as obsessed with collecting them at the beach as his sisters are!

These two are from my sweet friend, Daphne.

That color red reminds me of the red Farmall tractors that he (well, his daddy) liked

so much.

I can't deny it anymore...June is gone and July has come. I knew it would...despite my protest. Somehow, I can handle June okay. The busyness of summer overshadows the looming reminders that lurk around the corner. But July brings the panic that comes with thinking about the "days" that have to come. The days that manage to be even more painful than all of the other days without my son. Mark's birthday...July 10th. He would have been 4. How I wish that I was having to chase him around and plan his birthday party and wrap up big boy toys. And then there is August. August 10th...the worst day of my life.
If anyone knows how I can go to sleep tonight and wake up on September 1st...please let me know.