Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Mad Tea Cups
Grief…I believe it is a short word we use to convey “roller-coaster” or “You will now be taking life minute by minute.” What a whirlwind of a ride…sometimes I equate it to the “Mad Tea Party Tea Cup” ride at Disneyland where it is all you can do to not stand up and scream “Get me off of here” while you try not to throw up.
I thought it was time to do an entry about me…what this has been like, my experiences, my thoughts, a check in for my loyal followers! I know people are wondering “How is she doing?” “How do they get out of bed in the morning?” “Does she cry everyday?” “What have they done with all his stuff?” “How do they make sense of all this?” “How is their marriage?” I know I would be wondering those things if I were in anyone else’s place.
I have been saying that there is “no score card for grief” but if there was, I would be amazed at how well I am doing. I am certainly not afraid to have moments where the tears come and they do come…for short periods of time. I have somehow had the fortune to be able to quickly remind myself of how blessed we were and how rich, happy and FUN Jack’s life was (and mine because of it!). It would be easy to grieve what won’t be but in that, I would be wasting all my energy when I could be thinking of how wonderful his life was. Believe it or not, that thought really carries me through the days and makes all of this make a bit more sense and not seem devastating. We know there is a circle of life and Jack’s circle just didn’t have the circumference that we wanted. If we know that we all live and we all die, it is quite simple. It is just unexpected how quickly it was for Jack…but again, to live with such joy is such a gift and there is no doubt that wherever he is, if life does continue on, he is in a great great place! Someone told me “If there is a heaven, Jack certainly took the express train to get there.” Love it!
I have struggled with thinking about “that night.” My mind would go back to the horror, the noises, the disbelief, the people in our house, having to be interviewed separately from Dan with a detective, having to role-play with a doll everything that happened, picturing Jack’s sweet little body laying for hours in our house and watching the EMS workers cry as they left. I wouldn’t say I was obsessing over it but after I learned that Jack had passed away in his sleep, I realized he wasn’t present in the way we know for any of that. What a comforting thought that his life was blissful even to the final minute. What a joy to know he was given a bath by “Doddy!” tucked in kissed and was told “I love you J-Boogie.” Can it really get better than that? That night doesn’t take away from his spirit, his wonderful life, the way he loved and was loved. I am happy to say that each day, I think less and less of that evening.
I asked a dear friend shortly after, “Am I not going to be me anymore?” I was so scared that this would change me forever, in a negative way. I feared that I would be rolled up in a ball in a fetal position on my bed with the lights turned off, sobbing and sobbing. I was afraid I would be bitter and unable to see the simple joys in life. I was afraid that I would lose my ability to want to shower and brush my teeth everyday. She reassured me that I would always be me and that this would not “Take what is me.” I am so glad for that conversation and that time has shown me that no…death won in taking Jack’s life but death will not win in part of me dying or losing my spirit. For me to lose who I am would make Jack’s death a double tragedy. Enough has been taken away already. What a disservice to Jack if I were to loss myself. How could I continue to prove to him that I really am the woman, mother, wife, friend that he thought and witnessed that I was?
People mention the scary statistics of marriages after losing a child. Minutes after Jack was pronounced dead, Dan and I were hugging. I said “No matter what, we are in this together.” I have never felt a deeper connection to Dan since meeting him and we truly have walked this together. We joke at our support group that it is our “weekly date.” We say “Is this what it took?” and laugh. After the first support group, we laughed on the way home. How wonderful to have a partner that can also still see humor, see that life continues for us and that we share this unique bond that no one else will ever understand. We have demonstrated more compassion, love, tolerance and patience with each other than ever before. We like to think of it as our “new normal.”
Shortly after Jack’s passing, I cleaned through his room and our friends painted and decorated for us. I walk in the room frequently and have framed a beautiful photo of Jack in that room. It is painted a light blue with a white cast iron headboard and footboard. I had to admit my obsession with baby clothes shopping as I passed on 2 HUGE garbage bags full of AWESOME clothes to a friend of mine (that went up to size 5 year-old, I have always been a planner!) and a ton of stuff to Goodwill. Kate has become the recipient of some awesome toys and Grover and Elmo now sleep with her.
It’s crazy… this blog has become so much more than just pictures and an update of what our kids are doing lately. Thanks for being an audience for me to bear my soul and to be honest about this crazy crazy Mad Tea Cup ride.