Birthday Cake to the Moon

I can do the impossible, because I have been through the unimaginable. That has become my mantra. I gave been through hell, and am still in it. Therefore there is nothing else you can throw at me that I can’t handle. I say that with a slight trepidation, because I don’t want to tempt fate. I don’t want the higher power to decide to throw the kitchen sink of awfulness at me.

My most recent dream I am pretty sure came dredging out of my subconscious. Connors Birthday is approaching, and I am not looking forward to it. I have always said he shares his birthday with the day Corporate Taxes are due. Fitting for an Accountant. March 15th can’t come quick enough, or slow enough for that matter this year. I just don’t want the day to occur. It is the next reminder that he is not here to celebrate. To turn 18 with me, to be able to buy a scratch ticket, a standard lottery ticket. As well as be able to tell me for the 15th year in a row “Mom I don’t like cake!! Don’t u remember that? Just get me a half gallon of Black Raspberry Ice Cream and I’m good!, But I love you for wanting to make me cake!”

My most recent dream had Connor in all his personality, all his glory. He had Brad (Jordan’s Dad) with him too. He brought me a plant. A big Boston Fern, and he had it on his head so it made him look like he had Rasta Hair. He also brought a Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting. When I tried to offer him a piece. He laughed and said. The cake is for you, remember I don’t like cake Mom. He gave me a big hug, a kiss laughed again and poof he was goneπŸ’¨.

I woke up both happy and sad, missing him and loving him all at the same time. Knowing instinctively that this dream was my subconscious rearing its head about stuff I can’t control.

But hoping that it was Connor sending me a sign that he is ok. That he wants me to know that, and wants me to try and heal and be a little happy. Maybe it was a little bit of both. In either case, March 15th will come and there will be cake, if only to remind me that he won’t eat it, but he would take a piece just cause he loves me, and I love him, to the moon and back forever and ever!!πŸ’œπŸ’™

Blessed and a Loved

There are days that I feel I am swimming in this awful churning wave filled ocean all by myself, but I know it isn’t true. I have friends, family, co-workers, my fb friends(some that I have never met in real life), my fb grieving groups. All will be there if I just yell, or even mumble that I need something.

It is difficult as an independent women of the ’80s that was raised to believe that she could do it all and have it all to ask for help, but I did. I have been dreading doing Connor’s taxes, clicking the little box that says β˜‘οΈ taxpayer is deceased. So I realized that people don’t just say, “let me know what I can do, or if you need anything I am here”. Just to hear themselves talk. I reached out the CPA that I have worked with for over 14 years and asked him to do Connor’s taxes. No hesitation, no umm I’m too busy. The answer was bring them in and we will take care of it. I felt as if a huge weight was gone, like one of those weights that Jordan’s horses pull had just been magically wiped away.

The same day I made that decision I came home to this box on the doorstep, an unexpected present from a friend that I have had longer than each of us would care to admit. To do so would make us old!!

It is handmade, softer than anything I have ever felt, and is full of my favorite colors, and has little silver sparkles knitted into each end. Karen (and both of her sisters are supremely talented with yarn and needles). I can barely knit a basic scarf, this shawl is a masterpiece, a hand knitted work of art. It came with a card that made the waterworks flow, but they were happy tears. Tears of love and appreciation.

I have always been surrounded by amazing people. I now truly realize how amazing they are. Although my heart is broken, I feel blessed and loved by all of themβ€οΈπŸ’™πŸ’•

One Piece

Just when you think that you are rolling along and things are going well, or as well as they can be in your “new normal”. Then you have to go pick up an innocuous piece of paper that rocks your world. This innocuous little piece of paper puts your pain in black and white, gives it nowhere to hide. Within minutes of walking to the car with this piece of paper folded in my hand the tears were streaming down my cheeks uncontrollably. I spent 10 minutes in the car with a tissue pressed to my eyes trying to sop up the tears. Great huge sobs wracking my body, it is times like this I am glad I live in a small town. So no one could witness my meltdown in the Town Office parking lot. I had held it together in the Town Office, chatting with Paula and Colleen, playing with Paula’s dog Olive and generally being a put together adult. That all changed when I had THIS piece of paper in the car. This paper that had to be sent to the SSA. Connor’s death certificate, making it perfectly clear that he was never coming back, ever.

Not that I really believed he was coming back, I just didn’t want to believe that he was really gone, forever and always. It is too hard to accept that reality, accept that no matter how bad I wanted it, or wished for it or hoped for it.

Then the next wave hit me, when I do everyone’s taxes this weekend (mine & Marks, Kyle’s, My Father in-Laws and of course Connor’s). Connor’s will have a finality to it, the little button you click that says β˜‘οΈ This taxpayer is deceased and this is final return.😒

I don’t think any of us ever get to the point where we are ok or at ease with the death of a loved one, and especially the death of your child. There are always things that will drag us back to the hell of the grief, the pits of the despair. My hope is that the times between the pits and the hell will become longer. I won’t have as many days where I hide in the car wracked with sobs, glad that no one sees me. That will come with time, for now I am happy for the great memories, his great friends, and my amazing friends and family. Together we will all get through this, weather these storms and come out the other side. Embracing this new normal and learning to live in this world without him, but with all the memories he left me instead.

Terror

Columbine, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Simon’s Rock-School of Bard, and now Parkland, FL. All school shootings in the US that have occurred in my lifetime. I will admit that until November 17th they were just tragic events and I went on with my everyday life once the media stopped flashing them all over the screen.

The shooting in Parkland, FL affected me like no other. In a visceral way I feel for the parents of those 14 murdered students, 3 staff members the 5 in critical condition. There lives will never be the same ever again. The parents of the 17 people that lost their lives have now become members of the Crappiest Club that no one ever wanted membership in. We are like the mean girls group in High School. There is special criteria to join, (the death of your child, regardless of their age) and a secret handshake (ours is the look of grief and the pain in our hearts). None of us want to be part of this group, we wish our membership could be revoked. That we would never have to wear the pain in our hearts and the fake masks on our faces for the rest of the world to make us seem like we are coping well. Wearing pink on Wednesday’s would be so much easier!

Although I don’t know the families of these 17 personally, I don’t know any of their names. I know what they are going through, the shock, the disbelief, the bargaining with a higher power to change what happened. The realization that now you have to plan a funeral for your child. Something you are ill-prepared for in your numbness and grief. I feel the pain that the families of the 5 in critical condition are enduring. The not knowing what the future holds, the panic every time your phone rings,or the doctor enters the waiting room to talk.

I have walked both sides of that line, I don’t like either side. It is terrifying and painful, you can’t imagine you have that many tears in your body to shed. But I can assure you, once the shock,and numbness wears off and you are left with your overwhelming grief. You will have more tears to shed. Find a way to channel your pain,write, talk to others, talk to their friends, paint, sing, whatever lets it out, but don’t bottle that pain up so you explode like a half drank bottle of Prosecco. You will find your true friends, the ones that pick you up, send you little treats in the mail, take you out to breakfast or lunch. Trust me, they may not be the ones you expected, but hold onto them like a life raft, because they care and they will walk this long, pot hole strewn road with you.

Love and Hallmark

Once I was old enough to figure it out I believed that Valentines Day was a made up holiday. Made up by Hallmark, FTD and Nestle to gain revenue with sappy card , overpriced flowers and chocolate sales. Now I adore flowers, the quickest way to my heart is to bring me a bouquet of flowers. My cousin Cindy Dufour always said her sister Kim and I were Miss Hall Prep School wanna be’s. We attracted the guys that brought the flowers and drove the fancy cars and wore the fancy clothes, she was right!!πŸ’πŸŒΉβ€οΈπŸ’•πŸ‘žπŸ‘”

I still want flowers, but on Valentines Day, roses are hugely overpriced, and Chocolate is a awful for my low carb lifestyle. This year what I want and need is love, and I have it. I have true friends, I have husband who holds me when I cry and sob and rage at the world and how unfair it is. An amazing 21 year old son, who is wise beyond his years. I will take the credit for that wiseness and how mature he is for his age. I have Connor’s amazing girlfriend Jordan, who is my connection to him, I have Connor’s friends who constantly remind me of what a fantastic kid he was.

I have a job that I love, with a company that I love. A boss that is a fantastic guy, who understands that I have good days, bad days and days that I can’t even get out of bed. I can’t ask for more than that.

To be honest in my heart of hearts I ask for more than that on a daily basis. I ask the why question over and over. With no real answer, I know I am not the only one. Anyone who is a member of this crappy club asks the same question. There is no answer, and there never will be, but it doesn’t stop me from asking just the same.

We All Hurt

I belong to a few Grieving Mom groups on line. I have witnessed moms being hurt and judged when their children were murdered, committed suicide or died due to an overdose. This post is for them, and all others like them. We are all hurting, this loss is enormous and the pain is beyond what anyone can comprehend. Please don’t judge a mom whose child died in a way you think is “less than noble”it doesn’t make her hurt any less, or any easier to comprehend. I have an amazing community behind me, I wish every Grieving Mom was as lucky as me in that respect. We all hurt, we all cry, we all ache, all of our hearts burn. Please be kind to all of us.

The death of a child leaves a hole regardless of whether that death is due to an illness, an accident,a murder at the hands of another, a suicide or an overdose. A loss is a loss is a loss, there is no changing that, but what is different is the way the community and those around you react to the death. In a perfect world no parent would be treated any differently regardless of the manner of death of their child. Unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world, by any means.

When the death is the result of an accident or an illness, the support comes pouring out of the woodwork. Everyone wants to know what they can do, how they can temper your grief or make you feel better? As if there is any way in they immediate aftermath that will happen.

When murder or overdose or suicide is the cause of death all of a sudden your parenting is called into question. What kind of child did you raise that they would be put into a situation where murder was an option? What were they doing that caused such rage on the part of someone else to cause them to take your child’s life?

As for overdose, opiate abuse has become such a hot button issue in our country and especially in the North East that everyone has an opinion. People on both sides of the issue, both sides thinking that they are right. Forgetting that a Grieving Mom That has lost their child is stuck in the middle. They just want compassion and love, they honestly don’t care what your politics are about addiction.

As for suicide that is a hurt all of its own. Depression and anxiety generally caused a fear that none of us could comprehend. In their mind the only way out was to take their own life. To stop the pain, the hurt and fear and depression. That leaves behind unanswered questions for those parents mired in that type of grief.

Let me make one thing absolutely clear to anyone who has never set foot in this awful club. A Grieving Mother harbors enough guilt all on her own. Guilt that she couldn’t protect her child from the illness, the accident, the weather, the imagined harm that we should have protected them from. Our jobs as moms is to protect our children from everything, both real and imagined. When the worst happens, when our nightmares come true we don’t need to be reminded that we failed. We are quite aware of that scenario, we relive it every single day, more moments than anyone will ever know. It haunts us day and night, it is the plot of our every nightmare and every daydream. We don’t need your help reliving it.

So please do all of us Grieving Moms a favor. If you want to judge us for our failings. Judge us for the reasons that our children are gone. Please do it silently and from afar. We judge ourselves more harshly than you will ever know, we don’t need your assistance. Grieving Moms need your assistance and support, we need your love and affection, friendship and hugs, not backstabs and snotty remarks. We can beat ourselves up all on our own, please don’t do it for us.

Good For The Soul

I have some amazing friends, the kind that will pick me up when I need it the most. The kind who will schedule a day with me to go to lunch. Make me laugh, listen to me cry, split an ultra hot appetizer of Firecracker Calamari with me (even though heat is not her thing.)

This particular friend has been in my life since we were in High School, we have moved far away at times. But thru the magic of technology we have kept in touch. I was there for her when her mom was sick, and ultimately cried when she passed on Christmas Day. I have watched her life change as she has grown and evolve. She is not only an awesome friend, she is a fantastic mother, and she adores her big dogs as much as I love mine.

A weekend in CT to see my parents is never complete without a visit with a Gina, whether it is quick drinks, lunch somewhere, or a night watching her karaoke. She has an amazing voice, and never fails to make me wish I could sing.

Midway through our lunch on Saturday she said “this will sound odd, but I was afraid you were going to be emaciated or 30 lbs over weight, because you weren’t taking care of yourself, I’m glad it was neither of those.” I said “well, I have gained 10 lbs that I just can’t get rid of, but I am not as disciplined as I was before.” To that she commented “It will go, but don’t beat yourself up about it.”

I have been worrying about it, but I just can’t stay on track, it doesn’t seem important at this time. What I do know, what is important is this: Friends are good for your soul. They nourish a part of you that food and drink can’t touch. Friends make you laugh, and cry, smile and scream. Experience every range of emotion that is possible. I don’t know what I would do without my friends. I am pretty sure I would be lost, in a sea of emotions that had no bottom. There is a reason we are not meant to be solitary beings. We are pack animals if you will, we need others like us. That celebrate our quirkiness and our eccentricities. Those are our tribesmen, I need my tribesmen or I wud go stark raving mad!!!β€οΈβ€οΈπŸ’™πŸ˜‚πŸ€—