The Irrational Brain

8 months and 15 days later, more phone calls than I can count. Emails back and forth to 2 different Monument Companies. Countless phone calls to Calvary Cemetery and Blessed Sacrament Church and it is in!!

I will not deny that it is gorgeous, it is exactly what I envisioned, it has Connor’s beloved baseballs on it. It embodies everything that he was, and everything that his memory will hold for me forever.

But I also can’t deny that it caused a flood of tears that weren’t entirely unexpected. It was a finality a completion to the circle. It left me standing in front of the stone weeping and thinking my baby is under a big slab of granite, he is alone and cold. I know those are irrational thoughts, but those were what flooded my brain, and I couldn’t make them stop.

It felt like I was right back in November going through the desperation of his death all over again. No one ever said that the brain of a Grieving Mom is a rational one.

My rational brain will return, but for now, I have to start again, grief is a process, not a linear one. It is all over the place, like a tangled ball of yarn.

Riding Waves

This week Kenny Chesney (one of my favorite artists) released a new CD called “Songs for the Saints.” With all proceeds to be donated to those in the Islands devastated by Hurricane Irma. One of the songs that I have played over and over has a meaning to me that has nothing to do with the hurricane. “Build a Better Boat”, speaks to my heart and soul.

I breathe in, I breathe out

Got friends to call who let me talk about

What ain’t workin’, whatโ€™s still hurtin’

All the things I feel like cussin’ out

Now and then I let it go, I ride the waves I can’t control

I’m learnin’ how to build a better boat

My heart was was feeling bruised and broken this week, and these lyrics really spoke to me. I am learning to breathe in and out, focus on the peace that I can bring me. Call my friends that have stood by me throughout this journey. Their promises that they would be here are not empty. They truly are here, through the good, bad and ugly, they have listened to me cry and held my hand through all of it. Although they can’t feel my pain, they know that where love existed now pain inhabits my heart.

At times I have just curled up in a ball and howled and bawled. Just letting the big crocodile tears fall, asking the “Why?”, even though I know that no one has answers for me. I have asked that question at least a hundred if not a thousand times since my world completely changed. There are no answers, I don’t accept.. “it was his time” or “he is in a better place”. Those are not answers, they are platitudes, platitudes that do nothing to assuage the broken heart of a grieving mom.

What I do know is that I need to “learn to build a better boat”, learn to make my way in this world without Connor. In his physical form, that is not saying he is ever far from my heart or my memories. He will always be with me, just not in the way I wish or need.

I Wish

“If wishes were fishes, we’d all have fishes to fry.” I can remember my Mom saying that to me whenever I said something like, “I wish I was thinner, or I wish I had a better car, or I wish I was better at….”. All wishes that really seem silly and kind of pointless now.

Now if I had a Genie in a bottle and I had 3 wishes I know exactly what I would wish for. That the events of November 6th 2017 never occurred. That we didn’t spend 12 days in the Baystate PICU watching our lives come unraveled and that Connor was still here. Sleeping in the room across the hall from us, and spending every available moment with Jordan. But wishes aren’t fishes and no matter how many times I make those wishes, I still wake up trapped in this terrible nightmare.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t have better days where I can spend time smiling or laughing or being silly about something. Not every minute of every 24 hours is full of mind numbing grief, but it is always niggling in the background.

I’ve learned that is what grief is, some days it is all consuming and nothing can push it to the background. Those are the bad days, the days that I have learned that waterproof makeup does not mean tear proof, and that I look like hell when I ugly cry. Other days I can compartmentalize it, put it in a tidy little box, and go about my day. Memories of his silliness or his romantic side, or even the defiant side he had with me, will make me smile and sometimes laugh. Those are good days, days where I embrace all the fantastic things about him, without confronting the truth that he is GONE!

Maybe I’m living in a fairy tale, maybe I really haven’t come to terms with how his death has rocked my world. Maybe someday the grief will be so bad that I will spend a month in bed in a depression I can’t climb out of. I like to think that I have worked my way through that. I know that the amazing friends, family and community members I have would come and sit with me, and even drag my ass out, because they are my village. They were there in the beginning and they are still here. Because my village is full of amazing people that have walked beside me through this journey. Wished these same wishes and held onto this same hope.

My Field of Dreams

Today is 8 months, 8 months since my sweet, baseball loving, prank playing, hardworking and ambitious young man left this earth. This morning my Facebook memories was full of statuses about Tournament Baseball, and the Youth Clinic he attended on the Cape with my Uncle John Lamb. Oh how I hated to get up at the crack of dawn when he had early morning Tournament Games. But I did it all for him, because he loved the game of baseball and I loved him, more than words could sum up. Now I miss him more than words can express, and more than my heart can fathom, it is a pain that tears at my soul, a physical pain that burns like no other.

Memory 3


I would give anything to be back at that field in Turners watching Connor play again, heck to be at any field watching him play. My boys never could understand why I have always loved the movie “Field of Dreams”, I feel like I am in my own Field of Dreams. Wondering if like Ray Kinsella if I tear up my side lawn to build a baseball field, will he come back and play for me? Will I be able to see him play the game he loved, watch him, even from afair again, listen to him talk, just be near him. I know it is a fantasty, but it is a pretty good one.

John and Connor
Connor and my Uncle John Lamb

These memories flood back on a daily basis, some of them fill my heart and my head with happy memories, some of them open the wound in my heart so the scab is ripped open again. Either way they are the memories are what I have, to keep Connor alive in my heart and soul. The memories to fill the gaping hole in my heart. It will never be completely whole, but eventually it won’t be a gaping wound.

Statue of a Bereaved Parent

With memories like these to keep it full of the love, laughter and joy that he brought to me and to the world. I have hope that I can get through this. One day, moment, heart beat, and even tear drop at a time.

Hydrangea 2




After the first infusion of tattoo ink, I was hooked. They are like potato chips, you can’t have just one. I was immediately planning the addition to Connor’s infinity piece. It didn’t take me long to settle on butterflies, one for each of us, with Connor’s drifting off.

Butterflies are a symbol of change, and there is no doubt that this has changed all of us. But it has surely changed me. Changed me in ways that at times are hard to explain. I used to be the Mom that was so concerned with what everyone thought of me and how I was raising my children. Were they good enough students, athletes, were they polite enough? Did they write Thank You Cards correctly and in a timely manner, were they kind to people, they weren’t bullies were they? I was so concerned about making sure my children were well received in the community. I wanted to make sure I was raising well rounded young men.

After the death of Connor my priorities have changed. I am pretty confident that I have sent Kyle (the green butterfly) out into the world as prepared as I can. He is a kind, smart and ambitious young man. He is making me proud.

I am also damn confident that Connor would have set the world on fire if he was given a chance. He was driven and loving and if I could snap my fingers and bring him back, I would in a New York Minute.

I know intellectually that isn’t an option but that doesn’t mean that every beat of my heart doesn’t yearn for him, and ache knowing that he is never coming back. So the pain last night to imprint these flying butterflies on me forever is a small price to pay. To keep the memories of Connor forever imprinted on my body as well as in my heart and in my mind. So go on little blue butterfly drifting off, lead the way, show us how it’s done and wait for your mama with open arms when she gets there. It will be a while, but I’m worth the wait I promise.

Vitamin Sea๐ŸŒŠโ›ฑ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ–

From the time I was a kid the beach has been my happy place. As a kid it was The Lakeville Lake, hours spent there, first just playing in the sand and shallow water. Then it became hours of Swim Team practice, and swimming lessons, followed by lifeguard training. I was happiest at that lake, even with all its weeds and it’s murky bottom. Then I learned to sail, it allowed me the freedom on the lake. To go only where the wind could take me. Being at the mercy of the wind, it was a wonderful thing. Peaceful, calm and quiet, no one arguing or complaining or fighting with me. Just me and the peaceful lake.

My family wasn’t much for the ocean. My father has a serious dislike for sand, compounded by my brother dropping a handful of it in the chips when we went to the ocean when he was small. To be honest he didn’t care for the lake that held my heart either.

As I got older the ocean was the place I went to relax and heal the stress in my life. It didn’t hurt I went to college on the CT coast, and just a stones throw from the ocean. Once I was married and the boys came along we camped at the beach every year. It became their favorite place to. To play in the sand, boogie board in the ocean or make sand castles and dig huge holes when they were little.

Now that my life is in disarray, and my heart is crushed, the beach is where I go to find peace. It relaxes me, the stress is gone for a while. It is just me, my kindle, the waves and the sun.

Giving me a semblance of peace at this moment. I will take what I can get and work with it.

Memory Lane

On July 4th Mark and I were invited by a longtime friend of mine (think from grammar school on) to see James Taylor at Tanglewood. James Taylor is the Berkshire hometown musician, and Tanglewood is his home arena. Being raised in the Litchfield Hills of CT it was like going home for me.

His set list is like a walk down Memory Lane for me, Sweet Baby James, Fire and Rain, You’ve Got a Friend, Carolina in my Mind, Copperline, Mexico, Shower the People & Your Smiling Face.

They are the songs of my teenage youth, the songs I grew up to. They all have meaning to me and each of them take me to a special place. “Sweet Baby James” is the first JT album I owned on CD, and I played it to death. I always played it driving back and forth to CT with Kyle & Connor in the car to see my Mom & Dad.

When he introduced that song, we all cheered and began to sing, and inexplicably the tears started to roll. My brain went back to driving down the Mass Pike or even the backroads from MA to CT with both of them in the back seat, my sweet babies. Sometimes sleeping, sometimes singing, or being silly, as they got older often fighting with each-other but always my babies. The next song was “Fire and Rain”, the tears didn’t get much better with that one.

Sweet Baby James

Fire & Rain

With the tears running down my face Mark put his arm around me and let me cry, with JT playing and me singing (which trust me no one wants to hear). The next song up was “You’ve Got a Friend,” once it started and I really listened to the lyrics. I started to think, and the tears dried up.

You’ve Got a Friend

When you’re down and troubled

And you need some love and care

And nothing, nothing is going right

Close your eyes and think of me

And soon I will be there

To brighten up even your darkest night

You just call out my name

And you know wherever I am

I’ll come running, to see you again

Winter, spring, summer or fall

All you have to do is call

And I’ll be there

You’ve got a friend

I began to think, closing my eyes makes the memories of Connor flood back, and I can bring him back in my mind. But I also know that I can also call out to all of you. My friends that have stood by me, through this ordeal, dried my tears, held my hands while I buried my Sweet Baby and tried to come to terms with the fact that I had seen fire and rain and yet I would never see him again. James Taylor is truly the music of my soul, but you my friends, family and followers are the people that keep my heart and soul alive.


I assume those of you with television (not just streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Roku) have seen the Lowe’s commercial where the mother walks in to the son painting his bedroom. She says “what color did you decide to paint your room?” The narrator says, “when you realize any color you want, does not really mean ANY color.”

That commercial makes me both giggle and tear up, usually simultaneously. When Connor was a Freshman he decided the nursery balloons painted on his walls needed to go. Mark and I are notoriously bad procrastinators when it comes to painting, so that color scheme had been there since Kyle was a baby.

Connor’s color choice was orange, not sherbet orange, but, Kubota Tractor ORANGE, with the ceiling painted the same color. I really think his room emitted a glow it was so bright. It surely wasn’t my color choice, but my thought process was this, it is paint, he can change it when Kubota Tractor Orange isn’t his thing, and it could be black.

It took Kilz primer over those balloons and 2 coats of that orange to cover everything. Surprisingly enough the oranges and reds don’t cover like you think they would. He was thrilled when he was done, my 88 year old father in law was less than impressed. The trend of bright paint, and the same color on the walls and ceiling completely flummoxes him! But Connor loved it and that is all that mattered to me.

By the time the middle of his Sophomore year had rolled around his room was a dark blue, with a white ceiling. Think FCTS Blue, because it is just paint, easily changed on a whim, with a weekend to spare. I wish life was like that, give me a weekend to spare and put everything back to the way it was. Unfortunately life doesn’t work like that. So I will cherish the memories of nursery balloons covered by Kubota Tractor orange paint!

What Is….

Since the beginning everyone has said to me “You are so strong”, or “I couldn’t do what you are doing, Your strength amazes me.” I have been trying to figure out what strength really is? It surely isn’t the absence of tears in my case. For the first 6 months I was a perpetual faucet, I couldn’t get through an hour much less an entire day without weeping. Now I consider a day a win if I complete it without having a meltdown (a case of the sniffly tears don’t count). But a completed day without tears that cause me to hyperventilate and bawl uncontrollably. That I consider a win.

In the beginning when people asked me how I was? It always cued a river of tears, now the same question cues the answer “ok, I have good days and bad days.” Which is the absolute truth, days where I just want to stay in bed and cry all day, and days where I want to get up and tackle the world.

That doesn’t mean I don’t remember the days in the PICU and immediately following. Where I was broken, and couldn’t imagine going on. Couldn’t figure out how I was supposed to function in a world that no longer had Connor in it.

Slowly little by little tiny pieces of my heart and soul are stitching themselves back together. I will never be completely whole again. My heart will always be missing parts and it will always be broken.

I have learned to embrace this “new normal”, that doesn’t mean I will ever like it, or understand why it had to be us, why Connor. But I know there is nothing I can do to change it. I cling to the memories like a lifeboat, scan thru my pictures remembering what was happening then and recalling the happiness of the time.

Trying not to let the sorrow overwhelm me. If I were to tell you that the pictures don’t make me tear up, I would be lying, I will miss him until the day I die. Someday it might not hurt so much, but I’m not there yet…..