Silence Can Be Golden

Dear < insert name here>,

Please don’t take offense and know that I am sorry for your loss but I ask that you kindly do not compare my journey to yours. Please do not quote from the bible or a Hallmark card something you think might lighten my burden.  Please don’t tell me how long you have been holding on to your pain.  AND please do not put the loss of your parent, sibling, spouse, pet in the same category as mine.  And lastly, don’t give me unrequested advice.

  • I don’t want to hear  ‘it never gets easier‘ or ‘brace yourself , the second year was so much harder.’  Harder???  Really??!  How much harder can it be?  I have cried so hard, my gut twists in pain!  My heart hurts so much, I feel as if a thousand pounds of lead is sitting on my chest.  I have wondered how easy it would be to fall asleep and never wake up!  I have screamed at the top of my lungs so hard that my throat is raw! Fragments of broken glass surround me from me throwing things out of anger!  Harder?!  So, are you telling me that this is just practice to and get myself ready for the real thing?!”
  • Don’t tell me the degree or length of your pain unless I ask. I call this form of information PWSO.. “pregnant women syndrome overload”.  When someone we know tells us they are pregnant the first thing out of our mouths is “OMG…wait ’till you go into labor!”  The stories of unbearable pain, crazy symptoms, moment of panic, start to roll of our tongue’s.  We are eager to share the atrocious things that our bodies go trough.  We go into such graphic details that we leave the mother to be in a state of fear!  The poor mother has to sit through all the gory stories that we endured through our own pregnancies  We leave them to wonder if having a baby is really a good idea.  Thing is, all pregnancies are different.  There is pain, but some women have handle pain better than others.  There are difficult stages that though we may not like, one way or another, we made it through.  Some labors lasted hours, while others days.  I can not expect your pregnancy to be just like mine was just like you can not expect your grieving process to be like mine.
  • DO NOT for one inkling of a second, expect what you are going through after  the loss of your beloved spouse be comparable to my ordeal.  Not that your pain isn’t grave and deep and I and sorry….but the pain of losing a spouse is merely touching the surface of what my pain is.  You may fall in love again, you may remarry, you will once again be in the loving arms of someone who is to be your partner in life. I can never replace a child.
  • Don’t let the words “He is God’s child. He lent him to you and wanted him back” escape your lips!  UUUHHH Excuse me??  My child is not an item that can be returned or exchanged.  God lent him to me???  If God wanted him back, he should have taken him when I was already there to greet him! Why did he need him back now??!
  • Heaven needed another angel’.  What the hell for?  Did the angels union go on strike?  Is there somehow a shortage of angels and all of a sudden and God decided Joey would be drafted?
  • Don’t assume I am ready for pictures you found  stored somewhere in your cell or photo box. Trinkets that you came across that once belonged to my son could very easily open raw wounds.  By all means , in a short sentence, let me know you have them but please refrain from wrapping them up in a pretty little box with a bow. The pain may still be too unbearable.  I will politely accept it, but they will quickly go into some drawer as if I am putting away a tax bill.  I truly do not want to hurt your feeling when you don’t see your gift to me displayed.  If and when I am ready, I will accept them and cry happy tears that you kept something so valuable to me.

So I end this with, I am sorry.  Do not take offense.  That isn’t my intention.  This is MY reality and what I have experienced. My intention is to merely point out that our paths, our journeys, our pain and grief are as different as night and day, ice and fire, love and hate.  We all are trying to navigate this unknown territory however we can and the best we know how….I know you love me and  are trying comfort me the best way you know how.  You want to  dissipate my pain however you can. But sometimes, I just need you to listen, hold me and understand.

In times of doubt, always remember…Listen and Silent are spelled with the same letters

 

 

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A Road to No Where

We must all navigate this journey at our pace, in our own style.  There are no wrongs or rights.  There are no books to read, videos to watch, seminars to attend.  No one out there can tell us what to expect or learn.  I myself, am NO expert whatsoever!  Heaven knows I never wanted to even attempt to be one.   Slowly, I have navigated my broken body through this dark and un-welcomed journey.

I also understand that some people want to avoid me.  I have become a type of anomaly  to them.  Who loses a child and why the hell are they in the same room with me?  It becomes easier to avoid someone than to acknowledge the pain on their face.

I was talking to a dear friend today.  I was retelling the story of the one year anniversary and how difficult it was for me.  I was hurt and honestly offended that the amount of people that gathered at the site for a balloon release was so small.  Yet, I understand how life does go on and that the world doesn’t suddenly stop spinning because I am in pain. We got some text messages, some face book posts, but I felt as some people didn’t bothered to take a half hour out of their day to show any support for us.  I know I should not think that, but grief is harsh…and brutally honest. The hardest and toughest to swallow for me, though, was family members that merely decided on their own that we wanted to be alone and didn’t bother communicating with us. I wonder why it was so difficult for them to ask what we needed that day? Some were a mere few miles away but chose to go about their normal activities.  I guess they still don’t understand that our broken lives will never be normal again.

I never expected to be on this journey.  I surely don’t expect anyone to take it with me.  I would be missing a sensitivity gene if I put such a burden on anyone. Even my kids or husband have to navigate their own paths at their own pace.  But, those of you who have not gone through this grieving passage, I want to give you a bit of an insight to what it feels like after time has passed…

‘In the beginning, you were there…taking every twist and turn with us.  When we got lost, you were our beacon.  The times we had no idea which way to go, you held our hand and helped us navigate through this unknown territory. As the trip continued, you started to take other roads.  You went off course for a bit but eventually you made a u-turn and found us.  Once again, you held our hand for a bit and steered us in the right direction.  When this ‘trip’ started taking too long, you decided we were ok on our own.  You figured you had steered us the best you could, and left us to find our own way.  You had other roads you wanted to travel without the extra baggage bearing you down.  Yet, we still are lost and have no idea where to go…which way to turn.  This road had become long and dreary.  We are so disoriented, we don’t know if we will ever find our way home.  Here we are, standing in the middle of this dark rarely untraveled road, looking for some sort of direction.  We are frightened.  We are in despair.  We look everywhere for you, hoping that you find us and lead us back to civilization.  As we look down the road, we catch a glimpse of you, slowly disappearing into the background.  We desperately reach out for you but you keep walking away, never even glancing back at us…so in-between sobs, we pray…

“Someone else should be coming along any minute” 

 

 

Memories Full of Pain

Joey is always on my mind.  There are days that that with every gentle breath I take, memories of him fill me with overwhelming happiness and peace of mind.  They make me smile.  Other days,  the memories of him weigh so heavy on me that the thought of him leaves me gasping for every breath I take.  I feel I am a horrible mom because when I think of him, I try to shake off his glorious image from my thoughts. An agonizing guilt bears down on me because when I remember his beautiful smile, the memory is quickly followed by images of his lifeless body laying on a table.  Sometimes, it is just too extremely painful to remember him.  The reality and tremendous pain of never seeing him again punches me in the gut robbing me of air, quickly suffocating me.  How can our brains be so sadistic and twisted?  How can it trick us… play brutal and hurtful games with our memories?  I never, EVER want to forget my son yet the mere thought of him takes me back to 13 months ago when I last saw his lifeless body. How can I ever get those agonizing images out of my mind?  How can any parent forget the last time they held their dead child?

I try so hard to keep my mind stable.  No ups…no downs. No emotions…no feelings. Don’t think.  Carefully pace every breath I take. I am afraid that once memories start to fill my mind, the brutal reality will begin to consume and drown me in despair.

My husband often wonders why I watch meaningless shows on TV.  I tell him that I need to shut down my brain…my thoughts.  I need to escape to mindless shows filled with ‘canned’ laughter.  If I don’t, I will go mad.  Insanity will overtake any normalcy I have left. The quiet only intensifies my torment…reopens up my wound.  Doesn’t it seem so brutally ironic that what fills my heart with love and joy can also savagely and ruthlessly shatter  it with more vengeance than ever?  Conversations with my husband become less and less fulfilling.  I answer with quick short answers.  I am afraid that one of us will say something that will stir up memories and take me back to a dark ugly place I don’t want to ever visit again.  I miss what made me fall in love with my husband. Our conversations.

I miss my beautiful son so much. I miss his face…his laugh…his soul.  I miss everything about him.  I yearn to see him again, even for a minute and yet when that contagious smile crosses my mind, I want to heave!  The loss becomes overwhelming.  I can’t bear it.   How can I ever learn to separate those two?  What price do I have to pay to erase those dreadful images from my memory bank? Someone please tell me!  I’ll gladly pay the ransom ten fold!!

Why, dear Lord, do you make me a hostage to my memories…

A Victim of Robbery

I was robbed.  This heinous act wasn’t at gun point or a knife held up to my throat.  It was more brutal than that.  I was robbed of one of my most irreplaceable and valuable possessions.  It was violently taken from me.  I was taken by complete and utter surprise or should I say ambushed.  It sneaked  up on me as only a coward would do.  If I had seen it coming, I would have fought it off with every inch of my being until I could fight no more, and then I would fight it some more. Death crept into my life on the morning of July 16, 2016 and robbed me of my son.

Death didn’t only steal away the life of my child…my first born. It stole so much more.  It stole my future and my parental rights.  I have been denied the right of any waterworks I would shed as I heard the excitement in his voice when he would tell me he decided to make the love of his life his wife.  I have been stripped of my mother son dance at his beach side wedding. The overwhelming euphoria of seeing  his children come in to this world has been taken from me. I will never see the tears of joy running down my son’s cheek as he witnesses the birth of  his own miracle being born. I will never be able to hold his newborn in my loving arms and stare into their eyes as I comment out loud how much they look like their daddy.  No outings with abuelita.  No school plays to attend. Sharing stories of his own childhood and telling him  “He is just like you when you were his age!” has been BRUTALLY stolen from me.

There will be no holidays at his home. No birthday parties to attend. The happiness of shopping for Christmas or birthdays to find the perfect gift and watching in delight as he or they open presents has been robbed from me.  No new jobs to be proud of.  No more “Good morning, momma I love you.”  Making his favorite meals has been furiously stripped away from me, as well. Everything that I, as his mother, am entitled to was savagely and uncontrollably snatched away from me in a blink of an eye, never to be recovered.

I will never find justice.  This thievery….this invasion of my life isn’t something I can report to the proper authorities without looking like a complete nut case.  “Excuse me officer, I want to report a violent crime.  “No, I didn’t see the perp.  No, I don’t know who would want to hurt me in such a horrific manner. A description? Well, it was hideous. It was a dark and evil being. Very, very evil and very, very ugly. It gave off a chilling and bloodcurdling feeling which left me paralyzed.  Maybe for the remainder of my life.  It came at me with full force and with such a wrath of maliciousness!  I was horrified!  I had no way of fighting it off…no matter how much I prayed.  Please find it and when you do, PLEASE keep it away from my family!”

Oh, how I wish death and grief were tangible substances that I could get my hands on.  I would use all the might I have left inside of me and hurt them like they have hurt me.  I would lock them up in some cold, dark, ugly cage. I would let them die their own slow painful deaths.  I’d stare at them straight in their hideous eyes, the same evil way they stare at me in the face everyday! When I hear them cry out in pain, I would cover my ears and slowly walk away from them.  As they scream out for mercy, I will lend a deaf ear and taunt them as they have taunted me.  I will hide out and pretend to be gone only to sneak up on them with a vengeance.  I will make them think that after a few days of not seeing me and thinking they would be saved, I would reappear and laugh as I replay their painful events in front of them over and over and over again.  As much as they would try to close their eyes, I would make them watch every single detail of their pain and relive every single moment.  I would save every other parent of every going through this cruelty of life. If only I could…

I refuse to be a victim again….I pray that someone hears my plea

 

Forever Changed

It was recently expressed to me that I have changed.  The comment was made after a seemingly ordinary conversation.  I suppose it was because I expressed an opposing view to this person.  In the past, even though I disagreed on any particular subject, I would politely nod and pretend to agree.    I quizzically stared at this person wondering if I had misheard their comment.  I think I was more dumbfounded than upset.  I sat up straight, head cocking back and forth in a ‘Oh hell you did not just say that’ type of way. “Changed?…yes you are one thousand percent correct.  I have changed.”

Everything about me has changed.  My sense of humor is sporadic, my mental state unstable and my enthusiasm has sadly diminished.   My temperament, my patience, my faith, my courage, and strength falter me more often than not.  I HAVE changed. Nothing about me will ever me the same.  I will  never be the Cynthia I was before. How can I be, and how dare anyone question who I have become?  Part of me, my identity and what defined me was was ripped away from me.  The very important piece of me can never ever be replaced.  A piece of my heart, my soul, my life will forever be incomplete.

I didn’t ask for this change.  It was violently thrust upon me. Though my life came with it’s bumps and bruises, I was innocently content with it.  Or maybe I was naive in assuming that as I went through life, I would escape with only bumps and bruises. How was I to know that I would be thrown into a dark hole with  no hope of escape. I  would have never imagined that I would have to endure such a horrific event that would leave me twisted and mangled in a heap of unbearable pain.  How can anyone think that we, that lost our babies, can go through the pain, despair and unbearable heart break and expect us to come out the same?  Anyone that has not been tortured by the death of a child, does not have a right to question my demeanor, my personality, my attitude towards life. Don’t ask why “It’s been a year, when are you going to be back to your old self?” You won’t like my answer.  There is no old self, no ever going back.  If there was a way of magically going back, I would have gone back 384 days ago. You may however, quietly and to yourself wonder why I am different and tell yourself that you miss the old me.  Believe me, I miss her too.

Yes, I have changed..I am a completely different person.  I am broken…at times I feel defeated. My heart is shattered…never to be put together again.

 I will never be who I once was…death has forever changed me