WHY?

WHY me?  Why us?  Out of ALL the people that I encounter each and every day, why was I picked to lose MY child?  Why were MY grandchildren, his brothers babies, forced to never get to play catch football with their favorite and coolest uncle ever?  Why was the chance of him having the opportunity give me his OWN grandchildren ripped away from us?   Why was MY daughter robbed of dancing with her big brother on her wedding day? Why was it MY family forced to go through the ordeal of burying their first child, first nephew, first grandchild, their best friend? Why are we the ones that keep trying to remain strong yet face so many unanswered questions? WHY?

WHY am I the one that is constantly tries to make sense of this ugliness?  This madness?  Most of the time I really am rational… as rational as a grieving mother can be… but there are times when I stare out my kitchen window and  I get so flipping pissed!! I  see him clear as day sitting in my backyard, drinking a beer and playing ping pong.  I hear him cracking up when he slammed the ball and got the winning shot. I  see his smiling face greeting his grandma in Spanish and giving her a kiss.  I  remember him giving his sister smack and her dishing it right back at him.  I still hear the laughter between them selves and remembering the warmth I felt in my heart. I still see him and his brother sharing secrets and cracking up at their antics. Why?   I am pissed!

WHY was I the one picked to spend another Mother’s day with only 2 of my children while  other mom’s posted pictures of their “complete, untouched” and perfect families?  I don’t understand why I am the one that find’s it painful to celebrate that special day! Why was I the one selected to cheat my other 2 children of watching their mom  open well thought out presents, anxious to see my excited response?  Instead, they feel as if they must make up the missing piece, being careful not to make me cry.   Being so careful not to reopen a wound.  Why is it that MY children must take on that burden?  WHY?

WHY were we the ones picked??? NO ONE deserves to endure this pain and I would NEVER wish it upon ANYONE but why did it have to be us???  Can ANYONE answer the question..WHY US??? Oh and please, for God’s sake, I don’t want to hear “Well…why NOT you?”  That is what I tell myself when I am being ‘rational’.  This is NOT one of those times.

WHY did it have to be me to  never see her son again?  Why am I the one that will never feel his tender kisses?  Or never, ever feel his hug again?  We are the ones that  never hear his laugh or hear his voice again!  WHY US?  Why am I the one that wakes up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat praying that it has all been a nightmare?!  Why do I have to be the one that breaks down crying at a stop light because I see a car that reminds me of him? Or get sick to my stomach because I see a picture of him smiling and I need to quickly turn away in order not to have a melt down?! Why am I the one that has a stone box that holds all the at is left of my first born? WHY me God??! WHY?? Why am I the one that finds herself becoming  this irrational? WHY am  I the one that has to feel such enormous guilt when I ask…

WHY ME….?

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The Magic in New Beginnings

I will never forget the moment we got the call. My husband and I were on our way out of town for a quick getaway.  My son Joey had been weighing heavily on my mind all morning.  At the time, I didn’t know why.  My husband and I were just about to pull off the freeway to get to Disneyland when his cell phone rang. As he listened to the voice on the other side, he said he needed to pull over.   Instead of the excitement of seeing the park, I rocked back and forth feverishly in the front seat of our vehicle as I heard my husband on the phone.   He was given the horrific task of telling me, his loving wife and the mother to this amazing son, that he was no longer with us. The color drained from his face as he turned to me.  With no other way to say it,  (this isn’t something we practice throughout our lives, like  wedding vows or apologizing  on our way home when we know we did wrong) and under the Happiest Place on Earth sign, my husband blurted out the words…”Joey is dead.”

For days, weeks, months and now years, I repeat those words in my head.  Not because, by any means, I like to hear them, but because I hope to develop a callus to them one day.  It is the same reason I swiftly dismiss the picture his lifeless body in the morgue when it tries to sneak into my thoughts.  I hopelessly pray that one day, it becomes a VERY distant memory and I never have to see it again.

So, even though I have these draining and horrible memories, I have never had a physical reminder of  that day.  I don’t drive by the hospital.  I refuse to know where it happened and  I never want to know what McDonald’s they had just left.  I am not ready for details, yet I know that one day, I will have to face my fears. A few days ago, I had no choice.

A few months back, we decided to take the entire family on a trip to Disneyland.  For a while, just the word Disneyland gave me a knot in my stomach.  I figured the trip was still a ways out, and maybe after all these months it wouldn’t be too bad.  As the trip got closer, though, panic started to sink in. There was more dread than excitement. I debated whether we should take a different exit or maybe I could force myself into a nap until we pulled up to the hotel. No one knew I was feeling like this.  I had only shared my feeling with my husband a few days before.  He comforted me and told me it would be OK….I did not share his optimism.

One day, right before the trip, he said ” I think it would be great if we took the grand-babies with us in the car! They could watch movies and our car is bigger so they would be more comfortable.  “Besides”, he chuckled  ‘we’re paying for this trip so we should get the privileged of  getting to see their smiles when they see the castle!” Just think how great that will be!” I agreed!  What a great idea!  At the time, little did I know, that my amazing husband  was planning the best distraction…the love of our grandchildren!

So there we went! Off to DISNEYLAND!  Plus to add to the thrill of our trip, I put on Disney movies for the grand kids to watch and  we all sang, or at least tried to sing, along with the characters, ‘High Ho, High ho!…’ ‘It’s a small world after all’…When you wish upon a star.’ Ares was clapping  and kicking his feet and Aubri kept yelling out “Mickey Mouse! Donald Duck!  Disneyland!!”  Before I knew it, my husband was valeting the car.! The Magic of Disneyland had engulfed us…me..in laughter, excitement and the most magical thing of all…New beginnings.

There was no longer dread under that sign.  Thanks to these little grandchildren, the quick thinking of my husband, and my Joey holding my hand, The Happiest Place on Earth,  was once again HAPPY. 

I got to see Magic through the eyes of my Grand babies.

What If?

 

What if each bird, flying gracefully above us, carries the soul of our own child?  And what if each song those bird sing, is our child talking to our heart?

What if each star that shines brightly above the night sky is our child’s gleaming light? And what if that bright light is our own child showing us the path and guiding us towards them when is our time to go?

What of each rain drop is a tear shed by our children because they know our pain and can’t take it away?

What if each lightning strike and thunder bolt is our child’s angst because we continue to cower to our pain and refuse to relic in the joyful memories?

What if the oceans were mere water banks that held all those tears?  And maybe why comparing grief to an ocean wave overcoming you is so profound.  We are being swept away by tears of all those children that have passed.

What if each beautiful sunset is our babies saying goodnight and each glorious sunrise is them saying good morning?

What if the scent of spring flowers is them wrapping their arms around us and each flutter of a butterfly is a kiss sent our way?

What if I would have never lost him?

WHAT IF? ….

An Un-Normal Normal

Watching me go about my life does not accurately match what is going on inside my head. If anyone could magically look inside there, they would be taken aback by what they saw.  They would probably wonder as well….’How the hell does she do it so well?’

A comment was recently directed towards me that made me question what others thought of me. What were their expectations or what perceptions did they have of me?  Could I really an anomaly to them?  During a meeting, a coworker made a very funny comment to the group that had us all laughing hysterical. I probably laughed the loudest and added to the ongoing laughter by sharing my own funny story.  We laughed some more and continued to make silly remarks throughout the meeting.  Once the large group dispersed, this particular person turned to me and said ” I don’t think I could be as brave as you.  I would be locked up in some padded room drugged up and crying all the time.  I am so in awe of you.  How do you do it?  How do you go on so ‘normal‘?”  I am sure I looked a bit perplexed but respectfully smiled and replied, “What choice do I have?”  She sympathetically nodded and went on her way.  I stood there for a minute or so, carefully dissecting her words, all the while thinking…Normal?

I am sure her comment was not intended by any way, shape or form to be hurtful or ill intended.  But, it got me thinking…what is expected of us? Those whom have lost their children?  There really is no one word to describe us.  Spouses are called widows or widowers, parent-less children are called orphans.  Yet, what name or title is to be given to us?  Maybe pathetic, pitiful, lifeless, distressed, a sad unbearable piece of flesh?  If you open a dictionary, I dare you to find ONE word that would even come close to conveying the pain we feel.  You could  find the saddest, most distressing and heart wrenching words in Webster dictionary, compile them into one and you still would not be close to a ‘describable’ word.

I should have responded to her “ Don’t be fooled. Yes, I have learned  to allow my life to go on. I have chosen to be as normal as an un-normal person could possibly pretend to be but if you could only look inside my head, you would be shocked. You would never have guessed how difficult it truly is to ‘go on’…to be normal again.”  

“If you could take peak inside, you would see clips of a movie.  This movie is both a horror film and a love story. It is filled with suspenseful drama and heartbreaking scenes.  More often than not, you do NOT want to re-watch it, but oh how our minds have minds have minds of their own.  You would see how  certain scenes are played over and over again and how certain parts get fast forwarded. Sometimes, you even get stuck on the saddest clip. You shake your head like one of those cartoon characters trying to get bolts and screws out of their brains but the scenes are still there.  Be warned, this movie is not for the faint at heart. You would tremble in fear, curl up in a ball and even though every single fiber in your being tells you not to watch it again, you have no control over it.  Just when you think you have come to the end, it replays all over.  Closing your eyes or trying to drown out the sounds will do you no good.  You are a hostage to it. Normal??? No..not really…maybe un-normaly normal.”

I need you to know that I still like to joke around.  I LOVE that I can laugh again.  I enjoy my friends, my family and a loud, lively fun filled evening.  I relish dancing around with my grand babies and holding my husbands hand in bed.  I am proud that I didn’t end up in a padded room,  and I know exactly why I didn’t.  Even though my handsome amazing, loving son left me, my other children did not…and I wasn’t about to leave them.

 

The Gift Of Peace…

This past year, I was bracing myself for Christmas. Since Thanksgiving was behind me, I began to gear myself up for the BIG holiday. I started surfing the internet, looking for the perfect gifts for my family. I sent out a text to my kids ” Someone is going shopppiinnggg!”. Soon after, I received their wish lists, to which I laughingly replied, :” uuuhh you are adults…we need a spending limit.”

Each year, I need to create a list to keep track of the gifts I need to purchase. As I started color coding my columns, as I do every year (large extended family) I did something without thinking. At the top of one of the columns, I added Joey’s name. My heart crushed.

I stared at his name for a few seconds. Waves of sadness, bitterness and mostly guilt overcame me as I pressed the back button and deleted his name. There are no presents for him. Nothing to buy. No expectation of delight as I watched him open his most desired gift. Yet, for some odd reason though, I felt as if I NEEDED to give him something!

As I sat in my chair, and deeply put thought into it, it came to me! I felt a lightness over come me. A smile crossed my lips as the idea of the most perfect gift I could ever gift him hit me like a ray of sunshine!!! I knew what the perfect gift would be. I WOULD GIVE HIM MY PEACE.

Joey never liked to see me sad or stressed. He would NEVER tolerate anyone hurting me, physically or emotionally. My pain became his pain… my anger his. He loved me like only a son can love his mother. The most precious and innocent love that we as humans can feel.

I have always felt a sort of comfort that even though he was ripped from me and I never had the chance to say goodbye, he KNEW I loved him without exception and I KNEW the tremendous amount of love he had for me. He knew that if I had a choice, I would have fought death tooth and nail for him and I would have NEVER EVER given up.

SO, even though no physical gifts were exchanged with him this past Christmas, I was STILL able to give him something meaningfuly beautiful and when I close my eyes, I can still see that child like excitement in his face. He would have lifted his head up, laughed out loud (HAA, HA!). He would have said “I KNEW IT!”, as he leaned over to kiss me and tell me “I LOVE IT MOMMA! THANK YOU!”

You’re welcome, honey…