Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Hauntings

July 22
Last night I woke up around Xaver's time of death. I was jolted awake my a memory.
It was within the last three or four months of his life when Xavier came to me and told me about a recurring dream he was having. He had it before in 2015 when he relapsed and came home after being very sick. He explained to me how we were all walking together as a family, but there were big holes in the ground everywhere. He told me with fear that he fell into one of those holes and the rest of us kept walking. I am not sure the significance or whether he told me this or not but I always associate the colour purple with this dream. He remembered the dream from the last time he had it so vividly. It scared me to hear him have this nightmare again. I assured him we would never just leave him and walk away without him. I wish I had said more, validated this dream - this telling of his future that was in his heart and mind. He was being prepared for his own death, but I was too scared to acknowledge.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Diary of a Grieving Mom: If only Google had the answers

Date Unknown
I am struggling so much these days 
I am so lost and empty without you here Xavier. My life will never be complete without you. I want so much to spiritually connect with you ... to feel you somehow that I know I haven't completely lost you. I know you had to go, you couldn't live in the body you had. You needed to be free and that's why I let you go. But I miss you more than words. To have made you suffer more to stay with me would have been selfish, but I really didn't want to see you go. 
So much pain ... beyond just what I feel, but how I feel for Mark and Mackenzie and our extended families and friends who knew him well. I need to do something to honour your memory. You taught me so many amazing things about life, about childhood cancer and emotions.  I just don't know what yet. 
What's the purpose of going through this Hell if I am not going to do something with the things I have learned from it all. 
The pain is still so intense. I don't see how it will ever dissipate. I long for you every day Xavier. 

July 10 
My tears are like the rain today; gentle yet constant 

July 11
I finally had a dream about you. It has been almost two months and you had not shown up in my dreams. Last night I dreamt I was telling people you died and talking about the loss when the dream suddenly transformed into you being there. You were at school where you loved to be and were running around in the hall with other kids. You were running! You were happy and it brought me comfort because I needed to know you were ok. Thank you Xavier for showing me how much fun you are having. It was a new memory of you and I look forward to having more with you ❤️

Date Unknown
Every time I look out into the backyard these days I see a robin. I think of you every time. But the thought crossed my mind tonight about the winter. You go away. There will be no robins. How will I know you are around. There will be no robins, no rainbows when the snow falls. Just cold. We didn't get to talk about that. I was just happy to get something out of you at that time ... to tell me one thing and shake your head when I said the right thing you would send us as a sign. But I never thought about the winter. I was in the present which they say is good but ...
The hole
(taken July 19 at London Regional Children's Museum) 
This picture says it all. As soon as I went to take it my heart sank thinking about how Xavier's face should have been in the other hole. I almost stopped from taking the picture because it was too hard to bare. This hole is representative of our life now. There is an empty space - a hole in our hearts. I can put my face there or anyone else's but it's never going to be Xavier's ... it will never be the right fit. 
I like to go places and do things we always did with Xavier because it keeps him alive to me. But it hurts. When I see where he was and where he still should be beside his sister I can't help but feel sad. But when I don't do that and do something new he never was, I feel as if I am forgetting about him. It's an internal tug of war to try to fill or cover the hole left inside me. 

My physical pain mimics my emotional pain.

I was recently diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear and inflammation in my shoulder. I was not surprised as I knew I hurt it months ago while carrying my beloved son around when he could no longer walk. I refused to see a doctor back then because I was not going to listen anyways. I wouldn't stop carrying him and I didn't have time for physio. My life was about his pain at that time.

But now strangely enough I find a parallel between this injury of love and the pain of loss now that he is gone. It hurts, a dull ache most days. At least once a day I do something that sends shooting pains through my shoulder and numbness into my fingers. Other times, I am just weak and tired. Much like my emotional pain of grief.

It's there, but you can't see it. And my should will never heal the same nor will I. My fragile limb is the physical representation of my broken heart.

In my agony of missing Xavier I said to myself how am I supposed to live when a part of me is dead?

But people do it all the time. They live when a part of them is broken. Whether its an arm, a leg, or my injured shoulder. I have found ways to cope with the  shoulder pain, to live with it but still do the things I needed and wanted to do. Of course it held me back at times, made me struggle to do ordinary daily things of life and makes sleep challenging.

I could remove my shoulder and arm and not have to live with the "dead" piece of me. But that wouldn't solve a thing. Much like grief. I can't just cut if off, (ignore it altogether) or I will never have a chance to heal. It would still leave me broken. At least with two arms I am still balanced. It just takes more practice to balance, to have my two arms work together again.

Again, like our lives now. Although I feel we are imbalanced without Xavier physically here, I can't imagine cutting that part out of my heart. I just have to find how to create balance with him in a different way. 1`q

Sunday, 23 July 2017

To be blunt...

Diary of a Grieving Mom: Social shyness

A moment of truth - after the loss of a child, social gatherings make me cringe. I can't even think of a suitable analogy to describe the mix of emotions. It is a sickening anxiety.
I speak for myself in my grief, but have also talked to others and read stories of others who share my dread of social gatherings following the death of our children. It all sounds good; a day or night out with friends or family. A pleasant distraction or a chance to have some fun.

But for the grieving mom, they are exhausting.

First off, we have to put on our mask. We have to pretend like we are ok, like we are living even though our child is not. But in reality, we are dead inside. Things are not ok and we hate life. For me, life stopped when my son's heart stopped beating. Everyone else's lives kept moving forward, and all we want is for time to stop so we can catch our breath. Pretending is hard work, especially for long periods of time. Who wants a miserable party pooper at their gathering to bring everyone else down anyways.

So, I put on my mask.

Aside from our blue moods, another reason gatherings are so difficult is that we have nothing to talk about but the death. As stated before, my life stopped the moment Xavier's did. What can I possibly talk about... how I cried three times instead of six yesterday. I feel I have nothing in common with anyone right now. I am in a heavy dark cloud surrounded by puffy white clouds. The only things I do now are those tasks that have to be done. Even those things I have to push myself to do. Anything I do beyond that is not for my enjoyment, but to keep my daughter's life somewhat normal. Maybe someone there would want to listen to me become a blabbering mess as I talk about the only significant thing that has happened in my life lately, but its not a great way to get invited to the next party.

I suppose I could just listen.

But, to be honest, listening to others talk about their summer vacations, workplace drama or life in general is painful. I want to be supportive and excited or even sympathetic, but I struggle. It hurts because I am stuck in my grief. I can't just snap out of it or move forward because grieving is a process we must go through to heal. To deny these feelings, this misery called loss, will only delay the process.

The grief is so intense I can't hide from it.

And then there is the awkwardness. Do you or do you want others to talk about your loved one? The fact I can't even answer that question right now tells me I am not ready to be social. In the first place, I don't want people to tell me they are sorry Xavier died. It feels too much like visitation all over again. And if they bring up memories of Xavier it will make me happy, but also sad. And then they will try to make me feel better with some good-hearted, but stupid comments like at least he is not suffering or he is in a good place (for which I am also guilty of saying). But, in those moments of pain, no words can console me. He is not here anymore and nothing makes that better or right.

But, to not talk about him at all hurts even more.

I will find the strength and one event after the other it will get easier--or so I hope.



Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Lost

Tomorrow is another anniversary I wish we never marked. But I can never forgot the time, the days, the weeks and now the months you are not with us.
July 13 is two months since you died in my arms. I think of those moments less and less every day and try to forget. But I can never forget. I miss you beyond words and hurt more than anyone can describe.
Every moment now is a reminder you are not here. When I make a food you liked or go to get the plates out for supper and only grab three instead of four. I think of you when I see the TV remote you always had control of and when I do laundry and never see any of your dirty clothes. And every day as I watch Mackenzie play by herself I feel a stabbing pain for her loss. No child should ever have to go through what my two have.
I try to be positive, put on a brave mask but behind it all I am broken inside and will never be the same. Xavier, you brought out pieces of myself I never knew I had. You made me stronger than I ever thought possible, and love deeper than ever imagined. When you left, I feel I lost that too. I want to be strong for you, I want to be that person I was when you were here, but I am drowning in sadness. Someday, I pray I will find those parts of me -- the ones you helped me build -- so that I can carry you on within me forever.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

June 24, 2017
I woke up this morning
but you were not here

I woke up this morning thinking about cooking pancakes and bacon for breakfast
but you are not here to enjoy

I woke up this morning
with an emptiness I can't fill

I woke up and you did not

I feel you in my heart and while my soul rages with confusion

I long for the day I wake up again with you there

"Goodbye is not forever, goodbye is not the end. It simply means we miss you, until we meet again."



June 26, 2017
Mackenzie said you visited her again. She heard you breathing in her room when she went to bed. I think you are there when I wake up at 3 am. I wish you were here physically when we feel your presence. 

June 27, 2017
Yet another goodbye is near and I feel the lump in my throat again. It has only been a few short weeks since we said goodbye to Xavier's home and a few weeks before we said goodbye to him. I have had to say goodbye to my work and this week we say goodbye to Algonquin School. I loved that school and so did Xavier. So many big changes in so little time has been overwhelming to say the least. 

We are heading into the second month without Xavier and I still cry everyday at least once for him. I miss him so much and long for him with an indescribable yearning. My heart is broken and moving on without him seems so wrong. I feel if life doesn't go anywhere it will still feel a little more like he is here ... I don't have to accept he is gone.  To live again when he can't alongside us brings me feelings of guilt, anger and sadness. He is supposed to be here. He is supposed to finish Grade 2 with his class at Algonquin tomorrow. 

But I know it has been hard for Mackenzie. Her grief is coming out more and going to school every day without her brother has brought up a lot of pain. For a while it could have simply felt like he was just in the hospital, or gone to appointments. But the longer without him in class, in the car on our drives there, the more she realizes he is gone forever. 

I wish so much I could take away her pain. But like all of us, we must feel it to get through it. And she is smart. She told me how the cord of love she shares with Xavier can never be broken. It stretches all the way from here to where he is in Heaven. The love never dies. His death has brought out a side of her I never knew she had. It's truly beautiful and soulful like him. 



June 28, 2017 
I feel so much more guilt now. I feel so bad that I couldn't protect him or save him from this disease. I let him down. I couldn't make him better. I couldn't give him what he wanted most - to be a normal kid- to provide for him as only a mother can and now I have lost my chance to even try. I trust God has given him his wish, as only He had the power to give Xavier that. Albeit his doctors tried and still tell us to this day how heartbroken they are that they could not have given us longer with him. 

How is it fair that we get to live and he doesn't? Why do we have to live in separate worlds now? I know the Bible says he will not miss us like we are missing him, and I pray to God that is true.

I am so thankful for all of the memories we were able to make with Xavier. However, somedays I struggle to remember the details. Sometimes I can only remember the feeling he and I shared in a particular moment. That boy and I shared a special connection in that we didn't need words. We knew exactly what each other was thinking or feeling with only a simple glance. And if Mackenzie is right and that cord still connects us between Heaven and Earth, then I am sending him all my love forever and ever.




Friday, 23 June 2017

Diary of a grieving Mom: Searching

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18 

My grief has now taken residence and settled into every inch of my aching body. Physically I am weak, emotionally I am weak and yet I go about my days as if I am OK. But I am not OK.

Today we closed the door on the home Xavier spent most of his life; the last place he was ever alive. We walked in that door six years ago as a family of four and walked out that door a family of three. It wasn't supposed to be this way. It's not right.

I feel so lost and so empty without you Xavier. I know I will see you again some day but I don't want to live all these days here without you. I have nothing left in me. I want to fix things... take away others pain, give Mackenzie back the twin brother she is supposed to have. But I can't. Everything is out of my control.

This helplessness and hopelessness is growing stronger the more days without my sweet child. As I long for you, I came across this verse above. It made me think of today when we closed that door and reminded me of where we are today. You are eternal, you are living even though I can't see you.