Silence

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Silence

December 30th 6:41am, this day seven years ago came the eternal silence the silence that has caused traumatic memories to surface over times, the silence that has caused question and wonder to no end, the silence that has been the noise of my nightmares.

We arrived at the hospital around 4:45 am, by about 5:30 a nurse realized my baby was breach (backwards) we’d soon find out she was frank breach (upside down and backwards) not ideal for a safe delivery. They called an anesthetist because at 5am on a Sunday there was not one on duty. I couldn’t wait the twenty five minutes it was to take her to arrive, I had to push, I wanted my baby out. A decision that would haunt me forever, the wonder if I had tried harder to wait, had we performed a successful caesarean would the outcome have been different.

At 6:07 am she came out flat and blue. That means not breathing, not moving, and a fading heartbeat. As she was taken to a bedside table to have CPR attempted to save her, the room, and the space in my head fell silent. I stared at the ceiling tears running down my face waiting to hear her cry.

I felt hands still on me, people telling me to keep pushing the placenta that was broken in pieces out, I felt pain as a nurse or doctor I don’t know was scooping me clean as if hollowing a pumpkin. I was scared to turn my head to see what was going on, the sounds were muffled, and the noise in my head as I prayed for her to be ok cleared out all other sounds.

And then the room was empty and silent. As if a bomb went off the room cleared. My husband held my hand as we sat in silence for what seemed like an eternity.  At 7:35 am the doctor returned to tell us our daughter had to be intubated, was having trouble breathing on her own,   she suffered brain damage and to what extent we will never know but was cause by her hypoxic birth. That she was being transferred to Children’s Hospital NICU and we could follow in an ambulance behind her or drive ourselves.  We chose to drive obviously not wanting to be stranded in the city with no way home.

At 8:45 am we arrive after a silent drive to BCCH and figure out where we eventually spend the next three weeks.

They decided to freeze her in a incubator as a way of hopefully lessening the brain damage. I did not get to hold my daughter for a week. I sat in the nursing room attempting and failing to produce milk all the while as silent tears streamed my face. I became quiet.  My boys, my young beautiful sons aged three and five came to visit every day, not understanding and me not having the words to explain. I asked to be discharged after 3 days, my sons needed their mom too. I couldn’t even hold Lily; only touch her hand through the tiny space of the incubator.

The next month was a blur of forgetfulness and silence. My husband returned to work because he didn’t know what to do, I would drop off the kids at kindergarten and preschool and drive the hour long drive from hell to the hospital praying something was better but also that nothing had happened.  My nightmare was that she would die alone in the night when we were not there. After multiple MRIS and scans, they found much more was wrong with my perfect little bean. She had a feeding tube inserted and prescribed a daily anti-seizure medication as we begged to bring her home.

Our home was quiet; I was scared to hold her too hard for fear of her tube falling out and needing to return to the hospital for reinsertion. I spent hours on the phone with doctors about surgeries and with hospital aides about necessary equipment. I wish I had spent every moment holding her instead. Three weeks later she was carried by ambulance back to the local hospital after having stopped breathing, after me having to perform CPR on my tiny five weeks old baby on my living room floor.  And again transferred to Children’s hospital where we learned of rare heart disease and trachea growth. She would never breathe on her own, she would never eat solid food, and she would never taste ice cream. She would never walk or talk. My brain shut down as I tried to understand, my heart broke more every second of every day and the silence screamed in my ears.

We signed a do not resuscitate as her episodes were coming more frequent, they removed her tubes and we held our fifty one day old little girl until she was gone. I regret not wanting to look at her, fearing her blue face would haunt me forever. I regret not bathing her, as I have heard of other parents doing. I had to get away, I wanted to run from the silence of that room.

The quiet walk down the white walled corridor to our car followed by the hollowed echo as we drove home.

People stopped by with food, I just stared as they cried, people came to her funeral, I said nothing but hugged them, people called, I did not answer. I spent weeks in bed, doing minimal necessities for my suddenly four and six year old boys. I think I threw them birthday parties.

I don’t remember much from that first year after she died.

I can only remember the silence.

 

 

Thanks for reading,

Sheri

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Capture your Grief; Relationships

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Day 16 – Relationships

Relationships and Grief:

Grief from a death, loss of job, divorce, betrayal of trust, there are so many ways that can be the cause of our discomfort of our grief, as well as, secondary factors that those have led to such as anxiety, sleep problems, claustrophobia, distrust, anger.

To manage so many forced emotions due to one uncontrollable action or many unforeseen events that occurred can be daunting, exhausting, unwanted. So for many we take it our on the relationships closest to us. We yell quicker, we hurt with less care of the result, we ignore or become aggressive to them. Grief can be a major destruction to relationships. It can force us to see someone in a different light, with the new forced lens of our new reality. It can force us to appreciate different things that maybe did not matter before therefore changing how we view a relationships importance to a specific person. Relationships are very complex, that of mother/daughter, father/son and vice versa, that of our spouse or partner, our relationship with our children or nieces and nephews, aunts or uncles. All are very different from each other and can and will be impacted differently by grief.

I think the only advice is to take your alone time, time to walk independently in your own thoughts and not others opinions or judgment. Space away to help figure out emotions without feeling the need to change them for certain people which results in having us begrudge them. Everybody wants to fix you and that in itself is what causes the problem within relationships after an event that causes grief. Distance from those people can help to figure out your own boundaries and navigate each specific need towards dealing with the grief and or situation that has caused it.

An odd fact told to me and my husband after we were told if our daughter survived and lived with all her disabilities is that the divorce rate among parents with disabled kids was higher. Gee thanks? After she died, it was repeated but because of the different reason. I found it, still find it odd that people let alone a doctor would find this information useful let alone necessary. What worked for us was distance, distance from others to live and be in our sorrow without facts or statements from others. People will assume you are withdrawing but no, we need space and time to learn how to navigate on our terms for the new normal we live.

Take your time. You will need it to preserve the relationships that matter.

Thank you for reading,

Sheri

 

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One thing after the next…Keep going.

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Today is my 38th birthday and upon reflecting over this last year these past few days, as we do leading up to the day our form came to be however many years ago.

38th bday

38th Birthday 10/02

 

I was reminded of the post I wrote last year.

https://dealingwithmygrief.wordpress.com/2017/10/04/what-37-years-on-earth-has-taught-me/

And oh how so much can happen, change, shift in 365 days!

Much of last year I felt at peace with the things and goings on of life at 36 into 37th year, so it was the opportune moment for this thing called life to turn mine upside down, toss a wrench in it so to speak!

Shortly after I turned 37 last year,  my brother who is an addict and has spent his life on and off the streets, performing one con after the other with minute breaks of sobriety and actual honest work, decided I had helped him out a lot but not enough for him to appreciate. So he attempted with the help of his then girlfriend, I do not know if they are still together because I have cut all ties.

They attempted to steal my identity and create fraudulent accounts and credit cards in my name, they were successful a teeny bit until they dumbly tried with the actual bank I do business with and my bank called me to confirm my new address to send checks to, ironically the same address my low life brother had just sent me because I wanted to send him a Christmas gift… it was stupid how easy it was to find out it was him. I then spent six weeks leading up to Christmas not preparing my own home or enjoying family time, creating memories but going  physically the six big banks here to clear my name and close any fraudulent accounts that may have been successfully opened, there was one- how someone can open an account on line and over the phone with not showing any identification is clearly wrong and should be impossible but he had my full name and correct birthdate and knowledge of my mothers maiden name, so apparently that was sufficient! Those days visiting the banks was on top of the countless hours spent on the phone with online creditors, who also apparently do not need real identification to attempt to open and gain credit cards with, the common question I was asked- ‘was your wallet stolen?’ I replied with why? did this person show you ID? No. It is sad and frustrating that companies and banks are more willing to help their growth and con artist than do their job and protect people with proper background checks. But I digress, it happened, we caught it early before any real damage, I filled a lawsuit but after a short investigation learned that I, me, the victim must travel to where he lived because it was not in the same Province to file charges with the police where the crime was committed even though it was online to banks and to me who live here not there, I had to go to them, to him, to file suit! that is absurd! This caused major stress on me and my family for a few months and still bothers me immensely when someone brings up my brother, my own flesh and blood, someone I always helps when he asked. Now dead to me.

So yeah that was the beginning of the very trying year I just had leading up to this day, my 38th birthday.

That was last November and December that I was dealing with issues do to the fraud, daily. My daughter’s, what would have been sixth birthday on December 30th was tainted by the anger I was dealing with over being victimized.

Christmas with my other three still young enough to love Christmas was also damaged. But hey, it was a new year, the start of 2018.

Low and behold two weeks into the new year my husband lost his job, his job of fifteen years, a job that was his life, that left me alone for many days, weeks, months during the newborn years of our first two kids lives. A job for a company he grew and helped become even more successful tan it was before. A job that moved us three times causing me/us to lose and remake friendships  in three different cities in one decade. He was shocked, he was hurt, felt betrayed and stabbed in the back. Our marriage already having survived the death of our daughter (a feat not many do) had survived all the moves, the sleepless nights of babies, the long hours alone. Death of the pets we got together when we first met, as many long term relationships, our going on eighteen years, has had many struggles and ups and downs. And now this.

us

17th Anniversary

I didn’t know what to do, or how to help, so I got a full time job, I was lucky I was hired a week after he was let go it all happened so fast and the thing I feel for is my kids, yes they suddenly had their dad at home all the time, its not like they were alone, but I, their mother who had always, 24/7 been there, since pushing them out of my loins was suddenly gone. He had to learn how to care, the constant never ending needs of the children and what that entailed or how it consumes all of your time.

I had to learn to let go. It was very hard, I had the guilt, I had the frustration of things not being done my way anymore, my kids over a few months adapted and seemingly needed me less. It broke my heart. All the while my husband was getting increasingly helpless with his job search, angry with is new life of stay at home dad, though now, in hindsight, I think he appreciates the time he was forced to experience with them, actually, I know he does.

Every summer for the last ten years we have vacationed at the same place, the beachfront on Osoyoos British Columbia, but this year we couldn’t, having lost his company car, we couldn’t, it is also the same week each year that is our anniversary and his birthday and this year happened to be his 40th!

Osoyoos BC

Osoyooos BC

 

so we decided to go to Mexico, summer is the cheapest to go there, as its very hot and more popular in the winter months but off we went.

We landed, it was hot, we got to the hotel, it was hot, we checked in, I unpacked the kids things, went to change myself, unzipped my case and found, it was identical to my case, but not my case. Someone grabbed my luggage and left me theres. I know it is this way because we took the second bus off the plane and when we arrived at baggage our cases or the five remaining cases, the ones we took, was all that was left on the carousel. Now what, Oh and they were having an election the next day so all was closed until Tuesday, we landed on Sunday.

We spent our first day in Mexico trying to get a hold of anyone that could help us from the airline or airport that spoke english. It was even more frustrating because as the mom, in my case was all the toiletries, the kids toothbrushes, the sunscreen. Off we went to buy overpriced shampoo and sunscreen, I swam for the first two days in my husbands boxer shorts and the sports bra I had on since leaving for the trip. I had many moments of anger during this trip because I felt like I was being punished this year and this was my tipping point.  I had no idea what for. I help others as much as I possibly can, I always do the right thing with the options presented, I teach kindness and empathy, I show love to all. Why were all these things, these unfortunate events happening?

On day four I had accepted my things were gone, I had decided I would make the best of it, we may never be able to travel back to Mexico, I need to put my big girl undies on and move forward! I had a sort of awakening, I realized all these things were happening because I was too comfortable in life or at the point I had reached thus far. I was being taught to accept over and over, taught that no matter how much control we think we have, we have none.

case

End of Day 4 They found my suitcase!!

 

 

Here I am a year later from when all the crummy things that bottomed out and unraveled over the last year have hopefully come to a close. who knows what the next year will bring but I know I can handle whatever life throws at me because I have so far! Bring it!

Thanks for reading

Namaste,

Sheri

wosdomolder

 

The age of realization

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The age of consent, the age of mortality, the age of majority, the age of deceit.

The age of realization. When you realize what is happening around you. What perils occur daily that you cannot ignore.

Is there an age that we suddenly see things differently, we become more aware of events around us.

Children are very self centered, as they need be, they are learning for the very first time, some with little guidance on the ways of the world. Don’t point, use an inside voice, say please and thank you, we don’t hit or bite. No running in the hallways or with scissors. Look both ways before crossing, don’t talk to strangers unless they’re in uniform. So on and so on…

As we grow and age certain things may happen to affect our judgment, faith or trust whether we have good support on how to navigate the hard waters of adolescence is unfortunately left up to luck. Were you lucky enough to have parents that cared, that noticed, that taught right from wrong, that disciplined, that loved.

I have reached an age were I notice mostly other peoples hurt because of a death. A loss. Grief. Tragedy.

However, I am not positive that it is because of my age, it could be my circumstance or perhaps even my psychological  hurt. Maybe I have an overly empathetic heart and over sympathetic mind. Whereas many it seems in todays world go through the growth of maturity but yet stay self centered or have been taught to look out only for number one; themselves. Don’t worry about others seems to be the way of America.

On my FB dealing with grief page people randomly contact me after having lost someone and as painful as it is to hear their stories I am happy to talk to them, to listen to them to console them. Not because it makes either of us feels better, I am often left in tears after a conversation with someone who lost their husband in a truck accident, their nephew by suicide, their son to an overdose, their mother to cancer, it goes on and on. The one constant is the need to be heard, to be felt. To tell the world we are in pain, that this terrible thing that happened is not fair and we don’t know how to deal with it. It is such a unique human reaction,  the one we have to death and loss or tragedy.

The stages of grief have been attempted to be explained by many doctors or physiologists, Khubler Ross has the most commonly know five stages of grief, which are accurate in that you do feel at some point, denial, bargaining, anger, depression, and acceptance, some more than others and some much longer than others but that is why we say all losses are different.

The hardest for me at the moment is suicide. Trying to understand why someone can feel so lost, alone, or even hated that they would rather be dead. That they cant understand or know what them taking their own life will do to those around them who love them.

Mostly I am heartbroken at the amount of teenage suicide that happens in todays world.

Globally 160 000 teens annually take their own life, suicide rates in males aged 15-19 rose between 1979 and 1996. Suicide is dominating the country (USA) so badly that it has bumped up to the third leading cause of death in youth aged ten to twenty-four.

This terrifies me, not only because I work with kids who will soon become teenagers that I hopefully can help or pay attention to but also because I have three of my own, one of whom used to yell that he wanted to kill himself whenever he was angry and is almost a teen. My fear is that with such strong emotion as a child, it will lead to emotions so strong the ability to cope will be lost. I am scared.

When I was 15 I took about 10 Tylenols hoping it would kill me, I made myself throw up after 20 minutes because I realized I didn’t really want to give up yet. I look back and remember feeling so lost and alone. My parents were divorcing, I had no real friends but a few acquaintances, I was teased at school constantly, people writing on my locker or screaming names at me like whore or slut. The worst was being called to the principals office and was told to cover up- I was wearing a tank top with slacks? He said my teacher also a male was concerned the boys in class were distracted by me. I hated going to school. I hated being at home, with no parents or family around to care. The point is, is that most 13, 14, 15 year olds go through a hard adjustment and unfortunately today combined with social media and online bullying as well as the highest rates of mental issues to deal with, ADD, ADHD, OCD, Bipolar, anxiety kids have a lot on their plates and we as a society need to recognize and fund more resources for them. We need to teach compassion, mindfulness and techniques to cope with stress if we taught in school lessons on empathy and the importance of helping others instead of pushing our kids to compete with each other to be the best perhaps we can stop this epidemic. As we grow we see the world differently, we realize the people from high school don’t matter and as an adult the only other time I felt so desolate that I wanted to die was when my daughter was born blue with multiple congenital issues. I bargained with ‘god’ or whomever had the power, to take me instead, in the days leading up to her death. But the reason I never considered taking my own life after she died was because it would have left my other two children without their mother and that alone forced me to keep going in those dark days. Today I just want to help others to know they are not alone. Which is why I talk to grievers online, why I started my grief blog and FB page. When I searched for someone to talk to about grief back in 2012 I found nothing. Today there are so many sites, blogs, pages when you Google for help with grief and I am grateful there is so much now and that I can be of help, hopefully, to those that stumble upon my page or blog in their dark days.

Some helpful links:

http://www.futureofpersonalhealth.com/prevention-and-treatment/recognizing-warning-signs-and-finding-students-who-need-mental-health-support?utm_content=buffer2e031&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

https://mentalhealthscreening.org/


Suicide is an epidemic in todays society that gets ignored far too often. Here are few stories that stuck with me. I share them to honor their memory. To acknowledge their suffering.

Amanda Todd 15

Amanda_Todd_-_01

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/amanda-todd-suicide-rcmp-repeatedly-told-of-blackmailer-s-attempts-1.2427097

 

Libby Bell 14

libby bell

https://www.pedestrian.tv/news/libby-bell-adelaide-dies-by-suicide-after-cyberbullying-and-physical-abuse/

 

Amy Everett 14

Amy eliott

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/01/10/australian-girl-face-iconic-akubra-hat-commits-suicide-aged/

http://www.voiceonline.com/ramandeep-bains-commits-suicide-by-jumping-off-alex-fraser-bridge/   *

*I couldn’t find a photo of Ramandeep Bains but she was 25 and had only been in Canada for 5 years, she left behind a 3 year old son.


This past spring a 15 year old boy named Mitchell David Slater  called his mom to say sorry but he couldn’t take it anymore he hung up and jumped off the Alex Fraser bridge in Delta -05/26/17

The story of Mitchell broke me yesterday after his aunt recounted what happened to me. Mitchell was a smart, handsome boy. Around 900 people showed up to his funeral, he had a girlfriend for 2 years, a loving and supporting mother and aunt. A month before Mitchell jumped off the Alex Fraser bridge they went on a family vacation and all seemed fine. Mitchell is the nephew of a friend I went to high school with, I wrote this post for them.

Mitchell is the smiling boy in the middle. My heart is broken over and over when I think of the pain his mother and his aunt and the rest of his family feels. Mitchell suffered from mental health issues. Suicide phones were installed on the deck of the bridge he jumped off after his death to hopefully help anyone else that finds themselves in that position, hopefully a way out.

mitchell


The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that each year approximately one million people die from suicide, which represents a global mortality rate of 16 people per 100,000 or one death every 40 seconds. It is predicted that by 2020 the rate of death will increase to one every 20 seconds”.

If you’d like to donate to help mental health initiatives please do so here:

 

The Canadian Mental Health association and British Columbia division

https://cmha.ca/donate/                              https://cmha.bc.ca/get-involved/donate/

 

Mental health foundation of Canada

http://mentalhealthfoundation.ca/ways-to-give/

 

The American foundation for suicide prevention

https://afsp.org/

 

Brains and behavior research center in NY NY

https://www.bbrfoundation.org/

 

Help is only a phone call away

 

suicide line

Thanks for reading and please share you never know who may need it.

Sheri

 

The absent Birthday

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Lost:  disappeared, forfeited, mislaid, misplaced, missed, missing, strayed, vanished, wayward, abolished, annihilated, demolished, destroyed, devastated, eradicated, exterminated, obliterated, perished, ruined, wasted, wiped out, wrecked, absent, absorbed, abstracted, distracted, dreamy, engrossed, entranced, preoccupied, rapt, spellbound, taken up, adrift, astray, at sea, disoriented, off-course, off-track,   bygone, dead, extinct, forgotten, gone, lapsed, obsolete, out-of-date, past, unremembered  


 

The words above, the  many synonyms for the feeling of being lost, mentally, physically, emotionally; lost.

Not in everyday life however, not anymore. I will concede that the terrible raw heartache that follows a death does ease over time, though I will not agree that ‘time heals all’ because that is a relative saying. Relative to the events that occurred to cause your grief. But the pain does subside, the confusion and frustration do ease. The longing pops in and out unannounced and at times you feel overwhelmed again. The missing never goes away. But it does get easier.

Having said that, there will always be times throughout the year that are hard, that I/we feel lost. A moment of reflection triggered by a memory. A dream that causes confusion for a short time upon awaking, a place that reminds you of that feeling of devastation, even if for a second. It is there buried in the memory, the past.

I should/ would be in a flurry of busy today and the days leading up to tomorrow. Days leading up to a child’s birthday tend to be filled with excitement and planning. making a cake, putting up decorations, easing the enthusiasm at bedtime for the upcoming event.

Instead, a fog rolls in filled with desolation, the feeling of feeling lost settles. What to do today; nothing, says my body and mind. Do we make a huge extravagance at our loss, over and over, year after year while most secretly wonder why are they not over it…

Do we pretend it is just another day, that  would inevitably bring feelings of guilt and shame that are in themselves hard to live with just to avoid others un-comfortableness.

Should we remember in silence to avoid unease, sometimes anything can feel like too much but nothing also feels wrong.


 

Happy 6th Birthday to my angel Lily Emma Olive Hall

I miss you

I live for you

I will love you

I will remember you

 Everyday until I die

 

6

 

Thanks for reading,

Sheri

 

Moving on from grief; my journey to accepting acceptance

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Moving on from grief; my journey to accepting acceptance

As I walked into my house late, arriving home just before midnight after a long ten hour travel day, carrying my youngest to her bed, whose birthday happens to be the following day, a quiet stress in the back of my mind as I have nothing planned. She wakes in and out of sleep as I place her down asking to watch the Trolls movie before bed , as I shush her that its very late and to go back to sleep. I walk past Lily’s photo that sits outside what was Lily’s room but is now Hopes. I pause for a moment, as a tiny quiver of shock goes through me, why did I enjoy this trip so much? For so long, five years to be exact I cannot remember really enjoying anything, not fully, not appreciating what or where it was we were, we have gone to Hawaii twice and Mexico once since she died, I “enjoyed” those family trips, but if I am honest, I was never happy during them, not as I felt during this trip. Was it not having thought about her as much? No, that’s ridiculous, of course I thought of her, but perhaps the veil has lifted, maybe the dark clouds that I felt attached to my heart lessened their grip. She is always in my heart but during this trip it was not like it is when I am at home surrounded by her memory, her presence, our loss.

Having just returned from an incredibly satisfying family trip, one that was to be underestimated but had over returned; that was fully dreaded, line ups, fast food, adults in costume, ugh, Disneyland. But we planned to see lots of other parts of California as well. Who knew the republic that is the state of California is so beautiful; San Clemente pier, Huntington Beach, Pasadena Ranch, even LA and Anaheim were cool to drive through, which started my pondering……

Guilt approaches my thoughts, but I quickly realize, no, that is not right; I deserve a reprieve from my self-imposed guilt. I am proud for the hard treacherous journey my grief has taken me through, what I have learned, how I have changed and grown. I am happy I was able to enjoy such a memorable family trip with my still living children, to be present for the first time in….well, how long makes me sad for them, my beautiful children that are alive, the ones that have received less of their mother because she has been stuck in a whirlwind of her grief. The one that has yelled too quickly because of their interrupting, poorly timed ways, their normalness, brought noise into my grief, where I wanted so much to simply be alone in silence. I have loved them, fed them, clothes and cleaned them, yes. But the mom that used to wrestle and laugh so freely has been trapped in a broken heart. That realization alone makes me sad for them, for me. I needed my time, I cannot believe five years past in a fog, although, it was thickest the first few years, it is lifted seemingly, I think. I am sure it will roll in from time to time and I welcome it, but I am also happy to feel happy again. I am happy to have a random dance party with loud noise at no notice with my kids. If asked, I wonder what they’d say of the last five years. Probably not much, as we all know, we are all way more self centered then we see. They may not have even noticed my withdrawal, not as I felt it, or see in hindsight. I was harder on them and they loved me more.

My heart now an ache for the time that has past, five years in a child’s life is huge, and the physical, emotional and mental growth that happens. I cannot go back; I can cherish specific moments of course, but am happy to feel other enlightening emotions again. Happy to be the present mother they deserve. I still miss and love my child that died five years ago, but my acceptance of her death has come with the revelation that I cannot change the past, nor need to dwell in its circumstances. But do need to focus on what we had and still have. This by no means that she will be forgotten just remembered differently, without the pain of guilt and remorse; but with love for the luck of having had her for a moment, along with the life lessons she has taught.

It brought me to a conclusion, if only for myself. We are all aware, some mildly, some very familiar with Elizabeth Kubler Ross’s five stages of grief. At some point in raw grief after a loss, we want answers we want to understand what is happening; at times we are so lost we want to know if and when it will end. So Ross’s theory of five stages is where we inevitably find ourselves reading about. At first I agreed with them whole heartedly, it makes sense for grief to have a timeframe of stages, all of which also make sense in completing in order to “move on”, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance but what comes with these stages is not a time frame put on them by Kubler-Ross herself but by society, Somewhere, over time, since her now famous book called ‘On Death and Dying’ was published in 1969, society has given the grieving about a year to get through their stages of grief, a few months to mull in each one. This is where I completely disagree with societies standards on grieving, seeing as it has taken me a five full years to get to acceptance, one could say each stage deserves a full year to fully live in and become aware of the stage your are at. For example the first year I was trapped in denial not even aware I was, because it was the shock that took quite a while to wear off, then a denial that I could not really comprehend that this had happened to me, to her, to us. I honestly did not believe it for a very, very long time, combined with the night terrors caused by the PTSD I suffered, it felt like a dream at times, with me not being able to wake up. Then the anger came, but it came at a time when a lot of people thought I should have been done grieving, after a year. And yes, I was angry, at everyone and anyone that dare mention her name, or their grief! The bargaining came in different forms around year three, begging for bad things to not happen, hadn’t I gone through enough? I would do more to help others if only my living children would be left alone. As depression sets in due to the length of time that has passed, you feel confused, others wonder what’s’ wrong because it has been so long, although in reality, is four years that long? So you begin, again, searching for answers, or help, or ways to move forward because you have spent time in the other stages you are ready to deal with this depression, and not that long ago, as I said earlier, the trip I just took with my family was the first I really enjoyed, felt at peace and allowed myself to be happy. Had I reached acceptance? And if I had why did I feel bad about it? Did I assume I would grieve forever? Yes. Was I prepared to grieve forever? Yes. Often when the tears came less frequently just that fact made me sad, like the further away her life moved, the less I felt her in my heart, but that is not true. I can take as many moments I want to remember her and should be thankful the whirlwind does not just snatch me up as it used to, but it is a process of constant awareness, as well as, allowing myself to still grieve if I felt the need, but also to feel happy with what we have and where we are at, without guilt. Everyone’s journey is different but I think if we can all collectively agree that each stage deserves a year and not to expect someone to feel normal until year five the burden of grief will be lessened on the grievers. But also to so mention it is not limited to this time frame, I have met parents that did not feel “normal” until year seven and ten, what I am trying to say is that the notion that grief lasts a year is ridiculous, the notion that it never ends is also silly though, I once believed it would never end, and I still have moments of intense sadness, clearly not as frequent or uncontrollable but today five years later and I am able to laugh freely without shame, enjoy moments without guilt. I am not saying yours will only last five years, everyone’s journey is different and some grief may only last a couple years. All I know is that back in those first six months when I attended bereavement meetings a blubbering mess barely able to string coherent words together, the common sentiment to me from those that had multiple years, some decades behind them and their grief, they said, ‘it does get better’ and I was so comforted by that phrase. And the fact that they saw my pain and came up to me to tell me it gets better in hopes of lessening my pain. I appreciated those words, as I hope you appreciate mine now. It does get better, in your own time at your own pace.

Thanks for reading,

Namaste,

Sheri

Ps, I would love some feedback, I started out intending to write a completely different post about my vacation without my fourth child but in following my heart and letting my fingers type, I am surprised at the conclusion and turn it took. If you have a similar experience with grief or writing or any other feedback on my conclusion please comment below. Thanks – much love.

It is ok to be sad

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I feel you rolling your eyes, as I hit post. Another grief post you think! Your pain is no longer because it wasn’t your child you lost, it was mine, so you did feel sad for a bit after, you don’t understand how or why I am still grieving or posting sad stuff about grief. I get it its not your loss, you don’t feel it every day like I do and you don’t want to remember it  as much as I do. You might think I am bitter or want sympathy, I don’t. Just know that my heart hurts when I glance at the spot on the floor where she stopped breathing, that I have trouble thinking of moving because this is where she lived for 2 short weeks. Every time I hear a story of tragedy or a life lost I cry for her. Am I stuck? no I am human. I am a mother that gave birth to a beautiful baby that struggled to live, to breathe, that spent 5 weeks in the NICU, not sleeping, not feeling and slowly breaking. That was almost four years ago I know, you think I must have moved past this pain, I have another little girl right. She is my savior, yes. but also my daily reminder of my first little girl that is not here. Would they be best friends? or Would they fight a lot?  I wonder. And yes that too makes me sad. Immediate grief after a tragedy is overwhelming, its consuming and then time takes it away, little by little the intense memories fade and it is easier to ‘pretend’ life is what it is.

Today is October 15th- International Awareness of Stillbirth, miscarriage and infant loss

A day that makes me sad but grateful to have met and to be a part of a community of women, amazing women, that too have suffered a loss, something that is not openly spoken about but should be, something that people are uncomfortable to bring up, leaving the person(s) that suffered the loss alone. Why are we told not to share a pregnancy until 3 months? in case you lose the baby right, we don’t need to upset people like that! but then we suffer alone with our loss. Not right. After I lost my daughter, after she was born at full term, after she was given a birth certificate because she lived past 21 days (the time the government thinks your baby needs to live to be considered a human!) even though we all know as soon as we see that pink or blue line we have a child in our life, whether they live past 21 days or not, to be deemed a person! Different issue, I move on. The stigma that surrounds uncomfortable feelings needs to stop. People need compassion not shame. I don’t know how to change the world into thinking its ok to be sad, we do not need to ‘pretend’ to be happy all the time. As Buddha says ‘Life is suffering’ I believe we have pockets of happy moments or happy feelings but if you truly look at the world and live true, you see that it is about surviving, surviving tragedy around us, surviving, genocide, rape, famine , disease, homelessness, joblessness, then death. Acknowledging life’s struggles does not make us ‘negative’ it makes us real and if you let yourself feel the sad you will better be able to appreciate the happy.

After I lost my daughter, so many women came up to me and told me about their losses, a women lost her son when he was 21, another suffered multiple miscarriages’ but never told anyone, so many stories, so many women that suffered alone because society made them feel like they had to hide their shame because it wasn’t ‘happy news’ I call bollocks! I will continue to share my grief and encourage others to share because we are here for such a short time, all we have is each other. To help, to love, to pick each other up and hug.

Namaste

Thanks for reading.

Sheri

Grief and Loss Books

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MY TOP BOOKS ON GRIEF AND LOSS

In the dark hours and days/weeks after someone dies we often lay in the literal dark not able to shut off our minds, only wanting to sleep so the pain is not so physical; literal, as it is mental in those early days. Consumed with anguish, grief and loss. We search endlessly for books, articles, websites to help us understand what we are feeling, to know we are not alone, to help up cope. I have read many, many books on grief in the 5 short years since my daughters death, the ones that helped me cope were actually the fictional stories of parents suffering though a tragedy, in a very morbid way I was comforted. But I also read many books written specifically to help the bereaved and as I, 5 years ago would have loved to have stumbled upon a list of grief books, I didn’t, so I will share the top that helped me then and the ones I have read more recently to this day, when my daughter should be 5.5 years old.

#1 –   “no death, no fear” , (2002)  by Thich Nhat Hanh

#2 – “A Grief Observed”,  (1961) by C.S. Lewis

#3 – “Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief”, (1994)by Martha Whitmore Hickman

#4 – “The Bereaved Parent”, (1977) by Harriett S. Schiff

#5 – No Time To Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One”,   (1996) by Carla Fine.

#6 – “The Trauma of Everyday Life”,  (2013)  by Mark Epstein

#7 – “Wave”, (2013) by Sonali Deraniyagala

#8 – “Option B”,  (2017) by Sheryl Sandberg

#9 – “A Gift of Hope” (2012) & “His bright Light: The story of Nick Traina” (1998) by Danielle Steele

#10 – “Her”, (2013)  by Christa Parravani

#11 – “A Wind from the East” , (2016)  by Wendy Dartnall

 

 

 

Thanks for reading,

Namaste

Sheri

11 ways to help someone who is grieving. By Megan Devine

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#1 Grief belongs to the griever.
You have a supporting role, not the central role, in your friend’s grief. This may seem like a strange thing to say. So many of the suggestions, advice and “help” given to the griever tells them they should be doing this differently, or feeling differently than they do. Grief is a very personal experience, and belongs entirely to the person experiencing it. You may believe you would do things differently if it had happened to you. We hope you do not get the chance to find out. This grief belongs to your friend: follow his or her lead.

#2 Stay present and state the truth.
It’s tempting to make statements about the past or the future when your friend’s present life holds so much pain. You cannot know what the future will be, for yourself or your friend — it may or may not be better “later.” That your friend’s life was good in the past is not a fair trade for the pain of now. Stay present with your friend, even when the present is full of pain.

It’s also tempting to make generalized statements about the situation in an attempt to soothe your friend. You cannot know that your friend’s loved one “finished their work here,” or that they are in a “better place.” These future-based, omniscient, generalized platitudes aren’t helpful. Stick with the truth: this hurts. I love you. I’m here.

#3 Do not try to fix the unfixable.
Your friend’s loss cannot be fixed or repaired or solved. The pain itself cannot be made better. Please see #2. Do not say anything that tries to fix the unfixable, and you will do just fine. It is an unfathomable relief to have a friend who does not try to take the pain away.

#4 Be willing to witness searing, unbearable pain.
To do #4 while also practicing #3 is very, very hard.

#5 This is not about you.
Being with someone in pain is not easy. You will have things come up — stresses, questions, anger, fear, guilt. Your feelings will likely be hurt. You may feel ignored and unappreciated. Your friend cannot show up for their part of the relationship very well. Please don’t take it personally, and please don’t take it out on them. Please find your own people to lean on at this time — it’s important that you be supported while you support your friend. When in doubt, refer to #1.

#6 Anticipate, don’t ask.
Do not say “Call me if you need anything,” because your friend will not call. Not because they do not need, but because identifying a need, figuring out who might fill that need, and then making a phone call to ask is light years beyond their energy levels, capacity or interest. Instead, make concrete offers: “I will be there at 4 p.m. on Thursday to bring your recycling to the curb,” or “I will stop by each morning on my way to work and give the dog a quick walk.” Be reliable.

#7 Do the recurring things.
The actual, heavy, real work of grieving is not something you can do (see #1), but you can lessen the burden of “normal” life requirements for your friend. Are there recurring tasks or chores that you might do? Things like walking the dog, refilling prescriptions, shoveling snow and bringing in the mail are all good choices. Support your friend in small, ordinary ways — these things are tangible evidence of love.

Please try not to do anything that is irreversible — like doing laundry or cleaning up the house — unless you check with your friend first. That empty soda bottle beside the couch may look like trash, but may have been left there by their husband just the other day. The dirty laundry may be the last thing that smells like her. Do you see where I’m going here? Tiny little normal things become precious. Ask first.

#8 Tackle projects together.
Depending on the circumstance, there may be difficult tasks that need tending — things like casket shopping, mortuary visits, the packing and sorting of rooms or houses. Offer your assistance and follow through with your offers. Follow your friend’s lead in these tasks. Your presence alongside them is powerful and important; words are often unnecessary. Remember #4: bear witness and be there.

#9 Run interference.
To the new griever, the influx of people who want to show their support can be seriously overwhelming. What is an intensely personal and private time can begin to feel like living in a fish bowl. There might be ways you can shield and shelter your friend by setting yourself up as the designated point person — the one who relays information to the outside world, or organizes well-wishers. Gatekeepers are really helpful.

#10 Educate and advocate.
You may find that other friends, family members and casual acquaintances ask for information about your friend. You can, in this capacity, be a great educator, albeit subtly. You can normalize grief with responses like,”She has better moments and worse moments and will for quite some time. An intense loss changes every detail of your life.” If someone asks you about your friend a little further down the road, you might say things like, “Grief never really stops. It is something you carry with you in different ways.”

#11 Love.
Above all, show your love. Show up. Say something. Do something. Be willing to stand beside the gaping hole that has opened in your friend’s life, without flinching or turning away. Be willing to not have any answers. Listen. Be there. Be present. Be a friend. Be love. Love is the thing that lasts.

Megan Devine is the author of Everything is Not Okay: an audio program for grief. She is a licensed clinical counselor, writer and grief advocate. You can find her at www.refugeingrief.com. Join her on facebook at www.facebook.com/refugeingrief

Do This, Not That: How To Help A Grieving Friend

thelifeididntchoose

“Above all, show your love.  Be willing to stand beside the gaping hole that has opened up in your friend’s life, without flinching or turning away.  Your steadiness of presence is the absolute best thing you can give.”  ~ Refuge in Grief

I truly believe that our friends and family WANT to be helpful as they companion us in grief.  

But if they’ve never known great loss, they may well be clueless.  

I love to share ideas, graphics and stories that can help them learn how.  

Here’s a good list, just right for sharing: 

  • Don’t compare griefs, ask questions.
  • Don’t minimize, respect their experience.
  • Don’t give compliments, trust your friend.
  • Don’t be a cheerleader, mirror their reality.
  • Don’t talk about “later”, stay in the present moment.
  • Don’t evangelize, trust their self-care.
  • Don’t start with solutions, get consent.

I’m not computer savvy enough to make graphics like this so I love…

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Its not about me…

‘His sister died when he was 6’ I recently had to explain to the principal of my older son at school in regards to an issue about behavior and something that had occurred between him and another boy. The call went silent, no I didn’t know that…

‘Its his sister, who died 2  years ago’ I explained to my other sons kindergarten teacher after he asked about a drawing my younger son had drawn that included his sister and that he couldn’t explain to the teacher, who thought he was seeing ghosts or had an imaginary friend, it came from a concerned place I believe…

‘He lost his little sister in kindergarten’ which can explain why he is a quieter kid I said to the vice principal when asked about any issues they should know about as he was starting a new school for grade 3…

Not to forget the mass emails I had to send out to coaches and current teachers(at the time), their friends parents about my boys losing their sister back in 2012, when they were only 4 and 6. How I had to explain typing through my own hand soaked tears about what happened and to please be easy with my children in these difficult times and upcoming days and weeks…

How every time I had to mention it, include it or divulge this piece of my broken heart, I always did so with their best interest in mind, in hopes that gentler gloves could deal with them if issues arose, hadn’t they been through enough? ‘Losing’ their parents right after Christmas when they went to the hospital to have their little sister not to return for days then for the next 51 days being driven around by neighbors and friends parents as their own parents were suddenly gone at the hospital all the time. Our house became quiet those dark weeks that turned into months, our children had gone from happy innocent children, to those that not only lost their baby sister but the parents they knew forever, because we were never the same again. I wanted people to understand my kids didn’t need to suffer anymore. It wasn’t about me.

So I shared and it made people uncomfortable. Uncomfortable to be around me but its not about me…

Every time I had to fill out a form asking for any necessary reasons for concerns the pen hovered, do I mention their loss? do I say they may say her name, do I recall painful details? Does it matter to them? or this situation? I did get to a point years later where I stopped filling it out, thinking time enough had passed I didn’t need to, until a couple weeks ago I go a call that my son was in trouble at school. We talked briefly, my son had apparently jokingly said he was going to kill someone, in his defense his young, undeveloped brain of 13 did not understand that saying this is equal to saying you have a bomb on a plane in today’s world, especially with school shootings and such, but lesson learned he will never speak like that again, joking or not…

This boy in particular had recently lost a family member and was feeling a bit touchy, and was acting out at school, when prompted he said what my son had said to him which set off a firestorm of ‘rules’ that needed to be followed. Long story shortened the 4th call with the principal, I felt the need to tell him about how my son had lost his sister when he was 6, he had gotten into trouble in kindergarten because of his grief and anger at school and people did not tell me about it, it was shielded from me so to speak. when I found out I was so upset, upset I could have been there for my little boy, upset at having that teachable moment taken from me, that even in our own pain we do not physically fight with others, that if he felt a certain way all he had to do was call me or ask the teacher to call me and I would have been there. I didn’t say this to the principal but what I explained was that my sons never been in trouble, not since this incident in kindergarten and now 6 years later, he is in grade 7 and was crying as the school (police) liaison officer spoke to him about his “threat” I was not there. I see I have made the principal uncomfortable, because since this incident when I see him in the hallways it is different, as it was back then after someone found out…

The time I had to explain my middle sons drawings to his kindergarten teacher, the same thing happened, he looked at me with pity, as soon as I mentioned he lost his sister he said but stopped himself mid way ‘so you lost a’… I kept talking about my son, it was not about me…

Or the time my oldest was in grade one, so the same year she died, his teacher at the 1st parent teacher interview, says to me so I know about lily, I said oh? she says H(my son) talks about her a lot, I explain we/he goes to group therapy at Canucks Children Hospice and is encouraged to talk about her, she says its OK but that he seems tired a lot. Yeah, me too I thought. Grief is tiring, but it wasn’t about me…

Or the time when my oldest was in grade 4 and wrote this on his jump rope for heart heart…

Hayden gr 4

Or 2 weeks ago when I dropped off my middle sons violin, who was 4, in preschool when his sister died and is in grade 5 now, I found this on his desk…

** Every year elementary schools in Canada participate in the Jump rope for heart campaign.

logan gr 5

 

So as I have said, felt, voiced since 2012, yes my heart broke when I lost my daughter, my third child but my heart broke even more witnessing what my sons went through, still learn to grow through. So no, its not about me…

Thanks for reading.

Sheri

International Bereaved Mother’s Day: An Open Letter to my Fellow Sisters in Loss

1/4 women suffer a miscarriage, many multiple.

1/7 women suffer a stillbirth.

1/10 women lose an infant.

I am 1/10. I am a bereaved mother. Who will always remember my daughter.

I carried her for 41weeks in my body. I birthed her, I held her, I watched her die slowly. After 8 weeks of life she was gone.

My world changed forever.

This was written by a fellow loss mom.

I am sharing because I am having a hard time writing lately.

Sheri

thelifeididntchoose

Dear Mama,

I know that you never-in your wildest imagination-thought that you would need a day set aside for your broken heart and your empty arms.  

Who thinks when they learn a new life is growing inside that this same life might be cut short?  What heart is brave enough to consider the possibility? 

Yet here you are.  

I’m so, so sorry.  

But there are a few things I want you to know.  There are some important truths to remember on this broken road-truths that can help you hold onto hope and finish strong.

You are not a failure.  I don’t care about those silly social media memes that are tossed around like candy from a Mardi Gras float.  You kept your baby or your child as safe as you knew how.  You are not omnipotent nor omniscient.  You did the best you could.  That’s all ANYONE

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Loving Well: Some Things Hurt

thelifeididntchoose

Before I lost Dominic, I know that I, like others who had never experienced the death of a child, undoubtedly said and did things that were hurtful instead of helpful.

I painfully remember sharing at a Thanksgiving women’s gathering and, meaning to encourage the ladies, said something like, “I think we are able to better face the big disappointments or trials in life, but find the daily drip, drip, drip of unfulfilled expectations to be a greater challenge.”

 A bereaved mom in attendance set me straight (in a very kind and gracious manner!).

That exchange has come often to my mind in these months after burying my son. I wish I could go back and have a do-over.

I hope that my pain has made me more compassionate, more sensitive to those around me.  I pray that I will extend grace and mercy to everyone I meet.  I…

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Dimes

 

I keep a corner outside my daughter’s room, it was my first daughter’s and is now my seconds.

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Beside it to the right is, was her bedroom and to the left is the laundry room.

 

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I have been having a harder time lately.

I stop and light her candle as I do often, kiss my fingers to her photo and proceed to finish the laundry.

Where I immediately find this.

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A dime.

Now it is not the first but this one came at a time I truly needed.

I have found one on the floor in my closet, on the ground outside my car door, on a walk.

Why dimes? Why not quarters or nickels and some will say, like in the post I share below that finding coins period is a sign from above and others believe it is specifically dimes that we receive from ones we lost.

What do you think? Has it happened to you?

Thanks for reading.

Sheri

https://www.ask-angels.com/spiritual-guidance/finding-dimes-pennies-from-heaven/

 

https://www.auntyflo.com/Superstition-dictionary/finding-dimes

 

https://passingthru.com/finding-dimes/

 

 

My Nonnos Hat

20190323_130800_HDRThis was a few days ago because I get immediate brown spots within seconds of being in the sun. I grabbed my Nonnos Hat, a hat I gladly accepted (as well as his suspenders) when he died. Why? They.  Are.  Him.

Growing up I spent most weekends with my grandparents, my Nonna and Nonno. I loved going to their house! It is by far the best memory I have from my childhood.

Anyway, when my Nonna died (my mom’s mom) in 2012 a few months after my daughter, I couldn’t properly grieve at the time losing her but have ten fold since, anyways, I was nervous to go to her funeral, people were still referencing me as the grandaughter who just lost a child. I went alone, my mom asked why I didn’t bring my other kids? I angrily said I think 1 funeral in 2 months is enough! Plus they never knew her that well, they cared for my Nonno because he was more active in visits with them but regardless, it was not necessary to parade them in front of a bunch of old family that they had never met, to watch their mom cry (again) all so she could show off her grandkids. Ugh.

Back to the story, I wore my trusty fedora to her funeral. A hat I wear with Italian pride. A hat I grew up watching my Nonno and Zeo’s wearing. A hat that masked me.

I walked into the room where immediate family is held before they enter the main room after all others have sat down. I sat beside my Nonno, whom I adored. And he looks at me, in my fedora and says ‘ why are you wearing my hat’? I say it’s my hat Nonno. I lift it to show my face and say it’s me Nonno, Sheri. He grabs my face as he does and says Nina, I never knew why (but always loved it) he and his brother Gino always called me Nina.

My mom told me this morning that Zeo Gino died today. That his funeral is next Wednesday (also happens to be my rainbows 6th birthday)

Let’s go back to the last time I saw Zeo Gino, was at my Nonnos funeral 2 years ago. Not well himself having a bad stroke after his son died. He looked at me, touched my face and said ‘Nina’! He had tears in his eyes, as my Nonno did seemingly every time I saw him after my Nonna died. He cried and said it wasn’t fair, that he lost his son and now his brother. I felt his pain. I hugged him. Others looked as if to wonder why I deserved this affection.

Now he is gone. I hope reunited with his son and his brother, my Nonno.

Why does the world work this way? Forcing us to think constantly about life and death as if we are not always thinking about life and death!

I dont know. I just know I am sad.

Thanks for reading.

Sheri

After life?

 

She said you will be a tree and I, a squirrel so I can run up you to hug you. Then she started to cry, as I tried to speak.

This was said to me tonight at random by my rainbow, my Hope, who is almost 6 and hears me when I say I love trees. Who is also, at 6 feeling what empathy and death truly are, her brain has started to understand the vastness of its reality. 

I have always said to my kids, as they felt my grief over their sisters death, my grandparents death, they witnessed my hurt, I tried in vain to explain in hopes of giving comfort that we live on in other things. That we don’t know where we go but I hope it’s into something, that our spirit lives on and I always said that I hope I get to be a tree.

To feel the breeze and sun. The rain and wind, animals and birds who visit but best of all my view as a tall evergreen. Much like the one I sat under and stared up at for countless hours after the loss of my 2 month old daughter.

Came my Hope.

Who in so many ways has taught me unconditionally to love and to help others.

Good night.

Thanks for reading.

Sheri and Hope

 

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When I have too much feels…

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When I have to much feels I hide. Not literally but behind a fake smile or rushed avoidance.

I have noticed something about myself this month and that is that when I am feeling overwhelmed with strong emotions or a little depressed at life, I become fake in my interactions with everyday encounters. I noticed I made random jokes that I laughed at myself when talking to others, I smiled and wanted to appear happy and ok.

Tomorrow will be 7 years since my daughter died. Yesterday was 2 years since my Nonno joined my Nonna who died right after my daughter 7 years ago. My best childhood memories are with them, at their home. So every February is emotional for me, when I am alone. A part of me knows people know and wonders if they get annoyed with my grief, maybe that’s why I hide it, it’s been so long, to them.

So I cry alot in private or in my car. I light candles, go for long quiet walks. And run to and from my car to hide when there are people around that I know. I exercise too much, I eat and drink too much. I try to make others laugh. But the rest of the year (except December) I noticed I am more comfortable being the real me maybe because it’s not directly associated with personal deaths. People can’t say ‘ oh she’s like that cause her daughter died in February. I’m just like this…except in February.

Wierd huh?

So when I am feeling ok about life and comfortable with the existence of my grief, I am much more real and willing to open up to someone in an honest way.

O-well.

Thanks for reading,

Sheri

 

Facets of Grief in Years

My experience through my own grieving process and through observations of others grief, I have created in my own words and thoughts what the years of grief can be.

The many facets of grief, the waves of emotions, the ups and downs. The expectations from others regarding you grief and the unfair timeline put in some to move on. The unexpected anger at those who want you to move past your grief instead of allowing you to move through it. The sides of those close to you that you never expected and the friendships that formed because of your grief.

(1) Year One; a blur, the shock that is felt after a sudden death, the trauma that is experienced because of what happened, that our brains cannot process because  of the overwhelming sadness we are consumed with. The willingness to be in denial about circumstances or lack of acceptance can force us to continue our daily routines in a zombie like state; grief can have that effect. Suddenly things that mattered don’t and things overlooked are in focus. You do things or say things you wouldn’t before with no care to the recipient. Life’s too short.

(2) Year two the grief settles in to stay; the imaginary veil that covers your face, its weight you carry in silence. It becomes harder to share because most believe the first year is the hardest but that year of shock doesn’t allow you to grieve fully. It is filled with disbelief and hurt. Tears and pain as you over analyze every last moment of before and after. In year two after searching endlessly for grief resources and help online, I created this blog to help my healing by sharing my writing through my experiences.

(3) Year three can form guilt, regret, or wonder can surface. All the what if’s? What would they be like now? The scrambled thoughts and feelings that were so confusing in the beginning become more clear. In an almost obsessive manner to which you calculate them.

(4) Year four intentions or want of change and a yearn for growth; you want to feel something with regards to your loss. You feel ready to explore. The grief has lessened just enough for you to want to do, be, act, help, fix.There must be a purpose. I wanted to help others in their grief, be of comfort during ones loneliest days so I created my Greif Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/dealingwithmygrief/

Where the interactions with random strangers has been very rewarding in that when I reached put and found nothing, I was hopefully helping someone who feels how I felt in my early raw grief stages. I share articles on grief, I invite others to share photos of those they miss. I want dealing with grief and death not to be something we avoid anymore.

(5) Year Five; suddenly an experienced griever. Or some assume not knowing or understanding that most grievers journey starts a year or more after the initial loss. Some even pretend it never happened overworking and avoiding their feelings until one day ten years later they break down and it all comes out and suddenly that journey into their grief finally begins.

(6) Year six confusion; you wonder how so much time has passed, how it can still feel like it was yesterday but be so long ago now that many around you have forgotten your loss. You search for the memories, ways to feel them again.

(7) Year Seven; learning to appreciate the differences that you couldn’t before, for example in the first few years maybe you blamed the doctor or hospital or another person involved and now you can actually see their side or simply the facts over hurt feelings of loss and anger. Reading many books on grief has helped me to understand others views. Has helped me to see and feel others tragedies or circumstances. If anything made me a more empathetic person.

(8) Year Eight; I’m not there yet, having just passed the seventh anniversary of my paternal grandmothers death, about to feel my daughters seventh deathversary on February eighteenth this year and my maternal grandmothers seven year anniversary shortly after, with my grandfathers passing two years ago this June. I had friends who died over ten years ago to suicide and overdoses but the grief I felt because of those deaths was very different than my grief today, I somehow feel this journey thought me something new. I know that I want to return to raising money for the hospital like I did in the first few years. I ran in so many races raising thousands of dollars for Hospice care and Children’s hospitals or Cancer research. I think I want to volunteer in other ways now, go deeper. 

Any Ideas? Please share in comments.

notimelineforgrief

****Here are a few links to other years of grief articles…

https://thegrieftoolbox.com/article/year-grief

https://www.gurlstalk.com/gurls/article/a-year-of-grief/

https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/grief/understanding-the-stages-of-grief/

Thanks for Reading

Sheri