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

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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

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

Capture your Grief 2018 : SUNSET

Day 31; Sunset

I took and wrote this back in 2012 during the epitimal raw first year of my grief for the death of my third born child, my first daughter. Lily Hall. Dec 30 2011- Feb 18 2012

I have edited the poem below to how I feel I prefer the end.

Sunset is the last of the days in the Capture your Grief Writing challenge, it makes sense, a sunset, the day is saying goodnight to world through the reflection of the sky.

Good night.

Thanks for sharing this journey with me.

Sheri

 

 

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SUNSET

In awe of the sunset that reflects off the water

In sadness of the heart that reflects of you

In love with the beauty of you

Sheri Hall

Capture your Grief 2018

Day 28; Shadow and Light

Thoughts dance behind the trees, the flowers sway in the breeze, dewdrops and sunlight alight the minds eye causing wonder to pass by. The shadow and light hold many secrets and stories, some to bold to be seen while others never unseen. We need the light to see the shadows and to feel the shadow to embrace the light. One without the other like night without day.

Day 29; Release

Let go of the hurt the pain feel its release into the universe, let go of the anger and hardship see it float away. Let go of the unknown, the regret, the guilt, to see it for what it is; unnecessary. Let go and live again.

Day 30; Gift of Life

We are given one life, that we know of, we know not our purpose or its meaning but we must do what we can to help, to heal, to grow, to teach and learn. The gift of life is not given to all some a minute, a few hours or weeks, maybe years but not a guarantee of a full one to all. The gift of life should not be taken for granted though it often is. The frugality of our presence overtaken by greed or want, by looks and feels over needs and deeds. The gift of life can feel like a burden to some, not a gift. Life is what you make it. I hope you chose a gift, if not to yourself than to others.

 

 

Thank you for reading,

Sheri

 

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Capture Your Grief 2018

Day 23; Mortality

NOUN

  1. the state of being subject to death.
    “the work is increasingly haunted by thoughts of mortality”
    antonyms:
  2. death, especially on a large scale.
    “the causes of mortality among infants and young children”
    synonyms:
    death · loss of life · dying

 

Day 24; Courage

What forms our courage? Is it our mothers encouraging hand, fathers stern insistence. Is it our ability to bear witness to tragedy and overcome the trauma. Do we learn courage through our mistakes or maybe because of our successes. Being courageous can mean standing up for someone when no one else is but it can also mean getting out of bed to face the day when you want to hide. We are all courageous at many times throughout the day we simply need to notice our own bravery at perhaps not always doing the easy thing but the right thing.

 

Day 25; Who

WHO

Who decides what lives and what dies

How does he or she who decides live with the consequences of their decisions

Who is rightful to grieve and who determines whose loss it really is

When do we know what to say, how to say, who to say it to

Who is the owner of your grief?

Is it the departed or the remaining

Who should we fear; is it who decides who lives or dies

 

Day 26; Beauty

The beauty held in your dark eyes, the long vast endless corridor of dark; the unknown The beauty of the unknown. The beauty revealed in the tiny smirk that you rarely showed and preciously received. The beauty behind your legacy. The lives you left behind forever changed because of the few beautiful moments with you.

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Day 27; Memory

A sound, a scent, a photograph. A movie, novel or painting. A memory held in a frame at the back of our brains waiting to be remembered at the drop of hat. A memory tucked away inside our heart only to be revealed at long last of searching the soul  in hopes for it be re lived. Wanting desperately to be remembered, it comes at long last in a dream or a flicker of a deja-vu rekindling a past thought, triggering that memory to the fore front. The brain holds our memories in a staggering way, we tend to remember the really bad or the extremely exciting, the unforgettable moments that are happy and sad, that have shaped our being. We tend to forget the every day even though we do that more often, we forget the repetitiveness and remember the tragic and the magic, making our memories all that much more unique to how our brain perceived a moment in time for us.

 

Thanks for reading,

Sheri

 

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Capture your Grief 2018

Day 20; Death

Death

Gasping for air; Breathless in the end

Unable to move; paralyzed from the neck down

Shock to the system;  thoughts fade

Eyes flutter; head drops

You can still hear the sounds and voices around

  Knowing you cannot respond

Eyelids are heavy, chest stops moving

The bright light; you enter holds you in a hug

Unable to fight anymore

Death; is the release of your struggles

And the beginning of their pain

 

Day 21; Myths

What do you believe or is it all just a myth, passed down through centuries of stories. Heaven and hell, myth or fact, most would say fable or hope. In death some see God or a light, how do we know this? or do we wish it to be so. We reunite with those already gone, after death the pain and struggle is over, but is it? Who discovered the myths of the world. Do we really know others truths enough to judge them as untrue. Who are we to decide what does or does not happen, in life or death. I have gone swimming after eating and not suffered a single cramp, gone outside with wet hair and not gotten a cold. Simple myths can be easily debunked but what about the bigger myths of God and enlightenment. I you believe you will achieve yes. I suppose no one will ever truly know what the real myths of life and death is/are/will be.

 

Day 22; Empathy

Empathy is the ability to share someone else’s feelings and/or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in that person’s shoes. To feel for someone, to empathize with their pain or hardships, not to feel sorry for but understand it is a struggle. To listen without judgment, to truly hear and feel with someone and not simple half listen and be immediate to offer solution, or want to ‘fix’ the issue, sometimes there is no fix. To be empathetic is an incredible part of being a compassionate and understanding human. It is my wish for the world to be more empathetic to one another. Perhaps it could be a more gentle world.

 

Thanks for reading,

Sheri

 

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Capture your Grief 2018

Day 17; Gratitude

To be grateful, what is that? Are we grateful of a good deed, grateful for our life, for money, for food, for love? How do we express our gratitude, do we express it only after being reminded, or as a reaction. Is it an innate trait in some but not for others?  To be grateful for a day without tears, or a day without physical pain, can be a simple relief of our everyday stresses. Gratitude is highly underrated and underused but overtly expressed when called out. Could gratitude be taught in school perhaps, teaching expressions of gratefulness for simple things every day. Can we grow our gratitude by being aware our actions and reactions. If we can empathize more with others, show compassion instead of judgment will we feel more honest gratitude. I wish for hat to be true. I wish for a future of empaths and gracious warriors who feel and appreciate the small and necessary over the large and obvious. Today I am grateful to be in a safe place, to be alive, to be able to express myself through writing. I am grateful for today.

 

Day 18; Joy

When someone we love dies suddenly it seems the joy gets sucked out of every aspect of our lives. Food turns bland, colors dull, feelings hurt. The joy of rest turns into dread, dread of the quiet space forced upon our brain to dwell in the pain of our loss. Joy is such a simple word but encompasses so much. The joy in a genuine smile, the joy of laughter between friends, and the joy of a meal shared with family. The feeling of joy disappears and you wonder if it will or is it possible for it to ever return. I think it does very slowly as in years later you may realize you are smiling or laughing and wonder how that happened, you may feel a sort of joy but regret at feeling joy, you may simply experience a lesser joy but joy nonetheless.  There must always be hope for the joy to return.

 

Day 19; Learn

Learning to live a new normal, learning to grieve and accept the loss that is the cause or your discomfort and pain. To re learn a different life without someone that was once pivotal in the way you once lived. Grief or absence of a person can force us to learn things we never had to navigate before, or maybe we decide to learn a new skill to cope or distract. Learning never stops and grief can be an important teacher in our journey of life. Bu only if you allow it to teach you. If you allow the feelings that hurt to be felt, you can learn how to best handle them. For me I learned to garden and grow things and how much I loved it. How it made me feel attached to the mysterious earth that enraptures our bodies and souls. To watch something you plant grow out of nothing, to bloom, to die and re grow can be an amazing tool in accepting the circle of life.

 

 

Thanks for reading,

Sheri

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