7 Years of Grief

‘Angel Number 7  … Number seven is one of those figures. It symbolizes every positive and valuable matter in existence like prosper life, happiness, renewal, and perfection. Some numerologist even believes that number seven is so perfect and powerful that it represents a connection to the universe.’

 

7 days in a week, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

If you were born on a Thursday Oct 2nd it will return every 7 years for that exact date to come back around, every 7 years Halloween is a Friday, or New years a Saturday or Christmas a Sunday, what I am getting at is 7 years seems like a cycle, a full circle back to the beginning.

Your 0 when you are born, 7 on the exact same day 7 years later. Age 7, grade 2; been in the school system for around  3 years already not a little kid anymore but still a child. Perhaps you have experienced loss of a pet, divorce or death of a family member but you are still innocent enough to believe in the good of the world you still laugh more than older kids and adults, finding the silliness in things everywhere.

The next cycle brings you to 14; only 7 short years later and you jump from a carefree kid to an anxious, nervous, pubescent teenager! There was warnings and hopefully parental help and guidance from good role models. 14 is scary a scary time, your no longer a ‘child’ but still not an adult…

Another 7, 21! Oh the places you can go and the things your allowed to see, not all equally good things.

I will stop here with hopes that we all, at least those that can read know their 7 time tables…

I have very accurate memories of being 7, 14, 21, 28, 35 but not so much other years,  I find that interesting. Maybe I have tried harder to remember and retain them or maybe it is a coincidence or maybe its a part of the greater purpose in life… ‘A greater connection to the universe’

Every 7 years is a major milestone in life if and when you reach them you look back, you reflect on the knowledge you have acquired through your growth which in turn helps you to keep growing, keep learning; moving forward. It is said that when someone experiences trauma of any kind they may become ‘stuck’ at a certain age, mindset or maturity level, this makes sense to me with people I know and have observed.

When I was 7, I was attending a french school in a neighbourhood we had just moved, I was shy and didn’t fit in with the affluent kids that occupied this school, I watched my brother get bullied and often played alone in the forest beside the school, something that would be forbidden and for good reason in today’s world. That same brother grew up to become a drug addict that has lived on and off the streets his whole life.

At 14 my parents were in the middle of starting the divorce process, we had just moved again, I had just started high school. I won’t go into the unnecessary behaviour that came about at 14 but looking back I wish I had a role model, an adult who cared enough to help me navigate through being a teen. I was smart but wanted friends more and being pretty it is easy to fall into the wrong crowd they showed attention, I sought it. 

21, 14-21 were the hardest in terms of growth  and growth setbacks but by 21 I returned to school to graduate, I bought a condo, I regularly went to the gym. I also met my now husband and father to my 4 children at 21.  But the 7 years between 14 and 21 a friend had been murdered, 2 others overdosed and 1 died of a freak accident. I watched my dad fall deeply into his alcoholism after my parents divorce which was followed by the death of his dad. Eventually losing our house, we were all on our own well before 18. I was in a car accident that had me in the hospital for weeks and unable to walk for months… But by 21 I had come out the other side, I had been working full time since 16, having to drop out of school in grade 11 to pay rent, I did many things I was finally proud of by 21, I felt like I was maturing, growing, taking care of myself.

By 28, I had gotten married had my first child was about to give birth to my 2nd boy, I had lived in 4 different cities, worked 3 different places.

35! That’s a big one I think, when you reach 35 you are officially, no excuses, 100% an adult. Now, I have lost all 4 of my grandparents, a dozen friends to car accidents, suicide, drugs overdoses. I have also watched many of my friends divorce or watch their parents die of cancer. But the biggest thing that happened to me was the birth and death and my 3rd child, followed by the birth of my miraculous rainbow, my 4th child and living through the process of deep, raw grief with my husband. How we survived the roller coaster of child loss is beyond me. But we did.

I am now 39 and in 2 years will be 42 and another cycle will have passed. But the reason 7 years was stuck in my thoughts is because it will be 7 years since the incredibly traumatic birth of my daughter who lived only 52 days.

This Monday December 30th 2019 it will be 7 years since Monday December 30th 2011 that the thing that has scarred me, changed me, hurt me and forced me to grieve undeniably lines up. The year ahead, 2020 all the days will line up with that time 7 years ago…. Me attending a PAC meeting on a Tuesday in February only to be called home to give her medicine and eventually CPR with her returning to the hospital, 3 days later its Friday, its valentines day, I buy her a purple elephant with the hopes of giving it to her when she comes home again. 7 days later  on Tuesday February 18 2012 she dies. This Tuesday February 18 2020 will be the 7th anniversary of that death. The feels flood back as do the tears, the headache the pain, but it is less painful 7 years later. the grief is not raw, it is not every minute in agony, but it exists inside me and when I need to know, to feel the pain I just sit in my mind with memories.

We look for patterns in grief because we are constantly trying to understand it.

What I am wondering, is: Does it take a full cycle, a full 7 years to go through the grieving process? I would say I feel most like me again though I will never be the same, I am definitely not the ghost I turned into the immediate following years. I learned through my grief , I grown with it and I think finally accepted it. 7 years of Grief later.

Thanks for reading,

Namaste

Sheri

***********************************************************************************

Some interesting reads on Seven 7 in links below:

 

Every Seven Years (7) You Change

 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201506/seven-reasons-we-are-captivated-the-number-seven

 

https://www.betemunah.org/seven.html

 

Grief is a Daily Challenge

PSX_20190828_071930

 

I searched and searched the internet, library and book stores after my daughter and then both grandmother’s died all 3 within 4 months.

I needed to understand death, understand why.

How do we live so unabashedly  blind pretending we and others wont die?

In the book:

Mindfully: A Compassionate and Spiritual Guide to Coping with Loss

By Sumeet Kumar

I found the quote above and for whatever reason it resonates with me.

So I’m sharing it with you.

After I made it into a pretty meme if course.

Thanks for reading,

Sheri

 

 

 

 

Some days….

Grief poems, thoughts & rituals.PSX_20190827_072120

 

Made my first meme with a poem I wrote 6 years ago for my daughter…

That is what I love about writing, keeping journals, diary posts etc… You can go back to exactly how you felt at a certain moment in time be it happy or sad.

Sheri

So it starts and the next 6 months are heavy…

The following months that lead up to my girls supposed to be 7th birthday, which is followed by the 7th date since her death (2 months later) so needless to say my not so good months of the year are soon to come; this time of year for me is heavy.

September:

As the beginning of another season.  The changing colors, fallen leaves of autumn, the beginning of another school year. Another year of growth for my other children, a new grade, a new teacher, whole new experiences. And one looming thought… the little girl who would be entering Grade 2, what would she choose to be for Halloween as an almost 7 year old? would she start to love math and hate art? How tall would she be now? …

October:

My birth month, never a big celebration as I do not like being the focus or for money wasted. But the thoughts are always there, as I age. Am I wiser? Do I care more or less? I guess its all changed dramatically over time, through grief, because of life and its unrelenting series of events, be them good or bad. The future or death really is always at the back of my mind. And of course another Thanksgiving holiday without her…

November:

I do not know if you’ve ever been to a schools Remembrance day ceremony? (Nov.11) Usually some of the kids sing sad songs while a slide show of graves and war pictures fill the room. Poems are read by innocent voices, too young to really understand the words that seem to make the adults in the rooms tear up. Outside becomes quite cold, the trees are bare and I always think of how in November of 2011 I was 8 months pregnant about to have a baby…

December:

Was my favorite month, before… I used to decorate December 1st for the holiday season, a fun day of unpacking years of decorations, an activity I would get excited for every beginning of Fall. Something I once loved so much. Is now something I dread. Another Christmas she wont be here, her stocking,  another birthday (Dec 30th) we wont celebrate, followed immediately by a new year. December is the worst…

January:

How I made those 3 hour round trips to the hospital everyday, how I begged (felt like anyway) friends to watch my other kids so I didn’t have to drag them there every day. The cold, dark days, the fact another year has gone by just like that…

February:

Is the shortest month of the year but the longest in my memory. I went out, for the first time in 11 months, to a parent advisory meeting, it was Tuesday February 11 2012, I went because an acclaimed parent speaker was giving a talk that night. Another mom commented, how she couldn’t believe I was there, you know having a newborn and all. She didn’t know I was trying for normalcy after what I had been going through since the traumatic birth of my daughter. The speaker had just started and 20 min in I got a call from my husband. He forgot to give our daughter her phenobarb (phenobarbitol is a seizure medication) hers was given through her G-tube and as I had always given the dose, he didn’t actually know how to. I later found out he called because our then almost 4 year old had fallen near where she was laying and it startled her so much that she went blank, he was scared and called me with the excuse she needed her medicine, which was partly true. So I left. I got home at 830, kissed my little 3 & 5 year old boys goodnight and heard Steve scream for me. Sheri come here! I ran down the stairs, I could hear the terror in his voice. Shes not breathing! I grabbed her from him, I yelled to call 911, to tell them an infant is unconscious and not breathing, that is what I learnt you say when you need them to come to you first. But in this case was also true. He put the speaker on, I explained I was giving her CPR but it wasn’t working, she asked me if I tilted her neck (step 2!) no, as soon as I did, she gasped for air. Seconds later the ambulance was at our door and once again I was abandoning my other babies in the middle of the night. Once again I was terrified and watching my littlest baby be hooked up to multiple cords, poked for IVs. But all I kept thinking was how my boys would be scared and sad when they woke up and their mom and sister were gone. I was up all night, they got her stable and all seemed on the up and up the next day, until she had 3 more seizures and I ran down the hallway as the room filled with too many doctors and nurses, codes being yelled over the PA. She was transferred back to Children’s Hospital where, x-rays and CT scans found other problem we never knew about, she needed a tracheotomy to breathe (a hole in her throat) if we wanted her to live. That was on top of the 3 heart surgeries we were already waiting for her to have, before this happened. She would never survive them, she wasn’t healthy enough, chances were slim for a healthy baby, which she wasn’t. I remember sitting in my room staring out the window as the doctor explained all the surgeries. That we needed to meet very soon to make a decision.

The world went still for me.

They tried to move us to the children’s hospice but I was too scared that she would die  during transfer. Another regret I carry.

Tuesday February 18 2012 we signed a DNC (do not resuscitate) they took our her breathing tube, and IV and I held her as she took or struggled more like through her last breath.

Her funeral was a week later and shortly after that it began… the you must be ok by now comments that infuriated me, the you can have another comments, the she’s not suffering anymore, those expecting me to smile only months after her death. little did they know my grief journey hadn’t even started, as I was in denial after the shock wore off. Now I relive those early days, the middle struggle and the final blow every year and it starts in September and goes until February 28 when I get a slight reprieve from the heavy feeling that seems to live in my heart 6 months a year.

Thanks for reading,

Sheri

 

poor baby

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

Dimes

 

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

20190410_142715.jpg

 

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

 

20190410_142554_HDR.jpg

 

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.

20190410_143604-COLLAGE.jpg

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…

20190213_182207.jpg

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