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

A poem for Carson

Your death creates fear about futures unclear

Your loss makes us anxious; how to steer clear

Your innocence stolen; gone too soon

Broken down simply;

Death creates fear

Loss is anxiousness

Your life was stolen

The story untold while grief unfolds

Anger subsides,  no answer to why

Young and trusting or foolish and rushing

Those left behind; hurt and confused

Forever staring at the invisible bruise

What makes a child turn away

Do drugs, solicit sex instead of play

Why has society drifted from truth

That an end by drugs is common for youth

The loss of a child is the worst; its true

Whether 3, 11 or at 22

The order of death is not correct

The mind scrambles to accept

Hurt and pain fill each room

With presence of a life gone too soon.

_________________________________________

Written for Carson Crimeni a 14 year old boy who was given drugs by older kids to watch how he reacted.

He died

His death has affected our community not only because of its circumstances but because of his age, naivety and vulnerability. And because it creates fear in us all.

I drive by the site at best 4x a day, I see the flowers, my heart pounds as my eyes swell. He is not my son but very well could be. No one knows who it could be next, no one is invincible.

Child loss is a pain no parent can heal from.

You can learn from it. You can grow from it. You can continue to live. But there is no getting over the loss of a child, regardless their age.

I hurt for his parents, for all parents who’ve lost a child to drugs, accident, illness or violence. Miscarriage, stillbirth or congenital diseases.

Death creates fear and uncertainty but moreso when its your child and you can’t understand why or how to move on, the world stops awhile.

I wrote this (above) but the picture attached below with a poem is written by an unknown author.

 

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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

 

Silence

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

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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The number Seven

I have always had an obsession with numbers, I have also always had a hard time falling and staying asleep, so I spent many nights awake as a child counting numbers, figuring out various equations to pass the hours of the night until I eventually drifted off to sleep. It is something I still do as an adult, although not as much.

You lived 52 days- 5 + 2 = 7

Your dad and I were married on 7th day of the 7th month in 2007 after 7 years together, we have now been together for 17.

You should be turning 7 this Christmas; and we will mourn the 7th anniversary of you death next February.


What is the meaning of the number 7?

“The number 7 is the seeker, the thinker, the searcher of Truth. The 7 doesn’t take anything at face value — it is always trying to understand the underlying, hidden truths. The 7 knows that nothing is exactly as it seems and that reality is often hidden behind illusions.”

My daughter, Hope,  that I had after Lily died, has just started kindergarten, I am immediately taken back 2 years to when Lily was supposed to start kindergarten and how hard I found seeing all those first day of kindergarten photos of friends with little girls the same age. Wondering how she would do, would she even have gone with all the disabilities she inevitably would have had because of her brain stem injury at birth.
In the past few weeks I have been re encountering the number 2, every day at 2:22 it seems my eyes are drawn to the clock, that has not happened since 2 years after she died, the 2 year mark, where all assume your ‘over it’ especially if you were lucky enough to have another after. I seem to stop running on the treadmill at 22mins, which ends up being 2 miles and it always says I burned about 220 calories.
Maybe I am obsessing, maybe they are sticking out because the number 2 has always been my number, I was born on the 2nd day of the 10th. Yes I share my birthday with Gandhi.

gandhi

SEVEN

Seven years of wonder;

Seven years of tears

Seven still haunts me as the date draws near

Seven is a passing that signifies change and growth

Seven is an age that you will never know

Seven is the number stuck in my head

Seven is what I dream of when I go to bed


*I wrote previously of angels numbers in this post below with more in depth information and links to how and what they are believed to be.
Thanks for reading,
Sheri

Let it go

The person you thought you could be

Let it go

The person you hoped you’d be

Let it go

Your shame is not necessary

Let it go

It isn’t real

Let it go

Why do you hold on to that wish

That view, that praise

Let it go

You are what you are

You are amazing  at what you do

You are you

Let it go what holds you

It hurts your heart when you reflect

Let it go

The remorse the regret

Leg it go

You are you; its time to grow.

 

By Sheri Hall

Body Image; the subjective picture or mental image of one’s own body

*** This post is not about Grief, though there is some in it. I am choosing to write about something else that I have dealt with my whole life.

Body Image – Noun- an intellectual or idealized image of what one’s body is or should be like, that is sometimes misconceived in such mental disorders as anorexia nervosa.

Since I can remember I have been obsessed with being “skinny” my first recollection of this issue, or problem, as it became, was when I was around 7; one of my best friends was a ballet dancer. I was constantly looking at her legs beside mine, always believing that mine were huge by comparison. This photo of us below proves my delusion.

Summer of 1987

I loved playing with my Barbie dolls but unlike others I do not blame their tiny unattainable frames for my obsession, I blame society and television. It (Barbie) was/is a toy after all, a doll to act out my fun with. Magazines and music videos on the other hand had only beautiful, tall, skinny women in my face constantly, they were real women. I grew up in the age of Kate Moss, the ridiculously skinny frame and face of Calvin Klein.

By the time I was 12 I wanted to be a model, I was only 5ft 6 but hey so was Kate Moss, the problem however  was my frame… I was not “petit” or “tiny”, I always felt like an ogre beside my friends, big shoulders, big glasses, I was not an athlete or a dancer, I played no instrument, basically I had or felt I had no talent. By fifteen I was doing some local modeling and shows after taking classes the previous year. A friend at the time commented to me, a male friend, which in hindsight made it matter more, he said ‘wow, your too skinny!’ You see I spent much of the 8th and 9th grade not eating and if I felt I overate, I made myself throw up. I weighed 112 lbs. in grade 9 down from 118 in Grade 7 and when he said that, you’d think it sounded an insult but not to me, it was validation.

I went to a modeling show in Whistler at 15,  here I am, in this picture which is important because the pink sweater I am wearing in it is a shirt I was given when I was 8yrs old and here I was wearing it as half top 7 years later, I was so proud I fit into it.

model

 

My body image morphed from a child who kind of thought she was bigger than others, (even though I clearly was not) to being obsessed with controlling how many calories I ate and exercise I did. I didn’t really like throwing up and felt so mature that I was making the decision to exercise over being anorexic…(eye roll at myself) I joined the gym at 15, it was my routine. I took the bus everyday or went with my boyfriend, whose mom ironically or not was a former model and always commented negatively and positively to me about my body weight or the state of it.

I noticed every .05 of a pound I gained or lost. Fast forward to me realizing I will never be able to maintain 110lbs or be discovered,  so at 18 I got hired and started working at Hooters restaurant I began doing bikini contests. You see bikini models over fashion models were allowed to have curves. Something I, as I got older could not hide no matter how little I ate.

contest       1998     I got 2nd place at  a Miss Hooters contest which put me in the finals for Miss Hooters BC. I got 4th in a Miss Molson contest. 3rd in a Miss Ocean Beach, which put me in their finals. I never won any, those were the ones I placed, I did a dozen others that left me feeling even more insecure and fatter than ever. There was always someone skinnier or prettier or both.

I worked at Hooters for 2 years, at the time in the picture below, I was closing the bar and one night 5 minutes  before closing time a guy came in, I was visibly frustrated as I was ready to go home. I poured him his pint and continued my closing duties, in his mind I suppose I was ignoring him. He paid and left. I found a note under his pint that read, ‘You are not as hot as you think you are , PS lose some weight your muffin top looks terrible over those shorts.’ I crumpled it and tossed it hoping my face didn’t show the pain I felt just in case he was out the window waiting for my reaction. I weighed 122 lbs. at that time the most I had ever weighed in my life- I was fat! and he just confirmed it.

Hooters

My obsession with my body image, the distorted view I became to have of what my body looked like was taking over my life, I fell asleep at night counting how many calories I had consumed that day. I ensured I was at the gym 7 days a week and through it all I smiled and pretended I didn’t care. Fast forward into my mid 20’s I struggled to maintain a weight that was not my natural body weight, I weighed between 121 – 126 lbs. constantly striving to be under 120 again. I look back at pictures and think wow, I was skinny, yet I never once felt it.  The next 10 years my inner demons fought within myself to maintain a body I couldn’t. Then I had my 1rst child at 25 and suddenly didn’t care, he was all that mattered. I wish I could say that it grew into a healthy mindset about my body image but no, it didn’t last, I did, after not caring for the 3 years whilst I had baby 1 and 2 but soon after rejoining the gym and learning very disgustingly how out of shape 3 years sans exercise made my body. I was even more ashamed of myself.

How did I let myself go? no, I never was actually overweight, though my new weight range was between 131lbs and 135- to me I was huge, that’s almost 20lbs larger than I always strived for. I got a personal trainer and got down to 128! then I got pregnant again. I was bitter, I just got my body back. I became depressed. I didn’t want another child, I didn’t want to get fat again. Then my beautiful little girl was born upside down and backwards not breathing with many complications. She died 51 days later.

I hated myself. It must have been my fault, I cared too much about getting fat and not appreciating what was growing inside me. I killed my baby. I sat with this pain and regret and guilt for many years. I also did not care what I looked like…is what I wish I could say but no, immediately after she died I hired another personal trainer my excuse this time? I didn’t not want to look like I had just had a baby, especially if I didn’t have one to show for it! Would you know it, a way some people grieve is sex, there are many, self medication, over eating, over sleeping and yes sex. Low and behold I was pregnant 2mths after my 3rd child died.

This is me, as big as a house, pregnant with my 4th child at 32.  I can honestly say I didn’t care how fat I got this time because this was going to be the healthiest baby damn it!

4rth pregnancy

The point of me needing to write about dealing with body image is that it is so incredibly unhealthy in the way it has literally ruled/ruined my life. I delete pictures immediately if I think I look fat, my mood is ruined if I don’t like what I am wearing or if something doesn’t fit right. I also feel that most if not all women struggle with this self imposed pressure. I constantly look at the small frames I always wished I was and think man they look good. But I bet they don’t think so. I still work hard at being healthy, I still go to the gym 5x a week, but I eat whatever I want and I try not to stress so much. I think with age it has become easier to let go of the “perfect” body.

I have kids who I pray see themselves as the beautiful little beings that I do. That I show them or have shown them how to be healthy over being skinny. I express to them their mind is much more important to work on than their body. I hope they hear me.

But I cannot lie, this picture below is  from only a few days ago. My husband said to me, ‘wow you look good’. I was excited to see it, I asked him to send it to me.  And I hated it. All I see is the paunch in my belly when I look at this photo. I want to stop this cycle. I  want to stop looking back and thinking wow I looked good, or skinny or fit. I want to feel it, now, but I don’t think there is an answer on how.

July 15 2018

Today, at almost 38, I weigh 137lbs, a very healthy weight for my age and height. I am trying to stop being my biggest critic. But I think with having it be an unhealthy obsession my whole life it might always be a demon that lives inside me. I wish there was a magical cure to how we see ourselves regarding our body image.

I just pray as a society with the shifts that are in place today we start appreciating our brains, our words, or acts of kindness as much as we have been taught to appreciate a ‘nice body’.

This post was inspired by this photo that I saw on FB the other day. It really struck me and stuck with me because it is how I have felt my whole life.

body image

Thanks for reading

Namaste,

Sheri

 

 

Coincidences or not?

Today, I met a friend for a drink. A Friday release, a mother of two who meets a few others on their off weekend. I have been invited a few times but decided to go today. I sat down, deciding I would stay no longer than an hour.

A few minutes later another friend joined, who said a few of her co workers were going to join.

Three more women sat down shortly after, I immediately knew one of them although never having met her before ‘officially’  I had…

When my daughter stopped breathing and turned blue on my living room floor six years ago this week, I gave her CPR and we travelled via ambulance to our local hospital.

This women that joined the table, well all the women worked at this local hospital and as soon as she spoke I knew it was her. It was the nurse who so sweetly spoke to my daughter before she seized up and stopped breathing, before she was intubated for the last time and returned to the Children’s hospital, were she spent the first four weeks of her life, were she had two surgeries, were she would have had four more had she lived.

The night we returned to the hospital, we were finally checked into the pediatric unit, they thought she had the flu…

The next morning, a nurse, a pretty blond French nurse came into the room to see if she could help hook my daughter up to her feeding marching, she had a G-tube that needed to be hooked up to a machine to push the milk/formula into her stomach intestine.

She called her ma petit choux, over and over, in such a sweet and endearing way that I would know that voice forever.

When Lily turned blue and stopped breathing,  she seemed scared, I walked away not knowing what to do, not wanting to cry or scream or disturb the doctors that were being summoned to help.

I was scared.

I thought this women talking so sweetly to my child must be a sign that things will be ok.

I was wrong.

Tonight that nurse walked into the restaurant I was at for no reason other than chance. She sat at my table and I recognized her and her voice.

I did not know how to approach the situation but knew it had to be acknowledged.

I said I think you were the nurse who saw my daughter, she smiled and the conversation continued. Later she asked how old  my daughter was now, I said she passed. There it was, the look. I said sorry, she said no, she remembered. My daughter was intubated before being transferred to Childrens hospital. She knew.

The odds of meeting this women at random, rare. But the odds of the events in how I knew her even more rare.

The chance of meeting her the same week, six years later, coincidence? I don’t know,

Do I know how to deal with every anniversary, or deathversary as I have come to call them. How to deal with every lost birthday, every missed date that she is not here for.

I have thought of this women many times since that day. I have thought the same phrase mon petit choux since that day, often. I endearingly said it my rainbow Hope who was born 15 months after her sister died.

 

Thanks for reading

Sheri

What 37 years on earth has taught me!

37th bday  The morning of my 37th birthday. October 2 2017

I’ve always struggled with sleep, as a child I remember making up games in my mind to make myself fall asleep, I would sneak into my parents room and sleep on the floor, as a teen I would read until I passed out. So no surprise on this day – October 2nd – my 37th b-day I was awake at dawn. I tossed and turned desperate to fall back asleep and finally got up to enjoy the quiet of the morning before the chaos began. I poured my coffee and sat down to watch the news.

Well you know by now what I saw. My heart broke, I was in shock, not again. My husband and I have been to LV a least a dozen times in the last decade, we always are on the strip or at a concert or show. Had we been there for my b-day, which was considered, we would have been at the country music festival (we love country music) were this heinous act of  gun violence occurred. We decided not to go because we are going to be running in the Rock and Roll Marathon in LV in November, which is celebrated at the end by a concert. I am not sure we will attend. But we should not let fear win right? Except that in the USA  this year there have been 273 mass shootings (a mass shooting is defined as 4 or more people being killed) last year there was 483! read more in the link below.

http://www.abc15.com/news/data/mass-shootings-in-the-u-s-over-270-mass-shootings-have-occurred-in-2017

So is it safe to travel to the US? We recently- last spring- went to Disney land for the first time, my kids leading up to it did not want to go and I could not understand. The answer came after much interrogation, they did not want to be killed, I said why would you think that? they said everyone has guns in America. Hmmm, yes they have a point. I explained as best I could that there are police everywhere and most places have measures to prevent people bring guns in, although yes there were metal detectors at Disney land most places unfortunately allow guns in the United States, something not legal in Canada. I understood their fear. It is undeniable that America has a gun problem and the debate was proven to be over when 20 babies were killed by an automatic riffle at Sandy Hook 5 years ago and nothing was changed or fixed about their lax or non existent gun laws. It is unfortunate that a country as big and powerful as the USA is more obsessed with their sick gun culture and ‘right to bear arms’ than the right to healthcare or to walk safely in their country without the threat of gun violence.

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/us/if-sandy-hook-didn-t-change-america-s-gun-laws-nothing-will-1.2454880

My kids woke up, I turned off the news and wiped my tears away. They came down the stairs singing happy b-day. Bitter sweet. I hugged them and we started our morning.

Houston Trail

Something I have learned after 37 years…

Whenever I have felt overwhelmed by grief, tragedy and heart ache I need to go outside. Walk amongst the trees in the forest and breathe.

I’ve learned that life gets so much more complex as we age, as people die around us the undeniable reality of our obvious and eventual demise can feel overwhelming

Death also gets ignored by many. Some rush through life trying to be successful, creating a fortune, for what? To be buried in a gold casket? I truly admire the likes of Bill and Melinda Gates that spend their fortune helping others, eradicating polio in Africa- a pretty noble thing to spend your time and money on in your retirement years. Or Oprah Winfrey opening a school for girls in Africa, or Facebook founder Mark Zukerburg donating 100 million to education in the US.

I’ve learned that flashy things are just that things. Things that end up in the landfill.

I’ve learned that I’d rather have enough than a feast.

I’ve learned that real people, honest people, even though honesty can be a hurtful or a hard thing to swallow at times, is much better than the fake people.

I’ve learned that no matter how many push ups or chest presses you do, your armpits and under arms will still get flabby ( and so will your knees- no amount of running will stop that ).

I’ve learned that after 35 you finally stop being so harsh on your body.

I’ve learned to appreciate when it’s quiet.

I’ve learned not to take things for granted. Even when your tired and frustrated, a tug at your sleeve for a hug, or an I love you with a smile can be amazing.

I’ve learned education can change perspective and direction.

I’ve learned that you’re never to old to make mistakes and to keep learning.

I’ve learned that kids are pretty darn smart and much more resilient and accepting than adults.

I’ve learned it is ok to let people judge you, as I have learned it really does not matter what they think. Most do not know you well enough anyway.

I’ve learned no matter how hard you give to others they wont assume they need to give back until you ask.

I’ve learned it is ok to say no.

I’ve learned it is ok to yell and get angry, and it is also ok to say sorry and accept responsibility.

I’ve learned that exercise can do more than just keep your body healthy, but your mind too.

I’ve learned too that there are more ignorant people in the world than I’d hoped as a younger person.

I’ve learned we only get one life and don’t know what comes next, so try your best to cherish it and that does not mean be happy all the time.

I’ve learned that music and dance can heal and rejuvenate the soul, but also trick the mind into feeling young again.

So, I went with my BFF to see the amazing singer, dancer, performer, the person I saw at age 10 at the first concert I had ever attended. We went to see Janet Jackson and danced and sang the night away, and I hadn’t  felt that good,  in a long time.

 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading,

Namaste,

Sheri