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/

 

 

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

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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

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 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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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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Capture your Grief: Wave of Light 2018

October 15 is international stillborn, miscarriage, infant loss awareness day also known as, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

http://www.october15.ca/ mine

 

At 7pm around the world starting in Australia parents and friends and families will light a candle in honor and memory of a loss, be they from miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death. This wave of light carries through the day and countries around the world. At 7pm in your area please light a candle for a baby who died too soon or never got the chance and continue the wave of light.

http://nationalshare.org/?event=wave-of-light-2018

 

Thank you for reading,

Sheri