Coincidences or not?

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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

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Nothing is forever

Edited

Dealing with My Grief

When I had to give my baby CPR on our living room floor after she stopped breathing. The ambulance came and she was resuscitated, we followed her ambulance to Children’s Hospital; my eyes were suddenly ripped opened to a raw,  treacherous and sad new world. A  new life filled with guilt, anxiety, PTSD and loss.

The suffering  witnessed and felt by so many children, parents of children, siblings all stuck in the hospital. All exposed to a very different reality than those on the outside. Then followed immediately by watching the suffering of so many bereaved parents in a support group, reliving their children’s last moments; heartbreaking.

I cannot erase the immensity of the sad stories I heard of all the children (lost) from my mind- not that I want to. I will cherish those stories of those angels that I was blessed to hear and learn about,  it is ironic to feel blessed about something I wished I…

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The age of realization

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some helpful links:

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

https://mentalhealthscreening.org/


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

Amanda Todd 15

Amanda_Todd_-_01

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

 

Libby Bell 14

libby bell

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

 

Amy Everett 14

Amy eliott

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

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

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


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

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

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

mitchell


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

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

 

The Canadian Mental Health association and British Columbia division

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

 

Mental health foundation of Canada

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

 

The American foundation for suicide prevention

https://afsp.org/

 

Brains and behavior research center in NY NY

https://www.bbrfoundation.org/

 

Help is only a phone call away

 

suicide line

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

Sheri

 

The absent Birthday

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


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

Happy 6th Birthday to my angel Lily Emma Olive Hall

I miss you

I live for you

I will love you

I will remember you

 Everyday until I die

 

6

 

Thanks for reading,

Sheri

 

The dream that was too real; but not real enough

Dealing with My Grief

nice

The dream that was too real; but not real enough.

She was in a box, a small white box, I knew she was in there although I would/could rarely look; it hurt too much. My broken heart was in that box. One day I found the courage and opened the box and these big beautiful dark eyes stared back at me, I screamed, not a loud or frightened one, just a squeak came out. We locked eyes, and then she smiled the most amazing, wide grin that was lost to me. I looked around frantically, I yelled, what is this? What is happening? How can it be? Have you been feeding her? I never stopped he said, I cried, why did I give up? I picked her up and instantly she was three years old I laid her on my  bed and just stared in awe, in love, in anguish, I…

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Free yourself from stress and help others at Christmas instead

Post Revised to 2017. Charities list updated

Dealing with My Grief

Christmas should be joyous, an incredible and happy time; together with family, friends alike, especially for kids it can be a very special time of year.

But unfortunately the reality is that for most it is a stressful time. Those missing a loved one, those that experienced a hard year or lived through tragedy. Kids can feel stressed about what they may or may not get, or if their parents are not together who to be with. Parents often stress about what they can and cannot afford, is it enough. And for those who do not live with the luxurious standards of  most North American societies, it is just another day without food, or toys or maybe without their family.

I often feel disgusted with our North American “Christmas”.  There are plenty of poor here in N. America that struggle through the holidays though, the jobless man that freezes out in the cold every night. Or…

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Grief resource guide

Aside

Grief Retreats In Vancouver and areas of BC

http://www.sunrisegriefretreat.org/the-society

https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/treatment/grief/british-Columbia

http://campkerrysociety.org/

 

Grief Resources in BC

http://www.bcbereavementhelpline.com/

https://www.dougy.org/grief-resources/

http://hpc.providencehealthcare.org/resources/resources/grief-and-bereavement-resources

http://www.coastalpalliativecare.ca/services/hospice-care/

http://www.bccancer.bc.ca/our-services/services/library/recommended-websites/living-with-cancer-websites/palliative-care-hospice-websites

 

Online Grief Resources

https://complicatedgrief.columbia.edu/

http://modernloss.com/

http://www.mymichaelsplace.net/resources/online_grief_resources_/

https://whatsyourgrief.com/

http://www.griefincommon.com/

 

Grief Resources in the USA

https://bereavedparentsusa.org/

https://centering.org/    -(Grief Digest; A place to order and read articles or books on grief)

http://www.pomc.com/    -(National Organization for parents of murdered children)

https://afsp.org/find-support/ive-lost-someone/   -(American foundation for suicide prevention)

https://www.taps.org/join  -(Bereaved military family assistance)

https://www.nhpco.org/about/hospice-care

 

Worldwide Grief Retreats

http://www.returntozerohealingcenter.com/

http://www.chopra.com/articles/healing-after-loss-meditation-for-grieving#sm.000058t9ehehfewcvah1jna498371

https://www.awakenment-wellness.com/California-grief-and-loss.html

http://truelifewellbeing.com/grief-loss/

https://www.lossandfoundxo.com/retreats/

 

 

*If you know or would like to share a different grief retreat or resource please share in the comments and I will add. Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What kids teach us

*post revised to current date- originally written 2014

Dealing with My Grief

I was putting laundry away when I overheard my sons’ friend telling his other friend that ‘Hayden’s mom wanted a girl but it was born with half a heart and died but they had another baby and now they have Hope’.  Cute, sad; real.

Cute, that kids can be so open, honest and matter of fact. Something that adults could learn from kids. How they can speak so openly. While adults tip toe around the truth.

Sad: because at some point in their friendship my son told his friend about his sister that died.

Real; because that is the reality of our situation and kids don’t mask, hide or have weirdness talking about certain topics the way most adults do. The four boys were playing upstairs they saw a picture of lily and one friend asked about it, about who she was, why was it there (its in the corner…

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The never ending mountain

 

Grief; ultimately the hike of your lifetime, a steep decent into the muddy, dark mess that sticks to your boots pulling you into its sinking sludge. Sometimes a light stroll through the memories, a rainbow follows a storm and you appreciate the change. Out of nowhere a harsh incline appears as if out of nothing it feels as though you are not going anywhere but if you look back the reflection is faint. You have come further than you realise, one foot in front of the other, drag, pull, skip, jump but don’t stop. You must keep climbing. Moving forward into the hard fog for it will lift at the slighest moment to show you new beauty. The colors around you are constantly changing, the landscape never the same. New fears appear as past loss is accepted but that is the way we grow. We learn to accept, we challenge our normal, feel the hurt and keep climbing.

 

 

Sometimes the smallest things can seem like a huge hurdle to get over, take a breath, have a moment for yourself and start again.

19260578_687351841468605_8325419524230830153_n.png-1.jpg

 

Share your thoughts.

 

Thanks for reading

Namste

Sheri

The Angel on your head

 

Post revised to current date – originally written 2014

Dealing with My Grief

*edited Nov 18/17

Every November Canuck Place Childrens Hospice has a `Remember our Children` event. We attented a few years ago. They do a beautiful tribute, though it is a strenuously emotional day, the lead up, the actual event, the drive home. Our boys attented the sibling bereavement program at Canuck Place, twice a month for the first year after their sister died. We went to a few ‘remembering events’ in those first couple years. But they take a toll, as much as we, her parents needed to know she was remembered it was hard on our boys to understand the grief we felt. So for the first time in over a year we brought our boys then six and eight to this annual event, knowing it would likely be the last.  I have continued to attend  on my own not wanting my sadness to affect their thoughts and lives on…

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