I confuse myself.
I was watching a show with the teenager getting teased. I had already worked myself into a frenzy about that happening to Jennifer when she started kindergarten. I was so worried about not being there for her so many hours a day. What I wouldn’t give for that now. To be able to deal with her school troubles…and hurt feelings. I tell myself how I would appreciate it.
..I wouldn’t though.
I don’t for my other kids. I found myself later in the evening worrying about my boys getting teased in school. What their issues might be. Then I realized what a hypocrite that makes me.
The past summer. Right before she was diagnosed..I said and thought quite often that it was my perfect time. 4 kids home with me. 5,3,1 and a newborn. I would have frozen that time if I could have. I had no clue how it would be my last truly happy days.
I am starting to feel that way again…like this in some ways is second best. Tony home…and all 3 of my breathing babies here with me. I already think about Jonathan going to school. Waking up to take him…getting them all ready…breakfast rush. how much I will worry about him being gone. How much I will miss him…and wish this time back.
Will I be mad at myself for drowning in my sorrow? Wasting this time. Not appreciating it properly? Probably but I don’t know how I can force myself.
We had a lot of time with family this weekend. It was good times. I missed her terribly though…so often I watched for her. I had a longing for her… My tears always seem so close to the surface. My worry for Jonathan and Tony.. . if they are feeling the same makes it hard to wholly focus on having a conversation with anybody. We go though and we try.
I laugh and I make jokes. Tonight I even wrestled and danced.
I often wonder what I look like to others? Do I look how I feel or do I look the way I want the kids to see me? Do people read my words and then see me and doubt what I write?
…are they confused?
Before we got to my brothers yesterday I was crying in the car. And today (sunday) just minutes before we left I was in her room crying…my hands covering my mouth trying to stifle the sound…Jonathan had been with me, until Tony walked by and I reminded him that “he needed Jonathan” aka get him out of here. We were looking for one last thing and I opened her closet door. Her dresses.. hanging. Completely overwhelmed me.
We had gone through all the boys clothes…moving out the things they had outgrown and replacing them to see what they need for the next season/year. Going through Jonathan’s old clothes for Nicholas I had memories of her..
I wasn’t expecting that… . In particular his old Christmas jammies. He and Jennifer had matching ones…they loved to wear them at the same time. Twinso she called it. She would have loved to have seen Nicholas wear them now too.
The whole clothing thing started mid day Saturday. For awhile I had been so upset that we couldn’t find most of Jennifer’s old clothes. Especially while she was living. She loved going through the clothes we did have..she got such a kick out of seeing her sister in her old clothes and hearing stories about her in them. it made me sad that we didn’t have more. Luckily we had some very generous friends that handed down clothes for baby Charlotte.
These kinds of things make it easy to keep her memory alive. I can tell Nicholas about the jammies when he wears them…tell Charlotte about the dress she is wearing and a memory with Jennifer in it. Talk with Jonathan about when Jennifer graduated from preschool…. that’s pretty straightforward.
How will I do it though when they have all outgown their big sister?
.. how confusing is that sentence .. ?
So on Saturday Tony went to go look for them…and found the bags…0-3 months…3-6…all times that passed…time that she was still here…time lost forever. I was upset. ..Frankly I felt really frustrated by the whole thing. Tony struggled to handle it… knowing in truth he had let me down. Normally it would have just been a silly little thing. .. .I think though his guilt and my disappointment has been hard to shake.
.. no second chances… no do-overs…Its hard.
My friend took all the bags home with her. To organize for me. In part so I could immediately have clothes for Charlotte from Jennifer…and so I would have something to look forward to. In a year some 2t clothes and then 3t clothes for her from her sissy. Time to remember. .. to talk and share. Something to look forward to.
.. until they are all 6.3.. all (god willing) to have lived longer than her.
they grow up so fast.
. . .only if you are lucky.
Nursing baby Charlotte to sleep I thought about 30 yrs from now. Supposedly my Jennifer will still be gone (though somehow I think I don’t believe it) She would have been just a little older than me now. I guess I know I will survive. Though so changed. Altered. Forever living with that hole.. . with that unending silent sorrow.
Now its loud. Its in your face. Its upfront. Can’t be this way forever though. At some point we will swallow it down. I realized though as I nursed my youngest to sleep.. that the current will always be flowing inside of me.
The horror of losing her 5 weeks ago…the torment we are living with I think you can somewhat grasp and relate to. I think thats why others can so easily cry when I talk to them. When I say things stone faced. Because you can imagine being me…imagine this being your child. I remember reading stories like ours. I remember crying for those families…wondering how they do it? Knowing that I never could.
unimaginable…until it is anything but. Until it is.. .
reality. Confusing and disorientating.
I think the long term… the forever… is the piece of this only a bereaved parent can understand. What’s different is the consistency of life without her..without my child.. .for years upon years.
.. .despair. It will lay semi dormant in the pit of my stomach.
Do bereaved parents have a shorter life expectancy? I would think so…I would think it would slowly eat away at a person like…well…like cancer.
Jonathan clocked me yesterday. Hard. Full fist right to the face. He felt awful about it…and for awhile I let him. I heard his cries…his struggles from his room. Where he took himself. His guilt..his own punishment.
Nicholas went in there to get his clothes. I stayed at the door. He hollered for his brother to get out. For us all to leave him alone. I knew then it was time. I scooped him up. he struck out for me again… not in earnest this time though. We talked. I told him about hitting his pillow when the angries came and took over. He said it wouldn’t work. I showed him. I really showed him.
.. he witnessed my honest emotion…I hit the pillow and I voiced what made me mad.
I am mad.
That she is dead. That you are hurting. That daddy is sad. That I can’t fix it..
I am mad.
. .. . i witnessed his pure emotion then and his heartfelt understanding of mine. Not his anger though. His hurt. His confusion. His broken heart. He cried tears no 4yr old should ever have to cry.
Eyes open. tears falling.
yes mommy. yes I get mad like that. Yes mommy yes
After the storm passed over us we were connected. He wanted to stay in his room.. us together and play..to tell me secrets. We did, for a bit but couldn’t stay. That was Saturday morning.. just the start of our weekend.
But in that moment. That time together in his room. We got each other.
We were understood and understanding.
for each other and for our Jennifer.