Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Grief, Life, and Children.

As my previous post stated, my 2 year old nephew passed away last week in his sleep.  I sit here just over a week later, unable to sleep despite the Tylenol PM I took 3 hours ago.  I couldn't stop crying, and if I didn't do something, I was going to have a complete breakdown, and I just really wasn't feeling up to handling that implosion.  So I reached out and texted a friend.  She asked me what another friend had days earlier.  "Have you thought about writing about your feelings?  Just for yourself of course, but just to let them out?"

I'd thought about it, but hadn't been able to get my thoughts together to unload something coherent, and I couldn't decide if I should do it purely for myself, talk it all over with someone instead, or post it somewhere.  As usual, I was overthinking it (and was called out on that fact, thanks for that nudge).

I sat down (with a fresh box of tissues), and just typed away.  I don't really know how coherent it is, but whatever...it's my thoughts, extended beyond the confines of my head.  I decided to share it because I do have a message for other people that might read this blog post in it (somewhere).

Darling Billy was laid to rest yesterday.  He was incredibly loved, and there was a great deal of support for his parents and their families.  The entire experience was one of closure.

So why then can I still not sleep?  Why do I continue to cry?  I cry for the parents who've now lived the nightmare every parents dreads, and now face a house with a million reminders of their little boy that they got so little time with, as well as each other as living reminders.  I cry for the child who didn't get enough time to experience life and all it had to offer.  He loved lollipops, and now I can't help but think that even the ten he carried in his hand on his 2nd birthday were not enough.  I cry because I took his time and company for granted, and now I can never get that time back or even try to make up for it.  I cry because, as much as I hurt and the rest of the family hurts, it could just as easily have been someone else's baby, and I wouldn't wish this on anyone in the world.

I expected to start feeling better.  Be able to sleep, maybe even without medicinal help...be able to start getting back into my regular daily habits...get back to reading, not just things recommended by others because they're supposed to be lighthearted or might help me through this, but purely because I am interested...get back to my writing.  I began to do just that.  I was excited about a book I've been waiting months for.  And hell I even finished it in 24 hours.  Then the crash came.  I didn't have the distraction anymore.  In the quiet of the night is the worst.  I often hear phantom sounds of when he was here (he rocked himself to sleep and often knocked his crib against the wall).  And I can't shut my brain off, thinking of him, his parents, grandparents, even his 5 year old brother.  Not to mention, how dare I enjoy anything, when he no longer can?  When his parents still grieve so desperately?  I am literally excited or normal one minute, and tearing up or even bawling the next.

I don't know quite how to get through this.  I've known death plenty, and it sucks.  However, this is the first time it's ever been someone quite this close to my heart, and someone so impossibly young.  He was a beautiful boy and so vibrant.  He was truly a good kid that could just brighten your day, especially if he just gave you a happy little grin.  My husband once said during one of his breakdowns "he was such a good kid.  He could have at least been an asshole, but no, he was a really good kid."

The first time my husband and I babysat him (overnight even), it took both of us to change his first diaper.  It was pathetic and hilarious.  Even Billy endured it with this look on his face like "really?"  I texted my mother in law, who usually watched him on weekends, about a hundred times.  I asked about what to feed him because we didn't know what he liked, and when we should do this, and how do I know that, and just on and on.  She was patient, and easy going about it.

I have taken Nyquil, Tylenol PM, Hydracodone cough syrup, all in an effort to help me sleep, and still I only get a few hours sleep if I'm lucky.  Time is precious, and I guess every now and then, Fate or God or WHOEVER, decides to remind us of that, sometimes in the worst of ways.

I search for the one food, or drink, or thing, or even person that will be comforting enough to help me through this, but the bottom line is it just sucks.  There's nothing anyone can say or do, and there's nothing on Earth that is going to make it all better.

It's a God awful experience, and I really wish I never knew it personally, but you can't turn back time.  All I can say is that to anyone who has children, has nieces/nephews, or has friends with children, keep the following in mind: be grateful.  Children are scary, because they're little people, and their lives are in others' hands.  I was afraid of kids, but in asking questions, and following examples set before me by the child's parent or grandparent, I got more comfy with them, and I imagine I will one day with my own kids too.  So if you're that way, just be brave and spend time with kids.  And cherish every single second you get, because you just never know.

When I told a good friend friend what had happened the day we found out, she rushed home and spent the rest of the day with her 18 month old baby girl, probably just watching her play and thanking God for every glorious sound she made.  She held my hand, and let me cry on her shoulder both in private and at the funeral.  Another good friend of mine offered to stay up with me that night to talk, cry, vent or anything I needed, even if it was just a text in the middle of the night.  She recently made a post on her own blog, detailing some of the past week and I know she cried for me, and for her own children that she was so thankful for.  The majority of my family lives only an hour away from me, and I was able to visit with them the day after, and they all let me bawl all over them, hugged me like I was fragile and only they could keep me in one piece, and some even cried right along with me.  Hell, I was about 10 seconds away from crawling in my uncle's lap and curling up to just be rocked and held like a child myself.

I don't think I can ever adequately express how much everything in the above paragraph touched me, how much I appreciated it all, and just how much it meant.  Oh and I've been extra mushy and they've all taken that in stride too...

Sometimes I wonder if my inability to go anywhere near the casket is what's keeping me in this state. I would look up during the viewing and funeral and everything and see pictures.  I'd cry.  That's ok though.  It was the looking up and see the top of his little blond head, even from my seat halfway into the room (impressive considering how I handle funerals) that made me a flight risk.  There are pictures of him in the casket, surrounded by pictures of his loving family, some of which he never even got to meet.  One day I'll need to see those pictures, but by God that's not today.  No, I don't think that's it.  Once again it comes down to shit happens and, short of bringing him back to life, nothing's going to make it better.

Now I'm off once again to try to settle my tummy after having been all worked up, and to try to get some sleep.


  1. Don't beat yourself up about staying back from the coffin. You have your memories of Billy, and that's how it should be. You want to forever remember that silly smile and energy and the life he had... and had you seen his sweet face that day it would have been forever burned in your memory. I know that it's hard - and it will take a while to feel better about any of this. It will always hurt, it will just get a little eaiser to move forward. And you have me, any time you need me. Any tears you need to cry, anything you need to talk about. Try your best to cherish those wonderful, silly memories. Billy's death is truely a tradgedy. I love you hon - chin up, and try your best to move forward, but don't be ashamed if you need to take more time to greave.

  2. Thank you for sharing your grief, Buffy. Death affects all of us differently. I lost my younger sister a number of years ago and I remember that I felt I had to stay strong for my parents and my other little sister. I maintained that during the funeral planning and the funeral, even gave her eulogy, but then when leaving I saw that the casket was about to be closed I freaked out. I couldn't stand the thought that she'd be in that box in the dark all alone. But the grief is healing; the pain will not disappear but it will get easier. You are in my thoughts...