I, from the bottom of my heart, feel like I need to really be honest, especially if I expect to have a successful blog. So, here it is, the truth. This is a behind the scene look at parent who has lost a child. I hope I don’t hurt anyone’s feelings by posting this, but I have to be true to my message, blog, and myself. Let me start by saying I understand we’re all busy, but I’ve learned if something means anything to you, you’ll make time for it. I didn’t reach out because of the agony I was in. Sometimes you can want to reach out so bad, but this cloud of dread inside of you won’t allow you to. I was in a cloud of anxiety and deep depression. I couldn’t reach out and I wish someone else had.
Two and a half years ago I lost my son, Callan, to congestive heart failure. Anyone who knows me knows this fact, but what you don’t know is the behind the scenes exclusive I’m about to give you. I’m going to give you the deep inside look into a grieving mom’s heart, and then I’m going to ask you some very tough questions. These questions aren’t to drive you away, but to make you think and reevaluate some things. I really kind of wanted to do a video for this, but I convey deeper meaning through the written word than my voice, so let me start.
It’s been two and a half years since I last held my first child. The last time I saw my child he was cold and in a box. He had makeup on to make him look like an angel. I remember this day. I remember the tears. I remember the everything before the service. I also remember the ungodly amount of people who were there. I remember the outpour of support in which I’ll forever be grateful, and this post is NOT meant to diminish the real love I felt during this time, but rather something to make you think that this time isn’t the only time someone dealing with loss needs support. I remember the love and I also remember I was in clear shock for about nine months after this. I remember everything being fuzzy and not feeling anything but tears coming from my eyes. I remember being pregnant and dealing with two hospital trips because I almost lost my rainbow due to stress. I remember burying my first child while I was carrying my second. I also remember the promises everyone told me. I remember people said they’d be there for me. I remember about thirty friend requests from people I barely knew. I remember flowers, food, and promises, but the promises and food faded away. The flowers wilted and died. Then I was left alone. I was left to emotionally fend for myself. My demons didn’t attack me full on while I was in shock because my mind protected itself by sleeping for twenty hours a day. For nine months, I was held in a cocoon of protection, and then I got a teaching job.
The second behind the scene look is after the shock wears off. I got my first real contracted teaching position and was so grateful. Then I tunneled out of the protective cocoon into the real world again. My memory was so bad I would forget what I was saying when I was saying it. Imagine never to be able to really get your point across because you’re battling your mind and tongue. I had such a bad time at my job and was made to feel so horrible I nearly committed suicide. I realized the pain I was skipping out on with the shock and sleep protection cocktail and couldn’t deal with the ridicule and the isolation. By this point I’d noticed people had stopped crowding around me as much. I had a new born baby and I’m pretty sure along with deep depression, I was probably suffering from post-partum depression. I realized months later I had the symptoms of PTSD, but never was diagnosed. I remember one day telling my husband I had to quit my job because of how it made me feel. I remember I almost made him drive me to a mental hospital and commit me so I could get the help I needed. The shock wearing off is so much more painful than the initial months. I needed the support then. I didn’t ask for help, but nobody checked up on me either. Nobody asked how I was doing much like now. Nobody brings Callan’s name up or keeps his memory alive. Nobody really seems to take my blog or my posts about grief seriously. I’m wondering why all my friends call me a friend when they literally know so little about me. Everyone left. I had my best friends until recently. Now I feel like, aside from the people who share my blood or share a kid, I’m alone. I’ve come to understand that the time for food, flowers, and promises for a shoulder isn’t when it first happens, but it’s down the road when people drop like flies.
People say I’m so strong, but turn their heads when they see I’m about to break. I realize we’re all adults, and we’re all busy, and everyone has a valid excuse for not being there, but the reality is this; if you love something you make time for it. Nobody seems to do that for the grief stricken. We sit alone, cry alone, and pray alone. I realize people are scared of me because of the real possibilities I bring to light. I’m the boogey man in the corner of people’s mind. I just wish people knew I didn’t grow an extra head. I’m still me, just sadder and angrier.
This post isn’t to publicly criticize any of the people who know me or who showed support once upon a time ago, but to bring to light the real problem people dealing with grief go through every day. Loneliness. If my husband and child weren’t there to stop me a year and a half ago, you might have been attending my funeral. If you had, would you have regretted anything? What would you change? I hope this post makes EVERYONE realize what real agony the grief stricken go through. I’m much better now, so don’t worry about me now. I just want you to really really look at this as a learning opportunity. If you call yourself a friend to someone who is grieving, reach out more than just once, and later on in the journey as well. Reach out to someone three months, seven months, a year, and even ten years out. I assure you asking if they are ok will mean more to them than you could ever know. You might have saved their lives.
And by the way, I love you all and thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there at the beginning. Just know it’s not only the beginning that we need people there for.