February 8, 2018…Playing pretend

Well it has been quite some time since I have last posted and I really don’t know why I am posting now…maybe someone, somewhere needs to hear what I am about to say. Honestly I didn’t really know what else to say anymore. Seriously, what else is there to say besides I miss you…I want you back…life is so unfair…we didn’t have long enough…all those things, that are so very obvious, is all I could think of saying. I figured people didn’t really want to hear those things anymore, because for them life goes on, but for a parent that has lost a piece of their heart…life will never be the same. You become stuck in a reality you never dreamed you would be in and yet still have to try to live a normal life and deal with people (even people closest to you) that just don’t understand. Life becomes a very delicate balance. I have changed and I am not the same person I used to be. I will admit I was very bitter and very angry (still am sometimes, truth be told), but I have learned to come to terms with the hand I have been dealt in life…the hand that has you living in Heaven now. How could I not learn to live life the way you did, after everything you had to endure. I am learning to survive despite the sadness and broken pieces of my heart. Here we are 3 years and almost 2 months later and even though I still feel and think all of those things every single day…they are not the only things I think about anymore. I am now able to think of you and all of our memories and smile a genuine smile. I am able to walk in your room and feel happiness instead of profound sadness. I am able to look at your things and remember the good memories instead of how life ripped you away from me. I am able to talk about you to people and not have to hold back tears. I truly feel blessed to have had you in my life for 12 years. My life is beautiful because of you…and your sister and brothers too. I am learning to live with a broken heart and I am learning that is ok not to be ok.

Some days are really good days and some days are really really bad days…and then there are days I play pretend. Some days I meet people who didn’t know you and don’t have a clue about our life story…and honestly I love those days. Those are some of my favorite days. For a little while I get to say we have 5 children and I don’t have to explain that only 4 of them live in our house now. I get to say our oldest is 15 years old (by the way that doesn’t sound right because no way am I old enough to have a 15 year old…I’m way too young for that) and our youngest is 1-1/2 years old. I get to talk about you like you are still physically here with us. I get to pretend we have the life I always imagined we would have. The life I wanted for you…for me…for us. One of the hardest things for me was answering those “types” of questions. Filing taxes and have to take you off because you can’t claim a child that lives in Heaven. Going to the doctor and being asked how many time I have been pregnant and how many kiddos I have…and admitting that number isn’t the same anymore. Listening to Ellie talk about her “sissy” and people asking where you were and she so innocently answers “she lives in Heaven now but she still comes play with me”. You see most people think that death is the worst part of someone dying, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The hardest is all the things that come after that..in the days, weeks, months and years after that. I am truly not sad you live in Heaven because I know Heaven is so much more than this Earth could ever be and Heaven is our home. You just happened to get there before me. The other stuff is what makes me sad and a lot of people don’t understand that because until you are in my shoes it is hard to explain, but once you are in my shoes no explanation is needed. I want you in Heaven…I want all of my children in Heaven one day. If nothing else comes out of this life for me but my children making it to Heaven, then I have fulfilled my purpose. I have achieved the greatest accomplishment in life…teaching my children about God/Jesus and helping them on their journey to our eternal home in Heaven. However, there are still many many times I still selfishly want you here with me, like pretty much everyday if I am being honest. Sounds contradictory because it seems like I want two things that are not the same but I want them at the same time…I want you in Heaven, even now, because that is where you belong, but I also want you here with me because that is where you belong. Believe me I know how crazy I sound!

There are so many things about you and your final days that are so hard to erase from my memory. At times, I wish we knew you were preparing to go to Heaven because I think I might have done things differently, then there are other times I am so grateful we didn’t know because I wasn’t anxious about anything…I simply went through our normal routines as we would have any other day. I am so thankful part of our daily routines included me telling you a million times how much I loved you, tucking you in at night, talking to you even when you were sleeping just in case you were pretending to sleep because you didn’t want to be bothered, praying over you at random times during the day, singing your favorite songs to you, watching you sleep, holding your hand as you slept…all the little things to make you feel my love for you. I don’t talk much about the exact moment you went to Heaven because honestly that is still so very raw for me. As much as your doctors talked to me about the reality of you not surviving the cancer I never gave in to those thoughts. I didn’t allow my mind to go there. Looking back I know there is no way I could have prepared myself for that moment…whether I knew it was going to happen or not. I would like to say I was calm and peaceful when you went to Heaven but that is not the case. I panicked, I yelled at Daddy sleeping the in other bed in your hospital room to go get the nurses as I frantically told you to start breathing and not to leave me, I cried, I called Dr.Bob and told him you had just stopped breathing and you were gone,  I was bent over the trash can at the foot of your bed trying to stop myself from throwing up as the nurses and doctors were giving you medicine in your IV to try to bring you back, I screamed at the nurses to save you even though they told me I signed a DNR, I screamed at them and told them I changed my mind and I wanted them to try anything they could…I knew what was happening and I knew you weren’t coming back no matter what they did. I think God somehow gave me that realization because for the first time since you were diagnosed I had no hope and that is why I was panicking. I just knew you were gone. I could feel it in my core…I knew at that moment you were already in Heaven. I was not strong or brave in that moment…I felt so helpless and scared. I wanted to go with you. In the moments that followed we got to hold you without all the tubes and monitors on. I got to lay beside you, kiss your face, hold your hand and soak in your smell. I told Mrs. Val (one of your nurses) that I wanted to bathe you and put some fresh clothes on you. She was so compassionate and helped me do the things I wanted to do but couldn’t. Dr. Bob arrived only minutes after I called him and stayed with us until we packed up your things and left the hospital. Angela also came as soon as Dr. Bob called her (because I needed her there) and helped me tell you goodbye. They helped us pack up the hospital room, your Christmas tree, all the decorations, your things…the material things that were left behind. I have never felt as lonely as I did walking down the hallways of that hospital pushing your empty wheelchair. I was surrounded by people that loved you and me…and literally felt lost and alone like I was the only one there. People don’t realize how hard it is to erase those moments from your memory. I can understand why people stay stuck in grief and do things they never would have done before. If I allowed myself to think on those moments I would never get out of bed…it’s crippling and is the most unimaginable pain I have ever felt in my life. You literally feel your heart breaking and there is nothing you can do to stop it.

I am so thankful I didn’t stay stuck in those moments. I am grateful I have learned how to deal with grief in a way that works for me. I know it is there and I still feel it everyday but I am learning to live with it. This grief thing is a lot of work and so very complicated…but not impossible. Your physical absence is hard Bay, but I still feel you with me. I know you are there watching over me and sending me signs. That the thing, if people would really stop and watch…signs are all around us. You just have to be open to seeing them. Ellie still talks to you and plays with you as if you never left. At first, I was extremely jealous because I wanted you to still be that real to me. Then I realized I could still have you with me every single day but just in different ways. I still talk out loud to you when there is something I want to tell you. I still mention how much you loved or would love something to anyone around me. I still go to the graveyard pretty much every single day because that is where we laid your Earthly body to rest and I feel close to you there. I still smell your things and can imagine you right there beside me. I still listen to your voicemail’s so I can hear your sweet little voice. You are still very much here even when I am not playing pretend. I am thankful for all the things I learned from you in your 12 years on Earth. I know I was supposed to teach you what life was all about but you taught me so much more. You were my first love and I will always love you with every ounce of me…whether you are on Earth or in Heaven. I cannot wait for the day we are together again. I know you can see us but I long to see you again. Until then you will forever be my missing piece….