It has been 6 months since my little boy went to heaven. I cannot tell you how hard the past two days were for me. Wednesday was just torturous since all I could think of was that 6 months before he was sitting on my lap playing with me. Yesterday was just horrible as I relived the nightmarish moments that transpired 6 months before. Until you actually live this sort of thing yourself you cannot fathom that it brings with it...I know I could never even wrap my head around the thought of any of this.
My cousin Ashley stopped over with a heart shaped balloon for each of us to let go and send to our little monkey in heaven. I cannot tell you what that meant to me that someone cared enough to stop by and show that they cared in that manner and knew how truly hard the day was for us. Several times I had to actually walk out of the room as tears were just not able to be kept at bay. We all wrote on them and let them go. As she left I hugged her and the two of us stood in my kitchen embracing as tears just could no longer be held back and just rolled down my face.
I think that one of the hardest parts of the whole thing is that it has truly changed most of my personal relationships. Even those who I thought would understand and just be supportive just aren't or can't see past themselves and this goes for those who are not only close to me but also to Hugh. People talk behind our backs and hearing it repeated or just knowing that they are talking about you just makes this whole thing even worse. It is truly a shame that it has to be like this. However, I have found that we are not alone in this at all. Most parents who have lost a child get much drama, especially from people that they thought were close family and friends. I find it easy how others who have never walked the path yet proclaim to "get it" pass judgment and just don't have a clue nor do they realize that their comments hurt and make it even more difficult.
Until you have watched your child die do not pass judgment on someone else. If you have never signed paperwork to have their bodies burned or buried don't tell me to get over it or that I should be doing this differently. No I will not be the same and no it can never go back to "normal" NEVER EVER!!! Nothing will fix this, not a new baby or a specific date on the calendar. Think about how you would feel if you were the one who lost your child and multiply the feeling by a million and you still won't come close to even imagining what this is truly like. If you can't say anything appropriate then don't say anything and please stop talking about us behind our backs as if we don't have a clue you are doing it. Maybe it is not us who need the counseling, maybe you do?! Different doesn't always mean bad.
I also find that others just avoid you all together and it is like you have cooties. They don't want to upset you or make it difficult but they just don't understand it will always be difficult. If I can't predict the easy or hard things, I don't expect anyone else to be able to and that is all right. If I cry that is ok, if I am upset I am going to be ok, my son died, not me. All of these situations just make a parent feel so very lost when it comes to the death of their child. We were once in your shoes so we know the many feelings that come with watching a friend or family member loose a child and how hard it was for us to want to say the right thing or not hurt the person.
Please don't avoid us, we need you. We are not going to come out and say that because we know it can be difficult and some people just can't handle the situation and we respect that. Just to breath and wake up in the morning hurts so know we understand that moments will come when the pain is there it never goes away(It is more like a throbbing pain where sometimes it is intense and other times it is dull). In some way the pain lets us know that he was real and tears don't always mean sadness. Your child does not make me sad and you have not hurt me by them being around. I am sad for my own loss but happy for you because I know how precious children truly are, even more than before. If you don't know what to say just tell us that, we can handle that and are ok with that.
I don't know when the time came but it did. I realized that I have limits and have to focus my energy on those who deserve it and need it the most, my husband and children, and myself. I cannot fix this for anyone else and don't have the energy to help anyone else get through this besides myself and my family. On many occasions they have been put aside for other friends and family who always seemed to require so much of me. Being the unselfish person that I am, I would always put others first and in many instances it was not fair to my family. Since George died I realized what relationships I have that are healthy and what ones were not. I have no intention to change anyone but if it is a relationship that requires more then I have to give it is only fair to that person and myself to limit or just end the relationship all together. There is nothing wrong with putting myself or my family first and I will not feel guilty for that. I am done feeling guilty and responsible for other people's happiness. They have to do that for themselves.
It is a shame that I have ended friendships and had to limit others in my life. Loosing a child makes you realize what you can and can't do. You learn quick what is important and that spreading yourself thin does not serve you or anyone else well. Having expectations for others only sets them up to fail you and that is not fair to them or you. I wish our society handled this better and we were equip to do so, it would make things so much easier. This is not directed at any one person(although I am sure someone will miss read this and get angry because of my honesty. I refuse to be anything but honest about my experiences or feelings.) but rather a glimpse as to what a family who has lost a child actually deals with and maybe a little insight to those who may come across this situation later in life or may be dealing with it right now. I have found it a common thread among parents and families who have lost a child in their lives and wanted to share since these things are what make the situation worse and it to be the loneliest feeling in the world.
Never could I have fathomed this to ever be my life or how it would be if I did loose my child. There are no rules to this. My best suggestions that I can give if you are finding yourself handling a situation like ours or watching someone going through this are simple. Don't give a time-line...it is a lifetime issue. Don't avoid the person. They need you more months later sometimes more than when the loss just happens. Drop off meals randomly without expectation of the person to entertain but allow it if they are ok with it. Do things for them without having to be asked for they won't do that...sometimes they don't know what they need. Respect their feelings and take their lead but don't expect them to carry a conversation or relationship or it will become awkward or strained. If you are uncomfortable that is ok and sometimes just a note saying you are thinking of them helps. Do not talk about them or judge them...that is God's place, he knows their hearts and their pain in a way you don't. Words create their own wounds and cut deep into the heart and remain there so think about what you say before you say it! Gossip is even more painful than direct remarks and although the person may not be there, they are not stupid.
If you are walking the path give yourself time and know it is ok to say no and not do things you are not capable of even if others don't understand it or agree with it. People mean well but have no idea how to truly handle it so a bit of understand will make things more helpful. This is your loss and it is ok to not feel like you have to make it ok for everyone else. If it is too hard then it is ok to say you can't do it. You don't have to feel guilty for your feelings and it is ok to not associate or limit time with those who don't understand it for your own mental health, you already have a lot on your plate. It is ok to be mad or sad. Don't hold expectations for others because you are going to let yourself down. Every single day is going to be hard, find strength in whatever it is that brings peace to you. For me that is faith but I know that is not for everyone and that is ok too. Find comfort in those who do understand even if it is only one person or even just God himself.
Six months has changed so much in my life and for me it has been an eye opening experience. I have learned that I don't NEED anyone in my life nor am I dependent on anyone but myself and God. I don't need approval from others, or permission, or have to make it ok for someone else. It is ok to have limits and know where they are even though others may not understand and to not feel guilty about my feelings or limits. My little monkey has changed many lives, especially mine. I find it amazing how things can change in such a short amount of time some for the good and some for the bad. Every day I pull from my faith and rely on God to get me through the moments I don't understand the situation, other people, or even myself. I am only responsible for myself and my children(only right now since they are not old enough to make decisions or understand and make choices for themselves) at this stage in my life. I can't choose happiness or understanding for my husband, parents, siblings, friends, or other acquaintances. God surely has his hands full with free will!
Please be with me every day walking this path. Help me to trust you and do your will for me. I know it is not my will but yours. Please carry me when I can no longer walk another step. Please talk to the hearts of those who do not understand. Walk with those who have suffered this loss and will suffer this loss in the future and those you have left here to support them through the difficult time. Everything happens for a reason and I put my faith in you and your will for my life. May you show through all my actions so that others may know your love and understanding that can come from no one else.
Please hold my little boy in your arms and let him know how much I miss him. Tell him about his big brothers, the new baby, and his daddy and I. Let him know how much we love him and that we would have given our lives for his if it was possible. When our arms ache to hold him please fill them with your everlasting embrace so we may know we are not alone. When we do not understand please bring our heavy hearts peace. Be with those who we just cannot be there for right now. Allow us the ability go help our children find peace and comfort in your decision to have their brother come home to you at such a young age. Please be with them when we cannot be and let them know you are there in their times of suffering. Please give my little monkey a kiss for me every morning and sing him a lullaby at night like I used to.
Thank you for your love, Grace, and Mercy, but most of all your son Jesus Christ. If it was not for your sacrifice, I would have no hope to see my son again and this would be even harder than it already is. It is your hope and love that gives me the strength to live every day. May I be an instrument in your symphony.
In Jesus' Name,
George's Guardian's of Grace Projects
Stocking project is now in full force collecting donations. We have a list of the items we can use. You can also choose to sponsor a stocking in memory or honor of someone else. We will include a paragraph or two in the cards we place in the stockings to let the recipient know about the person that means so much to you. Our paypal account is posted on this page and ready to take donations. Email us for a list of items needed or with any questions or information you would like included on a sponsored stocking/donation.
Video Tributes/Celebration of Life Footage
Here is a link to a video tribute that was made by Richard's dad in memory of George. Get out your tissues!
We Finally have footage from the service up and running:
It is in 4 sections running about 17 mins each. If you were unable to attend, you can now see what you missed. We were so blessed to have everyone there with us in person and in spirit!