Much of this grief journey has come with much soul searching and eye opening on so many levels. In some ways it was not only like loosing our son but also like loosing the life as we knew it for we could no longer walk around with blinders on and just find ourselves short with what we can actually give of ourselves. The giving part is hard for both Hugh and I because both of us have always been the giving ones in many relationships we carried, just to make them work and a hope for some sort of acceptance in our lives.
Tuesday at Hugh's counseling session his counselor told him that oddly enough the two of us are very similar but just handle it differently. This has been running through my mind ever since she has said that and I have to agree with her. Both of us are the ones who sacrifice ourselves to make relationships with others work just so that we find some sort of acceptance. I was always the understanding one in my family who would do whatever was needed to make a situation work when others would just walk away or get frustrated. Often times I found myself the mediator or the one who would understnad dispite if I was hurt or not.
Where frienships were concerned, if I did not keep them going they ended. To be honest I have never had a true best friend in my life dispite the fact that I always thought I did in my own mind. A good part of me is jealous of those who have those sorts of relationships I have struggled my whole life to just find. In all of my travels through this process, I have become closer with my younger sister and found one friend in a very odd place. My ex husbands ex girlfriend has become a true friend to me and even though she has many medical issues she has always made the effort to email and has actually taken me out to lunch once or twice. Also, my one aunt and cousin have really taken initiatives on their own to try and help without us having to ask for it by making a meal or stopping by with balloons or something, a gift that is truly priceless since this is what we truly need.
Hugh was always the go between both sides of the family, sort of the odd man out/middle man seeking approval and love from both sides. He would invite himself to things or his siblings homes just looking for their love and acceptance in some way even if he had to force the relationship. Each set of siblings had one another and on many occasions his mother forced him to feel as if it was his responsibility to keep the family together. On numerous occasions she has told me this too. With his father dying things have been even harder for him as there seems to be even more of a dividing line. His father was no saint and not a good man and he knows that but he was his only father and still grieves that loss when it seems as if others are happy he is gone, which leaves mixed feelings.
He does however have a few friends that have been there for him since both passed and I am so grateful for that. They have called and asked him to come over or stopped by just to see how he was, and now call him on a more regular basis than before. I remember the day after George died, waking up in our house together alone, knowing the day that was ahead of us was going to be long. I thought of him and how my family was there and would stop by but knew he would not have anyone just for himself. While he was in the shower I got on the phone and started to call people grasping at straws asking them to come be there for him that day. It was such a horrible feeling to have to do that for him. When we went to the funeral home to see our son for the very last time, my two sisters went with me and we had to actually ask a friend from the chorus that we met in to go with Hugh to be there for him since he was at my mother's house at the time. My heart broke for my husband that day knowing how very alone he felt but there being nothing I could do to make it better. Yesterday I started a photo montage and realized I don't have any with George and Hugh's siblings...it was very hard for the two of us to realize that as we searched through the hundreds of pictures I took of George.
I think in some regards that the reason we have gotten closer through all of this is because all we have is one another on many levels. In all of this we have acknowledged that most of the relationships that we hold are not easy to keep and often times we have to put in so much effort to make them work, they tend to be one sided. It is not that the people don't care for us, we know many people are there and think of us often but to be honest we can say there are very few who would go out of their way to drop it all and be there without us having to ask for it. Often times we don't know or even realize we need someone in our lives. Much of these realizations have made us finally realize it is not our responsibility anymore to forge these relationships. We are not going to force relationships with others that will require more than we have to give anymore and we are not going to feel guilty for it or feel as if it is our responsibility. People know where we live, what our phone number is, and what our email address happens to be.
We will be here for one another and our children and devoting ourselves to that rather than the hope of acceptance of others. This will be a hard task for us both since we are so used to living our lives in a manner quite opposite of that. I am of course more vocal about how I feel when push comes to shove. Hugh on the other hand tries to accept it but the pain in his eyes is so very apparent even when he is at his braking point. It is not that we won't keep these relationships, I think we have just realized we cannot hope for them to be more than they really are because it is unfair to us and of us. We will never be the people with tons of people around them, we will be those in the shadows holding on to one another and our faith to get through this and life in general. Our little boy taught us many things while he was here and still now that he is gone. Even though some of these lessons are hard, they are what we need.
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!