Well it is almost 4am and I am wide awake. I've been awake since a little before 3am after being woken by Hugh's heavy footed walk on the floor above. That sound is the very sound that I heard the morning that George died followed by panic voice yelling his name and screaming for me. Now just the sound of him walking on the floor above or his raised voice will randomly send me into a panic attack.
I don't know if you have ever experienced one but until that day he found George, I had not had one myself. They are just horrible and torturous. The terrible memories come flooding back all at once and you are left with your mind running in all directions but the logical part of you is trying to calm you down. Often it feels like someone is sitting on your chest and it is hard to breath. So many mom's and dad's who lost their children like this go through this on a regular basis even years later. I think it is also exacerbated for me because I do know there is something else wrong with the boys and I am already living that nightmare and fear it will happen again dispite any logic I may have. There is no logic where this is concerned.
Hugh and I have been under so much stress lately. Unforeseen obstacles keep arising and we are somehow expected to fix it all. People want to help but don't know how so they impart wisdom of some sort but neither one of us has it in us to process it or even do the leg work that goes with it. Yes it is easy to say call this place and ask this question but it is a whole other ball game to do it. Often times it requires us reliving that horrible day and all those terrible moments over and over again for yet another person's need not our own and causes so much unneeded pain and grief. We relive them over and over again on our own, it is just torture to be asked to do it when we are having a good moment just to explain out sad situation to some stranger on the phone or who does not know us.
Right now I feel sometimes it is as if we are just breathing and functioning. What little left we have is given to the kids and is used to keep our small family together and functioning. I know we have done so much grief work in such a short amount of time but the fact that this is an enormous job and we have only touched on the surface is just so very overwhelming. At some point you want to know there is an end in sight to all the pain and suffering. Sadly that day will only be the day we are able to hold our little boy again. It is not like being in labor that you know there will be a wonderful outcome and that eventually the terrible pain will end. It is instead rather torturous as you try to find a way to live with the horrible memories and still try to live life in a new way since all the dreams you had were just shattered forever.
All of this is just the grief part of loosing a child not to mention all the other stuff we have had piled on our plates in the last few weeks. There really is only so much that faith and logic can do for you. Some part of you is human and just wants to collapse under the weight of this sort of tragedy alone but add the other things and it seems nearly impossible. Often times I think of my grandparents who raised 10 kids and had no money and eventually became alcoholics. I never understood it before but truly can see why they turned to alcohol. Hugh and I are very careful to never allow this demons into our lives but it is so easy to see how so many scum to these sorts of things during moments of feeling truly helpless and overwhelming life obstacles. It would be so much easier to drown yourself in the addiction rather then feel this constant horrible pain you cannot get rid of and have to learn to live with.
Often times I think that is why I always have avoided medications for sleep/depression/anxiety. They don't fix the problem and can actually bring a whole set of problems themselves added to the ones you already have. It is only a temporary fix to a lifelong problem. We don't have an actual chemical imbalance, our son died and won't be coming back. It isn't like he went to college or grew up, he is dead and it is permanent so that means a part of us forever will be missing. I talked to Richard's guidance counselor the other day and he said that to this day he still has trouble with the pain he feels over the loss of his brother years ago and so do his parents. He said he still calls or visits his parents on his brother's earthly birthday and heavenly birthday.
Many times you feel like you are just a shell of a person walking around on Earth trying to function and do what is expected of you. You put on that happy face for all those around you because you hate the looks of pity or just don't want to have to go into detail as to why you are sad. This becomes second nature and often times you don't even realize you are doing it. People around you mean well and want to ease your pain in any way and hate to see you hurt so you learn how to make it better for them, why should there be two of you suffering right? You just get so tired of the well intentioned but misguided comments or suggestions that you find a way around them but just making it look like you are ok.
When people ask how you are doing you say fine or as best as can be expected as in your mind you are screaming "how do you think I feel my son is dead? How would you feel if it was you?" Logically you battle to tell yourself that they mean well. Eventually I think you find ways to isolate yourself and surround yourself with only those who you know really do understand and accept how truly bad it is for you. Those are the people you don't have to say anything to but if you want to you can without fear of prejudice or having to explain yourself. Often times you don't really want to talk but rather just be in someone's presence or not and either way is ok with these individuals. Even if they have not experienced the same loss they somehow are able to be there for you in a capacity that does not require more of you than you have to give and they allow you to be the new person you have become as you seek out a way to makes sense of it all and find a way to live this new life.
I find these people are very few because not passing judgment and realizing that this is normal and isn't about the other person but rather our pain is hard to come by. We are not expected to give back to this person by listening to their tale of woe and their pain but should we feel able than that person knows when the right time is. Often times I have been that person for everyone else but now that it is me in the situation I find that this is a gift not everyone has. This is actually rare to find. These diamonds in the rough are the ones who actually help ease your burden and you feel as if they are helping you to carry the pain/suffering rather than adding to it.
I find this is true not only for Hugh and I but also for Richard and more than likely will be that way for Josh, Michael,and Gabrielle as they all grow up without their brother. Richard and I have discussed this over and over again so I can say for sure it is true for him. The younger children will carry a very different pain in their lives and often won't know why they feel that way when they don't remember him or didn't even get to know him. I think this is also why Hugh and I have had to distance ourselves from others who just require more of us than we have to give because we know we need to be here for ourselves in order to be able to be there for the kids. We deal with not only our grief but watching our children carry this pain that we cannot fix for them and often times they don't understand. We don't understand so I cannot even begin to imagine where they are in all of this. We just pray that God guides us and helps us to be there for them every day in a way that will be beneficial to them.
Sometimes I envy those who are not logical. They seem to be able to just be completely emotional without the worry of what others till think or say to them. Somehow they feel no guilt for not having it together. Hugh and I unfortunately aren't those people. Somehow we have to find a way to do this in small increments so that we don't loose it and can be who we are meant to be. We had gone to a group mtg at a church a few weeks ago and the gentleman said that we are not meant to handle it all at one time and the times that we try to are the times that we back track in our grief. This pain is too immense to carry and burden all at one time so it is often times while people will repeat parts of the grief process over and over again. Just when you feel like you have it together wham you are hit again and often times feel as if you just went back a million times over. I think it feels like tsunami at times just coming from nowhere and taking over every part of your being.
I have watched many people die and witnessed those around them. I have even lost those I was extremely close with but nothing compares to this. Often times I feel that is why it is so hard for me to cope at times. Death was so very part of life to me for all those prior to George's loss. Somehow I could rationalize their death and understood it. With George however I am left with more questions than answers which happens to leave huge gaps in this process that somehow need to be filled with some sort of acceptance or faith and I just don't know how to do that right now. There is just a lot I don't know how to do and feel helpless when it comes to handling it all which I am sure leads to the panic and anxiety that I often feel comes from no where. Please keep us in your prayers as always.
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!