We have been so busy with moving and remodeling that it seems as if I have not had time to sit down and even breath let alone think of George. Often times I wish that it really was the case because the pain just never stops. The loss of a child is such a unique beast and what you think you would do prior to loosing a child is thrown out the window the minute you do. There is no rhyme or reason to any of it and the pain never goes away like so many people promise or say it will no matter how much you pray it does. I still think of him daily and my heart still aches for him as it did the day he died, it is just a different ache that has matured with time and the sad reality that my life must go on without him in it.
I went to lunch the other day with a friend of mine and for the first time I sat down with someone face to face and told them how I really felt the days following his death. We talked about the odd place you find yourself in and how often times you are the one having to figure it all out for other people too. So many people are used to depending on me in these types of situations that when I needed it the most I felt so very abandoned. I watched as other people lost loved ones and how so many people came to their aide and felt as if Hugh and I were kind of left on our own, especially after the dust settled. For everyone else it was as if once the first few waves of shock were over, it was over for them.
There were certain people who were here for us and I thank God for them every single day because I think without them we would both be a mess right now. Certain people walked out of their comfort zone and have reached out to us not even knowing our pain directly but have been able to partially imagine what it would be like for them if they lost their child and what they would want done for themselves and for those individuals, I cannot thank God enough because it really means the world to us and helps us to cope every single day as we deal with that huge void in our family. For the gross majority though, our son's death is over for them and their worlds have gone on spinning as if nothing has changed, and for them it hasn't. Part of me would be lying if I said I was not jealous for the naive lives they now lead and yearn for my own piece of that like I had before my life was forever changed.
Following his death we were in so much shock and the immediate pain is like being in a car accident and being placed in the ICU on all sorts of life supporting equipment and being paralyzed. The road ahead is long and you will just never be the same even though the pain you feel will eventually change, it never goes away completely from something like that. You have your visitors to the hospital who are all praying for you but eventually while on the road to recovery, you are often times left with a small core of people and even strangers, like physical therapists and others, just to depend on survival and learning how to do it all over again. This is the life of a bereaved parent...we will never be the same and have to find comfort in others who have been where we are in order to just make it from day to day...often times these people are complete strangers and faces we will never see in person.
Initially we had people who made meals for our family but if I am honest there were more people who did that sort of thing for my grandparents death than for that of our son. I had really thought we would have had more support there than what we did. A good chunk of the people were there more for my mom than for Hugh and I and were the same group of family that showed up for my grandparents funerals. I watched and help with a local family where the mom died and part of me was jealous of the outpouring to this family as they did not have to make meals for months following her death because so many people pitched in. In our case, that really was not what had happened and having to function after the death of a child when you have other children is just almost impossible but something you have no choice in. We did have a few people make some meals following his death and I cannot tell you how grateful I was for those few here and there.
Somewhere along the way however I learned that it was my own personal wishes and expectations that I had placed on so many others and that I had failed them by doing so. For a long time I had a lot of heartache that also came with disappointment in so many others and it just ate at me in a bad way. I wanted people to recognize my pain and give the same support that they did to others but did not realize that often times others just cannot live up to our own personal expectations and limitations that we put on them. Yes it is sad and I'd be lying if I said it didn't hurt but I have also learned that there is a greater appreciation in those who do go out of the way to make a difference in your life even now, months later. On occasions I have asked others to let me know how much he meant to them by just writing down a memory or a short statement of how he changed them and gotten nothing or just one or two. People don't realize the true need of a bereaved parent, to know that their child made a difference in this world and when others don't see your pain you feel invisible and the pain is even much greater.
Personally I am going through a tough time as we say goodbye to our home and move forward without him in our lives. Change isn't bad and I believe this is really where we are meant to be but it doesn't make it any easier. In fact, the whole situation is harder than ever anticipated on my part. I actually have come to hate the phrase "Let me know what you need done or if I can help" It is an easy way for someone to let themselves off the hook and feel as if they have done something or have a way to say I told you to let me know when you don't call but are just generally frustrated by a situation. I can barely breath and often times don't know what it is that I need, how in the world am I suppose to figure all that out and find time in the middle of it all to call you and ask you for your help or to see if it fits in your schedule? Prior to all of this I said the same thing and really meant it without realizing that what the person needs is for you to take the initiative and just watch the kids, make a meal, leave a little thinking of you note, or just be there in any capacity. It has become such a meaningless phrase over the years for so many of us and we mean it however don't ever take the initiative to react and do something for someone in need who doesn't even realize they are in need.
All of this said, I personally have been struggling with George's loss a lot lately. God I miss that little boy with all of my heart. Our family lives each day with a missing part and that is truly the hardest thing ever. We are constantly on the go to make all the moving stuff happen but by the time we have a moment it is in bed where the emotions just come rushing in. Not talking about or ignoring the pain just really makes it much greater. George's birthday coming up does not help any and part of me just keeps thinking of it and how hard the last one was and how much harder this one is going to be. When I feel lost and lonely, I miss him the most...he knew my heart like no other and even without speaking,spoke to my heart. After you find that sort of thing, it is the hardest thing to loose. The pain never goes away, it just changes. If you know someone who has lost a child, no matter the time that has gone by, let them know you are thinking of them and their child by a note or a meal or just anything, it will mean the world to them I can promise you that!
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!