We are finally back from Florida. It was a good trip with lots of new family made memories...things I cherish the most. For some reason this time around felt like we were all a little off. I don't know what it was but I know I was not the only one who felt that way either. All things considered the kids did really well. Joshua however was kind of an emotional mess the whole time. He saw a police car on the way in and it triggered his memories from the day that George died. All I can say is that I don't know what is more torturous, to live through that hell or to watch your living children having to relive that hell when they have no understanding of any of it. My heart never felt so heavy than the night we got there and I had to hold him and just watch him sob his little heart out, knowing that pain all to well but also knowing there was nothing I could do to make it better.
That incident kind of set the tone for the rest of the vacation without the intention of doing so. We all felt George's presence but it also made us miss him so much more. There was however a little light that shone through it all when one of the Disney employees listened to our stories and took it to heart. The man had walked over to talk to Gabby, she is such a beautiful little girl and a magnet for so many people, while we were waiting for the parade. It had poured and we all just stayed there and I have to say I actually danced in the rain with my own rainbow in my arms...some sort of irony in that. Anyway, he asked us if it was our first time and of course it got turned to our very first time with George and how this was Gabby's first time here and a way for us to share her brother with her. It took everything for him to not bust out in tears hearing our family story. With that he tells us he will be right back and goes off, to come back and tell us to wait for him after the parade. We do that and he takes us up to one of the stores on Main Street and we wait. He comes out with a voucher for a free Minnie Mouse for Gabby. He told us he wanted this to just as special and he wanted her to have a magical visit. Never was I ever so touched in my life. We went in the store and picked one out and took a picture with the gentleman. My heart was truly touched deep within the pain knowing how he went out of his way to try and make this special for our little girl who will never know her big brother.
Hugh and I both decided we were not taking our computers. We really wanted to focus on the kids and our family. It was probably the best thing we ever did. I played with the kids like I have not done since George died and in a way they got part of their mom back, even if it was for a short amount of time. I really tried my hardest to make it special for them all, knowing how hard this past year has been on all of us. We had wanted to take each boy out by themselves but we just didn't have the time or money to really do that. In the end we spent time swimming and playing ping pong which they had no problem with and they totally ate it up, every second of it. We only went to the parks twice since it was so hot and way to much on the boys, even those two days were hard. It is always so hard to walk that line of letting them be normal kids and then also knowing they aren't and do have to be careful. They didn't have a problem with that either, they love just spending time with all our family that goes and this year a friend of mine went with us too.
Not having my PC allowed me a lot of time to think and really soul search. As I stood there watching the rest of my family, I realized how selfish in some ways I have been. I know they hurt for my son too and even though they don't hurt like I do, I somehow just forgot that they were in pain too. They ache for not only him but also for me and our family who now has to live without him every day. I thought back to the days that my older sister was there for us and drove us to and from the funeral home and how she was the first one there after George was pronounced dead. She was so put together and strong, just the way I always saw her growing up...I forgot that there was a different side to her. On this trip I saw that part of her as she played with Gabrielle and held her and rocked her as she slept. This made me realize how she must hurt and I never took the time to even recognize that. My brother Anthony hurts every single day, he was there and witnessed me doing CPR and all the chaos of that morning. I know that day haunts him and has also changed him in a different way. Then there is my sister Tara, who understands me better than anyone else especially after her own loss. I know she cries every day for me and my son and family. She is more open about it all with me but also doesn't want to say or do something that will hurt me.
My parents are a whole other ball game. They have to now live with us and see first hand how hard it truly is for us to go through this. I have tried to kind of keep it to myself as much as possible but when you live with people it is hard to really do that on a consistent basis...especially when you are facing those big days like we just did with his birthday. This second year has just been so much harder than the first and I am thankful to know I am not alone in that thought, a lot of other parents have said the same thing. I've watched how us moving in here has really changed both of my parents in some way. My dad especially has really changed since George's death. He plays with the kids and takes time with them that he just didn't do with us growing up. He rocks Gabby to sleep and when no one is looking, so he thinks, he will get on the floor and play with her in ways I have never seen him before. I think back to the day Joshua just busted out in tears saying he missed George and my dad had to wipe tears from his own eyes as he watched Joshua fall to pieces. I know deep inside he hurts so bad and before all of this, I really couldn't look past my own pain and that of Hugh and the kids. In all of this I knew they hurt but didn't really know how much and I really feel bad about that even though I know they understand.
This road is not one anyone else in our family has ever really had to walk so it is all new to us all. You don't know what is right or wrong and you are basically walking it blind. There are times where you just can't think of anyone else because you can barely get through the day yourself, not to mention to be there for just the kids and your husband. Life as you knew it is gone and you are forced to figure it all out on your own and pray that people understand and have to give yourself slack for those who don't. It is so much easier to sit outside of the situation and say that someone should do something else or that they went about it all wrong but living it is a whole other ball game. I'm so thankful that my family does understand and is still there for me and my family even when we are not in the best of shape and even forget that they are there and have their own issues. Talking to other parents, I know this is actually the norm but so often they just loose their family and friends all together because of that and I just don't want that to be the case with us. I have already lost my son I don't want it to ever get to the point that I have no one. Being who I am, I also have to apologize in some capacity for the unintentional pain that I may have caused by not recognizing things beyond my own house.
All that said I thank God every day for my family and the many blessings he has given us. Even in my darkest hour, I have never forgotten that God is with me and that I am blessed. There are times of dispare that come in the waves of emotion that make it hard to recognize this but in my heart I know better. None of this is easy and there are going to be good days and bad and I am slowly learning to give myself slack and know it is ok to fall apart when I miss George and yet be happy without feeling guilty or that part of me is missing. There is such a fine line in all of this that words can't even begin to explain but I have to find solace in the fact that I have never intentionally hurt anyone and if people can't ever see that then there is nothing I can do and I don't have to answer to them some day, I have to answer to God and I know he knows my heart better than even I do. I pray as the next few weeks pass and we all get back into the swing of school and those mundane things life requires of us to do, that I keep growing through all of this and keep learning from all of this. In the end it is the only way I know to honor my son and his memory...I need to learn from it all and become a better person. When I get to heaven some day I want him to be able to stand there proudly and say "This is my mommy!"
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!