Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful, me? You betcha.

Not sure if I am channeling Sarah Palin or Marge Gunderson but it sure is fun talkin all folksy like. See, I can be lighthearted. I'm not always a downer. I'm quite grateful for Thanksgiving because it always does seem to slap me in the face or grab me by the shoulders and shake me. I am thankful. I am enormously thankul for what I have. Every day at some point in the day I think, shit I am lucky. Sure things haven't gone as I thought they would, but I have two living, amazing children that inspire me every day. I have a wonderful husband. I am doing pretty well as far as Maslow's Hierarchy goes. I don't think I can actually say 'life is good' because I am wildly superstitious, but it could certainly be a lot worse - and has been a lot worse. I guess this all is demonstrative of the change that happens post-trauma. Everything gets re-arranged in terms of perspective. I can't really sweat the small stuff anymore. I can rant and rave like a lunatic but deep inside Pollyanna is alive and kicking. I've been to bad and am just so stinkin' thankful to have what I have today even though so much of my being tends to be defined by what I've lost.
Short and sweet today.
Happy thanksgiving. I hope you are able to spend tomorrow with loved ones, I hope miracles are happening, big and small. I hope you have your needs met, I hope you can help meet the needs of others. I hope if life has thrown you a curveball that you can somehow make sense of any despair, even in a small way. I hope today I can be living proof for someone that you can spiritually rise from the ashes, at least from time to time.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Aw shucks

Over the past few weeks traffic has picked up on my blog as evidenced by comments to my last post from people that are not Will Lacey's dad. For much of the past few years that I've been writing about my experience as a mom, it's really been about me getting some therapy through written expression and simultaneously communicating with a handful of friends and family I'm not able to talk with or see every day. But now that I have an actual, um, readership, it's kind of exciting, but it also makes me think, am I profound enough? Am I Debbie Downer too often?

A big shout out to Max's dad. Andy, I have been a lurker on your blog as well and followed Max's fight closely. He actually passed away on my birthday. It means a lot to me to hear that all of the craziness in my head is completely understood by others. Since Cian has died I find that I natually gravitate towards stories from other bereaved parents. I remember one time that 60 Minutes was on and the coach from the Indianapolis Colts was on and it was of zero interest to me until he started talking about his son's suicide. Then it was instant interest. I needed to know more. How strange that I felt a connection to this person whose adult son committed suicide just because my 7 month old son died of cancer. It's amazing to me how many public figures there are that have lost children - and everytime I learn that fact about one of them, I need to know more. Keith Richards. Joe Biden. Patricia Neal. I guess it's because I look at them and think they must have the kind of craziness in their head like I do. Or I look at them and think, how did they move on with their lives so well?

The other thing I've come to notice about being a bereaved parent is how the state of being a bereaved parent = poignant character flaw. How many movies have I seen since Cian died that involve a bereaved parent? 1408. The Matador. Syriana. And those were only in a matter of months after he died. And at the heart of those plots, it wasn't about the child dying - that was just background to why the parent was mentally, emotionally, life challenged.

Something else I've come to ponder is that if you are batshit crazy on the inside because your child died, but you tuck it away deep enough from the outside world, it's like, I wonder to what degree outsiders get it. Like, just because I act like I'm okay and brush my hair most days doesn't mean I'm all okay. It just means I'm conforming. Because I don't want to make anyone else uncomfortable. And I think about the people in my life who were touched by their own loss of a child before I was and if I am going to be brutally honest here, until it happened to me, I was clueless to how they were hurting. I guess that explains my interest in other bereaved parents. When Cian died, I mean this is days after he died, I had to go pick up a framed work article that had been sitting at a framer's for weeks. This woman kept calling me to see when I was coming to get it. The day I mustered up the courage to go in, the first thing she asks me is 'where have you been?' So naturally I proceed to cry and verbally throw up all over her about my dead son. Then she starts to cry because her 40-ish year old son had just died a year or so earlier of a heart attack. "Welcome to the club' she said to me. And it took me a long time to get it. The secret society.

Here is the one thing I'll never understand. I think most rational people would agree that losing a child is about one of the worst things an adult can experience. Raw, unabashed heartache and trauma. Now you would think that upon hearing this about a person, taking in this new piece of information, that most people would dualy note that fact and store it away as to avoid any future awkward conversation. Do you know how many people I have had to tell more than once that I had a son that died? It's shocking to me. I try not to take it personally but it really is puzzling - what does it mean that the one thing that has basically made shit out of many aspects of my life can't be retained by people I have some sort of relationship with or to. Shocking. While this has largely happened in the workplace, it's a mistake with me that a person cannot recover from. I will look you square in the eye and tell you again that I had a child that died and then from that point on, we're done. You can't recover from it. And I don't care if you're just an idiot. It's unacceptable to me. And it's not even that I feel all that uncomfortable telling you, again, it just reveals that my son's death, the most profound event of my life was only small talk to you.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Our youngest...

Is actually not the froggy you see here. Because today master Noel is 7 months and 8 days old. For those of you just joining our program, Cian died at 7 months 6 days. Maybe that's why I've been feeling down in the dumps. It's a good but tough milestone. "Bittersweet" as they say, the word to describe every day of a bereaved parent's life (if they are lucky that is cos there have certainly been times I was just bitter).

Had a pretty good Halloween with the boys. Actually bought a new car which was not emotionally easy. Yes, I had an emotional attachment to our 2005 Murano. We bought it when I was about 12 weeks pregnant with Cian. So hopeful then. Months later it would sit in the garage at Children's Hospital for 3 weeks straight - the scratches and dings were something else. It was the car that transported us home after Cian died. It was the car that brought our other two newbies home. So Murano was there with us through a lot and it really was a good car. But now we have another car - the Murano has moved on. When John was cleaning it out he found one of Cian's hospital bracelets in it. Those little hellos are kinda nice.

Another Halloween activity was attending a cocoa stand fund raiser for Jack's Magic Bean Fund in Cian's memory. The boys wore there costumes and chilled, literally, with Jack's family and our other friends hosting the stand. Gotta love people who love to raise money for kids cancer! Every Halloween I think of the Halloween after Cian died - there we are two weeks out from losing our only child - had a Halloween costume for him and everything - and all we want to do is stick our heads in the sand. But the doorbell keeps ringing. We didn't even have candy I don't think - ended up giving away granola bars. I was practically despondent.

So this year John took Paudie out, up and down the block. He was digging it. The next night he was ready to go back out and at it again. He was pretty good about the candy situation, not eating it all or crying/whining about wanting to eat it all. Someone actually handed out brach's hard candies. Come on! Really? Seriously? That's granny candy! Grody. But I guess I should cut them some slack given our granola bar faux pas in 2006.

Blah. That's all I got. My head is spinning - and of course every time I feel this way I think brain tumor. Thanks cancer!