Thursday, November 22, 2012


I feel like I fell into a pit or a well that is just wide enough for my body to be wedged inside.  And, of course, I didn't fall gracefully.  Instead, I am stuck with one leg tucked up by my head, the other leg dangling straight down, and one arm crammed next to my head while the other presses awkwardly into my side.  I can't scream for help because I can barely breathe.

I am physically and mentally stuck.

I am stuck, but somehow I have been given a telescope.  With the telescope, I can see life moving on above me, but I still can't get free.

Every day I fight a battle to get up and get out of bed.  On a good day, I can convince myself that getting out of bed is for the best, and that I have a responsibility to my job, my husband, and the other people around me to be 'normal'.  On a bad day, though, I stay in my jammies and sleep and watch tv all day....and usually cry....

I'm 14.5 months into the grieving process, and I can only imagine that some of these statements may seem odd, but please realize that a great portion of the first year of Catelyn's death was spent in shock. 

As soon as the doctors walked into the room our family, friends, and pastor waited in, my brain knew what had happened, but the second those men walked into that room, the shock took over and built a brick wall in front of my face.  The wall was placed there to protect my heart.  My mind wasn't so easy fooled, though, and it caught on right away to what was happening. 

Thus began the battle of my mind versus my heart.

Continually, my mind knew what was happening, but my mind was smart and knew that there was no way my heart could withstand the pain.  The knowledge.  The reality that Catelyn was gone.  So shock took over as best as it could, and my mind was forced to wait....wait for the brick wall of shock to begin to crumble.

It turns out that shock doesn't crumble or fade overnight.  So, the first year of Catelyn's death, was basically spent moment-to-moment, trying to get through, not worrying about what was coming next, just trying to live in each moment and accept it for what it was - ever changing, often painful, and slow moving.

Now, I am not a mason, so I don't know a lot about building brick walls, but I can only guess that when a wall is put up too quickly, there are bound to be mistakes.  Perhaps the mortar didn't take properly, or proper alignment wasn't used, or erosion wasn't accounted for, but for one reason or another, when a wall is put up too quickly, that wall will not hold forever. 

So, bricks started falling somewhat early within the first year, causing my heart to realize what had happened, one glimpse at a time.  And, as one might imagine, the slowly falling bricks helped ease some of the pain of reality.  But, about the time that things started to seem like they were manageable, a large chunk fell off of the remaining wall, and reality really hit, which brings us to present.

For the last 2.5 months, I have been living in reality, truly realizing that my life has changed forever.  But, not only has my life changed dramatically....other people's lives have continued to move forward.  It's so hard to realize you have stayed complacent for a year, and everyone else hasn't. 

When Catelyn died, it was like a fell into a deep, dark, well.  Life kept moving forward, and I was stuck in place.  I've now found myself in the well, but I don't know how to get out.  I'm trying, but I can't figure out the next move. 

I feel disconnected from everyone....and of course I do.  But, if I don't talk about where I'm at, and how I feel, then no one will ever know what I am going through.  And though no one may have the same experience, at least you might be able to get a glimpse (even if only through a telescope) of what it's like for me, and I'm okay with that.  After all, we are all different, and so is our grief.  I like to say we are like snowflakes and that no two people ever grieve the same. 

It's hard for me to feel anything but sad these days, but I don't want you to feel sad for me.  I just want someone to understand that this is a part of the process, and things will improve, but don't rush me or try to change my thinking.  I'm at a point where I need to work my own way listen when you can, or offer encouragement when you can, but don't try to tug on me....I'm in a fragile place, and if you pull too hard, you might break me.'s harder than it looks

It's Thanksgiving Day today.  I don't feel very thankful. 

Don't get me wrong, i know I have things to be thankful for, such as an amazing husband, a warm house, a cat, a job, a family and friends who love me....

It's just very hard to find reasons to celebrate anything.  Though last year was the first Thanksgiving without her physical presence, there was a great deal of shock clouding the vision of my in a way, this is my first Thanksgiving without Catelyn.

This morning I was watching video footage from Catelyn's first and only Thanksgiving.  In the video, she is grabbing tons of ads for Black Friday, and crawling around with them, swishing them around, and then finally sitting to try to 'read' them.  It was so Catelyn.

I have another video from that week in 2010, where she discovered her dad's shoes on the floor, so she picked one of them up and hefted it from left to right, dropping it on occasion, and scooting around with it. 

She was wonderfully inquisitive, and persistent.

So, I guess I'm grateful......grateful to have the technological advances that allow me to keep Catelyn's memories alive, and hear her voice and see her mannerisms.....grateful that Catelyn lived long enough for us to have memories with her.....grateful that she was able to show me joy in the simplest activities.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

where i am

Today is Sunday.

It's been 14 months, today, since Catelyn died.

I didn't realize how hard the anniversary of her death would be, and the last two months have broken loose a lot of emotions that hadn't even come out yet.

The day of Catelyn's angel-versary (the anniversary of her death), was filled with heartache as I remembered nearly every moment of Sunday, September 11th, 2011.  It was so hard to recapture each of the moments of the day: from things seeming good, to going very badly. 

...but it was even worse, in some ways, because it felt like she had just been in my arms a week before, even though a year had passed.

Over the last two months, I have begun to realize something that I didn't feel last year.  Life is moving forward without Catelyn.

During the first 12 months of grieving, I consciously knew that life was moving forward, but it didn't really feel like it, I guess.  As I was telling Catelyn's story recently, I felt the reality slowly creep up my side, and encompass my heart.  And with it, my world changed from light gray to black.

Catelyn is dead...
Catelyn is dead, and i feel like it's my fault....
Catelyn is dead, and i feel like it's my fault, and there is nothing that I can do about it.

I am not a person with high self-esteem to begin with, and I've felt like such a loser lately.  Feeling the devastation of the death of a child is pretty much a daily reminder of things I cannot change, and that only makes me feel worse.

Believe me, I know that I couldn't have done anything more than what I did to try to save her, but there aren't words to describe how personally the knife of death cuts when you outlive your child.

I know quite a few people who have lost children, and I have no idea how they have made it through the pain.  I am hopeful that I will be lucky enough to find the courage and strength to face each day, as they have.  At this point, though, I don't want to deal with this anymore.  I would like to lock myself away in my bed and never leave the house in hopes that I could make the pain subside.  (and don't worry, I'm not going to do anything hasty, and I see a therapist who knows all of this)

The pain is strong, and it's like nothing else I've ever experienced.  We've done so many positive things in Catelyn's honor, trying to keep the memory of her life both strong and positive, but in a way, it's like placing a band-aid over an appendage that just got ripped doesn't stop the bleeding, and it doesn't eliminate, or even lessen, the hurt....

Recently, I read a quote (I can't remember who wrote it) that said:  "We all die twice in our lifetime: once when we actually die, and again when our name is said for the last time."  I am confident that Catelyn's second death will not occur for many, many, many years to come.....long after I am gone, but that brings such minute comfort in a time when the pain is so great.

At the Compassionate Friends meetings I attend, we have always said you can't outrun your grief, it will always catch up with you.  I had never thought I was trying to outrun my grief, but now I'm not so sure...

Things feel so grim right now.  The only thing that I know for sure is that I miss my baby girl.