Saturday, August 31, 2013

a complicated beast

It's Saturday August 31.  It's the first day of Labor Day Weekend.  September is less than 24 hours away.

We took Catelyn on our first attempted trip to the hospital ER two years ago tomorrow, and were officially admitted on the evening of Labor Day.

I detest this weekend.

Catelyn's two year angelversary is quickly approaching, and the closer it gets, the more my lungs and heart ache.  The space around me is being compressed.  I can't seem to get enough air.  My heart is being squeezed and I feel like I am going to hyperventilate.

How can it be possible that the weight of Catelyn's death is heavier this year?

I feel like Catelyn, and my memories of her, memories are being lost in the shuffle as time moves forward.

People told me that I would remember more as time moved forward, but I feel like I only have the same handful of memories that I did when she died.

I am not comforted.  I want Catelyn to be remembered and not forgotten.

I feel like I am failing her as much as an angel as I did while I could hold her in my arms.

I feel alone in my grief.

I know I'm not, but my head can't convince my heart that I'm not the only one in pain.

I feel like people are forgetting.  That makes me sad, and angry, and heartbroken.

I am struggling to find peace as this angelversary approaches.  I don't know how others do this...moment by moment, I'm sure...

Grief is certainly a complicated beast.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

4th & fireworks

For the 4th of July this year, we were invited to a friend's house for fireworks.  There were tons of people invited.  On the day of the party, I scanned the Facebook invitation, only to realize that, for the most part, it was strictly families that were on the list.

It was an honor to be included, but I was hesitant to go...

I didn't recognize a lot of the names on FB, and I wasn't sure how it would feel to see families snuggling up their kiddos to enjoy the pyrotechnics.  (Not to mention that I struggle with being in public to begin with...)

Eventually, my husband and I decided it was better to go and hang out than to stay home and be anti-social (this was EXTREMELY hard for me, as I prefer to crawl into my hiding space and avoid social situations)

We arrived, and were greeted immediately.  We scoped out several people we knew, and it was okay....but I still really struggled.  We met some new people we hadn't met before, and while they never asked if we had kids, they had kids. 

Everyone was extremely nice and welcoming, but it was hard watching families interacting.  They were intact.

I felt like I couldn't really talk to anyone about the emotions I was facing.  Of course, the fears I had stemmed from my own interpretation of the situation, but that didn't lessen them any.

Then, about the time I felt like I didn't belong at all and should just go, I met a woman who knows a family that attends the same Compassionate Friends chapter that I do.  That helped some.  I found myself feeling freed in being able to recognize my deceased daughter.

Soon, I was alone again, trying to figure out how I fit into the happy celebration happening around me.  I contemplated latching onto a few new friends that I recently made, but my social skills aren't up to par, and my feeble attempt to connect only made me feel like more of an outsider.  As the stars began to appear overhead, it was finally time for the show.  I found my husband and we took a seat. 

The whole time we were there I wondered what Catelyn would be like now, as a three and a half year old. 

Who would she have been running around with?  Would she have been bossy like her mom, trying to tell the other kids how to behave?  Would she have been best friends with the little girls?  Would she have played football with the boys?  Would she love the fireworks or would they scare her?  Would she play on the swings or in the field or in the bouncy house? 

On occasion, I will come up with answers that make my heart feel good, but it only lasts for a moment because I can only guess and never actually know the answers.  Everyday I live with unanswered questions.... sometimes holidays and social gatherings are the hardest.

more heartache.

Monday sucked.

As I drove to work, I realized that this is the time of year when I become more aware of Catelyn's "lasts".  I am hopeful that this year won't come with all of the pain that last year did, but only time will tell.

Even with those feelings creeping up, the primary reason Monday was so crappy is that I learned of the death of a young man from the area I live in.

His name is John.  I don't know John extremely well, I know his mom, sister, and a handful of extended family members a bit better.  However, I do know a few things about John.

First, he is 19 years old.  I watched him go through his confirmation classes, and had the pleasure of making his confirmation certificate, too.  John is the guy who is always willing to help everyone.  He has been involved in 4H numerous years - probably since birth.  He helped for many years in the Sunday School rooms, as a volunteer at church.  He has always been active in the community.  He is bright, funny, and compassionate, and not only is he well liked by everyone, but extremely well known in the community.

I can't begin to express how agonizing it is to see others have to go through this type of loss.  It makes me feel so helpless.

One of the hardest parts is that, even with my own experience, I don't know what to say or do, or how to act.  I want to offer comfort to those in mourning, but it's like my tongue becomes this heavy weight, and I am trying so hard to lift it that I lose sight of my intentions and the next thing you know my entire foot is in my mouth.

I am convinced that there is no 'right' thing to say when a loved one dies.  It just sucks, and no words can really make it better because the only thing you want is for that person to be alive and not dead.

This particular death is pretty hard for me.  Maybe it's timing, maybe it's because I know his family, maybe it's just hard....  This death has stirred a lot of feelings and questions inside me.

It makes me think of Catelyn.
It reminds me how bewildered I was.
It reminds me how the shock took over, and I had no idea what I was doing, but I was doing it.
It reminds me of the first days when I felt like it had yo be a terrible dream.
It makes me wonder how word spread about Catelyn's death.
It makes me wonder what people said when they found out.
It makes my heart ache in different ways than it has before.

There isn't much I wouldn't give to prevent others from having to suffer a loss as great as the death of a child.