Grief recovery, loss of child, healing after death & loss 

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Michelle Shelton 480-577-8272 m@teamshelton.com
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Comforting the Baby

Paul and I took Ava camping with us. We were with a large group of people and camped at a dear friends house. There were camp trailers all around her home with cords leading out to each one.

The first morning we went into our friends house for coffee. Her daughter was there with her kids and one of them came out and said, "Mom, where are my shoes?"

"I don't know, ask your dad." She answered

Ava turned to me and said, "Gigi, I want my dad."

My heart sunk. There was silence and then not a dry eye in the house.

More and more she is aware that she is different. Other kids have moms AND dads. She keeps saying her dad is in the clouds. I suppose her mom told her that.

She ran up to Paul the other night and said, "Papa, I want my daddy back."

Ava Rose SheltonIt breaks my heart. Such a huge loss for all of us. I would doubt she remembers him but then again, she is pretty sharp. She sees photos of him and tells anyone who will listen that that is her daddy. She wants everyone to know she has a daddy. I was playing a video with his voice on it the other day and she ran over and said, "Gigi, is that my daddy?" I don't think I had played it since he died, so who knows, maybe she does remember him. He was with her nearly every waking moment and took great care of her. The only time he was away was when he was at work.

I see him in her. Her antics. Her smile and the manerisims, it is uncanny. I know Paul sees it too, I have seen the tears well up in his eyes when she does something that is exactly like Phil. He sees Phil in Ava like I do.

I don't know how to comfort her. I simply tell her that I miss her daddy too and that he was my baby. She doesn't grasp it all yet and I am certain she will have to work through it like the rest of us. She has a hole in her young baby heart. A great loss of someone who loved her, someone who she had an experience of daily and then they were gone….forever.

Ava keeps me going. She is one of the great joys of my life. I have other children and I love them and they are all great joys in my life, yet, I must go on for Ava. I have done my job with them. They are adults, either living on their own or in College. We have all tried to find our way with the loss of Phillip. One thing that remains constant, we have all comforted the baby.

I sometimes think of the Pioneers who would lose all their children in the middle of nowhere, often they would bury them and keep traveling. What a great sense of loss and dispair they must have had. I think of these things not to be depressing, but it put things into perspective for me.

I will get through this. I will be changed. I will be stronger. For now, I am weak. I am broken down and learning to rebuild. Until then, I will find comfort by comforting the baby.

 
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The Hardest Journey – How I really Feel

The Depth of My Grief

I have lost count of the days since you left Phillip. This is a good thing. I know that in September it will be two years without you. Your car still sits on the side of the house. Your photos hang in the spare bedroom, carefully dusted and straightened. Your shirts hang in my closet. The grief has settled in my heart, settled into my soul, settled into my bones. The depth of it cannot be measured.  I don't have the words to describe the pain I feel.


Grief is Socially Unacceptable

Socially, I have an awareness that I must go on with life.  Well meaning friends have brought it to my attention. It is time to move past this they say. Others say there is no time limit for grief. Either way, this is something I can not logic my way out of no matter how much time has past. There is also nothing to DO.  No action can remove the pain. Some people advise, just stay active….join a club, write a book, DO something. Yet, nothing I do makes it go away. Grief is constantly hunting me like a predator stalking it's prey….watching, waiting, tracking….just looking for that perfect moment to pounce.

Some people say, just give it time…so each day I get up, eat, work and then at night I fall into bed hoping that when I wake again, the depth of despair will be gone.  Time is passing. Even if "I" decide that it has been long enough….I don't really seem to be able to get away from it. I miss my son and my life is forever altered. It reminds me of the term, sea-legs, which is the ability to walk steadily on the deck of a boat or ship. I have not gotten my sea-legs with Phillip's death. How long will it take? I don't know. Some think they have the answer but really no one seems to have the answer, not even me. I think I can decide…based on all the personal growth I have done, that would make sense. I decide about my story, my past, my experiences, my future. Yet, emotionally, the predator stealthily comes up from behind and pounces…so I cry….correction, I sob and allow it to go through me. Eventually it wanes and it leaves me with a sense of emptiness. The sick, burning, pain in my throat diminishes…that is, until next time…but I am always left with a feeling of deep loneliness.

As the Rolling Stones say….I can't get no satisfaction.


My Unhealthy Behavior During Grief

My health has declined. I have gained 30#. My joints ache. I don't move as fast. My clothes don't fit. My brain says….just pull yourself up by the bootstraps, you must go on! Then my body says, screw it…take a nap and have another glass of wine.

Who cares? None of this matters anyway. In another 50 years it is guaranteed that I will be gone and who knows, perhaps I will be gone long before that.

Then my polite self says…you must not talk this way! It is not acceptable.

Apparently, I don't care what is acceptable and not acceptable anymore. I complain more. I have more headaches, allergies and I avoid people.  I say things that come to mind. I don't give a shit if they don't like my colorful language or if I will be judged by them….nothing is as bad as the day I got the visit…your son is dead. What else really matters after that?  Sometimes anger comes out and sometimes indifference comes out….and my good girl says, hey, you should care. And I don't.

The Rescue Attempt

Friends on Facebook avoid my posts….some have unfriended me. I can't say as I blame them…I am depressed, I am depressing. I have had friends tell me it is the stages of grief….they present it like a grocery list that I can check off.

Others attempt to save me! I just need to go to the gym or eat right or perhaps Yoga will do the trick. Maybe if I talk to a counselor, yes, that will do the trick! There has to be some pixie dust to sprinkle in the right place to get the old Michelle back.

I know they mean well but the rescue attempt is about them needing to save someone more than it is about me needing to be saved. The rescue attempt is about them not feeling comfortable with my grief and about where I am in my life. They must fix this situation as they don't feel right. I visit anger again…. I have found myself apart of an elite club….the dead mothers club. We are drawn to each other like a moth to a flame. We don't have anyone else that can give us the knowing nod like another mother that has gone through the loss of their child. It is a small comfort as they look at us in pity and know where we are in our journey and know what is to come. When I read or hear about a new death, I think, some mother or father is on day one of this fateful journey.  The stalking has started for them. I feel tired.


Sleep and Grief.

I don't exercise, eat right or go out much anymore. Work is something I do throw myself into and it helps to make more money but sleep….sleep is the great escape. It is the one thing I look forward to. Each night and sometimes during the day, I look forward to the reprieve of sleep. I dread waking each day as it is like the movie, Groundhog Day. Each day starts again. I awake with a sense of dread. I muddle through the day without much ambition for life and yearn for the moment I get to sleep again. I see my husband doing the same, though he puts on a good game face.


Grief can be Inspiring

People have said that sharing this process with me is inspiring. I don't see how. I don't feel like I am contributing much. It takes all I can muster to breathe through another day. I feel very needy and selfish. I am not focused on anyone but me. I am not even taking care of myself. I am torturing myself. I watch Phillip's videos, I look at photos. I don't sleep well. I cry at the drop of a hat. I have a hard time keeping up with basic maintenance in my life. Most of the time I don't care. There is always that glimmer of human spirit that keeps me breathing.

What a Friend can do
Then there are those friends who look past the pain and see the old me still in there. They don't want to coach me out of it or "fix" me. They simply accept and love me. It isn't about them. It is about compassion and understanding and love as much as they can. They have a realization that this is something I have to go through and it is a tough journey. These are the friends I hold tight to. They allow me to vent, be negative, sad, emotional, and to cry when I want. They don't label it as being negative. They call it being real. They allow me to talk about Phil or not talk about Phil. They don't try to fix me. If they are uncomfortable with it all, they don't show it. They have their own children and they envision life without them for a minute, an hour, a day and they weep with me. They don't see what is going on in my life as my story. They see the grief as a process, a journey that is one of the hardest a human being faces.  A journey most would do anything to avoid. A path of pain and suffering. I know that no one will deny my right to suffer. My husband reminds me of this daily. I know it is true and I know he is right and yet I weep. I weep for my son. Coming into manhood, young, handsome and strong. 

I do believe logically that I must decide when the suffering ends. I am not there yet. The journey is long. Some journeys take longer than others and sometimes getting through the rough points and the big challenges are the things we look back on and can use to help others. This is what I cling to today…that someday I will be able to give again…that I will be able to look back and see that the journey has become easier and that the challenges were there as opportunities. Opportunities to become more…to allow, to BE….to feel compassion. Nothing I can DO will change anything…so for now, my journey is about being. Oh, and sleep.

 

 
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383 Days Without My Son

[subscribe2]383 Days Without My Son

Today it has been 383 days without my son. 383 days since my Phillip took his last breath on earth. People talk about the journey of losing my son. I have a hard time wrapping my head around that at times as I feel like a journey has some goal or purpose that I would move toward. I think of the Lord of the Rings when the word journey is used. They had a goal, a plan, they set out to accomplish something. This "journey" so to speak is to get through another day so I can tick it off my list. Another day of breathing. Another day of grief. Another day of mourning. Another day of muddling through.Death of my son
Prior to Phils death, I could tell you exactly how to be happy. I had been studying personal growth so long that I had the answers. Happiness is a decision after all, you simply choose to be happy. It is that easy. Funny thing is, I still know this to be true and I am not doing it. I don't want to be happy…this is easy to see based on my results.

Why? Why Me? Why Him?
There are all sorts of thoughts and emotions that go with this process. For me there is guilt that I am a bad mother if I move on…if I express this I get all sorts of advice and comments on what my son would like for me. I always find it interesting that so many people, many who didn't even know him, know exactly what he would want. I suppose when I look at it, no loving son would want his mom to stop her life and just be sad all the time. Grief is personal though, isn't it? In reality, am I grieving for him or for myself? I tend to think I want to feel sorry for myself. Why me? Why my son? Why the way he died? Why, why, why? The interesting part is when you ask the brain why…it tends to search for an answer. It doesn't' really matter what the answer is as the problem will never be solved. He is still dead.

Emotional Ramblings
Those of you who read this will know…at least, if you have ever read any of my writings in the past, that I am rambling. This is the first time I have not been able to put my thoughts in a logical pattern on paper. My thoughts are all over the place. I am operating more from an emotional place than a logical place.
Lost My Motivation
I have always known that I drive my life. I have always been able to find a reason to do so..until now. I am not seeing the point of it all. If I make a ton of money I can travel and have some false sense of security. I can provide things for my children. None of this brings happiness. I have always been able to drive myself and motivate myself and so many people have told me how self motivated I was. I always found this strange because I think that is the only kind of motivation there is…no one else can be my engine. At this point I feel as though my engine has run out. Perhaps there is no gas in it and it is temporary. I hope so. I want to run again. I want to motivate myself. At this moment, I don't even want to type anymore. I want to get up from this computer and go back to bed and sleep it off. That is it…it is like a really bad hangover and I just want to wake up when I feel better.

Personal Growth in the Tough Times
My well intentioned personal growth friends want to tell me how to do it. Some are just there for support. I love them all and have no bad feelings toward any of it. I just can't be and do what they want right now. I look around and think….I don't want to stay here…and then I find myself staying here. I say I don't want this to define my life and I have to laugh….how can it not?

And So it Goes….
I want to move on. I want to be like I was before and it so quickly slipped away. I have lost my figure from over eating and drinking too much. My health is in decline from not only eating and drinking too much but from not taking care of my mind. Not sleeping enough or some days sleeping too much.
Something has got to give….stay tuned as I know I will find my way. I want to…I really do. I have no goals, no direction and no accountability. It is a dangerous combination. Time for bed…I made it through another day…and so it goes…

 
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The Birth of My Son

The birth of my son was the best day of my life. Born on the 4th of July.

23 years ago today I was lying in a hospital al bed waiting for the birth to my son, my first child. My husband was working in San Diego and was making the drive back and got lost. This put him back several hours and by 11:00 that night I was in full blown labor. At this point I didn't know if this baby was going to be born on the 4th of July. I knew he was a boy. We had picked out a strong name, Phillip Henry Shelton. I was very excited to meet him. 1990 was one of the hottest summers on record reaching 122 degrees just a few days before the fourth of July and it had not been a pleasant pregnancy at the end. Not beause I had complications, I had very few complications, it was just really hot and uncomfortable.

Alone in the Hospital for the Birth of My Son

I was alone for the most part for the birth of my son.  One of my husbands friends was there, Tammy Jones. I didn't know her well, but she was there with me, supporting me and I was grateful. My husband, Paul, arrived about 11:30 PM. The doctor had made it very clear he wanted to be with his family on July 4 and I was putting a crimp in his plans. He did not want Phillip to be born on the 4th of July! He was rough and harsh. I didn't like him. He didn't like me. The nurses were great and were spending time teaching me how to go through this brand new experience. I was tired, scared and excited. I wanted to meet the baby! I wanted him to be safe and healthy. I wanted to nurse and hold my new son.

Born on the 4th of Julyborn on the 4th of July

You were diligent. It was a long night. It looked as though you would be born on the 4th of July. The nurses were taking bets to see if you would be born at 7:04 on July 4, 1990. 7:04 came and went and still no baby. The doctors were worried, I was beat. Dad was tired and ready for the birth of his son! Finally, they had to help me push and at 7:11, you made your way into this world. You were born on the 4th of July. A firecracker baby. It was obvious you were struggling…they couldn't get you to cry. They were working on you and I didn't get to hold you.

Holding my Baby Who was Born on the 4th of July

I didn't get to see you for hours. The birth of my son was a hard birth.  Your Apgar was low. You were blue. You had bruises on your head from the suction cups they used to suck you out. I was worried. They said they wanted to give you oxygen for awhile and then they would bring you to my room. I waited and waited….I called family and shared the excitement with them. I called to see where you were…they assured me they would bring you soon. It was after 11:00 AM before I got to hold you. When I did it was the happiest day of my life!

Checking you Out!
I slowly unwrapped you and examined you. You were HUGE! 7.15 ounces. I was trying to imagine you being in my tummy. I counted your fingers and toes, I hugged you and kissed you a welcome into the world. You were so easy…you slept. You nursed. You snuggled in with me. We were foxhole buddies. We had been through a lot. I don't think you ever left my side after that. Not for years.

The Day You Left Me

On September 1, 2013, my life changed forever. The police came and gave us the news. You had been killed in a car accident. A traumatic car accident that most likely killed you within seconds and then your body was burned up. We had no body…no fingers to count, no toes to count…nothing to hold or hug or kiss goodbye. I felt robbed. Robbed of saying goodbye to your body. Robbed of seeing you grow into an amazing father. Robbed of all the experiences I would not share with you. First new car, first home purchase, all the daddy firsts you will miss with Ava Rose.

My heart is heavy tonight. It hasn't been a year yet. We celebrated your last birthday at home. I took you out to eat with your little family. I enjoyed my time with you. What I would give for another day, an hour, a moment. It would never be enough. I love you Phillip. Happy Birthday. It will always be a day of celebration for me. I will celebrate the day of your birth…you were one of the major loves of my life. A gift. A precious gift. <3

 
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I love you Phil

I love and miss you Phil Phil…good night. heartMom

 
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I miss Phillip

Published on 28 May, 2013 by in Uncategorized

I miss Phillip.

I am in San Francisco with Paul and Sam. We are having a good time bopping around the city…tasting wine, eating good food.

Sam has just finished a leadership class in Northern California. I am so proud of him. It is a class Phil wanted to go to when he was alive.

The constant and persistent ego is not my friend. The only thing I can do is be diligent in recognizing that my ego wants me to remain sad. Gloomy. Depressed. Guilty. None of these emotions are productive. Sure, I have had them before and was always able to push them aside and laugh. I could see what a funny human I was and how these emotions were not productive. With the death of my son, it is not as easy to laugh. I find that the emotions are more difficult to take to a high place. I don't really care. The little things that used to drive me….well….they just don't seem that important. I don't give a shit if anyone likes me. I don't care if I say hello to them or if I hold my mouth right so they will know I like them.

In other words, I feel a little empty. I want to care, I really do. After having my son die and have his body burn up in the car, nothing really seems to be that big of a deal. The comparison game dulls everything next to that horrific accident. He is gone and my heart has taken a terrible blow. One I used to think I could never get through.

I haven't been writing on here as much because I think my thoughts are not as clear as they normally are. I am raw emotion and that means I am all over the place. There is no sense to it all. Somedays I don't want to talk to anyone. I don't care if they get mad. I don't care if they don't understand. I have a gaping wound that I am tending and somedays I am sure I will simply bleed out.

Some injuries take a long time in which to heal. This injury called grief seems to be one of those for me. I did well when both mom and dad died. I expected them to die, they were old and had lived a very long life. I struggled a bit with thinking I was next. I had to come to grips with my own demise. I knew that I was next in line. Except when I wasn't. Now the game had changed.

I am finding that I am not starting to become the go-to person for people who have lost their children. A women's son overdosed on drugs…..my friends call me to comfort her. Another had a suicide. Today I found out that my other son, Sam, had a friend who killed himself over a girl. I don't think I can provide much comfort. I suppose it is the old saying, "Misery loves company." I don't know what else to think. I certainly have no more words than anyone else. If anything, I have less.

If you have children and they are still alive. Hug them. Hold them. Tell them how much you love them. Don't let them weasle out of your grasp. I used to do this with Phillip. I told him about a woman who had lost her son on facebook a couple of years ago….he said, I know mom that would be sad….then he added something like, I will take care of myself. Nothing will happen to me mom, I promise.

I know you didn't do it on purpose Phillip. I know you wanted to give me comfort. Still, it did happen to you and now here I am….missing my baby. My Phil Phil.

 
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Time Flys When You’re NOT Having Fun!

Today is April 14, 2013. It has been exactly 226 days since the police came to my death-of-a-childdoor and told me my baby left this earth. I don't know how I have gotten this far down the road….I have put the hurt on my health since he died. I was probably in the best shape I had been since I was 25 years old and now…I am in the worst.

The human brain is a powerful thing. With all the personal growth I have come to know and teach, I still find myself giving in to the whims of my ego. The ego always wants us to suffer. I have allowed my ego to take hold and now I have to crawl back out of the hole I have dug for myself. Most people say they understand why I would do this…because after all…we are all human. We know how the mind can trick us into the suffering when something tramatic happens.

So many people say the same thing, "I cannot imagine what it is like." Well, sometimes it is hard for me to even describe what it is like. The initial shock and saddness was nearly too much to bear. It all came so sudden and he had so much to live for…the baby, his youth, his family who loved him. Even as I type this…it is still difficult for me to accept that he is gone forever from this earth. I will be an old woman and he will still be 22 in my mind.

After the initial shock and saddness there is sudden outbursts of saddness. I think of him every moment of the day…every street I see, car, even a song can remind me of him. Everything. I have watched each family memeber grieve differently. Some shut down. Others power through. Others yet are "the strong ones". I have tried to stay at the top of the wave and ride it. Whatever I feel, I feel. It doesn't matter if I am at the grocery store or at home, the tears come.

Now that has been 226 days. I still have this constant feeling of dread. Sort of like, who's next? I mean, if this could happen to Phil…which one of us is next. I strongly dislike this feeling….I fight with the demons in my head to not even go there for a second. I am sure it would be the end of me. My husband points out…it wouldn't. It is yet another tactic of the ego to keep you suffering.

I know sufferfing is optional. It always is. I find my brain (ego) wanting to say, sure it is….we will see. Go ahead and try to be happy. Then you would just be a bad mom. How can you ever be happy again?

It is easy for me to go with this thought of course…because, well, I sort of wonder if I can be happy. AND I know that in order to teach personal growth…I must live it. I have to be happy. Why? Because I can. I can choose to be happy. I watch Phil's baby who lives in the moment. She will cry one mintue and be happy the next. Happiness is possible…..even for a grieving mom.

I hadn't been writing lately and there was no reason other than I thought it had to look a certain way. I need to have my writings Search Engine Optimized…they needed photos and great titles. Then I said, what the hell are you doing, you are writing to help others and to mostly help yourself…to get through this. So that is what I am doing. Writing.

I miss my son. I love him. He was a great kid and I enjoyed all the stages of his life. I am thankful I had the opportunity to know him. I wouldn't give that up for anything. Even if it would get rid of this pain I feel daily.

 
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Missing my Son

Screen Shot 2012-10-23 at 4.47.12 PMWow Phil. It has been almost six months since you died. On March 1, 2013 it will be six months. It is also 3 years March 1st since my mom died, Grandma. I never expected to outlive you though. I did her. I am working with the new reality I have now. It is opportunity for healing. It is opportunity to get close to others who loved you. That is what you would want…I am sure of it. You were such a loving young man…you were pretty cool. Missing my son.

My Baby…my Foxhole Buddy…my Son…Missing my Son

I remember when they first placed you in my arms. Oh my goodness did we have a rough time getting you here. I was so excited and scared at the same time. I don't know how many hours I was in labor, it seemed like forever and I was so tired. When you finally came, you were brused and had an odd shaped head from being stuck so long. I remember this like it was yesterday. Missing my son.

My Gradaughter's Birth…Missing my Son

The opportunity to be there in the room with you when Ava was born was so awesome. I am still in awe that you and Ezgi trusted me enough to be there with you. I don't know why you wouldn't trust me…it is just sort of weird to have your boyfriends mother there, I suppose. I was so glad when she changed her mind and you called us at 3 AM. I was so very excited. This is one of my greatest memories of you! I remember when you were watching her come out the birth canal you kept saying, "Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God…" and then I smacked you in the back to bring you back to your surroundings. It was so funny and I thought it seemed like a kid thing to do….this was a new era in your life…a new time…one step further into being a man. Responsibility like no other. Missing my son.

My Son…a Dad…Missing my Son

I worred about you being a dad. You had struggled so much to make ends meet and stay out of trouble…all of a sudden this responsible young man was emerging. I loved seeing you with the baby. I loved seeing how you lit up when you saw her and how you would rock her at the house. I loved how you would put her in bed with you and snuggle. She is so loving. She is so much like you were! She says, "Hi" to everyone. Missing my son.

I remember you following the nurse around to watch every thing she was doing with Ava. You were already protective of her. Then when you held her…you looked into her eyes and then looked up and giggled…then you looked back at her and then the tears came…tears of joy. I so treasure this memory and will share it with Ava always! Her daddy loved her so and wanted her so and he cried when he first held her! You were so attentive to Ezgi too! Helpful. Many dads arn't and you were….you watched the baby and cooked and cleaned and even decorated the house. Going through your stuff and seeing household decorations, it's sort of funny….I like it. It was one of the things I loved about you. Missing my son.

Phil, I really miss you. I always will. I promise I won't get stuck in your death. Your life is what counted to me. All the moments between the first movement I felt inside my body, right up until you took your last breathe. I have been mad at you for dying. And just like in life, I never could stay mad…the smile you would flash and hard time you would give me…"Why do you want to be mad Mom?" Missing my son.

You were a calming force for me for sure. I am having to learn to calm myself now. It is more difficult as I am highly emotional and I don't have that outside perspective you gave me. I wish I could hold you one more time and hear your voice. I have several recordings of it…I listen to them while driving and sometimes when I am at the house alone. I loved that laugh. I am glad I told you how much I love it right before you died. Ava has it too…sort of a giggle. Missing my son.

 
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For all you dads out there

For all you dads out there…I want to share what I see happening. I want to share what I experienced happening. Of course this is not ALL dads…I am using it as a blanket statement because I know dads are busy making a living. They are focused. They want their sons to grow up and be able to support their families as well. The thing is…your baby boys need your attention too. They need hugs and nurturing. They need to be recognized and held and whispered to and loved. Of course you love them…well all know you do. The thing is…do they feel loved by you?

A Committed Dad till the End

I was at a funeral yesterday. It was for a five year old boy. This young boy was sick since birth. He had lost oxygen to the brain. Poor decisions were made and they nearly lost their first born child….a son. I listened to the dad speak about how much care he gave his son. 24/7 is what it took to keep him alive for five years. A strain on the family. A strain on the marriage. Yet, this dad stepped up. He was not only there to support financially, he was there emotionally and in everyother way to care for his son.

Sometimes Dad doesn't Know

I was wearing my boots and they have high heels…because I had been at a video shoot prior to the funeral, I was running late and by the time I got there it was standing room only. I stayed for most of the funearl and then retreated to the front room. There was a sofa and a mother with a six month old baby girl. She was playing with her and rocking her. When the funeral was over, dad appeared with his three year old son. I watched their interaction. The father constantly critisized the boy. Don't do that. Get over here. Only one piece of candy. What are you doing? Be quiet. The boy continued to seek out dads attention and the father would look over him and around him. He seemed like a good dad. He clearly loved his son and family. He didn't know what he was doing. The boys head would sink lower and lower each time. You could see his little frame hunching. It was clear to me…his son wanted his love and attention and he was too busy.

Pay Attention!

My husband rejoined me and we waited out the line to speak to the family. As we sat, my husband leaned over and said, "Watch this dad with his boy." 

"I have been." I replied.  "Why?"

"I just wish I could tell him to pick him up and hug him. Hold him. Be with him. He kep shushing him in the Chappel. He is too harsh on the little guy. He doesn't know." He said. "It is like he is ignoring him. Mom is in tune…dad is not."

"You should teach men how to be with their families." I said.

We wre quiet then and both watched a while longer. I considered telling this young father something. But what?

Paul told me he had a dream the other night. Phil was just a little guy. He said it was at our old house and he came in and all the kids were little and they were all there. He ran over and grabbed Phil and picked him up and held him and said, "I love you Phil. I love you."

He said everyone was confused because he feel to the floor holding Phil and saying, "I love you, I love you, I love you Phil." He laid on the floor and just held Phil while the rest of the family watched. Finally he looked up and said, Phil is going to die when he is older, yet still young. I am so sad about this.

I thought of the dream. How many times I had watched Phil sleep. I remember feeling guilty because I would tell him to go to bed and I would be in to read him a story and by the time I got the dishes done…he was fast asleep. I missed those moments with him. They were opportunities. I don't care about dishes. As a matter of fact, I hate doing dishes….dishes are always there. Phil isn't.

I would do a better job if I could go back. I would hold each of my children more. I would spend one on one time with them. I would look them in the eyes when they talked. I would turn off my cell phone. I would BE with them. Of course I cannot go back. What I can do is tell YOU to do a better job. Read them stories. Talk to them. Teach them. Don't spank them. It doesn't work. I did it….I did it in a very logical way….it was not done in anger..yet, it injured their self worth. I would teach them in love. I hope you will read this and change some things. Call me for ideas…read books…listen to tapes. Be the very best parent you can be. You only get one shot and it goes fast.

I love you Phil. I want you to know I think you were a great kid. I enjoyed seeing you grow into a man. Thank you for loving me inspite of my failings.

MOM

 
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I miss Phil!

Saderday night. Yes, I know I spelled it Sad-erday instead of Saturday. It is the day of the week Phil died. I am hiding out at work. Working 14 hour days so I don't have to miss Phil. I miss him so much I cannot breathe. I mean I seriously have a real problem breathing. They say it is asthma. Really? At 49? I guess it is possible. Spiritually they say that lung problems comes from unresolved grief. Hmmm. I could certainly see that in this case. It started when my mom died. Unresolved? Well…I would think it wouldn't be grief in the first place if it was resolved…of course that is just me.

It is so hard to go on without him. How do I do that? I can work a lot and do my daily activities and then when I wake in the morning or go to bed at night…I think of him. When I think of him, I focus on the good times and then I realize, he is gone. I cannot cry another tear…or so I think, and then the floodgates open.

I wonder if he sees me? If he does, he wouldn't like it that I was so sad. He would want me happy.  I think of this and then I get angry at him for leaving. The baby looks and acts so much like he did. He was the best baby ever. He minded and was happy. He gave me no trouble. She is the same way. He wanted to be with me and go with me and learn and play. Ava is the same way. If only I could spend every waking moment with her….I would.

I know people don't understand what this process is like. How do I know? Because I didn't understand. I would say….oh my gosh…that is aweful…I will pray for you…and then I would of course…and then I would go on with my life. They would come to mind from time to time, yet, I couldn't stay there. I feel like I don't have a choice but to be where I am now. I want this grief to be over. All the possibilities I used to consider for his life are gone. He is gone. Accept. Accept. This is what I need to do.

Except that I don't. I don't accept it. It is so final. It is so sad. It is so wrong. I resist it! I resist with my entire being. I don't want him dead. I want him alive. I don't care what he did or the trouble he caused…although he seemed to be on the right track…I want him back.

I want my first born back.

I love you Phil and I miss you with all my heart.

 
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