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

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Grieving with Grace

Grieving with Grace.

Two years ago today at 10:41 AM, my life changed forever. My son, Phillip, braked for a slow moving vehicle and lost control of his car and slammed into a tree and then the car burned up. The good news? He and his passenger died in seconds, most likely before the fire. That was as good as the news got for me.

The Struggle of Unfinished Business

I have struggled to not lose myself in the last two years. There was a lawsuit since Paul rented the car for Phil they had to find that he was negligent in doing so and then they could sue us. So they proved that the father, who had also lost his son, was negligent so they could extract money from our insurance. After all, it was just our insurance company paying, it's not like we are the ones paying. Except for the phone calls with attorneys being cross-examed. As if he didn't feel guilty already.

Blaming Others for my Loss

Then the mother of the girl decided she wanted to see if Toyota was responsible and pursued them. I didn't think there was anything wrong with the car but I jumped on the band wagon and said, let's pursue it. If there was something wrong with the car, they can pay us, if not, no harm no foul.

He was just a Kid

All the time, I thought Phil was simply a 22 year old man who was driving too fast on his way to San Diego. Turns out, that is exactly what happened. I don't blame him. Lord knows it could have been me many times in my 20's. I don't think our brains begin working correctly with consequences until we are at least 25. I will speak for myself though, I know MY brain didn't.

Another Piece of the Puzzle gets Resolved

We got a call three weeks ago and were told the black box from the car had finally been analyzed and it showed that the accelerator did not stick. He was driving fast and came up on a slow moving vehicle and instead of hitting them, he swerved and lost control. My brain went to, why didn't you just hit them? If they were moving at 60, you could have hit them and no one would have died. But that is not what happened.

Creating a New Normal

I remember the day the police came to the door. It was like taking a pendulum and swinging it so far the other way. Our normal, happy life, had just been hit but Huricane Katrina. Everything we had built and worked for seemed unimportant. It seemed as if any glimpse of happy was gone forever.

Fast forward two years. The pendulum has swung back and is settling into a new normal. I don't think it will ever level out. I am not sure if normal is the correct word for me…it is the words all the books use.

The kids are each handeling it in their own way. Some of them have told all of their friends and some of them have not even told their closest friends. The friends that have been around for years, of course they know and we simply don't talk about it. Or I should say, THEY don't talk about it. I talk about it (meaning Phil) all the time.

Handeling Grief with Grace

One day while talking to a friend, I heard myself saying I wanted to learn to handle grief with grace. When I think of grace I think of being polite, classy, poised. I looked it up in the dictonary and this is what I found. Grace: a way of moving that is smooth and attractive and that is not stiff or awkward. When I read this, I realized that it would take me years to not be awkward with Phils death. A sobbing mother is anything but attractive and smooth.

I asked myself, so I want to look good? Was this really about looking good? No. I want to FEEL graceful. I want to feel smooth and move through it in an attractive way.

Reality Check about Grief

The feelings are anything but graceful. They are awkward, rough, volitile, ugly. As I realized what grace truly was about, I stopped and said, I don't need to look good doing this. All I need to do is be true to myself and regain my strength. I can show others that things don't have to look good to be effective. I have come to realize that grief is natural, normal. It is the biggest part of life we all must one day face. Each of us knows comming in that there might not be a tomorrow.

So I will awkwardly walk this walk and accept your hand. I know when I meet strangers and friends alike and I tell them what has happened, they have a knowing inside. The tears well up, they have either lost someone close to them or they have a realziation that in this life, if you live long enough, you will lose someone you cannot imagine life without. It doesn't have to be graceful. There is not right or wrong when it comes to grieving. It can look how it looks. As Phillip used to say, "It's all good mom."

So if you are grieving. It is awkward. You will drop the ball, checkout and get angry. You will most likely ask why and may even blame yourself from time to time. This is all part of the new normal. Part of the muddling through. Part of the awkwardness.

What Grace Really is

For me…the grace isn't about looking good for others. It has become about being plesant with myself. Not eating myself to death, not compounding problems by drinking excessive amounts of wine. I love my life and this is why it was so difficult to lose Phil as I loved his life too. For me…the grace is about being plesant with myself, being okay with myself and not being awkward with myself.

So now, I strive to have grace with myself. In otherwords, when grief comes up and I blame myself, get angry or chip away at me, I stop and say, is this a plesant way of behaving with MYSELF? Is this making things smooth for me? Will this make me feel attractive? To me, this is grieving with grace.

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The Thursday before My Life Changed Forever

Two years ago today, Paul and I were dancing with Ava. She was barely walking and boy did she like to dance with Papa and Gigi! She thought it was so cool to be able to spin around and dance.

Phillip and Sam and just moved into their new apartment and Paul, Josephine and I were out on doctors appointments for the followup on Josies brain tumor. We called Phil to see if he was home and he was and not only was he home, he had the baby. We headed over to see both of them and the new place.

It was an ordinary day. Looking back it was one of those days that now seems extraordinary because it was just so ordinary and yet so special. I remember walking out on his deck and talking about all the landscaping he was going to do for the apartment complex. They had agreed to allow him to do landscaping in place of his rent and he was very excited about this. I always called him my little entrepreneur. He would find jobs and make money doing all sorts of things.

Paul and I had worked hard the previous year to regain our health. We had both released a lot of weight and we able to keep up with the baby. We turned the music on and danced. All of it is on video…all of it except Phil. You can hear his voice in the background and at one point he puts his foot on the table and you can see it. We were focused on the baby.
That Thursday we spent two hours with our son. I had no way of knowing it would be my last time with him. When we left, he was holding the baby and I gave him an awkward hug.

"I love you Phil." I said.

"I love you too mom." He replied.

As we were driving away, my mothers heart must have known at some level. I told Paul to stop the car. He stopped and asked what was wrong. I told him I needed to go back. He looked at me as if I was crazy. Then he asked why.

"I need to go back and hold Phil and tell him how much I love him." I said

"You just did that." He said.

I said, "No, I need to do it good. I didn't do it good because he was holding the baby."
"He knows you love him Shelly, it is fine, plus we are going to be late for the movie." He said.

I thought about it and agreed. It did seem silly. I was just there. He knew I loved him. Why now?

My answer came two days later when the police showed up at our home. It seems like yesterday and yet it seems like it has been going on forever. It is such a draining experience

I have worked a lot today. I want to avoid the thoughts. I know that significance is assigned by me. Today is just Thursday, right? The Thursday before the Holiday weekend. Just another day.

For me is the Thursday before Phil died. The last time I ever touched him or saw him. It has significance to me.

Just an ordinary Thursday. That's all it was and yet it is more special to me than most other days. It was the last time I heard his voice, touched him, smelled him. I hope today when you are with your kids you will stop to smell their hair and allow your hug to linger. You never know when your ordinary day can turn extraordinary.

I love you Phil. Love, Mom

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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


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… 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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