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

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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.


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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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Missing my son at Christmas

Missing my sonMy son is gone. I miss him. Today is the second of January. Yesterday was four months since the police showed up one beautiful afternoon and informed us my son was no longer a part of this earth. I still do not know how that can be. My son was healthy. He was strong. He was beautiful and perfect.

Remembering my son at birth.

I remember when my son was born. I carefully unwrapped him. He was my first born. He was a special package and I still was young and insecure about how to handle him. My son was just a few hours old and seemed so small and fragile. I looked at his toes and wrinkled little legs. I touched each one of them as if to make sure they were real. I held each little finger. I smelled him. I watched him wiggle around in his sleep.

My Son is Dead.

When the police came that day, I only heard enough to know my son was dead. It didn't matter at the time how it happened…the result was the same, no more Phil. I didn't want or need details. The question was not how, it was why? Why? Why? Why? Why him? Why now? Why today? Why? They didn't have the answer to that. It would not have mattered if they gave me an answer. There is no answer that would be enough. Nothing could justify Phil being gone. I loved that kid so much. To the depth of my soul.

The Smell of My Son

I can still smell his smell. I have his blanket that he slept with. It is dirty and needs to be washed and I cannot bring myself to wash it. I had sinus surgery and have not had any sense of smell in nearly two years. I might regain my smell someday and I want whatever faint smell of him is left to still be there…just in case. Even if it is dirty. I don't care. I slept in the guest room last night with his blanket. I held it like a person. I hugged it. After all, it was his. I imagined him sleeping with it. Maybe he drooled on it….I can still see him sleeping. He snored. I imagined it in my head.

His car sits in the driveway. I love seeing it there. I wonder how long a car will last just sitting in the driveway? My husband has talked about selling it, yet, I know he likes seeing it too. He hasn't taken any action to market it.

Time marches on. Four months? Really? It seems like it didn't even happen and it also seems like an eternity.

Sad Michelle
I feel as if I cannot breathe. There seems to be no release except the extreme crying and sleep. It has been sometime since I have had the extreme crying. I stayed home Christmas Day and watched Jack Frost and then lost it and cried and cried like it was my last breath. I fell to the floor and wailed and felt a sense of release. The day after Phil died, I took a walk on the side of the house, I felt my legs go limp and I crumpled in a heap on the side of our home. I banged the ground and yelled and sobbed like one would expect of a mother who just lost her child. I howled. The dogs howled. I felt as if my world had ended. I remember reading in the bible…this must be what wailing and nashing of teeth looked like. I looked around and the world continued. I looked around some more and everything looked different, though I knew it wasn't. The world was the same, it was my perception of the world that had changed. It wasn't safe. If Phil could die, so could my other kids. I had to protect them.

Tonight my daughter Emma came home and wanted to go sledding with some friends up in Prescott tomorrow. The answer was no of course. Why? She is so responsible. I trust her. She is a great kid. An honor student. But, my son died. This means my daughter could die. There could be a drunk driver. There could be ice on the road. There could be foolishness that happens. Seven kids in a suburban driving in the mountains with snow during the Holiday? Too many red flags went off inside me. No. No. NOOOOOOO. You cannot go! You could die! Don't you understand? You could be like Phil. If Phil could die, so could you. Now I know what it could be like to lose a child. It is possible. Before my son died, it was something I could not imagine…it would be too painful. I would die if that happened. Except that I didn't. I am left to live with the pain….unbearable pain. Fear was raising it's ugly head.

Well meaning friends give advice about losing my son. They send poems and cards about my son…about death and heaven. Nothing can make the pain and loss of my son subside. My husband says I am doing better. What are my options? If I don't do better I will die. My heart cannot hurt this much and still beat. If I continue to open that door in my mind, I will die. Hell, I feel like if I touch the handle on that door in my mind I will die. Somedays I wish I COULD die…I want to stop feeling the loss of my son and it never seems to go away. I am becoming a prisoner of my own mind, of my own emotions.

People tell me, this is not what he would want. He would not want you to be sad. Bullshit. Really? How do you know? Did you know him?  What he would want is to be here to raise his daughter. What he would not want is to be dead. He didn't want to die. Stop telling me stupid shit! What is true is PEOPLE don't want me to be sad. It makes them sad. It makes them feel uncomfortable. Well tough shit. I am sad. I am going through this. It is real for me. Deal with it.

I sometimes feel guilty for being negative about this. I should be a shining example to others about how to grieve. I have all these amazing personal growth tools. What good are they if I don't use them in difficult times? Yet, I don't FEEL positive…I feel hurt, sadness, loss. Is that so wrong? After all, these are just emotions and emotions are neither good nor bad, correct? Most people think for a minute how bad it would be to lose a child and they cannot imagine. You know how many times I have heard that? "I can't imagine that." If it is too painful to even imagine. Try living it.  The initial loss is bad….what is worse is living with it. Day in and day out, Phillip is not here.

Maybe it is just because it is Christmas? I so wish that was true. I know it will continue into the New Year and month after month. I suspect it is because I just miss my son and I think I always will.

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The Ghost of Christmas Past

Christmas Past

Every year at Christmas we watch Scrooge. It is such a great story of how we tend to get stuck in what we think is important and it takes something really big and scary to jolt us out of being stuck….then we can do something different.

I look at Phillips death as my big jolt. I feel tired and drained. I want to do something different….yet, I am not sure if I am. I love my kids….this makes me want to say I love you and make sure we hug each time you leave the house. It is coming across like I am paranoid. I guess I am. I mean, if Phil can die, they could too, right?

His ghost is everywhere. I seem Phil as a baby, a toddler, an elementary kid, a teenager, a young adult. I see him as a father. I see him as a driver. His car still sits in the driveway. Neither my husband or I have the heart to get rid of it. It sort of seems like he is here when it is in the driveway.

This year, I didn't want to do Christmas. Everywhere I look I see Phillip's presence. The ghost of Christmas past. You might think this would bring a level of peace yet it reminds me I will never hug him, smell him, hear his voice or get to see him age. Of all the firsts, this Christmas one seems to be the most painful by far….there has been Christmas stuff up since Halloween and it seems it will never end. When I was shopping, I was thinking Phil would love this…and then I would remember.

Phillip's First Christmas

As I was going through the orniments, the Ghost of Christmas Past was certainly lurking in my head. The little handmade Christmas Mickey Phillip Christmas Christmas snowmanorniments from Phillp's grade school years….his very first Mickey Mouse orniment that one of my friend had given me. And then there is the cheap little snowman orniment that had his first baby picture cutout and glued into it. I rememeber taking that photo oh so well. It was before iphones and digital cameras….I couldn't wait to get the film back and then I got copies of the photo and sent it to everyone I know. Then there was the one he made me in 2000 with his photo on it. He had dyed his hair blond that year….he thought it was so cool. He loved giving me gifts.

Phillip's first Christmas Carol

Phillip was about five months old when he and I laid in bed and watched Christmas shows one cold Saturday. We lived in Northern California. Phillip was just starting to be aware of things and he was so patient and good all day long. I couldn't believe he was MY baby….he didn't fuss and was just easy. He was so much like his dad. He even smelled like his dad. We watched a musical version of The Christmas Carol…better known as Scrooge and I sang him the lyrics for years…right up until he died as a matter of fact. I would change the words and throw in something about laundry.

The Ghost of Christmas Past is lurkning everywhere I turn. Phillip loved to decorate and if it wasn't for that fact, I would not have gotten a single decoration out this year. He was so excited for Ava to have Christmas this year. He was talking about it in August. She had a great Christmas. She kissed his photo several times. I think her mom must teach her that.

The Christmas ghost lingers in my head mostly. I cannot seem to escape. Paul said he cried at work today. We are learning to grieve together. We must support each other…so many couples lose themselves in the grief…there are many more Christmas trees to put up and Christmas ornimants to hang….this will not define us…not for long term…maybe for awhile….not for the long term.

I think of the ghost of Christmas past. In the movie it was everything that could have been, should have been…the regrets. I have those. I could have been a better mom. I could have been a better teacher to Phil. Could have, wouldn't have should have. There is no going back. This Christmas is without Phil. Last year was the last Christmas with Phil. How did we know. We didn't. We thought time would march on forever and allow us to be part of it. It didn't.

Merry Christmas. Hold your babies. Tell them everything you want to tell them now. This Christmas. You never know, the Christmas past may not look the way you think it should.



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How are you? The Ego Lurks…

How are you?  This is the question I dread hearing each time I go out. It seems strange but it is honestly why I don't want to go out because, " How are you? "  is asked of me over and over. Today I called Wells Fargo about Phillip's checking account and the lady answered the phone, "How are you?" I thought it was funny since I was in the middle of writing this article. I go to the grocery store and look the lady in the eye and she says, "How are you today?" It is something I don't even want to ask myself because I know the answer deep down. It is lurking…the Ego, just waiting to be asked the dread question…waiting for me to check in with my emotions….I suppose it is the Ego that Eckhart Tolle speaks of, that insane part of our mind that is waiting to inflict pain on our psyche at all times. The funny thing, it is what people want to learn to ask when learning new languages so they can ask other people a question they really don't want the answer to….How are you?

How are you? This is a Mindless way Americans Greet One Another.

How are you? This is a mindless way we greet one another. Why not just say hello? The Ego runs the show most of the time. Americans are so on autopilot in their lives….we have social rules set up by our parents, teachers, religious leaders…it is no wonder kids rebel against it. Kids don't live in their Ego, until we teach them to. How are you? This question is simply another nicety we use in our society to ACT like we really care without really caring. How are you? How we really are as a society is: closed, scared, dishonest. We, as a society, take a creative, open mind and close it…making it proper and polite…I know I did it to my kids. You have to act "this way" in the restaurant, "this way" at school, "this way" around other children's parents. I am not proud of this…as a matter of fact, I didn't even know it could be attributed to the way my children turn out as adults. And I am here to tell you now that they are adults…it can be attributed to the way they become as adults. And of course there is a balance…kids who have no training end up in prison or worse…dead. I am not saying not to train them…I am saying there is a better way to train them…and I digress from the subject at hand, How are you?

I would even resort to physical violence known as spanking to get my kids to comply and act appropriately. What the heck?  How important is it really to be accepted by others? There is a whole other philosophy on spanking children. I certainly did it when my kids were little and I would NOT do it again. There are other ways to train children than through spanking. I suppose that is a whole other article for that matter.

The Autopilot of the Question, How are you?

Society wants us to put our brain on autopilot and shut down creative thought. This is the How are you? collective Ego at work. Living in the moment doesn't take a lot of thought in my opinion…it is being fully engaged in what is going on…not worried about the fear of tomorrow or the threat of past events. The Ego will shut down everything we do that causes joy, bliss and being connected. It will shut down honesty. Shut down emotions. Shut down the very things that makes us unique. The Ego wants us to be FAKE, disingenuous, plastic. Why is it so important to be liked and to fit in? Why is it so important to look good for people in general. Why is it so important to look good for strangers? People you don't really know. Is autopilot really so attractive…do we all need to think and behave the same way? The Ego says yes.

How are you? How are you? Let me tell you How I Really am!

What would happen if we had more honesty in our society? What if someone at the store asked you how you really were and you really told them? It could be you just closed a big real estate deal or got a promotion at work…tell them all the details. Maybe your daughter or son is an honor student or they are getting married. All of this sounds great, right? What about the other stuff, the stuff no one wants to talk about? Your daughter was just arrested for drugs, your mother is terminal, your brother broke his leg or perhaps like me, your son was killed in a car accident. Is that what they want to know? Do they really want to know how are you?

What would happen if I said how I really was right now? Angry, pissed off, sad, empty? Oh my gosh, the personal growth advocate is not positive. What is going on? I thought she only posted positive stuff on Facebook and only spoke of positive books she has read and personal growth classes she has taken that have changed her life. It is sort of weird because even writing this I know it is wrapped in personal growth. I know that it is not healthy to deny or fake feeling good….denying my emotions. I am raw right now. I miss my son. I don't give a shit about social graces…how very ungraceful of me. Oh well. There is that Ego again.

How are you? I am sad, empty, grieving, hurting. It's okay to be here. I don't want to stay here and I find I struggle to get out. It is truly a struggle I can teach you more about once I get my Sealegs with it. Right now…I still wobble…I havn't grasped how to do it yet. So when someone asks me, How are you? I think I will answer, healing. That is what I want and as a Life Coach, the healthy attitude would be to focus on what I want without denying what I have.



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Election Day

Election day was today. I saw Phillips ballot come in the mail right before he died and I asked him if he planned to vote in this election. He said yes. I think he enjoyed being a grownup.

Election Day for a 22 Year Old. Election Day

Phillip was 22 when he died just two months before this election. What is Election Day like to a 22 year old? I remember voting in my second election. When Election Day came around it was wet and cold in Nebraska. I voted for Ronald Regan and was so happy about having him as a candidate. I thought he was amazing. Election Day for this 22 year old was a great memory. I don't know what Election Day would have been like for Phil. I only know he was 22.

Only one Presidential Election Day

Today as I voted…I realized Phil only got to vote in a Presidential Election one time. This would have been his second time and he didn't make it. His ballot is still laying in the pile near out kitchen counter. I haven't been able to toss it. It is sort of like I hope he will walk in the door and tell me what a big mistake the police made and that he is not really dead. He was kidnapped and taken to Mexico and it took him two months to escape and get back home.

Phillip I don't know who you would have voted for this Election Day. We didn't discuss it that day. We were still two months from Election Day when you died. So Phillip, they are calling Obama the new Ronald Regan….I don't think so….yet, here is what they are saying….

I wish you were here to vote. How can they have an Election Day without you? Don't they know your vote counts? You are important? They are missing a vote…I wish you were here to hug, to smell, to hear your laugh just one more time, just for a few minutes…I would hold you tight and tell you over and over just how much you are loved and how much you are missed. How important you are and how I just want you back. I would tell you that your vote counts and it just doesn't seem right to count the votes without you here. Of course nothing seems right without you here.

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Phil’s Little Ladybug

Ladybug, the name, was coined by European farmers who prayed to the Virgin Mary when pests began eating their crops. After ladybugs came and wiped out the invading insects, the farmers named them "beetle of Our Lady." This eventually was shortened to "lady beetle" and then "ladybug."

Ladybug, the Nickname

Before my grandaughter was born, my son and his girlfriend called their little baby, ladybug. Later it was shortened to simply 'bug'. So it seemed natural to not only me but to my other son Sam's girlfriend because we both bought little Ava a ladybug costume the very same day…nearly a month before Halloween.

Little Ladybug and her Halloween Costume

Little ladybug and her first pumpkinThis year was her second Halloween. She was only four months old on her first Halloween and they did dress her up as the great pumpkin….it wasn't near as much fun as this year though. Oh how I wished Phil were here to see his little ladybug. The ladybug costume was a big hit and she truely fit the role of ladybug.

Lunch with Grandma and Grandpa on Halloween

She wore her ladybug costume most of the day and enjoyed going to lunch with Grandpa and Grandma. She flittered around the restaurant loving people. What I mean is, she waves at people and is very friendly…she is exactly the way her dad was at that age. It is almost spooky how much she is like him. I had four other children and none of them were outgoing the way Phil was. He was a true people person.

He used to open the door for the ladies.

This is a very vivid memory of mine…Phil was about three years old when he started this behavior and I don't think he ever stopped. It was before the automated doors we have now at the grocery store. Everytime we would go to the grocery store he would hold the door for all the ladies coming into the store and as we were leaving…on the way out. I used to wait for him and finally I would say, "Phillip, come on…we have to go." He would look at me like I was crazy and say, "But Mom, I have to hold the door for the ladies."

There were other times when he would help them load their groceries or carry their stuff for them. If anyone were to drop anything he was the first one there picking it up for them. He was a helper. Always helping. Supporting. A lot like his dad really.

Friendly to Everyone

He used to wave at people just like Ava does. He didn't know a stranger. As an adult, he worked in Circle K for two years and when he died people called and came out of the woodwork to tell me how they met him at Circle K and how friendly he was. One such couple came to our home and had gifts for the baby. They are both postal workers and they would stop every morning to get coffee. As they got to know him, they grew to love him. He had been to their home, they had bought gifts for the baby. He invited them to the house several times and always talked about how nice they were. He seemed to have a way of seeing the good in people.

The Ladybug Masterpiece

Ava Ladybug Costume

Paul and I had a babyshower at the house for Phil and Ezgi. They had a ladybug cake. I remember this being the first time I heard about their little nickname for the baby and I thought it was a great nickname and a great theme. The cake was amazing. Whomever baked it had created a masterpiece in my opinion.

In many cultures, ladybugs are considered good luck. Most people like them because they are pretty, graceful, and harmless to humans. But farmers love them because they eat aphids and other plant-eating pests. One ladybug can eat up to 5,000 insects in its lifetime!

I don't know about farmers and ladybugs, what I do know is I used to think I was here for the baby and now what I really realize is this little ladybug was sent for me. She is here for me.


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Just another Emotion Filled Day

Emotion. It is laying in wait for me to have a thought. It springs from my subconscious and fights with my brain. Today I slept. I don't want to sleep so much…at least this is what is logical. I find that I am awake at night and sleeping during the day. I feel so drained. Part of me feels like I have been doing pretty well working through this…and then, what does pretty well look like in this situation?

Removing the Emotion from the Process

When I have high emotion my husband pointed out very logically that people die all the time. Mothers lose sons, daughters lose their babies…entire families are wiped out sometimes. I know this is true…still…it is ME now. This sounds selfish I know. The thing is…I never thought it would be me. AND I sort of did. I have always worried about Phil. Always. More than the other kids. He seemed to live more in the moment. He didn't worry about the future.  This didn't always work out for him so well. It was sort of like he didn't recognize cause and effect. If I do this…this could happen. Is worry an emotion?

The Emotion of Raising a Child

Emotionally, I struggled with raising him. Typical emotional mother stuff. I read somewhere that young men have something in their brain that doesn't fully develop until they hit their 20's. I could see this with Phil. He was really starting to do things differently. Just small things…things he would say and do. I am sure he couldn't even see the benefits. I could. He loved his baby and wanted to do right by her. He was more in tune to his health. He was more in tune to his behavior. And he was 22 years old. He was just starting to get that thing in his brain. You know?

Phil was an Emotional Dad. Emotion from dad

Phil was filled with emotion for his baby. The neighbor said Phil stopped and talked to him one day while he was having a garage sale. Phil wanted his baby to be smart and he bought the Baby Einstein series from the sale. The neighbor said Phil talked to him for some time about these tapes. Phil told me about them too. He wanted Ava to get into music. She is so musically inclined. He wanted her to have that. He had so much emotion when he looked at her…when he held her.

I Miss His Smell!

I can still see Phillip. I smell him. I hear his voice. It is like his presence is everywhere in this house. I see his car in the driveway. I imagine him coming through the door in the evening and telling me about his day. My husband said his dirty laundry is starting to smell in the guest room. I wouldn't let them wash it. All this comes from emotion. The logic of my head says wash the damn laundry it stinks. My heart says…NEVER!

For over two years I have had no sense of smell. I took one of his shirts out the other day and wrapped the baby in it…she buried her face in it and took a deep breath….then she went lax and just laid in my arms. She smelled him. She misses him too. She has gone to calling Paul Da-da. We tell her this is grandpa….still sEmotion toward the babyhe says, Da-da. She looks for him. She points at his pictures and says Da-da. I am surprised she still remembers him after two months. I suppose it will fade eventually. She adores her Uncle Sam who Phil lived with. When Sam comes over she wants him to hold her and she lays her head on his shoulder and just lays there with him. She cries when he puts her down.

How do you Help Babies with Emotion?

I want to comfort her. I don't know how. She is not old enough to explain and what would I say anyway..nothing anyone says to me makes me feel better. I don't even know how to comfort myself. Nothing matters to me much anymore. People say, you have other kids. Duh. I know this. I love them. I just have no juice left right now. It is like I am out of gas or something. It is hard to make myself go. Paul has it too. He talks logic to me but I see him doing the same things I do. Illogical stuff. Sleeping. Eating. Drinking. We call this STERBING in our Grief Recovery.

Emotions are a funny thing. In the long run…they really do run everything. When emotions are not complete, they run the show. I am working with my emotions right now. It makes people uncomfortable. They are afraid to talk to me…they don't know what to say. Why do we always feel like we need to say something? How about just being with me. Our culture doesn't have a clue about emotions. Why are we so afraid of emotions anyway?

I think real communication comes from emotion. I have communicated with more people through emotion now than ever before. It is something I will not ever be able to control. I find that I have more control of my emotions when I just feel them and get complete with them. After all we are emotional beings, are we not?

All I know is I miss my son. I miss him a lot. I love him. I am mad at him. I am disappointed, I feel guilt and sorrow. I am happy to have the baby. I am so incredibly sad. I have all of this emotion.  Some of these emotions make sense and some don't. I want him back damn it! I just want him back.

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Coping with Death

Coping with death seems to elude me.

What does coping with death mean? Isn't it obvious that none of us are getting out alive? Yet for me, I have been living my life as if death will never happen. My children will never die. My husband will never die. I will never die. Hell, even my parents will never die…except they did. Coping with death is not something I want to teach my children! And I certainly don't want to learn it myself!

Teaching my Children about Coping with Death

In addition to not wanting to teach my children about coping with death, I don't know if I am even well equipped to teach them about coping with death. The death of their brother? I have never lost a brother. I don't know if "I" am actually coping with death right now. What does "coping" look like? Does coping simply mean breathing? It seems that is the only thing I am really focused on doing right now. 

Coping with Death on FacebookCoping with Death

I personally have used Facebook as an outlet to cope with Phillip's death. It has helped me connect to other parents who have gone through the loss of a child and it gives me an avenue to share my feelings and allow my friends to offer support. It has been my biggest coping tool so far. Yay me, coping with death on Facebook.

Coped with death….as in Past Tense

I just want to get over it. I want it to be behind me. A one time event where I say..."Okay then, now that that is over, let's just move on from here." Cope-ing with death sounds like a long term project…on-going….never ending…something that I would not want to sign up for…and yet, here I am.

Just the word, "coping"…that sounds like something that is on-going. I am do-ing it daily. Moment by moment. Cope-ing. I don't like that word. Can't we just get this over with so the pain will stop? I am thinking of a word more like coped. As if in the past tense. It's done. I did it and now we can move forward. Glad that is behind me. Yup.

Of course, you and I both know this wouldn't work either. I couldn't live knowing I had gone on and left my Phillip behind. My mind plays tricks on me….silly ego of mine. The truth is, no matter where my mind is, it is not happy. It seeks out the sadness in each situation. From what I have read….this is the way of the ego. Some people even call it the devil. Right now I can totally subscribe to that belief. Coping with death is going to be what I am doing for a long time I am afraid. Coping with loss. The loss of someone so special and close to my heart.

I remember…this little baby that I tax and strain my body to bring into this world.  That is only the beginning. That is just when the fun begins. Engorged breasts, sore nipples, lack of sleep…stinky baby smells, poopy diapers, doctor appointments, lack of intimacy with my husband…and more. How can I go through all of that and still think this is the best experience of my life? Go figure.

Then the baby grows and start to laugh, crawl, walk and talk…the giggles are so amazing. And then they get hair! At least in our case….none of my babies had hair. So many changes. And the first time they wrap their grubby little arms around your neck and tell you they love you, then it is all over. It is what every mother wants to hear…their hard work and suffering has now become worth something….this little being loves them for all they do for them.

How do I cope when the love of my life, my first-born child has been destroyed. His body burnt and reduced to a bag of ashes? How do you cope with that? I spent many sleepless nights caring for….snuggling with, reading to, watching TV with this child and now he is just gone? I remember luggin his sleeping body from the car to his bed when he fell asleep in the car coming home from Grandma's on Thanksgiving….the dead weight of his body as he grew…every year he would fall asleep on the way home and every year we would carry him into the house. These are the joys of parenthood.

How do I manage coping with his death? The death of this precious child who I gave my entire heart to for 22 years? How does this work?

The pain is intensified when people who have no clue about my son, make accusations about his chareacter. About who he was. They slander and make things up because they think somehow it will ease their pain and suffering from the loss of their child or worse they make things up to get money from us. Really? I would not slander your child even if I thought your child was a major contributor to this tragic event. Which I do….they co-created. They were there together…each bringing his or her own contribution to the end result.

It will never be done. I will never get to use the word coped. I don't think that word even exists anyway. It is not a past tense kind of word…which sucks for me.

I miss you Phil. I am still missing sleep over you, only this time you are not here. I have nothing to worry about anymore. You are gone. Nothing could be worse than that. I don't have to worry. The worry did me no good anyway because my worst nightmare is now my life. The days pass and everything reminds me of you. Everything. I cannot get you out of my mind for a minute. I have replaced the worry with sadness. It has to stop if I am to survive. I cannot stay here.

I want you back. I want to hold you….you will always be my baby Phil, Phil.

If you find yourself in a place where you are coping with death and loss, please find freedom from grief here


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Verizon Wireless Text Messages from Deceased

Verizon Wireless sent us another bill today. It was addressed to Phillip Shelton.

Verizon WirelessI have called Verizon Wireless about Phillip's cell phone bill. I called and told them he died and asked to get his text messages. This was a couple of days after he died. So, maybe September 3th or 4th. They said as long as you have a police officer order them, I could get them. So I called the investigating officer from Phil's accident and asked him if he would call Verizon Wireless on our behalf…and he did. They told him they would not release the text messages without a subpoena. This is Verizon Wireless policy. At that point I dropped it. I could understand the privacy issues here and thought I could live without the text messages. They were simply to ease a grieving mother's heart….and for that matter, nothing seems to ease it. I recognized this.

Verizon Wireless….he won't be paying, he died.

I have received many more bills and notices from Verizon about Phillip's unpaid phone bill and then one day I called his voicemail and the phone was shut off. I have started opening his mail now. For awhile I couldn't do it. It seemed like such an invasion of his privacy to open his mail. Yes, I knew he was dead. Yes, I knew he wasn't coming back. Still, it was his stuff. His privacy as a young adult and it seemed….well…disrespectful.

Verizon Wireless Supervisor

Today I called Verizon Wireless and talked to a Verizon Wireless representative and told him Phillip had died and would not be paying the Verizon Wireless phone bill. He said, all you have to do is take an obituary down to any local Verizon Wireless store and they will credit back the amount charged after the day he died. Really? Is that all I have to do? I wanted to freak out. I asked to talk to his supervisor. He said, may I ask why? I said yes you can, the reason I want to speak to your supervisor is, you don't understand that my son burned up in a car crash and I don't want his credit ruined because you are not listening to me when I told you he died and won't be paying his Verizon Wireless phone bill anymore.

I don't care if they credit him. He is not here. He is not paying any of the bill so I don't really care about a credit, does that make sense to anyone?

I know even my husband thought I was being crazy. I just don't like the idea of my son being sent to collections for something he CAN'T pay. He isn't here to handle it…he was responsible and paid his phone bill and I don't think it should go to collections because he died. I was just feeling really annoyed about this.

I don't like opening his mail and I really won't like seeing his credit ruined after he died. My husband thinks I am making too big of a deal out of it. I don't care. I think it sucks. I will send them a copy of the obituary if they will quit sending him bills and put it in their dead person pile….why do they need to keep sending them out?

One good thing that came of this…I did record his voice on the voicemail and I was able to check his messages. He had nothing big but his brother and sister had both called and let them know they loved him. That was a comfort them them that he had heard those messages.

Boy I miss my kid. 22 forever.



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