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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Sad One Day, Happy the Next.

Yesterday was not Sad for the most part

Yesterday was a great day. I woke up feeling great. I decided I was really doing well with my grief recovery. I thought to myself, I think I can actually work through this and live my life without being sad all the time.

Today was mostly Sad

That was yesterday….today I woke up and felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. I felt sad. The overwhelming sense of dread fell upon my mind almost as soon as I opened my eyes. I began to sob loudly….my body shaking and making noises that no mother's body should make.

I guess this is what they mean when they say day by day.

The Baby is Sad too

Even my great, sad-free day started to slip away at certain moments yesterday. All day I didn't feel sad. I was proud of myself and kept giving myself kuddos with my internal dialogue. My 20 year old son came over last night. I had not seen him in a couple of weeks and I missed him so it was good to see him. The baby was here and she kept saying Da-da, Da-da, Da-da. I think she equated her Uncle Sam with her dad. It was sad. She would go from room to room and knock on the doors and say, Da-da. I felt my heart slipping back into the sad pain.

Later in the evening Paul and I were sitting there with our three younger kids. Our oldest girl, Marie, was Paul's daughter from a previous relationship. She was not here and all of a sudden it occured to me that if Phil was here, all four kids I had given birth to would be here. I felt so sad. Now there were only three. I started to cry. Sad was back. It creeped in like a theif.

Many people have asked me how my kids are doing. Of course they are sad too. Their greiving process is much more private than mine and some of them are disappointed I am going so "public with my grief". One thing my mother always taught me is to be real. I am sad. It is just where I am at with Phil's death. I don't feel like I bear all on facebook. From my perspective there are some things I still hold back.  If I were really to get vulnerable…I would post about my kids and their experience, the issues with the accident and how now attorneys are involved. I might even dig into what is going on with the babys mother and I. Of course, this now involves other people and for the most part that is where I draw the line in the sand.

I get sick of the fake people. They have one photo that has been on there for seven years because they don't want anyone to see they are old and fat. Who cares? I mean really, just be real.

I Yam Sad.I always liked Popeye the Sailor Man because he would say, "I Yam what I Yam."  I sort of feel that way. I don't feel like I need to act like I am not sad or like I am something I am not…eventually people would see the real me anyway. They are going to see I am sad. I am not going to put on a happy face because they feel uncomfortble with me being sad. It is interesting the reactions from various people when I tell them I have lost a child and I am sad. Some want to avoid the topic. Some want me to be happy so they tell me a joke or give advice. Others are super supportive and bring a meal. Some offer hugs, while others come to tears themselves. I have had two men ask me how Phillip was doing. It was almost like they couldn't hear the information. I said he died. They looked at me like I had two heads.

We have a neighbor who was talking about her goats and kept talking and talking and finally I turned to Paul and said, "Will you please tell her what happened as I simply can't listen to her anymore." I probably didn't need to be so rude…but you know the worst part…she mumbled something like, that is aweful and then went right back to rambling about the goats and using our pasture. I listened for about a minute and walked out of the room and said, "I can't do this with her anymore." Duh. I don't care what you do with the stupid goats you stupid woman. Did I mention anger and frustraion is apparently part of my sad, grieving process?

I am human. I have bad habits. I make mistakes. I have anger, frustraion and pain and most of the time I don't wear any makeup. I like to sing around the house and much to my families dismay…I don't sound well…or at least that is what THEY say…I think I sound great. I have been drinking too much wine in the evenings. It adds to the problems and I don't care. I feel a little self distructive but before you freak out and get all worried…I am not going to stay here…I am just having a little pity party….I don't know how long it will last….right now I am just enjoying it. Sort of.  Paul says it is my ego. I don't give a shit what you call it. I am punishing myself and I am sad. Part of me doesn't want to go on quite frankly. Only I wouldn't do that. The show MUST go on. Eventually I will love myself again. That is why I can confidently say, I won't say here. I don't always like myself…I do most of the time though. And that is the goal. I want to like myself and be okay with the human condition in which I find myself….even when I am sad and grieving.

So my grief is my grief. I am a mom who lost her son and I am sad. He was my baby. I gave birth, fed and cared for him. Changed his diapers…taught him to read and write, and to dress and feed himself. I taught him to talk and be helpful and kind to others and to explore the world and be in nature. I taught him to be a dad and to change diapers and he would call me for parenting advice. I remember he called me one morning in a tizzy. Mom…there is something coming out of the babies vagina…it is like little gel balls. I think something is wrong with her. I could hear the panic in his voice. Ended up…her diaper was really wet and she picked at it and the gel from inside the diaper was coming out. I loved it that he loved her so much. I loved watching him love her. I miss him.

I also taught him to lie. This one I am not happy about and I didn't do it intentially. I would talk about being honest and I felt I was a good example of honestly then I would make it so difficult for him to be wrong that he would never let me know he did something "wrong", he would lie. This is a regret I want to share with other parents. Don't be so harsh…most of the things we have energy on isn't even important, the stuff is just stuff…you can replace it. Looking good for other people…who cares what they think if your kid picks his nose in church or makes a scene at the grocery store? This child and what you are teaching them about loving themselves is most important and the time goes fast. You have one shot. Before you know it…they will be grown and you will get to see your result….what do you want it to be?

Love is key. Just love them. Laugh. Have fun and enjoy your children. I am going to take my own advice. We are going up north with our girls this week….only for a couple of days. There is no moon and we like to stargaze. I remember one time we stayed in a cabin at Holly Lake and we took the bedspreads off the bed and put one on the ground and the other over us….all four of us laid under the stars and saw falling stars and satellites. It was so cool….we stayed out there for hours and I loved it. We laughed and talked and cuddled.

I hope someone does something different with their children after reading this. It would be the best gift ever to know someone let go of their anger in that moment of rage because they contemplated what it would be like without their little son and did not worry about the stain on the carpet. Or maybe when the kid is telling you a great story with his / her elbow on the table…you just ignore it and listen intently instead….what would that look like? Stop correcting every little thing. It doesn't matter…I am sure he / she will learn to not pick their nose in public without you ever mentioning it.

I cannot tell you the depths of the sad pain I feel for the loss of my son. The sad is so deep.  Deeper than anything I ever hoped to feel. This journey is for a lifetime. I thought I would have another jorney and yet this is my path. I don't wish it on anyone and it is what I have and I will make lemonaide out of the lemons I have been given.

Now….stop reading this and go look your kid in the eye and tell him at least 5 things you absolutely adore about him or her. Do it in honor of my Phil…do it for me.

I Yam, what I Yam. I hope you are too!

 
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Positive and Negative Emotions in Grief

Grief has many faces. Part of grief and the grieving process is to be realistic with myself about my relationship with my son. It is the only way I can recover from the grief. We had our ups and downs. He took his own path when he was about 13 years old. It was not a path Dad and I approved of most of the time. Phil bringing us grief is not new. I am also starting to look at other losses and grief patterns in my life and there were a few with him over the years that I will write about in future articles. There was a sense of loss when he quit school and I felt grief. There was a sense of loss and grief when he started smoking and then when he became involved with drugs there was more grief. Although most of his run-ins with the law were petty and even childish, it brought both his dad and I grief, there was a sense of loss, loss of his innocence, loss of pride and having a sense of accomplishment about being a great parent. Grief can occur in many forms.

The Grief Recovery Handbook Explains it

In the book, The Grief Recovery Handbook, John W. James and Russell Friedman write about enshrinement and bedeviling.  I am going to go back to this in a minute and first I want to share with you a story I used to tell Phil about this very thing.

Phil's Grief

Phil was a very emotional kid and he felt things very deeply. He had a difficult time expressing his emotions and it would either come out as very passive, people pleasing behavior or angry, frustrated and aggressive. I now realize he had some unresolved grief too. He would often feel others were out to get him and he would become frustrated with how people treated him. His grief was loss of respect, loyalty, kindness…basically friendship. What I saw really going on is he would give and give and give and he would attract people who take and take and take…then he would get sick of it, explode and they would reject him so he would go back to giving and giving and giving again…only to repeat the cycle. He was creating grief for himself with this vicious cycle.

What you Focus on Grows

I never talked to Phil about grief as I didn't know that is what it was until I started to walk through this process with The Grief Recovery Handbook. I did talk to Phil about his perspective that circumstances were bad and how he chose to see things. He would complain about other people and have somewhat of a victim mentality sometimes.  Like everyone was out to get him.  I explained that both positive and negatives are present and they become positive or negative based on our experience with them. We are the ones who then label these experiences as positive or negative and give the circumstances significance. The more you focus on one or the other, the more that perspective grows and the next thing you know someone is labeling YOU as a negative influence or a positive influence. What you focus on grows.

Next week Paul and the kids and I are going to go camping. It has been some time since we have been camping and when the kids were little we used to go all the time. We even took them on a big camping trip to Mount Rushmore when Phil was about six years old.

When Phil would complain and be negative, I would ask him to focus on the positive. The goal was to get him to see that both positive and negative were part of the whole experience and he could choose to focus on whichever he chose and typically it was both of them mixed together that made the experience the most enjoyable.

One of the ways I did this was to relate to his experience of camping. I would ask him to point out the negatives of camping. He would say something like…well…it is sometimes hot and it is sometimes cold. There is sand in everything if you camp at the beach. If it rains it is muddy. So the weather can have a big affect on camping. I would dig in deeper and ask, "What else?" He would continue with the fact that sometimes there are critters that get into your food. Mice chewed through his dad's bag one time and ate his food.  There are ticks and bugs. There is no fridge so the food sometimes gets wet in the cooler. There are flies and ants when you are trying to eat your food. Everything smells like a campfire. "What else?" I prodded. More things would roll out, sometimes there is a full moon and it makes it hard to sleep because it is so bright out. He recounted one time how the wind was so strong we had to weigh everything down and tie the tent down so we didn't lose it. It can be dangerous when there is lightening.

As he continued to point out all the things "wrong" with camping, I just listened. They were all true. It was true that we had had some negative experiences camping. Then I asked him a different question. What are the positives of camping?

Now his face took on a half smile and I could see him going back to the good memories he had of camping. The first thing he said was, "Its fun, we get to run around outside and play in the creek! We get to catch toads! There are lots of stars and I love stories around the campfire."

I was nodding my head in agreement and asked, "What else?"

"We get to fish! I love fishing and when we camped at grandpas it rained and it was so cool. Oh and I loved being able to go out on the boat."

Again my head was bobbing in agreement and I asked, "What else Phil?"

"Well….the full moon is pretty cool, it is so bright out, I actually sort of like it. Also, there are so many different types of bugs and I like to look at them."

He started to smile and I said, "Phil, what you focus on grows. All of those things are true about camping. The only difference is where you look and how you handle those things."

He used to get tired of me teaching him stuff…yet, I found out he would repeat a lot of what Paul and I taught him to his friends. Now he is teaching me about grief. I have an opportunity to learn more.

Shines at accident scenes protray griefI said I would tell you about enshrinement and bedevilment as it relates to grief. What do these terms actually mean in the grief process?

Again, I must be realistic about my relationship with my son in order to fully heal from the grief and loss of him.

Enshrinement and Grief

Many times when someone dies people tend to only focus on the positive of the relationship and the person…this does not allow them to be complete with any negative emotions they might have toward the relationship. This is called enshrinement. An example would be roadside shines to the deceased or memorial tattoos. You may have even heard the term, speak no ill will of the dead.

Bedevilment and Grief

Other people with grief may do the opposite, they become angry and withdrawn and they only focus on the negative of the relationship. The grief they feel is so overwhelming they may constantly slander the dead person and talk about how bad they were.  Perhaps the person was doing drugs or were in prison or killed themselves after a series of poor choices in life. With grief, this behavior would be called bedeviling….or focusing only on the negative of the relationship.

So before you are critical of my articles and think I am speaking poorly of my son, I want you to know this is a healthy part of the process in my opinion. I am embracing my grief. I want to be able to be productive and create an amazing life and not let grief stop me. I will be raw and honest with my grief and share it with you with the hopes that it will support you or someone you know get their this process called grief.

 


 

 

 

 

 
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Love Letters to Phillip

Love Letters to Phillip started in 1993 when I had this idea of keeping a journal for all the kids. When Phillip died, I realized how much stuff I was holding on to for Phil. I have been keeping a journal for him since he was three years old and yet I never gave it to him. It doesn't have a lot of writing in it, simply things I wrote about and for him over the years. I was waiting for the perfect day to give it to him. As I said, the journal was actually started in June of 1993 and he was born in 1990. 

I call these writings my love letters. I guess now it is formally Love Letters to Phillip. Maybe this will be the new name of this blog. I sort of like it. This blog was initially set up for Phil as a memorial page and it is turning into my Love Letters to Phillipprivate platform to get my thoughts and feelings out about his death and the pain I feel. Back to the journal.

The entries were typically written early in the morning while I did my quiet time. I used to homeschool the kids when they were little and I would get up very early to get some time to myself to pray, meditate and just be alone with my thoughts. This is when I would write in their journals.

There are also various little things wedged between the pages. I have his little finger prints inside a small card…it has his photo on the outsie and there is a chart inside where we took his fingerprints. It has a photo of Phillip about four years old with his shirt buttoned all the way up to the top. I remember at the time I really didn't want to do this as I had to make my mind go to a place of envisioning him being kidnapped and murdered…why else would they need these fingerprintes to identify him? I hated the thought and almost didn't go through with it at the time.

Love letters to PhillipThe first love letter reads:

Dear Phillip,

I wish I would have started this book for you earlier.

You are my first born baby and I will tell you there is no bond stronger than that. I love you so much. I hope you will always know that.

When you were born I wanted to hold you all the time and that really hasn't changed much. You make me happy with everything you do. I have enjoyed every stage of your life.

You are such a good boy. You are nice and friendly and so smiley! Everyone loves you Phillip.

You are really starting to talk now and you say some funny things. I'm going to keep this journal throughout your life to give you when you get olders so I can record important dates and let you know just what you mean to daddy and me. I will try to record things that I think will be of intrerest to you. God loves you beautiful boy!

Love Mom

As I paged through and read some of the entries, I flipped forward to the last entry and I don't think he ever got to read it. I never wanted the journal to get lost in a young man's move from this apartment to that one or destroyed. I have always kept the journals from the kids. I think now I am going to let the other kids read their journals as long as I know the book doesn't leave the house. I think it is important for them to have moms perspective.

The last entry reads:

10-2-2011 (This was also a day Phillip lost one of his close friends…I really wish he had read this)

Phil,

The best gift you could have given me is to allow me to be there when Ava was born.

You are doing a great job raising her. It is hard work raising a family. Always do what is best for her.

Now you know how much I love YOU.

Time goes fast…do what you love without destroying your life.

I love you Phil! You will always be my little Phil, Phil.

Love, Mom

When Phil was little his little brother Sam would always call him Phil Phil. So the name sort of stuck with us.

I look at the other things I was saving for him. Why didn't I just give them to him? I felt he wasn't stable enough…he moved a lot and I thought he would lose things in the move and it is probably true. He has had friends call and tell me he left stuff at their house. Still, I wish he had gotten to enjoy some of the items I was saving for him. I wish he had read this journal to see himself through my eyes.

I miss you Phil, Phil.

 
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Resistence is fu-TILE.

I remember in 1995 when my friend was murdered, I read a book about grief and it talked about the "new" normal.

I do think that is a good way to put what happened into perspective as my daily routine has to shift now. Everything has to shift. Nothing is normal anymore. Holidays, the way I shop (because I used to buy five of everything and now I will only need to buy four), phone calls, text messages, the way I answer the question, "How many kids do you have?" and even my time with Phil's baby will change. 

I don't want a new normal. I liked the old, slow, comfortable normal that evolved with time and slowly changed. This change is too fast. It has put my emotions and my brain in some sort of state. I don't know what the state is. I simply know my brain is not functioning at peak performance and my emotions are all over the place. I never know if I am going to laugh or cry.

A friend called today and said you sound sick. Well, I am sick and I am in recovery. Just like after a major surgery. There is pain. I need help from friends and family. I can't cook. I can't clean. I don't feel good. I sleep more and watch more TV. I would take drugs except…well…I won't. I have been drinking more wine than normal though so I am medicating myself. The good news is, this will not be my new normal. I know this….I know this because this is not what I want…I am simply resisting the change. It is such a big change. It is fast, ugly and painful.

The truth is, I don't know what my "new" normal looks like. It will take time for it to evolve and become….well…you know…normal again. I will start to sleep normal. I will start to think about what I want in my business. I will start to get up and walk around outside. I will shut netflix down. I will start living again.

Resistance is futileI feel like a Star Trek character and I have just been assimilated by the Borg. Resistance is fu-TILE.  Resistance takes time and energy and in the end…the result is still the same. My kid is gone. I will no longer hear his voice or share hugs with him or argue or tell him what to do. Fu-TILE.  He will no longer do his own thing and drag his stuff to my house to store until he gets a more permanent place. Fu-TILE. He won't be asking me to watch the baby…he won't make messes in my kitchen while eating my food and he won't crash into my cars in the driveway. Fu-TILE. There will be no more words from his lips,  "I love you mom", or "Mom, can you spot me some cash till I get paid?" or "Where's dad?". The odd jobs he did to pay off his cash advances will now have to be done by someone else. He won't send me smiley face text messages and ask me to watch him while he plays with the baby or ask me for parenting tips….there is so much to miss…his beautiful smile and happy-go-lucky attitude, the good, the bad and the ugly. Resistance if fu-TILE. It doesn't matter if I resist my sons death and I do…believe me, I do. It is futile.

I have this fantasy that Phil was robbed at the rest area and someone took his and Alyssa's stuff the police used to identify them. He and Alyssa decided they would disappear into Mexico so they didn't have to deal with all the stuff going on anymore. The next time you go to Rocky Point, keep your eye open for them. Rocky Point Mexico

Of course, he would never leave his baby so this fantasy of mine creates a whole new set of emotions. Damn new normal. When are you going to get here so I can go on and stop feeling this way?

I miss Phil. I want him back. Time for me to go regenerate….I used to call it sleep until I was assimilated on September 1, 2012….that is the day my son died. I miss him.

 

 

 
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Not a Fan of Saturdays

I am not a big fan of Saturdays anymore. Everytime I think of Phil's accident I remember it was Saturday morning at 10:41 AM. This was the time my son took his last breath. I don't like to think about it. Each week another Saturday comes and goes. I now refer to it as Sad-urday.I hate Saturday

Yesterday was Saturday. I am glad it is behind me. I know that significance is assigned by me and I am working with that concept. I simply feel the way I feel right now. I am raw. Raw emotions and somehow it is weaved around Saturday. That is the day the "event" happened. It is like any other Holiday or birthday, wedding anniversary….only it is somthing I wish I didn't remember. Something I wish my mind wasn't in tune to.

I am sure I will get over it. Loads of good things happen on Saturday. I am like a kid right now counting the days up to some event…only I am hoping that the further I get from it…the less it will hurt. I know I have work to do…I know that people say time heals all wounds….I also know this is not true. I have to work through it. I have to come to terms with it and deal with it and gather coping tools along the way. Just like anything…time doesn't heal anything….if I get a flat tire and just wait for time to make it all better…I would be waiting a long time. Same here. I have to take action.

Getting back to Saturdays. They aren't bad. I just am using them as the measuring stick right now. I am aware. It is funny how people give me these intellectual responses that are suppose to heal my heart. All I need are other people to give their heart. A hug. A smile. Whatever it takes to give me the space to go through this. I need them to let me know they love me right where I am and not expect me to have to do something.

But it makes them uncomfortable that I am so sad. Yes. I think that is what it boils down to. They say it is because they are worried about me. Maybe they are. The thing is…I am not broken. I feel a little broken…yet, I will heal. I will recover. I just don't have a nice neat package to wrap it all up in so they don't feel bad. Believe me, I want to get over it more than they want me to. I want to go on more than they want me to. I don't get to right now. It is my reality.

I have to listen to the baby point at photos of daddy and run to the door looking for him. I have to look at his car parked at our house when I pull up or go outside. I have to take the calls for his bills. I have to open his mail. I have to look at the photos I have plan Holidays without him. I have to watch his siblings and his dad break down and struggle.

sadurdayEverything in my day reminds me of him. It is all so new and raw. You know how when you have an open sore….maybe a burn and it really hurts.? It is like that. No amount of pain killer touches it. You just have pain and you know you simply have to go through it for it to heal. There will always be a scar.

I miss you Phil Henry. I am sure you never knew how much you touched my life. I know I told you…the closest you came was Ava Rose and she didn't leave you….you left her.

I have a lifetime of Saturdays left. It is possible I could live another 50 years. That is 2,600 Saturdays. I guess I will have to learn to like them eventually….or not.

 

 

 

 
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Phil…Make Yourself Happy

When Phil was little he was extremely obedient. He didn't always like being obedient, yet, he would comply with what his mother wanted.

When the kids were little I used to tell them that happiness was an inside job. I had learned with my oldest daughter that making them sit in timeout for a specific amount of time didn't work so, I came up with the idea that they were in charge of the time frame they had to sit.

In other words, they were able to decide how long it took them to switch their beingness from mad to happy. The rule was they had to sit in timeout until they decided to be happy, however long that took…it was up to them.

Phillip was so cute. At 18 months old he had it down pat. He would start to have a fit and I would say, "Go sit until you are happy." He would go around the corner for about ten seconds and then come back around the corner with a huge smile on his face and his arms up and he would say…"HAPPY".

I saw him do this in his life too. As an adult he would get upset about something and then he would shift. I even noticed the mother of his child texted me the other day that she was having a bad day and she had "shifted" to happy.

How to have happy kidsThe last time I saw Phillip, Paul, Josephine and I went to his new apartment. He had the baby there and Paul and I were dancing with her and being silly. At one point she started to fuss and I said, "Oh no, you have to sit until you make yourself happy." I then sat her down against the wall and Paul and I kept dancing…she quickly adjusted her attitude and Phil said, "Mom, you have to teach her that!"

I suppose I could learn a lot from my baby Phil in this…if an 18 month old can shift and make himself happy, why can't I? Why not now when I feel at my lowest. So I practice this each day. I feel sad and then I shift. I am learning to make myself happy. I also know it is going to take some work as I have a huge loss that has occured in my life and I am getting new tools through a couple of programs I am doing. The tools will help of course, yet, I am certain the number one tool I have is the memory of my beautiful Phil at 18 months old coming around that corner saying, "Happy Momma."

Boy I miss him. I sure do. I can still smell his baby smell from long ago. Another day without him and I go on. I will teach the baby to make herself happy…for it is what he said he wanted.

 

 

 
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Ramblings After the Death of a Child

Yesterday I slept most of the day. I did work over the weekend yet I find that I am so very tired all the time. I suppose this is part of it and it can be draining to cry and mope around.

I went to a Real Love meeting last night. It was good information…concepts I have been working with for over five years so that was promising as these concepts do work. I don't think I was very supportive to anyone else…it was sort of odd to be the empty one and I was contemplating that. I have never felt so…well…empty. I don't have anything to give to anyone else right now.

Today I am tired again. I slept all night. I have homework to do for my grief recovery class that is tomorrow at 9:00 AM. I am looking forward to it. I have read the book assignment twice.

This process is so facinating to me. I have been tricking my brain into thinking Phil is just at work. There is something about knowing he is no longer on the earth that just sucks. There were times in his life where I didn't see him for a month so it is not like I haven't gone a month without seeing him…the thing is, I always could see him if I wanted to. Now, I can't.

I think I am rambling. I don't have any definate purpose to my writing today and that typically doesn't work well. I am just rambling.

I miss you Phillip Henry. I really do. It has been a little over a month now. I feel drained. Dad is making me a meditation room so I can talk to you and be with you. I hope you are around. So far, I don't feel anything. I think it is because I am out of touch. I only want to sleep…

There was that one dream. It was the oddest dream I think I have ever had. You were observing the dream. It was like you were on the sidelines just watching. I don't even remember the dream itself…it was uneventful. I do remember thinking…why is he watching my dream? Of course in my dream I didn't know you were dead because you were very real there. There was all this stuff going on and you were not part of it. I have never had this experience before. So maybe you were there….maybe you were.

 

 
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The Final Day…day 26…its real, he is dead

Today was a rough day. We received the Death Certificate. On the line where it says cause of death it said, extreme trauma and burns to 100% of his body. Another meltdown for me. I felt sick when I read it and crumpled to the floor and sobbed. Parents are supposed to get BIRTH Certificates…not DEATH Certificates.Death Certificate Arizona

I also had to go to the bank and close Phil's checking account. That wasn't so bad but I wanted to get the burnt money he had in his wallet replaced with good money. I had to pull it out of the wallet as the wallet was so badly burned and chard that it was sort of melted in there. As I examined it I noticed pieces of denim stuck to it. Burnt to it. All of his stuff fell out on the floor at the bank…his drivers license, his papers, business cards of people he knew and bits of black ash and charred billfold.

As I gathered my things, I felt I was okay until  the woman asked me what she could help me with. Another meltdown. Shit…how often is this going to happen? Am I going to continue to have these meltdowns for the rest of my life?

Today was the final day. The Death Certificate came. Final. He is dead….its official. The place we ordered the Urn from called and said it was in and we could pick it up. Its official. He is dead. He isn't coming back. It was like the final of the final days….it is over. It is real. It happened. You are done. Time to move on.

It wasn't the hardest day of my life. That was September 1, 2012. That was the hardest day of my life. The day I never thought would come. The day I never wanted to come. The day I couldn't even get my mind to go to when someone mentioned they lost a child.

Okay…my personal growth is kicking in again. I have to stay focused on what I do want. I want to be happy. What was the best day of my life? The happiest day? It happens to be the day Phillip Henry Shelton came into this world. That was the happiest day of my life. So how can this one human being be the catalyst to my most extreme emotions? I don't know. I just know this is what is true for me. I have never loved that way before the day he was born. I enjoyed every minute with him. Teaching him to eat…changing him…sleeping next to him…his smell. I never felt like I would give my right arm for anyone. Ever. And then this little, helpless, wrinkled up, old man looking baby, looks up at me and I melt. I am happy. Happier than I had ever been before that moment.

I would not trade this for anything. I would not give up that moment. I would not go back and undo it to rid myself of the pain I feel now….it is certainly tempting…however, I know what I would be giving up. I will go on…I will continue. I have great friends supporting me and I will rise above this….perhaps I will rise out of the ashes….like a Phoenix.

 

 
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This Damn Grieving Process!

A new day….today is a new day. In my personal growth and coaching I often work with people to see what they want to see and create what they want to create. The funny thing is many people tend to focus on what they say they don't want….so guess what…that is then what they create. What they DON'T want! This is because, whatever you focus on in your mind is what grows from your mind. Angry Michelle

I have been resisting the death of my child. I have been angry as you can see from the photo I have included. See the big wrinkle between my eyes? That is from anger.

I have screamed in the street. Melted down in my front yard. Melted down in many places for that matter. I have denied it. Been angry, blamed my husband. Blamed myself. Even blamed and been mad at Phil. Have you ever heard, what you resists persists? If not, watch me as I have been a prime example of demonstrating this for the last month.

I want to work on the healing side of this. I want to focus on the healing process. I want to move forward. Phil is dead and gone and his physical body is not coming back. God it is hard to write that. I miss him. I love him. I want him here damn it! He would stop by the house and we would go to lunch. He was my son. He was my friend. I liked him. I enjoyed him. He was funny. He was kind. He was compassionate. He always watched out for and supported others.

He left behind him a very large wake. A baby. A broken relationship. A family. Friends. Co-workers. Unpaid bills and he even took out a title loan on his vehicle the day before he left. Nice. One last opportunity for me to be mad at him some more and then I get to feel guilty for being mad at my dead son AND then I get to beat myself up for feeling guilty for being mad at my dead son. Lord this process stinks. Yet the more I resist it…the more it persists. *SIGH*

Sad MichelleSo the healing begins. I feel so sad, as you can see from the enclosed photo, and yet life starts to go back to normal for most people. They have felt my pain for nearly a month and it has been agonizing for them to feel it even for a few minutes a day. They don't have a knowing…they know about. They allow them self to go there for a few seconds and then they stop and feel the deep, deep sadness they would feel if they lost their child and their mind will not allow it. It is my reality and my mind still will not allow it.

They still drop by my Facebook page to see how I am doing because, after all, they are my friends. They send me virtual hugs, maybe something funny, a poem about sons and then they go on about their day. How do I know this? Because I too have done this. I have known people who have lost their children and there really isn't much that can be done. And it does get depressing after awhile to even read about the families suffering. There is one woman who I even unfriended last year because I simply couldn't read about her dead son anymore. She was grasphing at videos and photos of him….now I have a knowing.

I understand. I really do. I wouldn't stay here either if I could get out of it.

I had a real estate agent call on a piece of land I have listed the other day. We talked for nearly five minutes and I told him I would get some additional information to him…all I needed was his name and phone number. He said his name and on came the meltdown. Guess what his name was? Phil. Oh MyHappy Michelle God…are you flipping kidding me?

What is a mom to do? I am reading spiritual books. I have talked to a medium. I have talked to pastors and I have a wonderful Pastor's wife who has been calling and I can't bring myself to even pick up the phone. I myself have meditated and gone into my mind and brought Phil in to talk to him. In my mind….it's just not the same.

I have to start focusing on what I want. I want to heal. I want to be happy. I want to look like the photo posted on the right. Happy. I want to talk about my other children and what they are doing in their life. I want to go on walks with my husband and coach others and sell homes. I want to be a service to others. To be productive.

So I will ask.…what can I do for you today? This is how you can help me. Allow me to check out once in awhile and have down days and allow me to be productive too.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. At the end when it is my time and there is a spiritual life on the other side…I have no doubts Phil will be there to greet me. I can wait until it is my time….and then I will tell him once again how much I love him and what a great dad he was to Ava. I will tell him how much I missed him and how glad I am to see him again. I will tell him how strong I had to be because of him…how he made me a better and stronger person when he left. I will tell him to be proud of me for all I had to muster up to go on without him and his charming chuckle. Until that day…I must live. I must go on. I must thrive.

 

 
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Phil at Summer Camp

It is 10:30 PM and I just got home from a movie and dinner with Paul and the girls. I wanted to straighten the guest room so I was in there messing around with stuff and I hung some clothes up in the closet. Phil had a thing that hangs in the closet…..I call it a cubby hanger.

I am not sure what this thing is called for sure but it hangs in the closet and has cubbies for you to place shoes or gadgets or…whatever you would want to store. I remember when we got the stuff from his house, we brought it in and Paul must have just picked it up and hung it in the guest room closet.

I peeked into the cubby and saw some things in it so I reached in and found a photo that Phil had of himself at summer camp. He must have been around 11 or so in this photo.Phillip at Lake Powell

His grandfather Shelton took him to Lake Powell for summer camp that year. He was the cutest kid ever. I remember how excited he was to go and how excited he was when he came back.

He had a great smile and I know he enjoyed going to this camp. The photo is glued onto a small board of sorts. I wondered if they did that at camp and he just never gave it to me. I'm not sure and I don't think I have ever seen this photo before. It tells me this was a good memory for him.

As soon as I saw the photo, once again I had a meltdown. These meltdowns seem to be a common thing…I see or hear something that reminds me of Phil and then I begin to sob….yes, it is the sort of loud, obnoxious sobbing you would expect when a mother loses her child. My legs go limp and I crumple to the floor. It is odd as all these sounds are coming from my body and yet very little tears are left.

It ends with a headache and typically a stomach ache too. I simply feel drained and sick afterward. I am sure someone will simply say, "It's okay dear, it is all part of the process, you are doing great." I hate the process!

When I look at Phil in this photo I remember what a good boy he was. He was always polite and helpful to me. I studied the photo. I remember he always was running and jumping and playing and always had scuffed knees.

I used to love to rub my hands over the top of his head as he had the short hair and it felt pretty cool. It looks like he almost had a flattop in this photo. He had great hair and in the last couple of years he shaved it pretty short. I often gave him a hard time about it and he would just smile and wink at me. I think he didn't want to buy shampoo and conditioner. He said he did it as he was going bald because of my side of the family.

Man I love that kid. Always have. Always will. If I happen to die an old lady in my bed, I am sure one of my last thoughts will be I hope I get to see my boy again. I hope he is happy and he remembers me and he is the one to greet me on the other side. I miss him.

 

 
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