After I got the kiddos to sleep last night, I was feeling extremely restless and agitated. For no specific reason, just many reasons.
I sat right here, and I read every single blog that I have posted from day one, up until last week. I could feel the sadness, and the weight of all of the loss reverberating to my core. I read and felt this burden all the way into the morning hours.
There has been this horrible suffocating bubble around me, but instead of making me feel panicked, it is making me angry. I don’t want to feel sadness, hopelessness, and I don’t want to get up in the mornings, for the sole purpose of being a mother. I want to be a proactive, loving mother, but I want to stand by my true reflections, and continue to be free spirited, non-judgmental, and have empathy for others and their hardships, because I am not the only one who has suffered. I am determined to stay true to myself, to be a force to be reckoned with, and at the same time, still be soft and kind. I want to do this without fear of falling, getting hurt, or failing my children, even if I do get burned or face disappointment in my attempts.
This past year has changed me for the better. I remember every little detail that takes my breath away, and I hold it so tightly, that my fingers ache, and I find myself wanting to cry from all of the emotions involved with that moment. I want to scream at the top of my lungs….YOU ONLY HAVE ONE LIFE, AND THAT LIFE IS SHORT & FLEETING…..and for others to actually hear and feel those words to their very core, and to embrace all of the sweet sounds of family and friends, and to collect all of the intricacies of early mornings and sunlight, and how the world goes to sleep, but the big beautiful moon stands watch over us. Everything poetic and cheesy, but holding so much power over your perception of life and its brutal daily grind.
Speak with your children, but really listen to them. Give them reassurance, confidence, and always tell them that you love them, because no child can never hear that enough. At the same time, use the word “love” sparingly outside of your family nest…..only speak the word when it is clear and present in your heart.
Discovering Ross had died in his sleep…..that has done this to me. Watching our son hover over his father, screaming, “Dad, Dad, etc.”, and helplessly trying to bring him back…..it will forever be tattooed in my soul, and our son will never be the same child again….he will carry that weight into adulthood, and there is nothing that I can do to erase it.
It slips away so quickly, but you don’t realize it until it is gone forever, and there is no coming back from death. Grief is an ugly monster, and it wears many faces of sadness, loneliness, anxiety, anger….and it will strip away all of your hope until you are bleeding and raw.
You have to look around and pay attention to everything around you. The slight shift in the wind, the sound of your child’s laughter…..you have to give yourself a break. You have to let yourself feel what it is that you need to feel, because if you don’t allow yourself to feel, then you cannot rediscover and redefine who you are.
I have come so far. I am proud of myself, and I am proud of my children. I have admitted to my faults, recognized my weaknesses, and I have been fighting to get both feet on the ground.
Bailey has autism. Yes, we have so many horrific moments, where I cannot pull her back….it breaks me in a hundred different places, but I try and focus on her spirit…and if she is pushing through her fits and coming back up the the surface fully winded….then I will, too.
Reagan has his own challenges, and I like to put myself on trial for coddling and babying him for so many years….but I recognize that now, and I have no shame in identifying that I have made some mistakes, but will make it right, for the purpose of raising a strong, hard working, and compassionate son. He will be someone’s husband one day….someone’s father….and he will remember these moments…and reflect back on them with joy, instead of fear and doubt. I stand on our front porch, and I watch him walk to his bus stop, towards all of the bigger junior high boys….and it makes me want to cry, because he is so tall and strong….and he keeps pushing through, no matter what. How does he do that, when he has been broken down to his knees, time and time again?
I love my family so much. I want so badly to make Ross proud. I want so badly to be happy. I think that is the first step, after all of the other first steps….wanting to be happy, and allowing yourself to be happy.
I suffer from a fear of everything falling apart once again, after the kids and I have rebuilt our lives. Every stick, stone and brick….all to have shelter from the darkness. Will saying the words out loud, “I will be okay”, ignite a chain of failure and destruction? Would blogging a post that is actually hopeful, be swept away, as soon as the words hit the screen?
There are many days where I am exhausted from being strong all the time, but in the late evenings, into the early morning hours, my mind is racing, and I cannot stop the abrasive worries, falling down like hail around me, not showing any mercy. I cannot get what I need, and that is a full night’s sleep. I cannot get that peace of mind that lets me take a breathe, and exhale it slowly…..not without my anxiety ridden heart beating so fast that my chest hurts. Did I make the right decision? Am I doing right by my children? Do I need to move even further away to finally feel comforted and “home”?
I want to do everything, but I know that I can’t. I want to give everything to my children, but I know that isn’t feasible, and what they need is more important, anyway….my time and love. I am studying so that I can work, cleaning so that I can decompress, and pushing forward, as violently as I can, without breaking a sweat or letting myself cry.
I am consumed with all of the expectations and judgments from the outside world….what in the hell do they know, anyway? Every one travels their own individual journey, and their journey can be brutal, but their journey can also be filled with wonderful moments. These moments are forgotten so quickly, though, and we are all guilty of this.
Loss has taught me to appreciate the little things…..my daughter’s laughter, my son’s newfound independence as he enters junior high, and forcing myself to walk outside when I am feeling stressed and fatigued…..the sun and the wind sweeps away that first layer of sadness.
Loss has taught me to embrace any happiness that blesses my family…..to bathe in it and soak in every little drop. I have finally let go of the heavy weight of guilt, and I don’t hesitate or flinch when someone reaches out to me. I let myself wonder and be fascinated with the thought of new beginnings, and at the same time, soften my guard until I have a reason not to.
I have lost my mother and grandpa. I have lost several pets that were family members, all around the same time. I have lost my husband and the father of my children, unexpectedly and without any closure or clarity. I have lost my home. I have lost my identity.
I have had these stripped away, and yet I still have hope. How is that possible? I want success and fulfillment for my children. I want to fight against all the haters of the dog rescue world, because the voiceless need me. And I want to feel proud, because pride is alive and strong, and I need to feel alive and strong, after so many months of living in death and weakness. If I find new friendships, and possibly love, along the way, then I am even more blessed, and I will safeguard and cherish those friendships. I will cherish anything beautiful that drops in my lap, and anything that I work my fingers to the bone for.
You only get one shot, after all.