Friday, 20 January 2017


The counselling community has shifted their way of understanding trauma.  Research has supported the idea that trauma can create what is known as a body memory.  This is where some of the most painful and vivid memories of trauma reside, in the body.

Ever notice how when a significant anniversary of an event arrives, somehow you are tuned into it, whether you remembered it overtly or not?  The last few weeks have been extreme with business, but in hindsight I see how today contributed to everything I have done and felt in the last week, oblivious to me at the time.  The body memory prevailed when life was busy with distraction.  The pain has softened enough on most days to function "normally" but the body memory of the trauma of his death.

I didn't sleep last night and as I lay there awake, I found my mind circling thoughts of James, his loss, our grief.  These thoughts were far from conscious and I was surprised when I realized where my thoughts had taken me without a clue of how I'd arrived there.  Then I remembered, like I could ever forget, today is the day, today is 6.  Today is 6 years of lost memories, no infant milestones, no smiles, first teeth, first words, no kindergarten, no grade 1 and there will be a lifetime more of missed memories.

6 has been hard, harder then I expected.  I am exhausted from lack of sleep and the flatness of life without my son weighs heavily on my heart and mind. 

There is beauty in the dark.  I remember your little face, I am grateful for your time with me, the lessons I've learned, the challenges that I've succeeded and the anticipation of our being reunited when I leave this physical plain.  The body memory of you remains too.

Monday, 18 January 2016

5 years

5 years.  A big year.  A hard year. 

Jeven & Ewan are old enough now to get it.  They talk of missing their brother, Jeven will even cry at times.  Sensitive sweet boys.

Fresh grief, old grief.  A lifetime of grief for a boy.

5 years ago today, I knew my son had died and went to the hospital to deliver him way too early.  I was sent home, told to return the next day.  Research informed the doctor's approach, moving too quickly could be as devastating as the loss itself.  Go home and process it. 

Mind games at night, a desire so thick that I could feel kicks that didn't exist.  Hope was fueled by delirious grief & wish they had gotten it wrong.

Tomorrow our wedding anniversary - the irony so thick I almost chocked on it.  The day we said vows to begin our family would become the day our 2nd child was born but not alive.  We would say hello & goodbye in one breath & he would never draw even one. 

His arrival & departure came in the minutes after the stroke of midnight on the 20th.  Small gift to let his parents remember why we are in this journey together the day before having to remember his life. 

5 years later, I don't know how it got to be 5 years.  I have to do the math over & over to be sure.  I look at our rainbow & still adore him with that guilty love.  The one that never wants to know what life would be like without him & wishing his brother didn't have to go for us to have him.

I wonder how you would look as boy?what the sound of your voice would be like? What at colour hair & eyes you would have? What your interests would be?

I do know would be deeply loved.   You are deeply loved.  You are deeply missed.  You are remembered. 

Friday, 8 August 2014

Judgement, closure, 2 things you learn very quickly when you join our club are offered spontaneously and with a predictability it makes us want to hide.  I have learned those things apply to things beyond grief, of course, but they are equally damaging.

That insensitive sniff that says you aren't done yet?!  That suggestion to do something to move towards and ending.  Judgement - false set of reality when things appear clear with obvious outcomes, closure - state of Devine peace after surviving an emotional situation allowing person to move forward. Both concepts are deeply flawed, I reject the latter as even being real, even a healthy part of emotional healing.  

At the core of both are expectations, different for each person, but ones that are unfair, unwarranted & un welcomed.  The world, order, moores, - sociology teaches us to question, not be complacent, ask hard questions, wonder if there is a different truth.  Tough order for many who's lives thrive on basic expectations, those damaged in some way who need the reassurance, consistency that society offers. 

Standing tall amidst the greater masses despite seeing a different reality, sometimes even alone is a daunting task most days.  Today was especially hard.  To be judged by your family, parents, expectations of closure, threats of distance, especially hard.  In the midst of it all, I have clarity, I am entitled to my feelings, process & no set of expectations are going to interrupt them.  Understand me or don't, be disappointed, i won't change, I don't need to.  You do.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Delirious life

Contradictions have plagued my mind recently. 

 As we prepare to close one chapter, I have become nostalgic for something indescribable.  The memories of a child who's life flashed, who's life ripped the curtain of life clean off its rings. As we prepare to call a new place home, I am struggling to leave the all the memories, good , bad & ugly behind.  

You have reclaimed your place on our mantle & you will find a new space in our new home.  I had no idea that the treasues of you would feel so connected to this physical space.  

I am sobered to the reality that the worst & most profoundly painful times were spent here but intoxicated by the memories none the less.  Your brother was born here, the one who would never have been without you.  The one who's life I am constantly filled with guilty gratitude for.   

A storm & rainbow together under one roof.  Corners filled with the bitter sweet smells & sounds of a delirious life. The one I never wanted, the one I never want to change, the one I can't live without.

Missing you vividly my son. Missing you profoundly in every square inch.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Another birthday

Tomorrow is my birthday.  This year, I felt some return of anticipation, could think of a few things that I wanted, felt like I had earned back some of my "regular" ways.  But tonight, I am reminded that there is  no return to "normal" just distraction that grows a bit more with every month & year that passes by.

I said today to Mike, gone are the days of happy birthdays, its been at least 4 years since I've had one of those.  Then it occurred to me, this will make 4 birthdays since James died.

Many things have happened, many great things, some not so great.  We are trying to move, our house is up for sale & while we have been showing our homes, I've had to relocate our James memorial.  I am pained every time I think of it.  I know I'm not hiding him, but he's hidden to entice other people to like our home.  Some twisted reality that one is.  One that hurts me, but for the betterment of our family, we need to get the hell out of this town.  Closer to our family, where the boys can grow up.  Solid reasons, terrible sacrifice (moving James), living a tortured secret life that no one knows.

I have agreed to join the bereavement groups I used to attend after losing James again , this time as a facilitator.  I am nervous but excited.  This is the place where I used to go not to feel alone, I think the alone feeling has returned & I need to feel like people get me, from the deepest, darkest place inside, to the in between moments of distraction.

As I think about where my grief is at today, I think it is like a good friend, who I don't always see but when I need her is always there.  It comes in many ways now, but mostly I feel comforted when I can think of my lost son.  Sometime, its an arch enemy, blind siding me when I least expect it, crippling me with pain, like a sudden blow that knocks your wind out & leaves you gasping for air.  My grief is mine, I have hopes for it, even some goals but mostly it is my only link back to a child that grew in my body, heart, that I held in my hands & then had to say goodbye to.

My birthday is tomorrow, it will be gone and forgotten as quickly as it came, like my son.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

You don't know how long you have them...

Yesterday's service for the young man who was my coworkers son was beautiful.  It was a celebration, filled with memories, sayings, favourite things, wishes & hopes.  There were tears flowing, none of which were mine.  Just like every other first, it was nothing like I imagined.   I thought of Conrad, James, Meme & of all of the angel babies I have come to know & more.  I stood stoic, in disbelief that I was there again for another son lost to soon.

The service, in the same funeral home, was in a different chapel.  The turn out was so large that 2 viewing rooms were opened to accommodate all those paying their respects.  The 2nd room was opened just after we arrived & was the room where we held our service.  I had a moment of panic & refused to go in, making our way into the first.  As I stood there, I realized, I had a rare opportunity, to confront that space on my own terms.  

After the service, we saw my coworker & although I expected nothing more then for her to see us, she pushed her way through the crowd towards me & grabbed my hand & gave me a hug.  Here's the irony, we are not close, I don't think she knows about James but somehow a bond between us has formed through her son's passing.  Perhaps it's that I responded with food for her & her family right away, perhaps it's because I asked for no acknowledgement, that I just wanted her to have what she needs & feel supported.  Perhaps its because I look at her in the eyes, once you look death in the face through your child, you can never avert your eyes again.

People spoke of what is must be like to lose a child, lose a child.  I said out loud only once, unfortunately I know.  I said several times to those with children, you have to cherish every moment because you never know how long you have them.  I think that everyday.  I breathe my boys in everyday, feel their warmth as if it might be the last time & wonder how long I will have them for.  They are so special, I worry that their time will be over too soon, that they will have served their purpose before I am ready to see them go.

The sober reality of a parent who has lost a child.

When I entered "the" room, I was alone & it all came rushing back, I could see his casket, I smell his flowers, feel the knee buckling grief & lost my breath entirely.  I acknowledged the pain, felt his presence, nodded in what I felt was his direction & left as quickly as I entered.

I didn't sleep last night, flashes of the Conrad's face in my mind & heavy heart.  The emptiness of my heart without one of my sons & compassion for one more who has to find her way through without hers.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Back to the beginning

There have been so many blog worthy events, I have wanted to check in many times but life drones on & no post.  

Today my chest is tight as I face another first almost 3 years into this journey.  A coworker lost her adult son in an accident late last week.  As if that isn't trigger enough, today is the funeral.  The funeral will be gut wrenching to begin with & I expect to be a waterfall of tears but the service is in the same funeral home as where we held James' service.  

I have gone back and forth about going, talked myself in and out of it several times.  In the end, I just can't abandon a fellow child loss parent.  Yes, our losses are different, her son was an adult but child loss is, is child loss and I need to be there.   I remember holding James service and the feeling of others discomfort, how people chose themselves over us in our time of most need.  I will not abandon her but I know I will be an emotional wreck afterwards.  I'm not ready for this, I don't want this first.  No one ever does.  

Deep breath. Jumping into that black hole of grief head first.  Hoping to remember to breath & sending  gentle wishes to the family mourning.

Back in the place where I last saw your gorgeous face.  Send me strength sweet boy.

Xo mommy