Saturday, 23 March 2013

Peace at last

Peacefully on March 20th 2013 Meme passed.

Her suffering has ended & we are grateful for having had her in our lives.  She is with family and James now & I hope smiling again.

She has come to me twice since her passing, the night of her passing & again the early morning of her funeral.  She was more like a mother then a Meme and I am heartbroken without her.  She is now with all those whom she waited a lifetime to see again and James who she didn't know was there.

Sleep peacefully Meme, the depths of my love for you far surpass this earthly plain.  I will care for those left behind b/c I know you wouldn't want them forgotten & b/c I could never forget you.

The last lines from my Eulogy at her funeral:

Au revoir chéré Mémé.  Merci pour tous tes sacrifices. On t'aimes et on t'adore, tu seras toujours avec nous.  On t’oublieras jamais.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The pain maker

Life & death.  They are made to sound like such simple, straight forward concepts, processes.  Automatic in the cycle of life.  I acknowledge they are the starting & ending points, but simple, straight forward, automatic?  I hardly think so.

When life imparts one of  its crewelities upon us, the comments that we all know to well come out.  I've of course heard them all and now I can add a few more.  Only this time, it's about my Meme dying.  She lived a full life, a good life.  Both of these statements are true & I will dedicate my memories to her life the way she lived, not died, but what I find about comments like these are that they distract from the pain of loss even shame for feeling loss.  Just like all the ones I heard and if you've lost a child, you've heard too.  Why are we so driven to avoid, minimize, invalidate loss, grief?  Uncomfortable topic? yes! so?!  Here a woman lived 92 years & we are still trying to minimize the loss of her life.  Just b/c she lived what is socially acceptable and acknolwedgeable as worth grieving, we still try and push it down, ignore the pain of the ones left behind, who will miss her most.  We are a society afraid of death, dying and grief.  

Meme is dying a slow painful death.  I can't help but be angry about how in contrast this is with James' life & death.  He was barely alive, when he died.  His death was sudden, a shocking world altering flash of a moment.  Meme's life was long & her death has been long.  Life is fragile, one more fairy tale to add to the list of things I no longer believe.  I know anyone can die, anytime, suddenly, but I also know the body can withstand the unimaginable and drag out the unnecessary. 

So, this angry post is mostly about death being a crewel beast.  Death is the pain maker and our Society isolates, invalidates and shames us the grieving.  Even when death can mean salvation from pain, when we pray for it to come to bring mercy, it drags its heals.  Crewel, crewel beast.  

James, if she only knew you were there I know she'd hurry to see you.  Stand with the others with an outstretched hand and help her cross over my angel.  The price to keep her is too high.  

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Golden stranger

Compassion.  Difficult to come by sometimes it seems, especially when others are too shocked by or wrapped in their own ideas of how to walk this road.  Compassion, the one thing that has consistently lead me to disappointment in those who I thought would/should but also the biggest surprise by those who I never imagined would/could.

The woman who I mentioned in my last post who shared her loss on a parenting site had another parent reach out to her publicly on this same site to see how she's doing.  Her compassion overwhelmed me.  I know that everyone who read her post has thought of her probably on & off since then, but reaching out probably didn't cross many of their minds.  One kind & golden hearted stranger did and I am renewed with hope.

The timing couldn't have been more perfect, her post came the day after this poor mother buried her child.  She shared a video of her daughter Charlotte that was played at her service.  It is 24 mins in length and I have not watched yet but I will.  She also shared that she is 20 weeks pregnant.  To the others I know this seems like a blessing, but to her, I know how double edged this sword can be.

I reached out to her as a fellow baby loss mom but also as having had a pregnancy after loss.  I also publicly commended her for her bravery on sharing this painful journey so openly & cheered the heck out of the woman who was so incredibly thoughtful to reach out to her.

For me it was these random acts of kindness that give me hope in a time of darkness when everything seemed the opposite of everything I thought I knew.  I realize now that it didn't feel like hope back then when the world was numb, gut wrenching or seething with anger, but it was.  My wish for her is that someone, something touches her in a way that can bring her some hope too.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Shouldn't she have something else to do?!

I spent a wonderful Saturday night with some dear girl friends.  The kind you don't see every day, but when you do, you laugh from that genuine place in your gut.  I love them with all their faults & they mine.

Most of us are part of an online parenting board where moms & dads can post questions, look for recommendations  reassurance.  It is meant to be a safe & mutual place for discussion and at times debate.  A number of weeks ago, a mother posted that her 21 month old daughter had died suddenly.  She didn't know what to do or how to carry on.  Her first few words did not provide warning of the heart wrenching reality she was introducing to the group.  She received almost 300 replies, most of which provided sympathies and horror at what this mother was facing.  A few posted they had similar experiences, inviting her to contact privately.

Our conversation on Saturday evening touched on this post.  I did not bring it up, it took me almost a week to be able to open this page up.  Reading her post & all the messages sent me onto my own roller coaster of emotions.  The topic came about as we were talking about some of the stories that we had all read & sharing our takes on them.  The sentiments began as a post we had all seen, it quickly became something shocking, I shared that I thought it was incredibly brave and then one shared that she felt it was inappropriate.  Her comment was, "shouldn't she have something else to do then post online on the day her daughter died?".  I quickly jumped in and asked what she should do sitting alone in a house that is silent and without the sounds of her child?  She sat for a minute and acknowledged she hadn't thought of that, but still felt like it was wrong.  It became clear at that point that the others were uncomfortable with the topic & my sensitivity to it.    The topic changed before I really had a chance to take it further or say anything else.

While I am still upset by such a narrow minded and thoughtless comment, they all know we lost James and even after my sharing that I was very affected by the post, the comment was made.   I keep coming back to the place where I know this is out of ignorance & I would hope she would never be put in a position to really understand, but how privileged she is to not have to understand.  I am hurt if I have to be honest.

How ironic, 2 Saturdays in a row, one with women I hardly knew, some with similar experiences & the next with women I know well & hold very dear & a conversation that felt like a little salt in the wound.  I guess I am lucky to be able to live a world where James exists, especially in social conversation.  I just wish it still didn't burn & sting quite so much to remember only to have the doors of conversation slammed shut when the heart & mind are pouring & I have to pretend like I am not still in the middle of that conversation.

Missing you angel.  Love, Mommy