The Stages of Life without you

Ronan. Productive days are good for me. Days where I am busy, have lots of tasks at hand, and it forces me to feel like I have a bit of a purpose in this life without you. I went this a.m. to meet your Mimi so we could have a meeting with our Foundation CPA. I wanted to meet her and go over a few questions I had. It was a good, productive meeting. Afterwords, I headed out to North Scottsdale to see the Good Doctor. I like to check in with him every couple of months. I told him that I had stopped taking my Zoloft. He asked why and I told him that I was tired of being numb. He said that was a good reason and asked all the usual questions to make sure that I am actually doing alright without it. I told him that I wanted to deal with the pain of losing you, and to actually feel it; even as much as it hurts. We talked about a lot of different things. I told him about the sleep issues I’m still having in a major way and how I’ve taken my Ambien the past couple of nights. I don’t want to take that crap, but I also know that sometimes I need a break from all of this pain. Trying to sleep on my own, with only Melatonin, is just not working. I’m still going to continue to try, but I can only take so much. I hope one day I’ll be at peace with sleeping again. I really miss it.

After my visit with the Good Doctor, I came home and was full of way too much energy/anxiety. I threw on my clothes and drove to Camelback Mountain. I met my Frienemy, Inferno Fuckwad Bob there. I hiked up that mountain, as fast as I could today. It was only 102 out. Just as I was tackling the last part of it, I felt the need to stop and take a break. But then the voices in my head, screamed at me otherwise. They told me to keep going, to push myself harder, because you were waiting at the top for me. I could have been suffering from heat stroke, but I didn’t care. In my mind, I had to keep going, to get to you. I ignored the waves of nausea in my stomach, and continued to the top where I think I almost passed out. I sat and took a lot of deep breaths and drank my water. There were a couple of other people as crazy as me, who were there as well. They were there for pure pleasure though. Not because they know anything about Inferno Fuckwad Bob. I sat and listened to the happy conversations around me and almost got lost in the couples world; while they were snapping pictures of each other and were beaming with excitement about making it to the top. I wished to be that girl that I used to be today….. so giddy and proud of hiking Camelback. I remembered that girl today. The one who used to hike Camelback for pure pleasure, not because she feeds off of the pain. That girl seemed so young, so innocent, and so carefree. I missed that girl.  I wished for a rewind button, before you were sick. I wished so many things today at the top of that mountain. None of them came true.

Somebody asked me the other day, where I was in the stages of Grief. I am aware of the stages, but the question caught me off guard. Stages? I have to follow the stages? I didn’t know how to answer. It seemed so strange to me, as if there is a formula to follow after losing you. I am not like everyone else because everyone else did not have YOU, as there son. I guess I’ve never really taken the time to sit down and process the “Stages.”  I took a look at them the other day. They make sense, but I don’t necessarily think there is an order that I am following them in. I have felt these things, since you were diagnosed. I feel these things, 100 times a day. I don’t think the things below should be named the “Stages of Grief.” It should be written as a manual on, “Welcome to your new life, after losing your child.”

It should also have a side note that says, “Good luck with that. Doesn’t it fucking suck?” Here are the “Stages,” below. Just in case any of you are curious.

Denial

This first stage of grieving helps us to survive the loss. In this stage, the world becomes meaningless and overwhelming. Life makes no sense. We are in a state of shock and denial. We go numb. We wonder how we can go on, if we can go on, why we should go on. We try to find a way to simply get through each day. Denial and shock help us to cope and make survival possible. Denial helps us to pace our feelings of grief. There is a grace in denial. It is nature’s way of letting in only as much as we can handle.

As you accept the reality of the loss and start to ask yourself questions, you are unknowingly beginning the healing process. You are becoming stronger, and the denial is beginning to fade. But as you proceed, all the feelings you were denying begin to surface.

Anger

Anger is a necessary stage of the healing process. Be willing to feel your anger, even though it may seem endless. The more you truly feel it, the more it will begin to dissipate and the more you will heal. There are many other emotions under the anger and you will get to them in time, but anger is the emotion we are most used to managing. The truth is that anger has no limits. It can extend not only to your friends, the doctors, your family, yourself and your loved one who died, but also to God. You may ask, “Where is God in this?

Underneath anger is pain, your pain. It is natural to feel deserted and abandoned, but we live in a society that fears anger. Anger is strength and it can be an anchor, giving temporary structure to the nothingness of loss. At first grief feels like being lost at sea: no connection to anything. Then you get angry at someone, maybe a person who didn’t attend the funeral, maybe a person who isn’t around, maybe a person who is different now that your loved one has died. Suddenly you have a structure – – your anger toward them. The anger becomes a bridge over the open sea, a connection from you to them. It is something to hold onto; and a connection made from the strength of anger feels better than nothing.We usually know more about suppressing anger than feeling it. The anger is just another indication of the intensity of your love.

Bargaining

Before a loss, it seems like you will do anything if only your loved one would be spared. “Please God, ” you bargain, “I will never be angry at my wife again if you’ll just let her live.” After a loss, bargaining may take the form of a temporary truce. “What if I devote the rest of my life to helping others. Then can I wake up and realize this has all been a bad dream?”

We become lost in a maze of “If only…” or “What if…” statements. We want life returned to what is was; we want our loved one restored. We want to go back in time: find the tumor sooner, recognize the illness more quickly, stop the accident from happening…if only, if only, if only. Guilt is often bargaining’s companion. The “if onlys” cause us to find fault in ourselves and what we “think” we could have done differently. We may even bargain with the pain. We will do anything not to feel the pain of this loss. We remain in the past, trying to negotiate our way out of the hurt. People often think of the stages as lasting weeks or months. They forget that the stages are responses to feelings that can last for minutes or hours as we flip in and out of one and then another. We do not enter and leave each individual stage in a linear fashion. We may feel one, then another and back again to the first one.

Depression

After bargaining, our attention moves squarely into the present. Empty feelings present themselves, and grief enters our lives on a deeper level, deeper than we ever imagined. This depressive stage feels as though it will last forever. It’s important to understand that this depression is not a sign of mental illness. It is the appropriate response to a great loss. We withdraw from life, left in a fog of intense sadness, wondering, perhaps, if there is any point in going on alone? Why go on at all? Depression after a loss is too often seen as unnatural: a state to be fixed, something to snap out of. The first question to ask yourself is whether or not the situation you’re in is actually depressing. The loss of a loved one is a very depressing situation, and depression is a normal and appropriate response. To not experience depression after a loved one dies would be unusual. When a loss fully settles in your soul, the realization that your loved one didn’t get better this time and is not coming back is understandably depressing. If grief is a process of healing, then depression is one of the many necessary steps along the way.

Acceptance

Acceptance is often confused with the notion of being “all right” or “OK” with what has happened. This is not the case. Most people don’t ever feel OK or all right about the loss of a loved one. This stage is about accepting the reality that our loved one is physically gone and recognizing that this new reality is the permanent reality. We will never like this reality or make it OK, but eventually we accept it. We learn to live with it. It is the new norm with which we must learn to live. We must try to live now in a world where our loved one is missing. In resisting this new norm, at first many people want to maintain life as it was before a loved one died. In time, through bits and pieces of acceptance, however, we see that we cannot maintain the past intact. It has been forever changed and we must readjust. We must learn to reorganize roles, re-assign them to others or take them on ourselves.

Finding acceptance may be just having more good days than bad ones. As we begin to live again and enjoy our life, we often feel that in doing so, we are betraying our loved one. We can never replace what has been lost, but we can make new connections, new meaningful relationships, new inter-dependencies. Instead of denying our feelings, we listen to our needs; we move, we change, we grow, we evolve. We may start to reach out to others and become involved in their lives. We invest in our friendships and in our relationship with ourselves. We begin to live again, but we cannot do so until we have given grief its time.

So, there you have it, Ro. The Stages of Grief. I do think it was beautifully written. I think it was written by Dr. J’s friend, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. I’m reading her book now, “On Children and Death.” She was a good friend of Dr. J’s which tells me she is worthy of me reading her book. I’m not too far into it as I am having a hard time staying focused on it as it is one of the many pile of books next to my bed. I want to finish this one first, but I have some homework that I am trying to get done before I meet up with of few of our lovelies next month to go over your Foundation. Homework that requires research and not enough hours in the day.

Ro baby. I spent the rest of the day, playing the good mama role, really well. Except I didn’t cook dinner but one of our dolls dropped off dinner instead. Thanks, Katie. You saved me tonight<3<3<3

Time to try to sleep, Ro. I’m getting up early to run with Samya in the morning. Miss you so much. I love you and hope you are safe. Sweet dreams, Baby Doll.

xoxo

You are my God, my Heaven, and someday, my Peace

 

 

 

Ro baby. Hi. I’m still here. I’m going to say, unfortunately, because that’s what I’m feeling at this time. As much as I talk to you and ask you to take me with you…. I don’t think you are going to. You want me here, on this earth, and I have to do my time. I feel like I’m trapped in a prison cell and nobody is ever coming to free me. And I know you know why. It’s because nobody can save me, but myself. I have to learn how to set my soul free, to be reborn again because of now, I still feel like I am walking around dead. I cannot go on like this forever which is why I am forcing myself to do things that I really don’t want to do, but I know if I don’t, everybody loses. Even you. And that is not acceptable in my book because I have so much making up to you to do. I will tell you I’m sorry everyday, 20 times a day, for the rest of my life. I’m sorry for so many things. But most of all, for not being able to save you, when I promised you I would. I will carry the guilt of that around for the rest of my life.

I’ve tried to do a lot this week. Physically and mentally. I have to start trying to fix myself, bit by bit.  I’ll never be fully repaired, but I hope to find pieces of myself here and there and put them back together. My pieces will never fit perfectly again, so I’m going to have to relearn how to live with them, as shattered, cracked, bruised and battered as they may be. I have to learn how to live with this pain now, if I am going to stay on this earth.

This week is almost over. I’ve done a lot. A lot of therapy. A lot of mommy things. A lot of being productive. I want to say fuck it all and not do any of this. But I have this fire that lives inside of me now that refuses to let me be quiet and give up. I am pissed at the world and have too much passion from the pain of losing you. I’m not giving up. No matter how many doors I have slammed in my face. I deserve answers, I deserve to hear I’m sorry from the fucking medical world that failed us, I deserve to create changes in this fucked up world of childhood cancer. I deserve to help others. It is what you would want. You would want me to find a reason to go on. You would want me to break down every fucking door to get there. I will make you proud of me. I know how much you loved me. I know you loved me more than anything or anyone. I know you will always be proud of me, which is why I refuse to give in to this hell that is now my life. And FYI….. Fuck this Zoloft. I’m done with it. I’m not taking it anymore. I know I’m going to be told to wean myself off of it, but too bad. I’m stopping it cold turkey. Is that dangerous? Maybe. Is it going to kill me? I doubt it. I’ve made my mind up about this and you know how I am once I make my mind up about something. I don’t want to be on a medication because my feelings about losing you are too intense. I needed this medication during your treatment, when you were still here with me, because I took care of you, 24/7. You are gone now. And I am done with this crap. I don’t want to live a life of being on meds. I want to be cleansed. I want to get back in touch with my reality, without being medicated. I’m strong enough to do this. And if I’m not, I will reevaluate the situation. I’m not ready to give up my sleepy meds yet. The Ristoral that I have taking makes me less insane. I’m sleeping a little better. I’m not saying crazy things in the middle of the night to your daddy like I was before. That drug is hardcore and really messed with my mind. I don’t like to feel out of control and that is how I felt when I was on it. I’ll admit for a while, it felt kind of good because it was an easy escape and I didn’t have to be responsible for the way I acted. I could just blame it on the Ambien. I don’t want to have to blame things for my behavior. I want to be able to blame myself, not some drug that is effecting my sleep and my life, so deeply. I still need the Ristoral though. I’m not even close to being at peace with anything and I know that trying to sleep on my own is torture. The lack of sleep that comes with all of this is something that I cannot handle at this point. I need sleep. I need a break from everything and sleeping is the only break I’m going to get.

At this point in my life, I feel like I’m on autopilot. I think I’m back in shock again. I talked to you after my run tonight and I didn’t even cry. It was strange as I am always able to cry about you. Not tonight. I sat there, in the dark, on a bench, and talked to you but no tears came out. I feel numb. I feel like I don’t want to feel anything so I am going to just shut all of my feelings down. This is when I decided to screw the Zolfoft. I think this may be part of the problem. I want to feel and not feeling anything tonight, scared the shit out of me. I don’t have normal feelings at all. Happiness, excitement, and hope are not part of my world anymore. Feeling love from others feels foreign to me as if I’m not worthy of it. I feel nothing. Today, I was able to put on my FUCK CANCER game face and put together a plan of attack. I was able to figure out what steps I need to take in the right direction to make a difference. Baby steps, but I have somewhat of a plan. I have an idea for a plan of one of the many things I want to do. I have to do because I am so angry about the lack of knowledge we were given when you were diagnosed. It is unacceptable and cruel. And fucking bullshit. I know that things take time and baby steps are necessary. Baby steps are a start in the right direction and I know they will lead to bigger and better things. Good thing I am a patient person by nature. Patient but passionate. I think those things will both work in my favor.

I have so much more to tell you. About the amazing lady I saw from the MISS foundation this week. For the first time since losing you, I felt like maybe, just maybe, I can survive this. I can change things. I felt this way because Dr. Joanne may be one of the most incredible souls I’ve ever come into contact with. Instant connection not to mention she is brilliant. And compassionate. She’s taken her pain, educated herself on grief, and turned it into an amazing organization. She inspires me. I need to be inspired right now. I need to see that great things can come out of something so tragic and awful from losing a child. I need to know that I can become a better person through all of this and make a big mark in this world by helping to find a cure, by helping other families, by giving all I have to give. I am going to take everything I used to save you, and throw it into helping other people. I know I’m not ready for this just quite yet, as I have some things I have to work on myself. I have to make sure your brothers are o.k. as they need me more than ever. I cannot let them down. I have to do this for you. They deserve to have the best life possible. I have to be a part of making that happen. I cannot just check out, Ro. It’s a lot of pressure but I think I can do it. I promise to try my hardest.

I’ve worked out everyday this week. Hiking in the heat, boot camp, running. It all feels good. It makes me feel alive for about an hour which is better than nothing. It makes me smile when I feel the sweat stinging my eyes. It makes me realize for a small moment in time, I can feel again. It’s not always good, but it’s better than being numb. I don’t want to walk around this life like a robot. I want you back more than anything but I know that is not going to happen. But I also know that I will see you again. We will meet up in our next life together and it will be even more amazing than this one. I truly believe that. Our bond and connection is too strong for that not to happen, my love.

That is all for tonight. I love you to the moon and back, baby boy. I hope you are safe. Please watch over all the beautiful souls that love you so much. Please visit them in their dreams. You are not ready to visit me yet, as I am too consumed by my pain. You will know when you are ready to see me again, to let me know you are safe. Please keep your brothers safe. Thank you for keeping Fernanda safe. I know that was you. I know you are part of her soul. I’m not thanking God for anything anymore, Ro. I’m thanking you. You are my God. You are my heaven. And someday you will be my peace. I love you so much. I miss you every second of the day. I promise I won’t let you down.

Sweet dreams my little devil.

xoxo