"Grieving the loss of a child is a process, it begins the day your child passes and ends the day the parent joins them."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I want to hit the rewind button of life.

As I sit here tonight, in our living room. Which once was filled with the laughter of our sweet girl. I realize. I'm all alone. My side kick is gone. Paul's in bed. Brad's in bed. Ashleigh is in Kalamazoo. And Carly, well my poor sweet girl lies in a grave, about 4 miles from our home. Which makes me physically ill.

As I wake each morning, my body aches and my stomach is in knots, even before my feet touch the floor. Which are all symptoms of grief. I close my eyes several times throughout the course of a couple of hours. If I'm up by 11, it's a good day for me. Yes, I said 11. I figure if I don't get up, I don't have to face the early mornings. Those early mornings, that I miss so much. My morning routine is forever changed. And I'm unsure what to do with myself. I can't for the life of me figure out what to do. Myself, hasn't existed for over 8 years. Myself. Alone. It sucks.

I can't really tell you what I do throughout the day. Time seems to be going so fast. The days just fly past. I hate that. I want to put the brakes on. I want to hit the rewind button of life and go back to April 22 with my happy go lucky little girl. Eventually, I do make my way to the shower, at some point. Some days, I may wash a load or two of clothes, but half the time I forget that I washed anything and by the next load, whenever that may be... I discover the sour smelling clothing left in my washer. Brad is home until about 3 each day, so I'm thankful that I'm not actually all alone all day. At that point, I head outside and sit in a yard chair. I sit there because I don't know what else to do. Paul shows up from work at various times. Normally by 5:30. He finds me sitting out there each day. I then head in to find something to scrounge up for supper. Then realize, it's the first bite of food I've eaten all day. Sometimes, actually quite often I realize that I haven't even had anything to drink all day. Other than a swig of water to take my blood pressure med and my anti-depressant. Then night time falls. Nights are just as bad as mornings. I'm used to bath time and bubbles and bath toys. Combing all that gorgeous hair of hers. Oh how I miss that hair. We had to blow dry her hair because she had so much of it. Air drying would take hours and hours and hours.

I feel like I m spinning at a rapid rate of speed. Spinning out of control. Going so fast that I can't stop. My mind is boggled. My legs are weak. My arms weigh 10 tons each, or at least they feel as if they do. My stomach has a constant knot in it. I can't sleep much. I'm up till the wee, wee hours of the morning. I'm having crazy wild dreams that don't make any sense at all. Which by the way, are all symptoms of grief. I've been sleeping (or trying to) on the couch. I just can't bring myself to climb into my bed. The bed that Carly slept in each night. I would tell her every night, "no Carly, you have to sleep in your bed". Well....she'd tell me, "NO, mama and Paul". Since she had us both wrapped around her little finger...she got her way. I'm unsure why it bothers me to lay in that bed. I can't even begin to explain it. Maybe I fear that I may turn over to gently pat her back, as I so often did...and she wont be there.

My memory seems to be shot these days. I can't remember anything anymore. Like the clothes in the washer. I can't remember what day it is. I can't remember what I made for dinner the night before. I panic if I can't find my cell phone, only to realize that I'm talking on it.

I visit Carly's grave often. Almost daily and sometimes more than once a day. Usually, if I go more than once, it's because I forgot something...like a jug of water for the plants/flowers. As I drive over to the cemetery, I feel like I'm in a dream. That there's no way possible for this to be real. Then I pull in and see her little grave and reality hits. I want to hit the rewind button of life and go back to April 22. when my girl was so happy go lucky. I want these days to slow down. I hate that the weeks are pressing forward without Carly. I hate wondering how to get through this.

Paul and I talk often of how lost we both feel. The emptiness that consumes our days. At any time at any place. We are reminded. Walking into a store. Walking out of a store. Going to the gas station. Driving by a park. Driving through the town where Carly went to school. Going to my parents house. Every place we go we are hit with the reality of loss and emptiness. We can be having a so so day and bamm...it's like slamming into a brick wall. At any given moment, our grief consumes us.

Last week, my mom and I went to a grief session group. We are suppose to go each Thursday night. However, I think it's too soon for me. I know that sounds nuts. But, I'm so full of anger. And this group is all about God. We all know, I'm not to good with him these days. I'm not sure I'll ever be good with him again. There is only one other person at that session who has lost a child. She lost her son in a car accident 7 years ago. Which scares the crap out of me. It makes me wonder just how good these group sessions are if you're still going after 7 years. These groups sit and talk about how grief works. Well guess what...I already know. I'm going through the process along with my entire family...I'm not sure I need them to tell me what I already know I feel. I know it's grief. We're going again tomorrow. Well, I guess today, since it's now 1:10 am on Thursday morning. I wont quit after one session. I'll give it a couple of weeks. However, private sessions may be better for me. Sessions where I can scream and cuss and complain. This group is NOT the place for that. It's only reaffirming what I already know and I don't know if that's of much use.

Guess that's it for my babbling tonight. I want to hit the rewind button of life...except, it doesn't exist.


Kristin said...

Oh man, I can't even begin to imagine. I do remember (over 30 years ago) when my brother died, I was angry with God for YEARS. But losing a brother isn't comparable to losing one's own child. I know there are no words that I can write here to help you find peace. But at least know that you are thought of often.

heather said...

Sending lots of love and hugs your way. I was just looking through pictures of my kids and life from 10 years ago and ached for those days and was thinking how great it would be to be able to go back for just a minute. And then to click on your blog and read this post . . . I can only imagine your pain but reading your words helps me catch a glimpse of the pain you're going through and I wish there was a rewind button for you and your family. I believe Carly is still with you . . . watching over you. She knows your love and pain. I think she'll help give you the comfort and strength you'll need to one day be able to carry on. And she'll be there waiting for your embrace on the other side.

Please remember that you have sooooo many of us out here thinking and praying for you and your family. We're all here for you. xoxo

Tina said...

Oh Joany my heart aches so badly just reading the words you have written. I can't imagine it getting any better for you and it makes me sick to my stomach. The pain you are going through is truely unimaginable, we can just try and put ourselves in your shoes and the thought is unbearable, and here I know it's a sickening reality you have to deal with each and every day, how does it ever get better.

I know there are no words I can write here to help you find any kind of peace, all I can say is that I have you and Carly in my thoughts so much and we are all here for you.

Stephanie said...

I don't think I'd be so good in a group session either. One on one so all the "colorful" words could be used sounds better.

How are the kids doing? I think of Ashleigh often. I guess because she is away and doesn't have you with her.

Sweet Joany, how I pray for you and Paul to find your way though this grief. at least to make it manageable. I pray that one day a smile falls upon your face,and isn't followed by a tear.

There is no secret remedy. There is no time line. I don't know what the hell there is. But we're here J. If only to just listen and cry with you. Know that!!

Michele Risner said...

I couldn't handle a group session either. You need to be able to have the time for you to share your feelings with someone. Not share your feelings with a bunch of strangers, you know? I'd save the group sessions for later.

One of my FB friends lost her brother 20+ years ago....she called her mom the other day on the anniversary of his death, and her mom was crying. She said the grief remains....the days get better over time, but even now, they get reminded daily of memories that make them sad.

Just know you are not alone. While we cannot understand how you feel , we can hold you in our hearts and hope that our love comforts you in some way.

I wish to God we did not have to go through this. I too am questioning my faith....I know Carly was sent to our family for a reason...she brought us so much love. She showed us just what unconditional love means. I know why she was sent to us...but I don't know why she was taken from us...whatever the purpose was...to test us? Why? As I've said before, she was given to you because you and Paul were going to be the very best parents for her. You were her hero...fighting for her rights all these years. And she was ours, all of ours. As I sit her, "The climb" is playing. Which, as usual, has me in tears. As Miley says "gotta be strong. Gotta keep pushing on". It's what Carly would want. She knows how much you loved her. And we love you too.

Emily said...

Oh how I pray for you and your sweet family. As tears are rolling down my face from reading this, I only wish I could hug you, even though I really don't "know" you. May you begin to find some kind of peace and feel that Carly is with you...

The VW's said...

I can't even begin to imagine the pain and anger that you are feeling.....but, when I try to imagine....I can barely breathe. I wish that you could rewind your life as well! Praying for peace, strength and comfort for you and your family! HUGS!!!

Heather said...

All I could do,as I read this post,was deep,deep sighs.Knowing those sighs were coming from my heavy and very sad heart,but knowing,that it was all I could do for you,sigh and listen.And pray.I know your faith is shaken and probably non-existent these days,so instead we pray for you.For your beautiful family.That strength and peace will cover you through this unimaginable grief,

Sending love Joany.Lots of love.

Lacey said...

My heart just aches for you. None of us knows how this feels, we can only imagine. I don't think I could go to a group session either. Praying you can find your way though life. Love to you!

Groves said...

Thank you for this post, too - you are doing more to "put words" to the grief I feel than any book or group has been able to do.

I realize you won't always want to talk/write about this horrible pain and all of its manifestations, but whenever you *do* want to, I hope you won't hold back.

Sometimes it seems that people believe if they share their true suffering and grief, it will be a "downer" for others. IT ISN'T.

I am alongside you today and mourning with you. The world will never be the same without Carly.

my family said...

Joany, The words "sorry" just are words, so small in comparison of what has happened in life. My heart hurts for you, Paul and of course the kids...we pray for all of you. I know the pain my parents have gone through losing 2 of my siblings and sometime I wish there was one simple word to take all of the pain away, but there is not. losing someone sucks!
Know we all love you

amyl4 said...

My heart aches for you, I'm crying as I read your post. It's unfair that any parent should lose a child and I want you to know that even though we haven't met, you are in my thoughts and prayers daily.

Rochelle said...

Praying for you.
Grief is so individual so you try out as many different things as you need to until you find what works for you!
Hugs & love to you all.

Jenee said...

I have no words. I'm not going to pretend I know how you feel, I can't imagine! Just know that I send ((Hugs)) and prayers to you constantly, Carly is with you and is waiting for the day that the two of you are together again!

Bulldogma said...

My heart is in pieces for you, but you MUST take care of yourself!! You must do something to help yourself. OK - stay away from the group (don't think I'd like that much either) but depression and stress are poison - literally - to your health.

I am trying to raise funds for Reece's Rainbow. It's a miracle reading the stories of the abandoned children from Eastern Europe who, just on the brink of being sent to an awful institution where they would likely waste away within a year or less, have loving families come for them.

I know you feel it's too soon, but I feel like you're sinking into the quicksand of your loss... and I am afraid for you.

If you can't help yourself yet, can you help me? Can you help me spread the word about these orphans and help me save lives? Can you help me think of creative ways of raising funds? Can you help me find more people who can help us on our mission?

Sweetie - please. Take my hand and let me help you begin your climb out of the quicksand. I see so many outstretched hands throughout the comments - people who are all worried for you and your well-being. None of us can grant the one wish that weighs on your mind, but we can help you create other wishes. Moving on does not mean forgetting - it means accepting your daughter... just as she is... once again.

"Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

-- Saint Francis of Assisi

Cammie Heflin said...

I never know what to say to you Joany, except I am so sorry and wish I could do something to help.

Envyshope said...

Thinking about you Joany and praying for some kind of peace for you. You are a strong woman, mother, and wife. Your words do touch my heart. Hugs your way.

Regina said...

Still thinking of you! So very sorry for you pain. I don't know if that kind of pain will ever heal or go away. Just know that so many of us are thinking/praying for you daily!

Laura said...


I feel the pain in your words and my heart grieves with you.
I am 11 months and 3 weeks down this road of grief. I found a wonderful online support group for parents who have suffered the loss of their child. There I found other who got it and it has help. Here is the site: http://www.missfoundation.org/

Sending Love,

Anonymous said...

Hugs. I wish I could say more.

My name is Sarah said...

This is Joyce, I read your words Joany and I want to say I understand, but I truly don't. I know you are hurting so badly. I wish we could push that rewind button for you.

Anonymous said...

Joan as I read this my heart breaks in to a thousand pieces, You have no idea of how I understand your anger and wish so much that I could help you. I pray for you everyday that you shall find some sort of even ground but maybe there is something in one of Carly's favorite songs The Climb I hear it so often and bream down everytime I do, bless you and your family but just remember Carly loved life and she would want Momma Paul sissy and bubby to enjoy the rest of your lives we shall all be together again and the anger will lessen over time

JennyH said...

I ache for you. Take the time that you need to grief. But reach out when you need it.

You have so many people praying for you and that truly care about you.

Denise said...

Joany, these aren't my words but I read these on a classmates memorial page and thought of you. They were written by someone who has suffered a loss herself.

"Nothing in life prepares you for grief when you lose someone close to you. You will never make friends with this grief, but it will get to a point where it is easier to bear, but this will take time. This time has no time table so be kind to yourself."

evrfwd said...

thank you for writing. please keep writing. i think your writing will not only help you but others who are going through the same process. so many times i think of you and your heartache. my heart cries because i can not do anything to help you. but i think there are words of wisdom here among your friends. help others if you can and maybe this will help you. the anger and emptiness is all right to have. it is right for you at this moment. and it must be shared.

i think carly was so lucky to be here on this earth with you. she was a gift to you and anyone who came in contact with her. i didn't know carly until after her passing. she is still touching so many lives. she is with you always and you and her will do great things, i think.

please try and take care of yourself. i know it's hard, but try. xoxo

Groves said...

Joany, thought of you when I read this today:

"There are some situations in which nothing will ever assuage or eradicate our loneliness.

There is the loneliness that can never be filled when someone loses a child. To pretend that it is otherwise is to trivialize the loss. Such a profound ripping of bonds of connection and love can only be integrated into the whole of the picture of one's life. It can never be compensated for or amended in any way."

(Seven Choices: Finding Daylight After Loss Shatters Your World)

You ARE taking care of yourself by mourning the loss of your daughter - that is what taking care of yourself is when something like this happens.

Daily thinking of you & of Carly.

Googsmom said...

Many Prayers and {{{{BIG HUGE HUGS}}

明文吳 said...
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Carol N. said...

I don't know, but I heard once that writing about grief is one way to keep moving through it.

I wish you well.

Unknown said...

There are many of us here who do not understand what you are going through but we are here for you to vent to, cry on, anything you need. Please don't hold back, we are here for you no matter what. You and your family are a part of the Down syndrome community and you always will be. We are thinking about you on a regular basis!

Michelle said...

I wish I could turn back the rewind button for you too.

Anonymous said...

Wow! What an amazingly real and honest post. I cannot even imagine what you are going through, but I think you gave me a little glimpse. Not entirely sure I could handle the group grief sessions either. I mean if someone is still going 7 years later how much progress have they made? Not very helpful I know. Go ahead and let the anger out you already know it's part of grieving, and hang in there and I'm sorry . . . I'm sorry that anyone has to go through such pain and horrific loss of someone that the love and cherish so much. I'm sorry there is no rewind button on this thing called life. I'm just plain sorry.

Maureen said...

We are all here for you! Wishing we could share this pain with you, as this is too tragic to conceive. My little girl is 3 and even though she has survived two heart surgeries and she is doing well right now, I always worry about the future. :( Sending lots of hugs!