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

Sunday, December 19, 2010


The last 8 months I find myself taking many deep breaths. Often times due to anxiety. Often times because I get a gnawing feeling deep down in the pit of my stomach. Which, I suppose is all due to anxiety. I literally have to make myself take several deep breaths while counting to 10, 15, 20 etc. I guess the counting technique is suppose to help calm you down. Who knows. Sometimes it seems to work and other times not so much. There are times, I feel as though I can't breathe at all. I feel like I'm gasping for breath.

Today, I insisted that Paul go shopping with me. Which was probably a big mistake. He was not very happy about going, but honestly...neither was I. We met Ashleigh at the Mall after she got off work. Let me just say, it was NOT a pleasant time. I took many deep breaths today while shopping. Paul drove me crazy! The minute we got to the Mall, he started.."I'm ready to go. I can't take it" I had to just walk away from him and breathe. Had I not walked away from him, he would have gotten an ear full, which would not have been a good thing because I would have regretted it. I know I would have. But, I've done all the Christmas shopping this year. ALL of it. It was not easy for me. Trust me, this has been incredibly hard for me this year. So, in a nut shell... I'm pissed about it! All of the shopping was put on my shoulders this year. I think Paul sometimes forgets, that he's not the only one who is suffering this huge loss. Thankfully, Ashleigh ended up calling Paul out on his pissy attitude, which changed his attitude up a bit. He seems to listen to her...and tends to think I'm nagging! Imagine that,,,a husband who thinks his wife nags! I do still think it was best for me to just walk away while at the Mall and take several deep breaths, count very slowly to about 15 and pop a Xanax.

Our ride home was kind of quiet. But I really think it was just the new found reality that the last 8 months has thrown our way. I don't know about Paul, but I sat staring out the window looking at all the Christmas lights with tears running quietly down my face. Sitting in silence and wondering just how in the hell we are going to get through this. How can our lives possibly go on without Carly?

Now don't go thinking we are having marital problems. We are not. This is the reality of a first Christmas without our baby girl. It sucks. It's very hard. Harder than most of you could ever imagine. Seeing everyone running around happy go lucky...and then there's us. Sad. Miserable. Envious. Us. We're trying to figure out how in the heck we are going to get through the next several days. We feel like we are walking through a fog. We feel like the walls are closing in on us. Sadly, it seems to be the new way of living for us these day.

I've been getting several comments and emails from people who are floored that I can still actually get up each day and put one foot in front of the other. Well, let me just say that many days I don't get up until very late in the morning. When I do finally get myself up, it's often due to the fact that I have forced myself up. I have no desire to get up each morning at all. None. Am I depressed? You bet. All four of us are depressed. And I can honestly say, I don't know if we will ever not be depressed.

Once you witness your 8 year old daughter/sister suffering a cardiac arrest in the middle of your living room, out of the clear blue and being in the damn ER screaming at the doctor "Do NOT stop working on my baby." Begging the doctor to give Carly another Epi shot. And I mean, I was BEGGING. Being told "it's to late." Being told "your daughter is dead." Screaming at the ER doc to do it again. Screaming for the doctor to give one more shot of Epi. And so, she did. It was the 10th Epi shot given to Carly in about a 40 minute span. I think this is more than enough reason to leave a person extremely depressed.

Also, knowing that your 24 year old daughter, who was Carly's very best friend and vise-versa, had to be told over the phone that her little sister was was gone. Well, actually, my dad had to do that. I begged him not to tell Ashleigh over the phone, but he convinced us that it had to be done. She had to be told. That there would be no time better than another. Ashleigh did in fact know that something was happening with Carly that day. Brad called her and told her that something was wrong and that Carly was gone in the ambulance. Then we found out that Ashleigh collapsed on the floor at work when being told about Carly. Having your 21 year old son escorted into the ER seeing his mom holding the lifeless body of his baby sister. Having your oldest walk into your parents house and collapse in your lap. All of this justifies MAJOR depression. All of this justifies my very deep seeded anger.

The only possible option we have in order to even attempt get through this, is to BREATHE. I just hope that none of us forgets how.


Michele Risner said...

I have been feeling very overwhelmed...depressed, what have you and I am just telling myself to take one day at a time. But honestly, I'd have to say, one breath at a time. Carly is one our minds and like you said, we are so grateful that fate allowed us to all be together last Christmas, since we almost weren't.

One breath at a time Joany. I can't say that it will get better, but I am told it gets a little easier but the grief is always there, just not as crippling as it is now. I have to believe that.

Our hearts will be in Michigan this year even if we cannot be there physically.

Kacey Bode said...

I really have no idea what to say. Nothing I can say will take away any of your hurt, nothing will make things right. I will say that I cannot even begin to imagine the pain that you have gone through and continue to feel. I think about you and Carly often and it makes me hold my babies just a little bit longer knowing that it can all just disappear. Just know that there are a lot of people thinking about you....I know that sounds lame but again I really don't know what to say.

Heather said...

I actually have no words for you my friend.As you said,most of us have absolutely no idea what your days,your moments are like.We cannot imagine and our hearts just ache for you and Paul and the kids.Just ache.so we do the only thing we can.We listen and read and send our love.

Just keep breathing friend.Just keep breathing and while your doing that we will pray,because we know you can't right now and that is okay.We'll do it for you.

Cathleen said...

Thinking about you, and praying for your family. No words can comfort such a deep loss. But, I will say that thank God Carly was here with you for 8 years. Thank God she was on earth and part of your family and brought you such joy to witness her amazingness and beauty. Just keep breathing.

Bulldogma said...

My heart aches for you. Hugs!

Groves said...

You are so right - anyone who wasn't depressed in this situation would either be out of their mind or in severe denial. You are NOT out of your mind and you don't have the luxury of denial, as if that could bring any comfort.

The holidays are especially brutal on grief. All these reminders that other people are celebrating and life is supposedly going forward, and there is no way for that to happen when your child is dead. Why would there be?

No one hates it more than you do - and the rest of us join you in hating it. Death is Hell. Being without Carly is Hell.

I'm so sorry.

Cathy in Missouri

Kristen said...

"Just breath"...

Those are some pretty wise words and smart self-advice.

I deeply hurt for your family.

Please don't stop writing. Please don't stop processing. We're here listening. Grieving with you!


Lacey said...

Its great that you are remembering to breathe. And great job holding back and not laying into your hubby, I dont know if I would have been able to do that!
Just keep breathing my friend, we are all here to carry you when you can't!

I Just Love You said...

through all your sorrow, i wish for you a peaceful Christmas even if it's not a happy one. i will be thinking of you.

B said...

I am crying from reading this. Life is so unfair, why do beautiful innocent children have to be taken away? They bring so much joy...why does it happen? It makes no sense...
I think of you often, I can't imagine what it's like, no one should ever have to go through something like this. Carly is forever in so many people's hearts.

The VW's said...

My heart breaks thinking of each and every day that you have to go on without you sweet Carly! Thinking of you and praying! Big Hugs!!!

Rochelle said...

No words, just tears reading this. We pray for you lots and will continue to do so.

Unknown said...

I'm hooking you up with my beautiful cousing Donna...she lost her 25 yr old daughter the day before Thanksgiving....your words are so inspiring...Thank you.

Same as you (cept the age difference)on Nov 24th a perfectly healthy Shannon put her 4 yr old son to bed, sat down on her couch, and just died.

Thank you for sharing your journey with us...you have no idea the impact Carly has made on our lives....and you, too.

Loving you all thru this Horrible Holiday.


Anonymous said...

There was a Dear Abby on December 21st about losing a daughter. This isn't as much for you, as for everyone else who reads this blog.

I wish I could give you a big hug right now.

rylie's mom said...

Thinking of you and your family. Sending prayers.

Tina said...

I can't even begin to imagine what you went through that day, I have tears in my eyes reading this and my heart is hurting so very very much for you. I wish there was something somebody could do or say to make your pain less but I know there isn't. Just know that we are all here to listen, to carry you through these terrible days, and we will continue to be here. Thinking of you. Hugs