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

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Eyes Can Tell A Story

Often times throughout the day, I find myself looking in the mirror. I really dislike looking at myself in the mirror. Especially the past several months. Just don't like to see myself. Not anymore. Which makes me wonder just why on earth I continue to even look!

What do I see looking back at me? I see an aged, worn down, very sad woman. I see it in my face. I'm pale. I have bags under my eyes, not to mention dark circles. And trust me, it doesn't matter if I wear makeup or not...I'm still a dreadful sight. But, as I look at myself and into my eyes I see sadness. Deep, deep sadness.

Have you ever heard the saying "they eyes can tell a story?" Mine sure can. And sometimes, actually quite often, I just know other people can see that my eyes are sad as well. Sorrow. It's there. It shows. Whether I put a smile on my face. Crack a bit of a joke. Or actually, laugh out loud. My eyes tell it all. They are sad. They are lost. I am lost.

I've talked with many bereaved parents in the past 9 months. Some have lost children 25yrs ago. And you know what?? Their eyes tell of their sorrow. As I look into their eyes, searching I guess, for a glimpse of sparkle, life, happiness, hope. There is none. STILL. 25yrs later and these parents eyes tell their story. Without even having to open their mouths and verbally tell their own stories. The eyes tell all.

As I've mentioned before, I feel like I'm walking around the last 9 months, minus a limb from my own body. That's no joke. That's exactly what it feels like. And after talking to other bereaved parents, I've found that they also feel this way. Personally, I'd much rather be missing an arm or a leg, and have my sweet girl right back home, where she belongs. Some would argue "Carly is in a better place now." I beg to differ. HOME is the best place for her. Home with her "mama" "Paul" "sissy" and "bubba" and don't ever tell me otherwise. Mothers know best. And this mama knows, home with us, is what Carly would have wanted. No one can see with their own eyes, that I feel as if I'm missing a limb. But everyone/anyone can look into my eyes and simply see sorrow. See a broken woman. A woman lost, who likely will never find her way out of this gut wrenching grief and sorrow.

Each morning when I wake up, I have to force myself out of bed...some may see it as progress in living and going on with life. Going on with this never ending grief. And maybe in some way it is. Believe me, I would much prefer staying in bed all day long. Pulling the covers over my head and just sleep my days away. But, BUT,,,,,the reason I wake up and get out of bed each morning, is because I make myself. I'm trying to survive. I'm doing the best that I possibly can. I will do nothing more than the best that I can.

Once I wake up, I look at myself in the mirror...and I see how awfully worn out I look. I look as though I have aged a number of years. I feel it too. I feel worn down in every inch of my body. So not only do I know, that I look awful, my body actually feels it too.

Paul and I were at our doctor, Dr. L., the other day. We have a really great family doctor. He has taken such good care of us over the past 9 months. Dr. L., was also Carly's family doctor. He loved her and she loved him. She would walk around his office like she owned the place, mainly because she couldn't stand being in a patient room and waiting...she much preferred socializing. Stopping to tell everyone working at their desks, "hi!" Oh how I miss my sweet girl... Back to our doctor visit, Paul and I have been feeling a little more off, than usual the last couple of weeks. Paul is worn out too. When Friday hits, his worn out body is just that. Worn. Out. He works long hard hours at work each day. And more often than not, he is not feeling well come Friday night. He has headaches, sore throat, ear aches and he just wants to sleep. As for me, I started having dizzy spells again. I guess you'd call it vertigo. As it's not constant. I've been battling vertigo/inner ear infection since April 1st. By the time we lost Carly, my ear infection had cleared. But, it came back very soon after. And throughout the last 9 months, I continue to battle it. In fact, the only time I've had 'healing' of my inner ear infection, over the course of the last 9 months, were the months of Dec and Jan. Low and behold,,, it's STRESS that is causing these illnesses to linger for Paul and me. Stress knocks out a persons immune system. And right now, we pretty much have no immune system. We are stressed out, exhausted and our immune systems are shot to HELL.

As we sat talking with Dr. L., he told us a story of a High School friend, who had lost a child 30+ yrs ago. He told of how he went to a class reunion and this friend was there with her husband. We talked a little about the accidental death of his friends small child. The boy was swimming and for some reason, got out of the pool all wet from swimming all day..and touched a live wire. He died within minutes. Right there in front of his family, who had been having a pool party with the neighborhood. Dr. L., says that to this day, his friends eyes tell the pain and sorrow that is still there. That is never ending.

Another story he told us the other day was about a married couple who come to him as patients too. They are in their 80's. Just so happened they were in to see Dr. L., on the 45th anniversary date, of the death of their young son. Doc didn't get into any details of their loss, other than telling us that 45 years later and the tears were still streaming down their faces. Dr. L., told us that he never knew of the loss they had suffered years before, but that he did notice the look in the eyes of the mom. He said she always had the look of being lost. But up until that particular day, these parents had never said a word of the son they lost all those years before.

I suppose the lost look in my eyes will remain with me throughout the rest of my life. Some may think our doctor shouldn't have shared those stories with us. Likely because, "it gives you no hope." But you know what?? We know this is going to be with us the rest of our lives. 5 yrs. 10 yrs. 20 yrs 45 yrs. Our grief will NEVER end. EVER! Sure our lives will go on. We have no choice in that. But trust me, if you see me out and about, all you need to do is look into my eyes and you'll know the grief and sorrow are never ending. All because, "the eyes can tell a story."


The following picture is of me...taken by Carly last February. She took it with her Fisher Price Camera, a gift from "HO HO" (Santa). You see that happy person in that picture below?? Well, sadly, she doesn't exist anymore. This person in this picture, doesn't even look the same anymore. Every part of my face is different now. In just one year, that happiness that shows very clearly in this picture,,,,, is gone.

"You don't get over it,
you just get through it.
You don't get by it,
because you can't get around it.
It doesn't get better,
it just gets different.
Grief puts on a new face."

~Wendy Feireisen


Kristen's mom said...

Well Joany, I could have written those words myself, except the part about the doctor because I haven't been to one. I have often talked to my daughters about the sadness that will always be a part of me. I've even mentioned the sadness in my eyes. Those words of Wendy pretty much hit it right on. I sure wish we were closer, sometimes I feel so lost and just wish I could talk to someone who understands. I am finally putting the final order in for Kristen's headstone this week, and it is right up there with one of the hardest things I have ever done.

JennyH said...

I think of you every day Joany.

The VW's said...

Thinking of you, and praying! Love and Big Hugs!!!

Heather said...

Oh my friend,what so many of us wouldn't do to help you carry this load.

Keep writing and sharing.When you are up to it and we will continue to send you love and prayers of strength.

Kelly said...

Thinking of you!! ((HUGS))

my family said...

Although this is probably so hard to write on here I am so glad that you are able to get some of your feelings out into words. I think it is good for the dr to share the stories, not to let you the pain is never ending but to know you are no alone.

{{hugs my friend}}

Lorene said...

I have nothing to say or offer you except my hugs, thoughts, and prayers. HUGS to you.

Tina said...

Oh Joany I can't imagine the pain ever going away, this is one kind of sadness that will always stay with you, and my heart goes out to you. My husband lost his brother over 37 years ago and I know his parents never got over that loss, it's like something in them died along with their son, they had to find purpose to life to get through the days and they did the best they could. The pain and sadness never goes away but I think from what I have seen many many years down the road my MIL (my FIL is no longer alive) has found a way of dealing with this loss without it physically hurting all the time anymore.

Joany keep writing and sharing your feelings with us and let us be by your side in your time of sadness. I pray for your strength, sending love from afar.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the years go by (17 and 11 for me now). And you do learn a new pattern of living, but...What would have been? What could have been? These thoughts are never far because your life has been COMPLETELY altered after the death of a child. I mean, is it really living? The well-meaning platitudes of others, you can't blame them really. It may sound heartless, but they probably have never had a drink from the cup you are tasting from now. And truly, would you wish for this to happen to someone else? I understand how you feel, its hard to smile and be polite when you are met with "You are handling this very well,"(i.e.; "I haven't seen you cry and that means I don't have to think about this anymore.") BUT, I can say, one day you will breathe again. The boulders will fall from your heart and you will breathe. Wait for it... (Mom of 7; 5 on earth and 2 in heaven.)

Groves said...

Far from thinking your doctor should not have told you those stories, I love him for it. It makes me think that he has some idea that you have been wounded in a way that will not heal on earth. It makes me think he actually cares about you, because he is not trying to minimize the agony that you are experiencing because of Carly's death. I wish there were a lot more doctors like yours.

No wonder the grief does not get better, but just "puts on a new face."

Carly, you are so missed!!!!!!!!


Cathy in Missouri

Rachel said...

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