"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, March 17, 2011

Anticipation ...

...of Spring, is an emotion that most people embrace. As for me and my family, not so much. Not this Spring. In fact, I think we all dread Spring this year. It makes us sad. It fills us with anxiety. And it makes us angry. Angry because this is yet another season without Carly. Spring is often thought of, as a great season. The season that we say goodbye to winter and the long miserable snowy, cold weather. The start of what is soon to become hot, sunny, swimming, golfing, boating and beach time summer fun. Most look so forward to this time of year. As for me and my family, we could skip it all together.

Today has been a nice sunny day. Well, not really a nice day, I don't have a whole lot of those, but it has been a sunny day. As I walked to the mailbox this afternoon, I had Carly on my mind. Truth be told, she is ALWAYS on my mind. I was thinking that the bus would soon be driving past the house, and then a stabbing piercing pain shot through me. That bus should be stopping and dropping my sweet girl off to me. I'd be standing at the door of the bus, and Carly would JUMP from the top step, into my open arms. Every. Single. Day. Oh how I miss my sweet, sweet baby girl.

As Spring approaches, I feel nothing more than an ever growing pit in my stomach. A fear of the dreaded 1 year anniversary of Carly's passing. Just typing that took my breath away. I'm not looking forward to Spring. In fact, I dread it so bad. I would just as soon slip back to bed every day and pull the covers over my head until Spring has long passed.

I find myself thinking back to what we were doing this time last year. Memories is all I have now. So I do a lot of thinking back and remembering. Just the other day, I was going through some of the pictures on my computer and sadly I came across a folder in my pic., file titled, "Spring Fun 2010" not many pic's ended up in that folder :*(

If Carly were still here today, I know what we'd be doing right at this very minute. We'd be outside playing. After Carly would have jumped from the bus, into my open arms, she would have jumped out of them just as quickly...and made a bee line to the swing set, where we would swing and swing and swing and swing. Finally, around 4:30 or 5, I'd be practically dragging (actually, I would be dragging) her into the house so I could start dinner. What I wouldn't give to have to drag her from her swing set to start dinner today.

As we continue to try and find our way through our grief, we find it more difficult. And of course, the anticipation of Spring arriving is about to do us all in. Any other year, we welcomed Spring time with open arms. We couldn't wait for the sunny days and playing outside. We did as other families with little kids do, we played outside. We enjoyed the days. And now, we having nothing.

Our life is forever changed. Never to be as it was before. We are not the same people. We have all changed, on the inside. Of course, we still look like the same people, but I'm betting that if you were to look deep into our eyes, you'd see, we are changed..heart broken, lost, sad. The eyes can tell a story - or so they say! There are many more sad times than there are happy times, which is a big reversal for us.

I've read so many books about grief and the process of grieving, written by the "experts". I've also read real life experiences of other bereaved parents. I've been to, one on one counseling and group counseling. I've been to a grief conference...and you know what I have learned?? I have learned that the second year is much harder on the parents than the first year. I have a hard time wrapping my brain around that. How much worse can the second year possibly be from the first year?? The anticipation of the second year is scaring the crap out of me. And it's coming at us just a bit to fast for my liking.

The "experts" say, that the reason the second year is worse, is due to the fact that the numbness is wearing off and the reality, of the finality hits. And most often, it hits hard. Very hard. We're about to find out, as there is no way around grief.

Paul and I were talking after dinner the other night. He was having such a bad day. It was another sunny day and of course his co-workers were happy go lucky, and anxious to get home and grill out or work out in their yards. For Paul, it was the reality of Spring time without Carly. And he was miserable. We talked for a while, after dinner. The only thing I could tell him about how he's feeling and how I'm feeling, was this; "We can't get around this, we will never get over this, but somehow we have to find a way to get through this."

As I'm about to click the "publish post" button, our sunny day has now turned somewhat cloudy. It's a little gloomy outside now and fits my mood more so than the sunshine..


Unknown said...

"We can't get around this, we will never get over this, but somehow we have to find a way to get through this."

Yes...we will all get through it. That is perhaps the best line I could possibly think of. No one will ever get over it thats for damn sure

Michele Risner said...

Crap...Joany that comment from Audrey is from me. I was using a friends computer and didn't realize she was logged in. Oops..wanna delete it? LOL And this one.

Unknown said...

nah...Michele, I'm not worried about it :)

Unknown said...

Oh man. ..i was ok reading this on my break at work....and then I continued on and saw the pic of Carly & Paul on the pony and now I'm bawling like a baby.

I wish there was something i could do.....

This is just so damned unfair.

Kristen said...

I was thinking of the moment of you standing there with the bus driving on by instead of stopping to drop Carly off...oh there's just no words to describe the pain of that!

The other day I happened to be going through some of my older blog posts from more than a year ago. I read them and gazed at the pictures I posted. Then I read through the comments left. There were some from you and I couldn't help but think and wonder if Carly was right there with you during that time and looking at pictures of my Cayman. And suddenly my comment section felt a little empty. Your Carly was adored and is missed by even strangers like me. Such a special girl she was. And I hate that I have to express that to you in a past tense form. I wish she was still here with you.

I know it's easy to think "experts" know what they are talking about and especially if it's been published in a book it must be "right". But I wanted to share with you what a friend of mine told me after losing a child of her own. She said the second year was easier than the first. Mainly because they had already checked off in that first year all the 1st experiences without their little one. 1st Christmas without...1st birtday...1st Easter...etc. And that 2nd year was more about learning to navigate through it. When you lose someone it's like creating a new groove in the road of life. That first year is about laying down that new path which was the toughest, cutting through the un-tread ground. On the 2nd year the grief was no longer brand new and parts of that felt more healing to her. Other parts of her hated that it was starting to feel more familiar and more and more days on the calendar were falling between the last time she was with her child to the present without them. It's a rocky journey for sure. Just remember though, grief comes differently for all. How can anyone really be an expert about it.

Thinking of you dearly Joany!

wordgardener said...

You and I do not know each other face to face but I too let go of a beautiful face too soon in my life and for the same ugly reason. We have just entered our 3rd year. Yes I totally agree that the second year is harder in so many ways than the first. I pray that you will find a joy in sharing Carly with us, and know that we too find her so amazingly wonderful. I know that spring is a time that should remind you of promises and in the most profound way, it still should. Honey, Carly is in a place that is so totally outrageously beautiful and safe! Never to go through any of the things that are ugly on this planet again...She is with the creator of Life and Love itself. And therein lies the promise...we too get to go there as well, accepting those promises and holding them in our heart is the only response needed to the invitation to party in love forever. I know the air has been sucked out of your immediate surroundings. Finding a way to breathe again is so hard but I promise you, to Carly who knows the sadness in your heart, it will be worth it to tilt your head straight up and melt in the fact that you have been honored to be her parents. I wish I could tell you it is a great life again some day. I can't. We miss our Caylyn something awful, but I try so hard to think of beautiful things that has been all about her, and then I chase away the sadness because I do not want the sadness to steal the beauty of her at all. I swam in sadness once, and no matter how hard you tread, you begin to drown in the mire of it all. I have found several ways to pay forward the love that Caylyn taught us and that has been a huge reward--to honor her life with a butterfly garden, and becoming an advocate for new parents of kids with ds to see how amazing their new job is going to be, and even saved the life of an orphan destined to die in an institution in another country by bringing her home, because we had such a desire to find life worth living again...it is never the same, but is different in a good way. I hope this makes sense. I wanted so much to give you hope in life again. I could not have done it without the grace of God. I know for sure that He is real, and that Cay, as well as Carly, are having the absolute time of their lives. I just know it as the truth in my heart. Praying for peace for you as the tulips rise and open again, after a long winter. May the same thing happen to you.

Stacey said...

Joany I came across your blog tonight for the first time. My husband and I are starting the process of adopting a daughter with Downs Syndrome and I clicked through from another site. I can not begin to know the pain you carry from losing such a beautiful and wonderful child. I have spent hours reading your older posts, laughing, crying and remembering special times from my childhood.

When I was little I lived next door to a girl named Carra who was my age. She had Down Syndrome and went to a different school than me. I remember every day on the bus being excited to go home because I'd be able to play with Carra until dinner time. Carra was my best friend and the bright shining light that made every day wonderful. When we were seven she became very sick, I found out later in life that it was Leukemia. Just before my 9th birthday I came home from school, jumped off the bus and went straight to Carra's as I always did. Carra had passed away that morning, the chemo had become too much for her. I will never forget her mom opening the door with her eyes red and puffy, swooping me up in her arms and thanking me for everything I did for Carra. When I was older and wiser I tracked her mom down and thanked her for Carra and everything she did for me.

I am now 38 and rarely does a day goes by that I don't think about Carra. There was something so special and magical about her that I have never been able to fully describe in words. My friendship with her all those years ago has shaped my life, many of the decisions I have made have been because of the friendship I shared with her. The person I am today is all because of her. She taught me about unconditional love, compassion and always seeing the world through happy eyes.

Carra touched my life and her memory will always continue to live on in me and my children. I know your beautiful Carly touched many hearts and her memory is sure to live on in the hearts of many just as Carra has been living in mine almost my entire life.

Thank you for sharing your life with Carly online, what a wonderful way to let the world know how wonderful she is.

Lisa said...

Love to you.

Lisa Taylor said...

My daughter Annie has Down Sydrome. She will be 22 at the end of this month. I am a weepy mess, here at my desk reading your blog. Your daughter was/*is* beautiful and my heart goes out to your and your family. Peace and much love to you all!! I will certainly be back, to see how you are doing. And will hold you in the light (a Quaker saying). I can't imagine how you're feeling - but know for certain that your sweet girl is laughing and happy still. Blessings, Lisa