"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 15, 2012

A few questions...

...that I've been asked over the course of the past several months. Most are pretty difficult to answer. But, I find myself often saying the ever infamous line of, "I'm doing okay." Which is really, very far from the truth!

One question that I often get asked is - "how do you do it?" I assume, "it" is referring to the death of 2 of my children. I rarely have an answer to that question. Most often, I find myself at a loss of words or I stumble around trying hard to come up with an answer. Actually, in complete honesty, I have no idea of just how exactly to answer that particular question. The truth is, I don't know how I do "it". I don't know how I get through each day. It's hard to go to sleep each night. It's VERY hard to get myself out of bed each morning.It's hard to get started with each new day. Seriously, every day, each morning, it's hard. It throws your whole body for a loop..just. as. soon. as. you. open. your. eyes. Not a good way to start each day, is it? It's not like getting up late because your alarm wasn't set right. And then you find yourself racing around the house trying to get ready to get out the door to work..only to discover that you have lost you set of car keys just as your heading out the door to work. Car keys are replaceable...even though you get totally pissed off when you can't find your keys. It throws you into a tizzy. Throws your entire day off. However, in the back of your mind, you know those keys will eventually show up. What I face each morning is the cold hard fact, that my 2 kids will never show up. Not in their physical being. They are forever gone from this world. Gone forever. And truthfully, I'm not doing "it" very well. But, I've learned that people are so uncomfortable with the truth, that I seem to just give the easiest answer possible..."I'm doing okay."

Another question I've been asked several times is - "what's the hardest part of what you're going through?" Again, I can only assume that question refers to the loss of 2 of my children, but people don't ask with the use of Carly's or Brad's name. I don't have any idea how to answer that question at all. I can't explain the ache I feel deep, deep down inside of myself. I can't begin to explain the overwhelming heartache that consumes me each and every. single. day. I often times will say, "my heart is completely shattered, not just broken, shattered." And I just leave it at that. I can't tell you what the hardest part of living this new life is. I miss seeing the faces of my kids every day. I miss their laughter. I miss their voices. I miss the noisiness of having kids.

On a day to day basis, one of the things we do struggle with the most, is waking up each morning to face another day without our kids. Going to visit them at the cemetery is very difficult. It's so hard to stand at their graves and know that their lives are over. To know that I gave birth to two beautiful children whose lives were snatched away, without any warning. They were here one minute and gone the next.

Another question Paul and I get asked a lot..and I mean A LOT - "are you angry/mad at God?" We are extremely mad and angry at God. We now question whether or not there even is a God. Please..do not judge me for my feelings. If you believe in God, good for you. But for Paul and I, we are struggling. We are mad as HELL. I get so tired of hearing people say, "everything happens for a reason." and "this is God's plan." Ummm, I'm pretty sure if those people were walking this journey of grief, they'd be feeling darn near what we are feeling and if they didn't, they'd surely understand our anger and our questioning. As I've said to several people, "well, if this is God's plan, it's one messed up plan. Messed up big time."

As far as questions go, believe you me...we have a lot of them. I'll share with you a few of those question. We struggle with these questions daily. Often times, several times, daily.

Why our family?
Why our kids?
Why can’t we feel their presence, (like those grieving parents before us, claim we can) on a daily basis?
Why wasn't it us?
Why do we feel so exhausted each day?
When will our heart shattering pain lessen?
When will we have any feeling of "normalcy" again?

Is this all there is to our "normalcy" now?
When will our up and down days, turn into more "up" days and less "down" days?
Is our life left to "down" days, for the rest of our lives?
When will our guilt end?
Is it really "normal" to feel such quilt?
When will my horrible dreams of my 2 children end?
Do I really want my horrible dreams to end?
Are we going crazy?
Are our kids together now?
Are they happy?
Where, exactly are our kids?
What's it like for them now?
Is there life beyond?
Where was God on April 23, 2010 as Carly fought so freaking hard to survive?
Where was God on October 8, 2011 as our home burned as our son lie inside?
What kind of God puts a family through such horror?
Why did God fail our family?
Is there even God?
Is there a Heaven?
How are we suppose to go on with our lives?
Will happiness ever find us again?
How does a mother go on without 2 of her children and where does she even begin?
What are we suppose to do now?
What comes next?
Is more heartbreak ahead?
When is enough...ENOUGH?

And those are only an example of some of the questions that we have each day. Most, will likely never be answered. And that sucks. Because some of those questions will eat at us, likely for the rest of our lives.

We are trying hard to find a sense of some sort of normalcy. But it's really, really hard and more times than not, I for one, would rather just stay at home and keep to myself. And if you know my husband, so would he. It's hard to get yourself moving. Force yourself to, go..live..do..be. I'm trying though. I do have some pretty good friends who do get me out a couple times a month. We go for lunch, dinner, shopping and even to the movies. Believe me, I come close each time, to backing out. But, I force myself to, go..do. In all honesty, it's hard. Hard to make myself do things. Not sure if it's guilt because I'm doing things or fear. Fear, is very much a part of our lives now. We fear each day. We fear facing each day. We fear wondering what each day will bring. We fear tomorrow. We fear life.

The above picture, is part of the Willow Tree Angels collection. My dear friend, Polly, sent this to us after Brad's death. It's very fitting, it's called, "Brother and Sister" And I hope, this is how my kids are today. Together. Side by side. Forever.

Brad would most definitely, NOT like this picture of him shown.. because
he had lost so much weight after this picture and before his death.
But, I love this picture. Carly was checking him out..likely wishing
she could stand by her "sissy"... and he was checking her out. They
had a very special bond. And I sure do hope whatever is out there after death..whatever
it may be, that they are together again.


Heather said...

I just want you to know that I love you and Paul. I feel honored to know you, to have spent time with you. To know your Carly and Brad through you, because you so unselfishly chose to share them in life and, in death.

Thinking of you and praying for you and waiting for the day to give you both a hug. to sit in silence or to just listen. Keeping you close always my sweet friends. Always.

Kristen's mom said...

Just like Heather,
I love you too.
One day we will sit together.

Joyce said...

Hugs from me to you.

Cindy said...

That's a beautiful Willow Tree figurine. You are daily in our thoughts and prayers.

Grandma~rella said...

Just want you to know, I check daily to see if you've posted. Truly fell in love with your sweet family when I began following your blog, which was when precious Carly was first sick. Honestly, don't even recall who sent me your way...but sure grateful they did. You and your family have been in my nightly prayers since and will continue to be. I pray for peace and mended hearts, finding comfort in knowing your children just have to be together...just look at the beautiful Willow figurine, then at the amazing, love-filled photo. Pure, unconditional LOVE, right there. I do also pray that someday, you will be able to feel, they are together and also that you feel their precious presence. It will come...please try to believe this.

Though I may be a 'stranger'....I do send my love, thought's and prayers... Many, many (((HUGS)))

Cammie Heflin said...

Joany, no one can even fathom what you and Paul feel about the horrendous losses of Carly and Brad. I think of you and your precious angels often and hope that your healing gets easier.

lovejoy_31 said...

I certainly can't begin to udnerstand what you guys are going through. And I completely understand questioning God. I am a believer and I believe that He has gotten me through things I never thought I would be able to, but that is my walk with Him. Just know that plenty of us are still here praying for you guys each and every day.

Lindsay Marie said...

I pray for you and your family daily. I try to live life to the fullest because what has happened to your family made me realize that anything can happen in the blink of an eye. I can't even imagine the grief you are going through. I just have one question for you: what can I do to help you? I don't need to know how get out of bed every day. I just want to help.

Unknown said...


Bethany02086 said...

Ok, so here I am again, I am reading backwards from todays date, though I have been praying for you much longer, thanks to Connie lindquist. I have not dealt with the death of my own child, so I doubt my feelings are as heart wrending as yours, but I have dealt with lots of death in many ways. From babies to the elderly and too many closer to the babies than the elderly. They all happened way too close together. I too was mad at God, furious. "How could He?!" And it got even worse when I heard of other peoples "close calls" their "miracles"....where was God when I needed a miracle? Where was he damnit? Sometimes my heart still wants to know...it took time...time for the anger to burn. And when it did start to ebb, sometimes I wished for it back, because at least then I felt alive. After I had to learn to feel again. At one point I stopped crying. The tears just dried up...disappeared. closed by anger and bitterness and sorrow too deep for mere tears. I can cry again. It is purifying, but it literally took years. This is all brought up by a phrase that too this day infuriates me: "this is all part of God's plan" Really?!! You have got to be kidding me! How the hell is your cutesy platitude suppose to make me feel better? However, I do firmly believe that, in time, God does work ALL things together for good. I also very firmly believe that God never planned for your children to die. They died due to circumstances in a world filled with imperfection brought about by a sinful world. I know that God's eyes are filled with tears for you. I know that while your anger burns bright for Him. He still loves your WHOLE family. No one will ever be able to answer the "why didn't God..." But I pray that you may be comforted in your own unique way and know the God hasn't forgotten you in your greif. And we are praying for you.