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

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Basement People and Balcony People

**re-post: blogger didn't post this...however, facebook did! Weird!**

By: Traci Cooley (Bereaved Mother, Tampa, Florida)

Shortly after my daughter Malena died, I started a home based business to keep busy. During

the course of this business venture, I was able to attend the company's annual convention

These conventions are geared toward encouraging and motivating the sales teams to sell, sell,

and sell. There are workshops and motivational speakers all pushing you into “expanding your

business”. As I sat through many of these speakers, most of what they said I related to

surviving the death of my precious daughter rather than expanding my business. Three years

later, one of the workshops I attended that weekend keeps popping into my head as my grief

process extends past what the world finds “comfortable”.

The workshop was called “Balcony People and Basement People”.

Basement people-are people who constantly pull you down or discourage you.

Basement people, in our grieving process can and do cause us much hurt and distraction. They are people who do not wish to hear about your child; they do not want to talk about your hurt, or actively help you go through the grief process. Basement people are also people who say ugly or uneducated things about your loss such as “Aren’t you over that by now?” Basement people criticize your bereavement or question every method you chose in dealing with your loss. Basement people make everything about them and their feelings; disregarding the fact that it is your child who died. Basement people can cause a lot of hurt (often, unintended) to you during your bereavement process.

Balcony people-are the people who pull you forward and along the road of grief.

Balcony people come beside you and cry with you, spend time listening to you talk of your child and tell you stories they remember, too. Balcony people encourage you to seek ways to heal and process your loss. They understand that the way you chose to deal with the death of your beloved child may not be their way but it is what is good for you. Balcony people understand when you do not want them around but stand by just in case you change your mind. Balcony people cook or clean for you because you just do not have the energy. Or, they do not comment when the house is a little (or a lot) messier than it used to be. Balcony people understand that you will never be the “old” you and help you to find the “new” you who will emerge through the grief and loss you have sustained.

Take the time to identify the Balcony people and Basement people in your life. Spend

most of your time with the Balcony people and try to limit the time with Basement

people; if possible. Balcony people pull you up, cheer you on, encourage you and take

care of you when you most need it. Basement people pull you down, criticize and find

fault in what you do. Balcony people and Basement people; we all have them in our

lives. It is our choice of who we allow to be part of our bereavement process and our

lives. I choose my Balcony people.

I found the above writings, on my online "Grieving Mothers" facebook page. I spend an awful lot of time on that page. It's the only place where every. single. person. KNOWS first hand, my thoughts and feelings. They all get it. They've all been there. I do have to admit, sometimes it really scares me when I read of other writings from bereaved moms (and dads). I see their grief that continues on for years and years after the death of their child/children. It makes me realize, this grief, is a never ending journey.

When I read what Traci wrote, I realized that I too, am experiencing this very thing. The "basement" people and the "balcony" people.

Sadly, during the course of the past 15+ months, I've encountered more "basement" people than I have "balcony" people. I've had a couple of people actually lash out and attack me (online). Over crap they started. Oh My GOSH, they were relentless, like pit bulls who refused to let loose their grip. I can't lie, it hurt me deeply. But, no matter how they tried to keep me riled up, hurt me and pull me down, , , to their level... I knew in my gut, what I am dealing with goes so much deeper than their pettiness. I don't have time for pettiness in my life. No time for those "basement" people. The ones who think, 'oh my god, isn't she over this yet' or 'oh my god, is she still whining about her daughter dying? When will she just be over it' NEWS FLASH~~ I. Will. Never. Be. Over. It. And it, would be the death of my child.

As for "balcony" people. I have several. I've been a bit surprised that they are not the people I thought, would surely be my "balcony" people. But, I'm learning...that people are often times, not what they seem. The death of your child, brings a whole new light to the faces of the people that you once knew so well. The death of your child, puts EVERYTHING into perspective.

I do understand that some people, will not be able to accept the fact that I am not the same person that I was 15+months ago. I m just not. I can't help it. I didn't ask for this change to take place. I sure as HELL don't like it and I want nothing to do with it. BUT..this is the way it is. This is me now. Either bear with me, as I find my way through this living nightmare and accept the fact that I am trying hard to find the "new" me. Or, become a "basement" person and I will leave you behind. Quite honestly, I do not need "basement" people dragging me down. This is gonna be a very long and bumpy journey for me and my family. While I/we find my/our way through this bumpy, twisting, never ending journey.

I will be holding tight to my "balcony" people.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


As I lay awake each night, trying to sleep, - and boy, it's a struggle to get a decent night sleep. . . even with medication - Carly is always on my mind. As I lay, wide awake, I hope each night I will dream of her. But, sadly my dreams have become few and far between. I want to dream of her. I want to dream happy dreams. But can't. They aren't there. They've never been there. Just crazy, dreams/nightmares are all I have.

I envy my cousin, she did have a dream about Carly. A nice dream. A happy dream. Carly was swinging and happy. I want to dream that dream too. But I'm stuck with bad dreams. From Ashleigh's view point, she says to me, "at least you dream of her, mom. I haven't had one dream of her." Ashleigh is kind of angry that she hasn't had one single dream of her little sister. Maybe it's better that way. I would hate for her to have the kind of dreams that I have.

Most of the dreams/nightmares I've had of Carly, over the course of the last 15months, have not been so good and they sure aren't happy dreams. In fact, they have been awful. I'm not sure if I've shared those dreams before..my memory is very short term these days. As far as my dreaming has gone..some may people may just classify them as nightmares. And I guess that's really what they are.

One of the dreams/nightmares I had, was about 6months ago. I could see Carly as clear as day. She was walking with someone, down a very long hallway. I was several yards behind her, yelling as loud as I could, "Carly, Carly" and running as fast as I could, but I couldn't get her attention and I never caught up with her. She never once turned around to look at me. She just kept walking. And no matter how fast I ran, I could not catch her. And then, she just completely disappeared...the hallway ended. She was gone. During the dream/nightmare, she never turned to look at me. Not once. Which is kind of strange, because I saw her face clearly..but she never once turned to look at me. I woke up feeling completely exhausted.

I've had several dreams/nightmares of her going to school too. I place her on the bus, and she would wave and blow me kisses-like she did, every. single. morning. But after school, the bus never brings her home. I call the school and am told, "Carly was never here today" which leads to a huge argument with secretary. I call the bus driver, he says he never saw Carly. And a panic search gets under way...but we never. find. her. And then I wake up, exhausted.

One of the dreams/nightmares I had, and thankfully only once...was a horribly twisted one. I can't even figure out how this one came to be. But, I did dream it. Carly had been kidnapped, by one of my high school friends. I wont get into how messed up the dream was, other than say...this friend killed Carly. To this day, that dream/nightmare haunts me. This friend had never even met Carly before. How I had a crazy dream/nightmare like that, I will never understand and to tell the truth, I'm not sure I even want to attempt to understand that one. It was AWFUL! I didn't wake up from that dream/nightmare exhausted. I woke up terrified.

As for these dreams/nightmares, my counselor told me it is common. And that it goes hand in hand with the sudden unexpectedness of Carly's death. Along with the fact that it has been so much of a shock to me, with so many unanswered, unexplainable and unacceptable reasons behind her death. It's like she just disappeared one day. And I'm longing to find her again.

Just once..well, more than that, really... but just once, I'd like to have a good dream. A happy dream with Carly in it. Maybe one day. Although, until I am able to find some sort of peace, I doubt that any happy dreams will be coming my way. Likely, only the these awful nightmares.

I belong to a group called "Grieving Mothers", it's a facebook group and it really helps me having others who have the same feelings and thoughts that I have. It's a group with about 5000 members. All of us, grieving mothers (some dads too, I think). Earlier this morning, I was on that groups page and found a Winnie The Pooh video clip, that someone had posted. I watched it and after it was done, another Pooh video came on, that song was, Wherever You Are, and it just felt very fitting for my mood today.

Wherever I am, I will love Carly forever.