"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, November 13, 2011

My grief is like a river
I have to let it flow,
But I myself determine
Just where the banks will go.
Some days the current takes me
In waves of guilt and pain,
But there are always quiet pools
Where I can rest again.
I crash on rocks of anger
My faith seems faint indeed,
But there are other swimmers
Who know that what I need
Are loving hands to hold me
When the waters are too swift,
And someone kind to listen
When I just seem to drift.
Grief’s river is a process
Of relinquishing the past.
By swimming in Hope’s channels
I’ll reach the shore at last.
~ Author Unknown ~
Today, Paul and I had to go shopping. Shopping for clothes to wear to Ashleigh's up coming graduation. Neither of us were really in the "mood" to shop. We weren't in the mood to do anything. That's normally the case for us these days. It sucks. SUCKS!
As we were walking into a store this afternoon, I asked Paul, "Do you constantly feel pressure weighing heavily, down on your chest?" His reply, "Yep." And that's pretty much our feeling every day. We wake up feeling that way and we go to bed each night feeling that way. It sucks. SUCKS!
We had come so far, but still had so much farther to go with our grieving over Carly. But, we were getting to the place where, we could function. We could find some happiness again. Of course we were still lost without her. My gosh, she was our little miracle girl. Our little sidekick. Wherever we would go, she was a constant thought within our minds. We found ourselves often times wondering how we, as a family, would ever really come to terms with the fact that she was gone. Gone from us forever. It sucks. SUCKS!
Now, here we go again. 18 months later, grieving yet another child. How are we suppose to do this? I never thought I would be grieving 2 of my children. My gosh, I never imagined I'd ever be grieving 1 child. What the heck is this crappy hand of life that we've been dealt? It sucks. SUCKS!
We can not believe that our 21 (22 now) year old son is GONE. We can't believe what took place within our home on that horrific night. We are shocked. Devastated. Heartbroken. Completely shattered. How will our family survive this? How are we suppose to? Why do we even need to figure out the how's and whys of trying to survive this? It sucks. SUCKS!
So many times throughout the day, I find myself wanting to ask Brad a question. For example; I'd like to ask him just what in the H E double L is up with grandma's computer. (sorry for the post..I can NOT get her computer to post correctly!) Brad would know what the problem is..and he'd be able to fix it for me. I also find myself wanting to order food for him. Last night we went to our favorite Chinese restaurant. We always ordered him vegetable egg rolls and Mongolian Beef. But last night, we didn't order for him. The owner of the restaurant knows us quite well..guess we frequent that place!! She was shocked to learn of Carly's death when we told her several months ago. We didn't have the guts to admit that our son had passed away. She didn't ask about him like she did Carly..I was thankful for that. I know her chin would have hit the floor if she had asked us. Most people do find their chins on the floor when they learn we've lost 2 children in less than 18 flipping months. It sucks. SUCKS!
When I started this blog, the main purpose was to network with hundreds/thousands of Down Syndrome mom's and dad's. This blog was basically my bragging and venting blog. It was created for Carly. With the exception of some bragging on our other 2 kids as well. Now look what it's turned into. A sad, depressing, grieving mothers blog who continues to have downer posts. I'm so sorry. This is NOT the way I intended my blog to turn out. It sucks. SUCKS!
I will do a post about Brad and the life of BRAD, in the next couple of weeks. I know many of you don't "know" much about him. He was kind of a private person and would not have approved of me blogging much about him. He would have a FIT and fell in it, had he known I ever posted one single thing about him..and included pictures too. Whenever I did a post with pic's of Brad, I hid what I was doing from him...yep, he was THAT private. He didn't bother anyone and he expected the same from everyone else. I promise, I will blog all about Brad and the great person, friend, son, brother, grandson, nephew and cousin that he was, very soon.
Again, sorry about this screwy blog posting I have going on. I will be soo happy to get my own computer again....someday.

Friday, November 11, 2011

7 Days...

until we see Ashleigh again. Knowing that we would be seeing her has given us something to look forward to during the past month. We are VERY anxious and excited to see Ash next week. I'm sure it will be a very emotional reunion.
We received a letter from Ash the other day, telling us that on 11/8 she would be going into the gas chamber. I, myself would have been freaked out by that....not Ash, she was excited and seemed to be looking forward to do it! The Navy has been keeping her very, very busy and that is likely a good thing. This Saturday they are having the Captains Cup, which means that each division compete against each other, kind of like school kids having field days. She sounds pretty excited about it. Another task she will take on this week is being placed on a simulated ship, built by Disney. Her Chief has told them to "prepare yourselves, it's very much reality." They are kept up for 40 straight hours with no food. Again, she is looking forward to it. She says, "sounds like fun." Once all of that is complete, they are considered Sailors!
As for her emotional/mental state concerning the death of Brad, she is very confused. She is angry and so hurt that so many people who know our family, had started gossiping about our son, her brother and the cause of his death. It's so hurtful when others run their mouths. It has hurt her deeply. As I've said before, WE knew our son..those who talk and speculate, did NOT. And those who talk/gossip/speculate have no flipping idea what the State Police have shared with us. Poor Ashleigh is not able to come to terms with the fact that she has no siblings left. I imagine its pretty hard to wrap her brain around what has happened to our family while having to focus on getting through basic training. She says that the reality has not fully hit her yet and she fears and dreads the day it does. We dread it for her :*( too.
Although we will only have Friday (11/18) to actually spend with Ashleigh, we are all looking very forward to it. Her graduation is at 9am ending at 10:30am and from there, she is granted "liberty", which means a day pass and she will be able to leave the base and head into Chicago with us to spend much of the day. On Saturday (11/19), Ash will be taken to the Airport bright and early...like 3am...where she will sit for some several hours before being placed on a plane and taken to her next base. I think we are going to make a stop at the airport and spend some time with her there as well. Once on the plane, she will head to Mississippi where she will be attending schooling for 8 weeks. She has asked that Paul and I come to her for Christmas this year. Nothing is definite yet, we are still waiting to see if she may possibly get leave time to come home for the holidays. But, if she prefers us going to her, then we will. We're going to do whatever she would like. If being home with us and my family, then we'll do that, but if not...we will be in Mississippi this Christmas. I don't even want to think "Christmas" it scares the crap out of me this year.
Next Monday we meet with the insurance agent and our new adjuster..I got the other adjuster removed from our claim...only to now find out he has been bad mouthing us, (since being removed) to people we've called in for quotes/estimates that we have being gathered. NOT, cool! Safe to say, we are not looking forward to our meeting.
We do however, look forward to getting all this insurance garb out of the way. We'd like to be able to actually let our grief take over and not be dealing with back and forth crap from the insurance company. I've never run across people who have no compassion like these insurance people...sheesh. We are floored by all this insurance crap. Just when you think you've paid your premiums for 18yrs to have homeowners insurance..and be covered,,just in case the unimaginable happens...your eyes are opened to a whole knew piece of the insurance puzzle when the unimaginable does happen.
7 days...can't wait till this week passes!
**most of this post has been done on my phone..hopefully, it will post okay. I would really like my own computer again!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"The eyes are the mirror of the soul."

~ Yiddish Proverb ~

If you look deep within our eyes, you are certain to see much sorrow and so very much anger. Gone are the eyes that show any signs of happiness. I'm not at all saying that we don't laugh. We do laugh. Once in awhile. We are still human...something funny does make us laugh, but if you know us, and you see us and take the time to actually look into our eyes, you know that our eyes tell a story. A terrible, horrible story.
Last week was a rough week for us. Nov 4th, Brad should have been eating birthday cake and celebrating his 22nd birthday. Instead, Paul and I spent some time visiting him at his grave site. Paul had a rough week at work, he has a, not so sympathetic boss...which only makes this whole living nightmare worse than it already is. I was able to spend a couple of afternoons with a couple of very dear friends, Vivian and Tracy. You'd be surprised how therapeutic it is, to just sit and talk to friends. We talked about Brad, they both watch Brad grow up and they were not uncomfortable at all, talking about him. They both knew him pretty well. Vivian is the friend who called to inform me that our house was on fire. Tracy is the friend who I called frantically telling her to get to my house that horrific night.
Paul has been in such bad shape. Last week, he disappeared..sort of. I knew he was over at our house. He had somethings he was trying to straighten up in our garage. Our garage is detached from the house, so it's fine, no harm from the fire. But, after about 1.5 hrs I started to worry. It was dark..we have no electricity at our home..and Paul wasn't answering his phone. 30 minutes later, I called him again, this being 2hrs of him being at our home. This time, he answered. I knew something was off, just by the tone of his voice. I told him that it was time to get back over to my parents house. He came soon after we talked. When he got here, he informed me that he went into our home. I knew just what he meant. He had actually gone into Brad's room. And he lost his ever loving mind that night. He tore, what was remaining of Brad's room, to pieces. He just completely lost control. Anger took over...and Paul flipped his lid.
This week has already proven to be another hard week. I swear, not one single thing can go right for us. The other day, Paul got up at 4:30am, which is normal for him, and he started for work..except that his work truck started acting up. He ended up bringing it back home and trying to take Ashleigh's car...except that her car wouldn't start. The day just escalated from that point on. He did finally get to work, by driving my dads truck. Once at work, his day went down the drain. And yes, it was Nov., 8th.. the one month anniversary of losing Brad. Talk about the icing on the flipping cake from Hell! I just know, that we have a dark cloud that floats permanently above our heads..following us where ever the heck we go.
We are still dealing with our home owners insurance. Here's a word of advice. And I STRONGLY advise you all, to review your home owners insurance! Don't assume that nothing will ever happen...and then get a big surprise in regards to your insurance, when something does happen. Make sure that you "total coverage" means just in fact, that.
Our insurance adjuster has been awful. In fact, last Friday I called our agent and told her that the adjuster needed to be removed from our claim. He was! It's been awful and it's just one more added stress to our long list of stress factors. As of Monday, we have a new adjuster. Although we haven't' met him yet, I'm hopeful he wont be as difficult and as heartless as the other guy.

I got a letter from Ashleigh today! Again, she asked me to thank all of my online friends for the encouraging cards and letters. She says that she is so sorry, but time is very limited and she just can not possibly return/reply to everyone. But she thanks you, from the bottom of her heart. And she says that your kind words, have helped to carry her through this very difficult time.

Enclosed in my letter, was also a list of things she wants us to bring her. CANDY and POP are at the very top of the list! Kit Kat Bars, Pepsi, Licorice, Sour Patch Kids, etc.... I'm sure she is having some major junk food withdrawals!

One bright note for today---we only have 9 days left until we see Ash again! We'll only be able to spend about 6hrs with her on graduation day, but we'll be able to sit with her at the airport most of Saturday, as she waits for her flight to Mississippi, where she will be attending school for the next 8wks.

**sorry about the appearance of my blog...I can not get my mom's computer to save my settings. Hoping to have a computer of my own, soon.**

Friday, November 4, 2011

Bradley Paul George
November 4, 1989
Time of birth; 12:20 a.m.
8lbs 8oz
21-1/2 inches long.


October 8, 2011

Posted by Picasa

"If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together keep me in your heart,
I’ll stay there forever…"
~Winnie the Pooh~

We will love you, always Brad.
You will remain inside of our hearts.
Forever and Ever.
We miss you more than words can describe.
Hold tight to your little sister
and soar high above.
Right along side of those Eagles
that you love.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

"Walking thru grief is the epitome of insanity. One moment you feel "normal"; even for days you might feel normal. Then walking by something your loved one gave you, & all of a sudden the sight of it stops you dead in your tracks. Why is that OBJECT here and why are THEY gone? And you wonder; how will you live the rest of your life without them. You read all you can about how to handle grief, you listen to the professionals & still...it's a day by day drudgery of incorporating this unbelievable loss into your very heart, mind & soul. Millions have done it before you & lived and somewhere inside, you know you will too. I guess that is one of the miracles of life that we will never really understand. My heart is breaking this week & I feel like I'm going crazy or maybe a better description is I am really two people. The one I show to the world & the one I can't. A split personality of sorts. It's exhausting & can literally make you sick----body & soul."

By: Grieving Mothers


I had one of those moments yesterday, as I walked thru our home. Why was this "Object" spared, but nothing else of my son's was and why not my son? I don't care about "objects" I would much prefer my son.

We don't have much of anything left of Brad's - especially from his room. I did have a clean basket of Brad's clothes that was sitting out, which I told him to put away..thankfully, he didn't listen to me, those are being attempted to clean. If they are able to clean those, I will have a small quilt made.

As I walked thru our home, I spotted a small box made out of paper and hand painted which Brad had made for me on Mother's day, way back when he was in the in 4th grade. Thankfully, it was fine..other than soot all over it. I wouldn't allow the restoration company to even attempt to clean it. I wanted it, soot covered and all. I sure didn't want that company to try and clean it, and accidentally ruin it. I will keep it..as is..forever.

It really knocks the wind out of you when you are told, "we'll be bringing in the dumpsters next week." Knowing that so much of our stuff and nearly all of Brad's stuff will be tossed within those dumpsters and never seen by us again. It's our life,,18yrs worth of our lives. Our things which we built our memories from. We are thankful to still have memories, but as I've said countless times over the past 18 months,,,,memories are often times, just not enough.

Yesterday I went to the cemetery. I cleaned up Brad's grave-the flowers which remained from his funeral. I cleaned up Carly's grave too. And then, I sat down in the grass, between both of my children. The grass where I will one day be laid to rest. Smack dab in between two of my three children. As I sat there, I realized I was continuously shaking my head in disbelief. It's bad enough to have to visit one child at the cemetery, but visiting two...is just, unbearable.

Tomorrow is a very dreaded day for our family. Nov 4th, is Brad's birthday. He should be here with us, having cake and ice cream, celebrating turning 22yrs old. As of now, we are unsure how we will get through that day. Paul has taken tomorrow off of work. Except that we have no idea of what to even do. We will likely be completely lost.

One thing that we are looking very forward to, is seeing Ashleigh in 15days. Ash will be graduation from the Navy and we will be able to spend much of that weekend with her. She is anxious to see us and we, of course can not wait to see her again.

Yesterday, we received a call from Ashleigh. It was so good to hear her voice. She has been talked to by the Chaplain and she said, "all things aside, I'm okay" She did say that her division, has had 3 Red Cross calls. Which, according to the Chaplain, is very, extremely rare. Ash was the first call. And the most recent was a young girl who was told her father has suddenly passed away. Ash says that her division (even tho it's quite large) is very close. They all pull together and help each other through tough times. I'd say she has quite a military "family" and for that, we are thankful.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What's going on -

We've been dealing with quite a bit of crap lately, which sucks more than anyone could imagine. We are missing Ashleigh. We are grieving Carly and we are grieving Brad. Except,,,our grieving seems to have been put on hold. And that worries me.

On a bright note,,,which we have very few of these days....17 days left until we are able to hug Ashleigh (our oldest) again. On Nov., 18th, Ashleigh will be graduating from the Navy. Yes, we are counting down each second of every day. Paul and I, along with my parents will be there to see her graduation ceremony take place.

As far as how Ashleigh is doing, she's doing o.k. As o.k as she can be doing. She is worried about Paul and I. She told me that she thinks of Brad and Carly constantly. And, not knowing what went on that horrific night is making her crazy. She wants to know, as do we. She needs to know, as do we. But the truth is, this is still an open, ongoing investigation. We know very little. What we do know is that our only son died on October 8, 2011. We know the cause of death (some would be surprised), but we do not have explanations as to other things that had gone on within our home on that night. Things I will not share with you. Things I can not share with you. I suppose I could blab what we do know to the whole freaking world, but we were
told, by the Michigan State Police, not to reveal to others, certain parts of this investigation and so, we will not.

The gossip, speculation and assumptions are still swirling all about. Which is so disgusting to us. What people "think" happened, is way off base. We aren't sure how such talk gets started..or why. Those who are talking about our son and his horrific death, sicken us. And yes, we do know of several people who are doing such talking. How dare anyone speak so ill of a 21yr old who lost his life in such a horrific manner. Obvious to us, that small town talk stems from people with big mouths who have no lives of their own. Not to mention, all this ignorant talk, hurts our family very deeply. Hurts me, Paul, Ashleigh, my parents and my brothers along with their families. We knew Brad. Those who are talking..did NOT!

Today, we have another restoration crew over at our home. They are removing what is left of any of our furniture, appliances..etc...It's a tough process for me to be involved in. It's very difficult to go into, what remains of our home. Knowing our son lost his life there. It is an indescribable feeling. Seeing the evidence that remains a mystery to the police, is gut wrenching.

This week we will be meeting with our insurance adjuster again. The cost to repair our home is escalating to a crazy amount. Our hopes are to demo what remains of our home. Replacing/rebuilding with a new one.

I don't think anyone can understand how our heads are spinning. How dealing with a fire and homeowners insurance, takes away from the grieving process. We fear that one day, in the future, grief is going to swallow us alive. I've learned, from losing Carly..grief needs to be dealt with head on. Our grieving for Brad, has had to take a back burner. Not saying it doesn't hit us. It does. All of a sudden, with no warning. But, it's not the same. We aren't able to "deal" with the grief right now. Sadly, the homeowners stuff will not wait for us to weed thru our grief. Thankfully, Paul and I have my dad and my brother who have both stepped in to help deal with the insurance end of this nightmare. There is no way Paul and I could deal with it on our own.

As the days continue to pass, I just keep finding myself wondering, how does a family of 5 become a family of 4? And then, just short of 18months, a family of 4 becomes a family of 3. I'm telling you, we are living a god dam nightmare.

Our 3 kids.
Brad, Carly and Ashleigh, Oct., 2008.
Brad and Ash were cracking up..
Carly, not so much. She thought
her "bubba" was going to drop her.
He would never have dropped her!