"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, January 22, 2012


"Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love,

the things you are, the things you never want to lose."

We had a mountain of memories come crashing down on this this weekend. Yesterday, was the day that we had been dreading for quite some time. The remaining contents within our home, were emptied out and tossed in dumpster. A dumpster full of our mementos...material things, but nonetheless, our things. However, and we are thankful that our memories were not tossed into a dumpster. Our memories will remain with us for the rest of our lives.

Removing contents from much of the house, was rough, not gonna lie about that. But those contents meant nothing in comparison to Brad's room. That was knee buckling for us. Seeing what remained of his personal belongs, loaded onto a Bobcat and dumbed into a dumpster was pure agony for Paul and I. It literally took my breath away.

As hard as it was for us to be present during that time, we felt the need to be there. Not much was salvageable from Brad's room. A few things, which is nice., but not much at all. His class ring was found and is okay. One of his knives from a knife collection was found..actually, we had found a couple soon after the fire, so that's kind of nice for us to be able to have a few of his things. My brother found a whole Lego village that Brad had built years ago. Brad was a HUGE Lego kid! And he had saved it all these years. Sadly, the Lego village was under his bed and melted to the floor. I was able to take a few of the buildings off the Lego pad to save those. We also found some of his GI Joe's, which surprisingly, were okay. We'll be keeping those as well.

Seeing Brad's beloved San Fransisco 49ers blankets, body pillow and jerseys being piled in the dumpster was pure torture for us. Even seeing his burned up, prize possessions $180 tennis shoes brought tears to our eyes.

Brad had a love for eagles. Not sure how, why or when that came about, but he had several eagle statues in his room along with many wall hangings and a fleece bedspread that had a beautiful eagle on it. Sadly, all of that stuff is gone now. I was hoping to find the eagle that Carly bought him for Christmas in 2009. Her last Christmas. She had gone shopping at the schools Santa Shop Store, and bought Brad a resin statue of an eagle. I had hoped, but I knew better, that it would be found. It was not.

I can't really explain the feeling of guilt that washed over Paul and I yesterday during the emptying of the house. I felt as tho we were throwing away and erasing our son and his existence. We knew that there was not much for us to salvage, but it didn't change our terrible guilty feeling that went on throughout that day. It's pretty tough watching a dumpster fill with your sons burned up possessions. If Brad were still here, it would not have been so difficult. But, he's not and it made it that much worse.

We are so thankful for the memories that we have of Brad. We will hold those close to our hearts and treasure them for the rest of our lives. Brad was such a neat kid. He was funny, smart and very particular and set in his ways. We will never forget his laughter..he had a chuckle which oddly enough, Carly had the exact same chuckle. He was a jokester. He was the biggest person in our home..we're all shrimps. By no means was he a "giant", but he was about 5'9" and to us, that was tall. It was funny to see him standing next to his dad. Brad actually had to look down at Paul (who is 5'2") and I (I'm 5'4") ! He playfully tossed little Ashleigh (who is 5'1") around like she was a rag doll. Poor girl! And with Carly, he was just as gentle and loving to her as could be. He was protective of Carly, well of Ashleigh too. When kids would be teasing Carly, Brad would say, "want me to teach her how to fight?" My reply was, "no thanks." His was always, "well, she needs to defend herself and not take shit from kids who pick on her." One time, Ash (in elementary school) wore a skirt and some kid (boy) laid down and looked up her skirt while on the playground. That night at dinner, Brad..who was likely in about 2nd grade at the time, said, "want me to beat 'em up for ya Ash?" He never cared for boys teasing Ashleigh while they were in High School either. He could pick on her as much as he wanted..but no one else had better!

Memories are a gift. A wonderful gift. But, often times Paul and I find that they just aren't enough. And sadly, the grief overpowers much of the memories. Grief has a way of pushing everything off to the side. Taking over with complete control of your lives. We hope, in time, our grief will lessen. Although we can't see how that will ever come to be.

Make many memories, because none of us know for sure, just how much time we have for memory making. And trust me, no matter how many memories you make or think you've made, if you ever have to take the journey of a grieving parent, you're going to kick yourself for not making more memories.

**again, I see my post is all jumbled up. Sorry. I have no idea what is going on. As I type, the body of the post looks great, but when I preview it, it's a mess. Please bear with me for a bit longer...someday I'll get the problem resolved.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"Grief has dropped a bomb in your life. You are shattered, blasted, blown apart, all but nearly destroyed. Amongst the shards, amongst the debris, you live. You don't know how. You cant see. You can do nothing but feel the pain that is within you and around you. You don't understand, you will never understand. You lay down amongst the rubble, for you can do nothing else,,,and you cry. Cry like you've never cried before, in your life and you ask, why me? Why us? Why this? And somehow, without knowing how, you uncurl yourself, you brush more tears from your face, and you walk. You begin by picking up a shard, a broken piece of your life here, a broken piece there. They don't fit together anymore, they cant. There is no going back to what once was. As each tiny fragment begins to shape itself anew, so do you. Your shape is a stranger to yourself now, and to everyone else too. Your pieces, have become you; they speak of your strength, of your courage, they speak of you, the vulnerable you, the broken you."
~author unknown~

One of the toughest things for Paul and me is trying to grieve for both of our children. Seriously, how is a parent suppose to go about that? We cry for one and then feel like shit because we are in fact, crying for 1 child. Hard to balance out your grief without feeling anything less than guilt. Guilt that continuously punches you in the gut.
The other night, NBC news had a story on about a little boy with Down syndrome. His name is Ryan. He is actually a child model for Target. I've seen him in the Target ads a few times, so I was happy to finally hear something about him and his story. What a neat little guy. He made us smile and laugh...but he also triggered the water works. Again..guilt swept over us because we were crying for Carly and all that we've missed out on with her. Later that night, Paul and I were feeling so bad for missing her so much...when we have Brad to miss too. Again...how do parents grieve 2 children at the same time? It's almost impossible and leaves you feeling nothing but guilt!
Each day we wake up, drag ourselves out of bed and wonder, how do we get through today? The day drags on and on, until its time for bed again. For me, sleep is something that does not come easily. Paul on the other hand, can and does sleep. We are both on med's to help us, but my mind just never seems to shut off.
On Friday, Paul and I are heading to Indiana to see our home. We were hoping to see the work in progress, but yesterday I received a call from the factory telling me that the home would be complete by Friday. We can still go down and see it though. We are hoping they built it the way we ordered it...with no glitches. I sure don't want us having to deal with that type of headache..I think we've got quite enough going on.
Once our home is done and we've moved in. Paul and I will be getting back to counseling. I think we need more than just a "counselor" though. Not knocking counselors by any means, but I just feel we need some more in depth, one on one counseling. That should be a fun battle with our health insurance company.
That's it for today. I am again, using my mom and dads computer..mine is a lost cause. So please excuse the way this post is going to look. I can not figure out how or why I can't blog from their computer. Who knows, I may not be able to post this once I finish!! I can type, but I can't edit one darn thing. About all I can do, is spell check. My computer was supposedly restored from the fire, but it just will not stay working. Who knows, maybe it's an easy fix...but sadly, my go to guy, Brad, isn't here to get it back up and running for me.
Grrreeeaattt...I just hit my preview button and I see that even though my post looks like it has been typed up correctly in compose mode...it seems as if I have no paragraphs and that my layout looks odd in preview mode. Sheesh...if it's not one thing, its another!

Friday, January 13, 2012


..I have my computer and can now start back with my blogging. I didn't realize how therapeutic blogging is for a grieving mother.

So much has been going on the past few months and I will do my best to post some status updates very soon, but it's really late and so I'll keep this post very short-/ish.

We are all, still pretty much in a fog. A fog that I fear will never clear for us. We still don't have many answers as to what happened on that horrible night of October 8, 2011. The State Police are not satisfied with much of the evidence and, as of today, (1/12/12) this nearly closed case (regarding Brad's death) is now very much, re-opened and being re-investigated. And that's about all I can share with you, for the time being.

Paul and I continue to live with my parents. Our insurance fiasco is almost complete. I can not stress enough the importance of reviewing your homeowners policy. Oh my GOSH!! Unbelievable, the wool they pull over your eyes.

As for our home and whats happening on that end..-.. We lived in a modular home and we are having that replaced with a new one. It's being built now and should be done and shipped to Michigan on Feb 1. We are looking at moving in by mid February. During the first few weeks of our nightmare, our insurance Co had first thought that rebuilding our existing home would be best..but, thankfully, (Paul and I couldn't imagine having to go back to the very home our son died in) our adjuster realized the cost to rebuild, would likely cost more than just replacing it with a new home. So, we went to Indiana, looked at homes and picked one out. It was no easy task. Paul and I shed many tears as we looked for a new home. It was not fun. It was pure HELL.

As far as how we are doing. Well, not so great. We have many moments that are almost unbearable. Just the other day Paul and I went to the doctor. Paul needed some med's to help him sleep. While we were there, I mentioned to the doc that I had been having strange chest pains, but that I figured it was anxiety/stress. Doc checked me out and said all sounded good and that it was likely the anxiety. But I will be seeing my cardiologist and go through the whole stress test, ekg, echo..which I'm long overdue for. We both have many sleepless nights. I have more than Paul, but because Paul works every day, he needed some medication to help him out. I take enough med's and really don't want to add to my long list.

Grieving your child is hard, exhausting work. Grieving two children drains every fiber of your being. We get out of bed each and every morning feeling as tho we never slept a wink all night. If by chance I do sleep half way decent at night, (5hrs is about my max., sleep time) I wake up feeling like I've been hit by a freaking truck. Its so hard feeling sick and tired every day. And I mean every day. I'm sick to my stomach every day. I'm having headaches on a daily basis. And honestly, just putting one foot in front of the other seems to be pretty dam hard these days.

Ashleigh is about to finish up her "A" School (aka tech school) and then she will be back home for a couple of weeks to visit before she heads off to Norfolk Va. Paul and I are pretty happy that she will be "close" to us...about 10hrs away...but, that's only a days driving and that's a good thing for us. She seems to be doing okay. Although she did mention that she thinks she's going to need some counseling once she gets to Virginia. I'm thankful she realizes that and that she is willing to seek out some help for herself. I worry about her and I often wonder how she functions each day. I'm unsure how she continues to get up and do her job/training, knowing that she now has no siblings. I can't even begin imagine how that must feel for her. It hurts my heart even more when I think about Ash, having to go through her life without her brother and her sister.

At some point, I will need to do another makeover on this blog. I have no idea how or what to do. Input would be greatly appreciated. I just know that somehow, I need to figure out how to put both Brad and Carly's pictures on the heading..but that will just have to wait until the kinks in my brain straighten out a tad bit.

Grief is a tidal wave that over takes you,
smashes down upon you with unimaginable force,
sweeps you up into its darkness,
where you tumble and crash against unidentifiable surfaces,
only to be thrown out on an unknown beach, bruised, reshaped...
Grief will make a new person out of you,
if it doesn't kill you in the making.
~Grieving Mothers~