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

Friday, April 27, 2012

"Having One Of Those Days"

...was my reply to Paul's question of how my day was today.  He asked me, "Aren't they all, one of those days?" Sadly, we both said at the very same time, "Some days are just plain worse than others." And today would be, One Of Those Days.

I woke up this morning, not wanting to get myself out of bed. I had to, the dog wanted out. I dragged myself up, got dressed and headed out the door. As I walked the dog around the yard this morning, I was in awe of everything that has gone on in our lives the past 2 years. I walked the yard, and memories came flooding back. Of Brad, as a little boy and how he played for hours in the yard. I walked past his beloved truck. And my heart ached. He loved that old pickup truck of his.  And then the memories of Carly playing in her sandbox, which is till in our backyard - along with all of her other outside toys :( starting running through my mind. Dandelions in the grass, break my heart. She loved to pick them and then, when they were ready, she got a huge kick out of knowing she could blow them. Memories are good, but they are painful at times. Today was one of those times.

This afternoon I had to run some errands. I pulled into the drive thru, to do some banking and the  song below came on the radio. It's the song Brad's buddies picked to have played at his funeral. I sat in that drive thru crying my eyes out. I miss my son. I can't believe he is gone. I can't believe that we still have no answers. I can't believe we are a part of a  on going criminal investigation. I just can't believe any of this.

After the banking, I headed to the cemetery to visit both of my kids.  As I stand at their graves and I feel sick. Sick over what could have been. Sick over what should have been. Sick that I'm standing at the foot of the graves of two of my kids.

After pulling myself together, enough to drive. I headed to the grocery store. Which I HATE! Anxiety hits me hard while at the store. I've been told, it's very common with grieving parents. If I could order all our food online, I would avoid grocery shopping all together. I walk the isles like a freaking zombie..I forget everything I need. All I can think about is getting the heck out of the store and getting back home.

While driving home from the store, I find myself daydreaming. The events of  April 23 2010, play through my mind like it just happened yesterday. October 8 2011 pops into mind too. The phone call my girlfriend made to my cell phone to tell us of the fire. My constant, repeated calls to Brad's cell phone. Calling my brother, my friend and my parents..asking them to get to our house. Driving down our road and seeing the fire trucks, ambulances and police cars. They are a vivid and constant thought in my mind. I can play that night out like it just happened. These are not good memories. Not at all. But there really is no way around them. We have to go through them. And know that they will never leave us. The horror of both those days will live with us for the rest of our lives.

As I returned home this afternoon, I pulled into our driveway and this song came on the radio. We didn't play this song at Carly's funeral. I didn't feel "Party In The USA" was appropriate for her funeral. This was one of Carly's favorite songs. She called it the "butterfly song", due to the lyrics within the song.

Of course, my tears streamed down my face again. Oh my gosh, Carly loved this song. If it came on the radio while she was sleeping in the car, she would wake up almost instantly and start singing and bopping in her car seat. Without fail, she would wake up! It was pretty funny to see. Oh my gosh, I miss that sweet little girl.

Tonight, Paul and I are having a low key  night of homemade pizza and staying at home. I've cried enough today and I'm ready for this day to end. I'm so tired of having another, One Of Those Days.

**hopeful the video's posted right. This new way to post thing, has me a bit confused**

Monday, April 23, 2012

April 23

Is one of our most dreaded days.

Hard to wrap our brains around the fact that we no longer are able to enjoy this sweet little girl, every day.

The "experts" on grief say that the hardest part of grief, comes in the second year. We wouldn't know that for certain. Why? Because we lost Brad right smack dab, in the middle of our second year of grieving for Carly. I can tell you, as I forced myself out of bed this morning...which I do every.single.morning, just so I can let the dog outside, I replayed Carly's last day on this earth, inside of my head. It left me feeling sick.

We have no words to describe how very, very much we miss this little girl. Sure, we can tell you what we miss..but how we feel about missing her, just can not be described. We miss her so much, it comes from deep, deep down inside. We miss her laughter. We miss her voice. We miss her mischievous ways. We miss her curiosity. We miss playing with her. We miss teaching her. We miss watching her grow. We miss watching her learn. We miss her physical being. We miss her hugs. We miss her laying between us each and every night...hogging the ENTIRE bed! And even tho., I can tell you everything that we miss about her, I can not describe the pain that is within us on a day to day basis.

I hate the date, April 23. Hate what that day became for our family. In my eyes, it was the day that started the very downward spiral of our lives. Nothing will ever be as it was before that day. Life as we knew it, has forever been changed. Paul and I are no longer the people we once were and we realize, we will never be the same. Ever.

Today, Paul is home from work. Thankfully. I was concerned about being all by myself today. He didn't tell me he was staying home, until last night, when I started to make his lunch for today. So, later on today, we are heading to the cemetery to visit both of our children.  Leave flowers for this sweet little girl, who is "The Music In Our Hearts, Forever." (words inscribed on the back of her headstone.)

Although Carly is no longer on this earth, our love for her remains, strong and deep. We will love her until the end of our days.

My hope for today is that Brad has Carly on his lap, wrapped tightly in his arms. And that they both, feel the love that Paul, Ashleigh and I have for them, today and forever.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

10 Years Ago

...today, our family faced what we thought would be the most difficult time in our lives.

April 5, 2002.
Carly was taken back to surgery at 7am.
Open heart surgery.
Surgery that would last about 6yrs.
A surgery that no doctors were confident about doing.
Odds were stacked against her.
She had less than a 20% chance to come out of it alive.

She survived.
Much to the surprise of Motts Cardiac Doctors.
Her surgery deemed, a success!

Posted by Picasa

13 hours after surgery, Carly coded/crashed.
The entire ICU swarmed her bedside.
One nurse straddled over Carly's gurney.
Paul and I stood back and watched in horror.
We later learned, the nurse who straddle over Carly,
had her hands placed on Carly's tiny heart, massaging it.
Carly had a pulmonary hemorrhage..her lungs were shot to HELL!

The equipment you see in the above pictures,
is ECMO and yes, it's as scary as it looks.
But, BUT after 3 1/2 days, ECMO saved our sweet girl.
She beat the odds stacked so high against her.
She fought her way back.

31 days after surgery...we brought her back home.

And now, besides our memories,
both good ones and even the bad ones,
this is what we are left with.

Our hearts beyond broken.
Our hearts completely shattered.

How can 10 years have passed so quickly?
How can all that was fought for be gone?

10 years.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Cable Guy

Earlier this week, I had the cable guy out to our new home getting things all hooked up. He was probably the friendliest cable guy I've ever encountered.

Small talk ensued. He talked about his wife and his 3 boys. Eventually he asked me about our fire. Sadly, when people ask me that question, I still don't have answers to give. And then,,,,he asked me, "So how many kids do you have?" I answered, "3."

I went on to tell him of our 2 kids, who are no longer on this earth. His chin hit the floor. And we talked for a little bit about Carly and her death. And Brad and his death. We talked about the fire. All the unknowns. I'm sure he'd never been told anything quite like the things he was being told, while in my house.

This guy just stood in my living room and he cried. He CRIED. A perfect stranger..cried. He told me the worst thing that has ever happened to his family, was when his 7yr old son poked his eye out with an ink pen. He went on to tell me how he and his wife had to fight their fears of letting their kids do anything, "kid like"... again. He said, "We struggled with letting our boys, be boys after our son lost his eye."

After a short while, he gained some control, stopped crying and asked me, "How the hell are you still standing on your two feet?" I went on to answer him the best I could. I told him it wasn't really my faith that is keeping me going, because our doubts in God are far too high. I told him each day is a struggle for me. I don't take it one minute at a time, I take it one breath at a time. I told him that I do, now know just how a person can actually feel their heart ache. Really feel it. I know, people always say, "oh that just breaks my heart" in any bad/sad situation in their lives. But, no one and I mean no one feels their heart actually hurting, like a grieving parent. My heart hurts so badly. I even asked my doctor to check my heart, and he did. And I was told, "Joany, the heart does actually ache after enduring such a horrific loss. And you've had two, back to back."

I went on to tell this friendly cable guy about the strength that Carly gave to me/us when she was born. That little girl did more for our lives in 8 years than even I can believe. She showed us unconditional love. Sure we knew it before, everyone loves their kids unconditionally, but Carly opened our eyes to a whole new kind of unconditional love. She showed ME, her "mama" how to fight and how to be brave and strong. Even though I'm pretty sure she was much stronger than I was, during all of her health crisis situations. That little girl fought with all her might. And she took in all in stride. She didn't skip a beat. She LOVED her family and she LOVED her life. She lived each day with joy. Even through her worst of times, health wise-she took it all in stride. Right up to the end, flipping the bird at the EMT's and sticking her tongue out at them as they tried to get an IV in her little arm on that horrible day in April, 2010.

There are many times I think that I can not go on. I've been feeling completely exhausted-to the point that I'm going to see the doctor as soon as we get back next week. Two years of this unbelievable heartache is catching up with me. I'm run down, stressed out, having temper tantrums and I'm finding that my need to keep myself medicated is escalating. But, I still have my family. My broken family. And I still have my love for Carly and Brad and I will hold on to that love and somehow, I'm going to pull myself through this. It may take the rest of my life, but for the sake of all 3 of my kids...these devastating losses are NOT going to beat me.

As the cable guy left our house the other day, he started to walk out the door, turned and said, "Mrs. George, you are one hell of a strong woman. You blow my mind that you are here, standing and not crumbled in a corner. I'm very happy that I encountered you today, you just gave me a new appreciation on my life." He also said, "You have a heck of a story, albeit a sad, horrific one..you need to tell it." I just smiled and said, "Maybe some day."