Sunday, January 22, 2017

A great memory.

Five years ago today, this is what my girls were doing.

Enjoy their laughter.   

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Finding Connections

During the beginning of Olivia's third grade year at school, a letter from the school was sent home about the sudden death of a first grader at Acmetonia Primary.  A little boy, six years old, gone.  I didn't know of the little boy nor of his family.  While putting Olivia to bed one evening, she and I talked about his death.  Since I knew nothing of the situation, the conversation was sort of brief.  I don't think that Olivia was scared but nonetheless,she was  curious.  

Who would ever dream that six months later, Olivia would be gone too and parents would be having discussions with their children about the death of a child while tucking them into bed at night.  

In the weeks after Olivia's death, I was also contacted by a woman who had lost her daughter in an act of violence.  She had asked if she, her husband, and another childless mother could come and talk to me about my sufferings.  I gave them the OK to come to my home to talk with me.  Not knowing who the people were, I started rethinking my decision to have strangers who claim to have lost a child come to my house while I'm alone.  My neighbor/friend, J, agreed to sit with me while they stopped by.  The three of them come over and couldn't have been more sincere.  There was M, an older woman, who described to me that her son had lost his battle with AIDS in his mid twenties.  The older couple that  came with M, had tragically lost their daughter several years back by an ex boyfriend who decided  to shoot their lovely daughter.  

While both stories of loss are tremendously sad, I couldn't relate.  They had their children so much longer that I got to have Olivia on earth with me.  They got to see their children  go on first dates, get a driver's licenses, and graduate from high school.  I didn't even get to see my sweet angel finish third grade.  

On the other hand, I was fortunate that I didn't lose Olivia to an act of violence where I would have to go to court hearings and have such anger or resentment towards my daughter's murderer.  I'm fortunate that I didn't watch my child suffer through a hittable illness.  

But yet, I just couldn't make a connection with that lovely couple and woman who didn't have to reach out to me.  They could have just read the articles in the newspaper and thought, "Oh, what a shame."

On my first Mother's Day after Olivia passing, the mother who lost her daughter to violence stopped by while I was mowing the lawn.   Yes, I cut the grass on Mother's Day.  She had a bouquet of flowers for me and a hug.  I asked her, "What do you do each Mother's Day?"  She replied, "I cry."    I never did stay connected to that lovely woman......  

I needed to find that little boy's mother.  I needed to talk to someone that experienced sudden loss of a little kid and know that I'm not the other mother who feels this emptiness.  

Through the help of my wonderful neighbor, J, we located the little boy's mom and I called her. In all honesty,  I really didn't expect her to even entertain the notion that we meet for coffee or whatever but she did call me back and we did make plans to meet for coffee.  I invited her to my home and again, she  accepted my invitation.  

Two grieving mothers (and a little grieving sister)......  what the hell do you talk about?  The only thing we knew what to talk about.  Our stories.  

She spoke of the day that she lost her son and I shared with her about the deaths of my tragic day.   She shred with me the fact that a baseball field had been dedicated in her son's memory and how she had gotten a tattoo in his memory on the back of her neck.  Both of those would get my ideas spinning.........

We went to a short walk with Ainsley, talked some more, then parted ways to never meet up with each other again.  I don't know why......  perhaps that's all we needed from each other was comfort that we knew that there was another mom whose child was taken away from them in the blink of an eye?  

Perhaps I'm not meant to connect with a mother that shares a very similar loss.  Perhaps I'm supposed to continue to make the connections, or even friendships with the people that I have been bonding with since Olivia's death.  Make those friendships stronger.  Perhaps those  connections and friendships are what keeps me going.  


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Empty

For the first few days/weeks after Olivia's untimely death, I was still numb.  In fact, I could almost set my mind to believing that she was just at summer camp (she's never even gone to summer camp before).  This was  only"temporary".    But NO, it wasn't.  She was not coming home.

Sitting down at our dining table  for dinner but now i was just the three of u.  Looking at her empty chair made it all too real.   Walking past her bedroom on a daily basis, knowing that she wasn't going to lay her head down on her pillow ever again......  I started to realize that this was not temporary.  It was, in fact, permanent...........  This was our forever.

I'm sure that every mom who has lost a child handles the empty room differently.    I turned to listening to audible books about death and read that one mother kept her child's room exactly the same.  Almost like a shrine.  In fact, one mother describes that she even left a dried up piece of bubble gum that her child stuck on the dresser drawers.  

I can relate. 

 Some parents chose to close the door because the site of the empty room was too painful.  

Again, I can relate.  

In my case, I went through phases.  I couldn't keep her room as a shrine because my mother-in-law stayed with us for a few days after Olivia's death and she slept in her bed.  The shrine was already null and void.  

Hundreds of sympathy cards were piling up in our home.   What do you do with all of these cards?  Which, by the way, I still have them AND still haven't read all of them.  I started storing them in Olivia's room.  Additionally, while preparing for Olivia's funeral service we rummaged through all of her beautiful artwork and priceless writings that she had saved under her bed and in her desk drawers.  

The guidance counselor from her school kindly delivered Olivia's artwork and other school items and work that she left behind.  We also received wonderful tributes to Olivia from her friends and classmates.  Those all went straight to her room.  

Her room was no longer empty.  It was filled with the reminders of our loss.

Oddly enough, Erick and I felt comfort spending time her her room even if it was for a few moments.  We felt connected to our sweet Olivia.

 Then there were the moments of use walking past her room with the open door that would bring me to my knees.......