Posts tagged grief

Commercialized Holidays


Valentines Day, Mothers, Day,

Fathers Day, so many more.

What if we don’t get a Valentine or box of candy?

What if we don:t see all of our kids, or parents

or put flowers on their graves?

If we must have a special day to recognize those we love,

then our love is shallow and lacking.

If we do not recognize them on these “special days”.

We are not appreciative, thoughtless…

Think of those you love every day, tell them every day,

love them every day. All of your lives will be much richer.

Today, I did not eat with all my kids,

I put flowers on my mom’s grave and my then-15 year old sons.

Today, I stood in line to eat lunch with part of them,

my lonely father order food he didn’t want and didn’t eat.

Having a friend take a photo of my son and I with my flowers.

Or my son showing me bullfrog tadpoles, meant much more.

Remember how short time is and how much today means.

Take the little treasures and keep them, for soon they slip away.

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Still Together

Every night, I lay my head, upon your pillow, on your bed.

And I a crying, feel like dying…

If I could die, I wish I knew, if I cold really be with you?

You know I’m trying to keep from lying….

I want to know, in the morning, would I be here, you still there?

I if did not wake up in the morning, would I care? I just don’t care.

Without you…

Every time this house is filled with the people you left here,

I feel I’m trying,to keep from dying.

I pretend to care or really feel that it matters that I’m here,

I’m through with crying, I feel like dying.

Where’s my heart, my wicked soul within this world I can’t control?

My soul is dead, my heart is too, they both died when I lost you.

There is a place that I still go, no one but you will ever know.

You are there and I am too, no one else, just me and you.

If we’re both dead and they are right and we are in some other life,

I don’t care, fire or ice, just so we’re here, you and I.

I close my eyes one more time, it’s over, life, it’s over, time.

I run to you, you run to me, just like that last night, it would be.

We’d go around, we’d dance and sing, spirits of a bitter spring,

Together, we will always be, death cannot take you from me.

You are with me, a child, a man, I look at you, you take my hand.

This world is sad, though skies are blue, I only need to be with you.

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Childhood-is there anything I would change?  That opens so many doors.  Of course as a parent and grandparents, there are many philosophies, ideas, decisions that we all wish we could change. Since it is late and I am tired I will stay with one thing that I wish I could change about my childhood and one thing I wish I could change about being a mother.

I was an only child.  I hated it. It was often lonely, I never really felt good about myself or happy.  It wasn’t for lack of love, perhaps, I had more than I could handle.  I lived next door to my grandparents, and my aunt and uncle.  They had not children. We even had a “party line” telephone.  You have to be pretty old to remember when two people shared one :line” and even though they had separate phone numbers, if one “person was on the phone, not only could you hear their conversation, you could not make a call of your own.  Imagine being a teen sharing a phone with six adult who could listen in or pick up the phone at anytime.  I have always referred to my childhood as “Life under the microscope.”

The natural wish for an only child ho hated it is to ant a big family of her own.  Through many trials and difficulties, I did have a big family-4 boys and 2 girls. There are so many things that a parent wishes they had done differently when the numerous decisions of being a parent have to be made.  NO! becomes an echo, of sorts. Each child is different. One approach to a problem make work well for one child and not at all for another.  I always felt it was important for my teens to learn to say “No’ on their own. I would tell them, they we welcome to say, “I can’t do that, mom would kill me if she found out.”, but one day. mom or dad may not be there and they would have to have the courage to say “no” on their own.  I think I did a good job with this philosophy on the big decisions, but one winter, when my 5th child,a son told me he didn’t want to play baseball on the school team, I was elated. I had been having thoughts and dreams about something happening to him elated to baseball.  The thoughts  and feeling really didn’t make sense. I never liked baseball, and thought that maybe it was just that I was glad I wouldn’t have to put up with the practices and games in bad weather, the schedule conflicts and such.

My son, nearly 15, did not play in spring or summer.  My heart was so relieved.  I actually believed God was helping me avoid some crisis when he decided not to play.  Then one day right after school started, we were getting ready to leave when his friends and a father who was going to coach “fall ball” zoomed up our driveway and begged my son to go to their last practice.  Out of boredom, he decide to go, it was just one game.  he still liked to play, just not on an organized team.

I reluctantly said it was alright, but when he came home, he slammed down the new hat and jersey and said, Mom, I don’t want to play” and they just threw the uniform at me and said “See ya at the game.”

“Call the and tell them you aren’t playing>’ I said, reminding him that he had promised not to play.

” I can’t”. He said, his he turned to the floor, “They said they wouldn’t have enough players without me and I can’t disappoint my friends.”

I wanted so bad to tell him, “Then I will say NO for you” But I didn’t.  I remembered my vow to make them learn to ay “no” on their own. I actually felt like God was telling me that I had to let him learn this lesson, he was 15, a sophomore in high school.

“It is only a few weeks I said, a tear running down my cheek.  The feeling of worry kept coming back about something bad happening to him that involved baseball. I had prayed and prayed about it. i felt God had promised to keep him safe and me strong, that God had jobs for us to do, and he was with us.

On the night of October 4, 2006, my husband, younger son , my 15-year-old and his best friend prepared to go to his second game in three days. I had to hurry home from volunteering to coach a play at my younger sons school and we were running late.  I quickly opened the door when i got home , and  my son was standing there with his quiet sly smile.  “Oh, you scared me!” I said.

We grabbed something to eat at a fast food place and hurried to the game.  Twice, I almost took his picture and didn’t because this as in the day of film and I as about on my last shot.  I came so close to taking his picture when he made a great double and stole third.  The next player struck out.  He told a friend in the dugout that h didn’t feel good, but he went on to right field, expecting not to have to do much and it was the last inning.

Before they started playing again, I heard a mom say, “Is something wrong with Andrew?” and looked out to see him holding his head.  He started running to me, and I started running to him. Right as i got to him, he grabbed his chest, then threw his hands out as if to break a fall.

He landed hard on the ground, I will never forget the slow-motion scene of him falling in the dirt, hitting his nose and forehead as dust rose around him.  I was screaming, ” Call 911! Call 911! A parent called out that they would as everyone crowded around my son.

He was unconscious, unresponsive. No one knew what to do, There was a fire station within sight of the park, and we were all looking for the fire truck  to take a left and rush down the parking lot. They didn’t.  I honestly feel the man who called 911 panicked and hung up before telling the operator that the child wasn’t hurt playing and that the fire dept. was right above us.  It was 10-12 minutes before an ambulance came. A man ran us, said he was a nurse, but did nothing.

“He isn’t breathing well”. The nurse said, and I was crying “Well, can;t you do something?  All he did was turn his head upward a bit.  At this time,we had been taught not to do CPR if the patient was breathing-it is what i was taught, and perhaps he was as well. Finally, an ambulance came. His blood gases were very bad, as rode to the hospital in the ambulance, i could see the ambulance attendance using a defibrillator on him.  I coudn’t believe it his heart had stopped.

A  chaplain met  us at the hospital door.  My husband and the whole team we already there-before the ambulance. For an hour, we were consoled, given hope, then told his condition was very bad.  When the chaplain told us to bring the family to a side room, we knew what we would hear.

“You mean he’s dead?” I sobbed, shaking,nauseous.   I don’t even remember the doctors words, just some “we tried so hard” statement and the chaplain asking us if we wanted to go see him, warning us to be quiet that there were other patients in the emergency room.

The rest is a story of shock, grief and the purest of hell a mother can face.  My handsome healthy 15-year-old was dead and we had no idea why. He n no sign of sickness.  We later found out he had contracted “viral myocarditis” and the last play, the great hit, stealing third base.  I guess his heart got out of rhythm then, because he had told several friends h didn’t feel well.

This has been a long story to tell the reader the thing I wish most i could change about being a parent.  It is saying “NO”, for your child, when they don’t do it themselves.  If i had, my son would likely be here, if the ambulance we could see had come, if we had already left that day his friends pulled up, wanting him to come to their “last” practice.

There will be people who are angry at me for writing this, they may make up excuses fir God, or say other ridiculous, irrelevant things.  All mothers who have lost a child have heard them.  My only point here is to answer the question asked by the prompt-“If you could change ONE thing…”  and  my answer is this, “I would not be afraid to say “NO” if that is what my heart was telling me I should do.

Please read my other blogs on Parent Heart Watch and on loosing my son.

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A Tale of Two Losses

ImageI have lost a child, a teen with his life and future ahead of him.
It broke me-my body, soul and spirit.
And then there was you-mom.
When my son, I lost what I dreamed of,
With you, I lost the chance to really know you.
You were private, you kept things to yourself.
You had just began to tell me the things
that made you who you were-
I keep thinking that if you had told me, sooner,
it would have saved me so much pain.
Never-I loathe that word. Never again.
Today I put flowers on two graves -yours and his.
I am sickened by what my life has become.
It has never been as I dreamed,
And often been nearly unbearable.
It seems others take loss and go on with life.
I don’t understand it and never will.
How can others go on with what made life a joy?
When I am  forced to exist without what made me live at all.


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When I Let You In


My precious son, I do it nearly every day.  People as me why I put myself through it-looking at your handsome young face only weeks before you were so wrongly taken.
I have thought about it many times, Andrew.  It rips my heart into. It reminds me of the failure of what I felt was a holy vow.  I think of you there in the chair in your room, shouting out, “Mamma, I love ya, Mame!” time after time.

I hear your little brother crying because you got the red ball when it hit the goal and your dad shouted at you and you loudly complain, “It’s always me!”

Yes, it is.” His voice reverberates through me. I hear your father’s remark, (hating it). “No, it isn’t,” my heart screams.

It got so old, that tired comment, The one he yelled  to every one of you when a younger sibling complained.

So why do I have your picture as my home screen on the computer, smiling at me, unknowing, hopeful, happy, healthy. It’s so simple, really. I touch your hair, brush it with my fingers, trace the line of your eye brows, circle the shape of your eyes, just like mine.  I remember the tiny chicken pox scar on the top of your nose, see the way your top lip is shaped in a perfect bow-the bottom lip full and sensuous.

I use my finger as a magical pen and draw your shirt collar, the tendons in your neck, the shape of your chin that made your face so perfect. I gently track the outline of your ear, as I often did when I played with your hair. I rub the soft pink of your cheeks, see the tiny “out of line” placing of your teeth that no one but me would notice.
I hear your father’s remark, (hating it).
And for just a moment, one soft breath, you are here where you belong and I am alive and life is worth living. It is all I have. The pain is worth it.

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Not a Creature was Stirring


I threw the last of the packages down on the bed.  A few gift cards, last- minute ideas.
Oh, how I hate this season now. I always loved it-the glimmering lights, cooking, caroling, decorating, children’s smiles. Trees shimmering through the frost on the windows.  My kids looking for new gifts under the tree every few days.   My birthday only a few days away.

That was then and this is now. It is hard enough to see so many of the kids grown and gone, having their own celebrations, traditions. But taking my youngest to the cemetery to put flowers on his brothers grave…T’was the night before Christmas.

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Christmas Past

Albums from my shelf stare at me-
Don’t take them down, my heart screams.
My hand reaches up, my soul wanting to see
the sweet face of my baby, the glimmer of the tree.
Presents piled high-touching the limbs.
Pictures of lots of kids, lots of different trees.
The tears I knew would come, fall down my cheek,
In a quiet house, my oldest  ones all grown,
Families of their own, their houses now with those
glimmering trees, those piles of presents.
And my baby, the baby from those days, gone.
I visit his grave, decorate it like a table in the den.
I cry there, with his younger brother with me.
Not even born when those pictures were made.
I made the cookies, wrapped a few gifts, got cards.
I went on the church outing, held my tears, my breath.
Christmas, it was so wonderful, hope, peace, love.
I knew better than to believe it would last for me.
I need to get a new album, this one is falling apart.
Like my life did. Tears fall as I replace it on the shelf.

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Morning may come with clouds of deep gray.
Or might dawn with azure skies and fluffy clouds.
Dusk may find a sky awash with indescribable colors.
Or perhaps with sky is filled with the softness of gentle snow.
I rarely notice anymore, it doesn’t matter.
My heart, my soul is dead within me.
Without you it is just another time to endure,
Another tear to dry and try to push on.
For so many years, I have endured this hell,
That it is expected, I brace for it, harden my heart.
There isn’t even a word for one who has lost a child.
You aren’t a widow, orphan, divorcee.
No word can describe the emptiness, the pain.
You are simply, forever, alone.

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A Voice and a Shadow


A breeze will rush through my hair,
 And I feel your hand upon me.
I hear you calling me
In the silence of night, in a crowded room.

I will feel your presence beside me,
Almost see you, knowing if I turn to look.
 The place you should be will be empty,
Empty like my soul, longing , pleading for you.

I hear a teens voice, and turn startled,
Hoping beyond hope that it’s you
And the nightmare is over.
You are here and I am well.

My body shakes, I feel sick in side-
 You wouldn’t be a teen now.
I should be hearing the voice of a man,
Feel the strong touch of a man.

At night, I lay my head if long curls
On a soft pillow and cry out your name.
Waiting, hoping you will find
a way to break through the walls of time
 And come to me, save me, love me.

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If I Could Touch You


If I could touch you,
If I could see you now,
If I could fight my way out of this silence
And hear your voice somehow,
If I could hold you,
If I could only make you real,
If I could shed myself of the darkness,
That is all that I can feel,
Then maybe I could find a way to go on through the night,
Hold the years, dry the tears, make it to the light,
How could you have left us, in the blinking of an eye?
You didn’t know, we didn’t know, no time to say goodbye.
I try to hear you,
I close my eyes and see,
Everything you did, everything you loved,
All you meant to me.
If I could touch you ,
If you could be with me here,
That’s all that I would need forever
If you could just be here.


(This is a poem I wrote shortly after the death of my 15 year old son)

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