Saturday, December 29, 2012

I can't help but smile

When I think of Bram I can't help but smile.

He was so silly. The night before he died we cuddled in bed while he nursed his optimus prime "yeeeah op pime noosin'" and we talked about juice and he opened his mouth and pointed down and told me about juice going in our bellies. Then he'd push the button on his optimus prime and repeat "aubot row ow!"

He loved to climb up slides. Which we could spend hours at the park doing.

He loved his big brothers and would follow them and do whatever they did, even if it meant going into the open field and play in the mud.

He loved food! If I said "Bram you're a pig" he would look at me confused and say "peig? noooooo. I no peig" made my heart melt.

He would bring me transformers and make me play transformers with him and I loved it, wished I had played more.

I loved they way he spoke, as he was just really learning how (my boys have always been slow talkers, understood everything early but would grunt until they felt like using words, Bram was not an exception). I loved the way he said orange, his favorite color. It was "orunch."

He loved to snuggle, he loved to dance, he loved to scream with joy, he loved to wrestle, he loved his daddy, he loved his family.

He didn't have a favorite food because he loved all food and would out eat any of us. He loved tigers, and didn't like dogs. He loved to run and was too fast. He loved to ride on the bikes in the store.

Bram was such and amazing boy. I miss him so much everyday. As much as I'm haunted by his death I can still close my eyes and see his beautiful face, I can hear his adorable laugh that would light up my insides.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Who I am is not who I was

Who I am is not who I was. I shared once that it felt like vomit. Masticated, swallowed, bathed in acid, partially dissolved, and violently ejected. That's who I am now. I am Vomit. Nice to meet you.


I used to know who I was, but I've lost her. She's not here anymore.
The woman I'm becoming believes and clings to God, to Christ. (No judgement of other spiritual paths, we're all doing our own thing here) For who better could know the pain of witnessing the violent death of their son than God himself.

The woman I'm becoming wants to be like Bram, bold and fearless, but the woman I am today is so fragile and weak. The slightest shifting of air will shatter me.

The woman I'm becoming is haunted with the violent and gory images of her child's death.

The woman I'm becoming can't escape this pain, but instead has to accept it and learn to live with a pain that immoblizes, cripples, and robs you.


I'm woefully optimistic, sadly that hasn't changed. For some reason I'm always hoping. Always hoping that the nightmare will actually end and I'll wake up to his beautiful face. Always thankful, which is so annoying. But I can't stop counting my blessings.

I still love, I still laugh, I still get angry, I still am. My heart still pumps, my brain still goes, my lungs still exchange gases. But I am no longer the woman I'd hoped to be.

I know much of who I am and was is the same, I know my good qualities and bad qualities. But I don't know WHO I am any more, because much of me is a mother, a mother who's pride reigned in her children and her ability to love and raise them right, and who I am has a dead child. The ultimate in failing in raising. Who I am, does not want to be me, because no one should have to endure this pain. It's not survivable, because inside I am dead.

Inside I am dead. 

And if you ask me how I am, do not expect an honest answer. Most of the time my answer will be I'm breathing. It means so much to just be breathing. It means I'm still here, I'm still present, I'm not stopping. The truth is: grief changes you. It alters you, it alters your body, it alters the way your brain works, the way your blood flows, your hopes and dreams, it alters your DNA. It makes you something different. Something not natural, something wrong. You should not exist. But you do.

No matter my stillness, my outward ok-ness, inside I am rotting, screaming, throbbing, raw, lost, sinking away second by second into this abyss, unable to stop the horrors from invading my waking or sleeping moments, unable to be truly happy. But I don't share that. I don't share that because it's too much for the world to handle. It's too much to be the parent of a dead child. It's uncomfortable. No one wants to really hear about it. I am a taboo.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas eve

I dreaded this day. I spend most days somewhere between distracted and numb. Feeling has been too much. Today though I knew I would have to feel.

Early in the day I had received a package from P.L., a fellow midwifery student, she sent a book that had touched her heart. I skimmed through it and it's going to be heavy to read, but having her love with me and her thoughts on me, I know it'll be something good for me.

A dear friend, S.D., had adopted us in their office for Christmas. Santa, Mrs. Claus, an Elf, and 0 S.D. arrived in the afternoon and we were blow away. I felt joy and excitement for the first time in weeks. The Santa was perfect. They brought so many gifts I don't think they kids are going to have any time for me tomorrow. Seeing the boys so happy what good for my heart.

While Santa was here another package was dropped with us. I knew what it was, and my heart sank. I didn't want to see because I knew I'd have to feel more. The book of Bram. In it were pictures of my friends, my midwifery sisters, with Bram's name in all kind of places. Oh the love. So beautiful. So perfect. And I cried so much for Bram.

There was so much good on this day, the kids got to see all their grand parents. Plus another friend entered us a contest at Mama's Felt Cafe and we were the winners. Such a gift and A adores it!

I dreaded this day and was blessed by this day. Today was filled with love, and even when feeling everything that I didn't want to feel it was worth it to feel his love, to see those he has so touched, to know that he is living on in so many ways, and that he is not forgotten. Thank you to the many people who are constantly reminding me of Bram and carrying him on in their hearts.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Triggers

I'm amazed at the things that trigger me. The things I wouldnt expect, and the things that are obvious.

Family pictures, because that was what we were about to have done.

2-3 year olds, as others call their children, he'll be forever 2.5

Parking lots, cars.

Little boy clothes.

Toys, bicycles, and shoes.

Educating about his death.

Witnessing my children's pain in their grief.

Anger around children.

Victim blaming.

The media.

The bond of siblings.

Dreams achieved.

Any depiction of a car accident.

Lights and sirens.

Talk of being killed.

Mothers holding their children tighter.

Aspen, photography places, family pictures, red SUVs.

I could keep going. It's been a rough day. Moment by moment. It's all I can do.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The knowing before the end

It's 12/21 and we're still here. Though I wished it was the end. Not to be dead, but to be with Bram again, for our family to be whole again.

Bram was special. He was so much love, beauty, joy, and energy bundled into a person I could hardly believe it sometimes. I always knew he was too much. Much too much for this world. He was the only child I obsessively worried would die. Though he was healthy, and sturdy, he was so obviously fragile so breakable. There were times I'd admire parts of him, and their duality of perfection and fragility. He held wisdom and innocence in his eyes, the innocence showing beauty and the wisdom showing the truth. He was never meant to be here for long. And so he wasn't.

Just days before his death (11/15 to be exact) I had a dream. I've always had nightmares, vivid, disturbing, affecting me into the next day, weeks, months, and years nightmares. The dream I had before was a dream of his death. In the dream I did not witness what lead to his death, just as I didn't witness the accident. In the dream I just wanted more than anything to hear his voice, just like I want every day. In the dream I could not understand, just as I can't understand now. In the dream I screamed and screamed, just as I had as I saw his perfect body laying lifeless on the ground. I was jolted awake when it was finally spoken in my dream "Bram is dead."

I knew it was coming. I didn't want to know this. I woke with panic, I was pushing TJ awake "where's Bram, make sure Bram's ok, WHERE IS BRAM!" Bram was fine, he had slept some of the night in his room, and come to our room and snuggled between the wall and TJ in the night. He was fine and perfect. But I was rocked to my bones.

I posted on facebook, with many comments that others had similar dreams, but it was a thorn in my side. I didn't dream this. I never dreamed dreams like this. Never was my family unsafe in my dreams. Never were the people I loved in my dreams. Only faceless strangers, if it was someone I knew, I knew something was up. If there was a face I knew something was up.

Now to deal with the guilt of knowing. Both being warned, and the always knowing that he was much too much for this world. I should have prevented it. I should have made him less special. But then it wouldn't be Bram, would it?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The love of Bram

I have to tell you about Bram, if you don't already know him.

He was amazing, my perfect boy, I always called him my perfect boy. After we got to the hospital the doctor came into the family waiting room to tell me the skull fractures were too serve for him to live. I had to make the long walk to the room so I could be there when he died, I kept telling the nurse and doctor who held me, pleading that they couldn't understand, that he was my perfect boy. I couldn't articulate that because he was MY PERFECT BOY he shouldn't be able to die, he is perfect, he can't die. Then I saw him, and I knew my perfect boy was no longer meant for this harsh and imperfect world and I held him. I demanded they stop hurting him, just stop, and the words "time of death" tumbled and vibrated. I faded out from all else holding my perfect boy.

His birth was amazing. I overflowed with love in the short time I labored, I cried with joy, I never felt pain only love and couldn't stop saying "I love you baby." He was such a calm, loving and lovable little baby. It was hard not to feel love for him and feel loved by him. He really never cried, he was always patient. What all would consider a "good baby." Of course all babies are good babies if I do say so!

We parented him as we had parented his 2 older brother, and continue to parent his little brother. Holding him or wearing him close and often, never leaving him to cry, nursing on cue, following his lead, sleeping close. The morning of his death I remember admiring him, spread out in my bed taking up more than half as always, sleeping so peacefully. I couldn't help but stop and stare at him. He had that affect on me often. The love I have for him is breath taking. I would often just stop and stare, too overwhlemed and amazed by him to move or speak.

Bram was growing into a great kid. So funny, so sweet, so smart. He loved us. He would caress my face and say "la you" love you. I can still feel the texture and warmth of his hand on my cheek. He was always the first, and most excited, to give hugs to EVERYONE. He bounded with joy whenever someone walked in the door, didn't matter who it was he was excited to see them. He loved affection. He'd give big giant kisses, just because. He was never, ever afraid to be affectionate.

He was never afraid to be bold, or silly, or run in the mud. He was always willing to try new things. He held his opinions for sure, but he was open to different ideas.

That's the great thing about children, their innocence doesn't hold them back. I want to do that for him, and I have been doing my best this past month. I say what I'm feeling, I share my heart freely, I don't hesitate to tell the people I love, that I do indeed love them. He's infected so many with that, the desire to love fearlessly and the excuse to be bold enough to do so. I have been gifted beyond measure, LOVE, love from people touched by Bram around the world. I've received notes from all over the world, Canada, Italy, Asia, Australia, Mexico, and of course the states. I have witnessed people soften and break down the walls around their heart for the of Bram. I have had people reach out to me, from the love of Bram.

So for the love of Bram, I dare you to be bold, I dare you to love, I dare you to be fearless. Because he was, keep him going, and don't ever stop. Because before you know it, it's too late.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The illusion of safety

It's been a month since he was taken from us, and my heart still beating was ripped from my body and I expected to keep going.

A friend said something and it hit the nail on the head. "Safety is an illusion." Without a doubt.

We've heard of others loss and in some way we justify it in our mind. That can't happen to us. We always do XY and Z to prevent THAT from happening. Shamefully I admit I've done it, I've justified a child's death to comfort my mind. It was wrong, and I never let the thought pass my lips or finger tips.

Some of the things I've heard: "they should have held his hand," we taught him, and he followed direction, to stand next to the car, and he did not dart into traffic "this is why I never let my child walk behind parked cars," he wasn't "well sometimes you just have to leave the kids home when you go grocery shopping," family photos require the whole family "I always get the kids in the car FIRST," must leave car to take family photos and "this was completely preventable, and why I always do....." me too, didn't prevent a thing

Oh the ways you are wrong (and way to victim blame!), but I understand trying to justify it. If it can be justified, it means it will NEVER be us. Until it is. This time, what we want to justify, what our brain pleads with us to be preventable, happened to me. This time, it took MY son. And it was an accident, a matter of distraction from a driver, a driver who "just didn't see" because her car was too large and my son too small. Nothing we have available to us today, or that day, could have prevented his death other than a driver being more vigilant and not having eyes fixated on that parking spot so coveted.

Caution does not exempt one from tragedy.

Scary thought. It's terrifying to be so not in control of the things that happen in this life. The only things we can control are our own actions and reactions. But that doesn't change the truth. Safety is an illusion. Doing all the right things, the right way, and at the right time and still my son is dead. It could have been anyone's son, but it was mine. It was Bram. My perfect boy. <3

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Pain and anger

I'm so sick with pain and anger.

We took K to Target this evening to spend the birthday money he got. I went inside first for a restroom break and when they weren't inside when I got out of the restroom my heart sank, they weren't there. The last time this happened Bram was dead. One of them must have been run over, one of them is dead. Again! I started running outside only to find them (thankfully) safe together, and fine. I couldn't stop the feelings of dread. I wasn't able to recover before T began a tantrum because he wasn't getting a toy despite the fact K offered to buy him something with the rest of his birthday money.

I come home and see my dead tree, and my dead poinsettias, and my husband struggling, and my kids struggling, and it's too much! I am so done, and I am so angry.

I took the tree down and threw it in the back yard. I want to quit christmas and crawl in a ball and not crawl out until the world ends. But I can't, as much as my heart and my hurt makes it impossible to move forward, my children force me. I'm not the mother they deserve right now. I'm less than. I'm not equipped to carry on when my spine's been ripped from my body.

I'm so sick with pain and anger. I'm so angry, so angry. My son is not worthy of justice. His death isn't even worth a moving violation. The events that have unfolded across the globe and the deaths of so many children, and the thoughts of so many parents falling into this oblivion, and knowing that if there could be justice served for them there would be. But the person that killed their children took his life, so justice on earth will not happen. My son's killer gets to walk free, get to breathe a sigh of relief, gets to go on with their life, gets to forget.

I want to live for Bram but today I hold no hope, today I don't have it in me.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Bram's death

Bram is my third son. He was born March 13th 2010, and it was the most amazing birth in the world. Painless and joyful, quick and easy. He was such a mellow baby, loved to nurse.

On Saturday November 17th we were off to get family pictures. We arrived on time for our appointment but the studio was running extremely late. My boys, as usual, wanted to snack but no food or drink was allowed. My husband took the 3 oldest boys (ages T 7, K 4.5, and Bram 2.5) to the car to snack on oranges. The parking lot was small, and what many would consider a safe parking lot. It wasn't busy at all and the distance from the shop to the last parking spaces was still close to the building and what I would consider good parking any day.

I stayed in the photo studio with the baby (9 months at the time) to wait for our appointment. It wasn't long after that the photographer told me it was almost our turn so I went ahead and poked my head out of the door to my husband to let him know it was almost our turn. The boys had sat in their car seats eating oranges. He gathered them and had them stand next to the car, as we always do. My husband turned to close the door, and a lincoln navigator came in the parking lot, not paying attention, the driver hit Bram. It took as long as it took to close the door. Think of that length of time, think of how many times that was you.

His face torn, his skull crushed. Blood sliding down the parking lot. The death certificate says time of accident to death is seconds but I felt his pulse, and I felt it fade as I screamed for help. I watched them doing CPR, breathing into him, and it was of no use. 29 minutes after the car hit him, he was dead. 11:07 am. 2 years, 8 months, 3 days, 11 hours, and 59 minutes on earth.

My chest exists as a black hole, a sucking void. I'm breathing and that's all I've got.