Thursday, February 28, 2013

Recoil

I've noticed these past few days, I'm withdrawing. Depression is setting in and I'm avoiding the world, avoiding the things I loved and enjoyed. At least I see it, one of the few things I'm not in denial about. But it's not just withdrawing, it's recoiling, pulling back from this world in horror.

I can't help it. The bereaved warned me there would come a time when people would start saying stupid things. The time is here, but it's not exclusively the things people are saying though I do hear and read a lot of stupid words thrown my way. What hurts is that people get to move forward, their lives no longer interrupted living without this burden. Without this punishment.

I see pictures of babies, or 2 year olds and 3 year olds, I see pregnancy announcements and birth announcements, engagements, and invitations for gatherings, and life moving forward. I hate it, I hate all of it, I hate you. I hate that everyday there is something lurking just around the corner, in the next breath, that's going to remind me, and my world will come crashing down all over again. And again. And again. And for the rest of my life it'll never stop. Never.

Our babies are NOT SUPPOSED TO DIE! Why did Bram have to be taken, why did his sweet innocent life have to be ended? Why did his body have to be destroyed? Children shouldn't die. Bram should not have died.

Withdrawing. Recoiling. Horror. Disgust. Anger. So lost without Bram.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Another version of victim blaming...

A mama lost her sweet little boy (you can read about it on her blog), he was just a couple months older than A, and his name, Patrick, was going to be Bram's name.

I read her blog post today. I'm triggered. I'm fuming. I'm scared. I'm confused. I'm ashamed of humanity. Someone, a reader on her blog, reported her family to CPS.

As upset as I am. I recognize it.... another version of victim blaming. Of course you report a mother, in her darkest days, in the oblivion of loss and pain, because if I'm a more perfect parent then I won't lose my child so I'm going to tell the government that you're a bad parent and make it so that I'm perfect and untouchable by tragedy.

........

no.

What this says, you spineless coward. Is that you do not have a soul, you do not have a heart, you are subhuman. The fact that you even thought to do this speak volumes, but you actually CONTACTED CPS on a grieving mother who hasn't done anything beyond loving her children. Shameful. This mama is 2 weeks out from losing her baby, a baby she was still breastfeeding, and now has to prove that not only is she a good mama but she also has it insinuated that SHE'S responsible for her child's death. Dear anonymous person, you are a bad person.

And CPS persons who are assuming guilt, who have no heart, get a new career. You're not helping a family when you come in, blame their baby's death on them, and tell them they are bad parents. They're already doing that to themselves, now the threat of losing more children looms. How could you? Why would you? Shame on you.

I'd say I'm speechless but obviously I'm not. Please STOP all forms of victim blaming, and just let families mourn!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hurting for Bram: it doesn't mean I love my living children less

People will make comments and give me this weird impression they think I don't love my living children because I hurt so much for Bram.

FYI: It's really offensive. Some stuff in life in offensive, it's not about political correctness, it's about not being a jerk.

It's really offensive to be told to stay strong for them. I tell them that I would be broken if I lost them, I would hurt for them just as I hurt for Bram. I would scream for them just as I scream for Bram. I show them it's ok to be yourself even if yourself isn't very pretty all the time.


We are homeschoolers. And this has been quite an adventure. I am their educator, one of their guides on this earth and in this mess and despair I get to teach them a rich human experience that many people don't get into well into their adulthood. My weakness is my strength. It is in my weakness they have learned or enriched their knowledge and experience in and of empathy, compassion, kindness, loss, grief, the strengths of family bonds, the strengths of friendships, more about how the body works, more about why sometimes bodies stop working too soon, more about God and growing their connection to God. They have learned how fragile life is, and every day they show me how they are loving fearlessly.


I love these boys. Friends tell me that as deep and dark as grief is it exists because the love and light I so rich and brilliantly bright. It shines even in the darkness.

My boys are everything, my sunshine, all the beautiful things in this world contained in them, including Bram. <3


Friday, February 22, 2013

perspective mothering

I feel like starting this princess bride style

wuv.

troo wuv...

Is there no truer love than mother and child, a unique love, a bond that is bigger than what is physically or visibly tangible.

But it's hard. Some say there is no harder journey, which at this point I disagree being the mother of a dead child has been a lot harder so far. As caretakers we are challenged outside of ourselves, outside of our comfort zone, have our limits tested sometimes to an extreme, we do disgusting things for thankless people. And we aren't to complain, not for a second, because then obviously you're not a good mother.

The underlined is a bunch a hooey. Hooey we've bought into.

It is hard, it's so hard, but really amazing. It's not all rainbow farting unicorns by any leap of the imagination but there is joy in this job. It is a daily physical and emotional challenge and you are vulnerable the whole time, responsible for an entire person. What if you screw up, what if you mess them up for life, what if your kid dies.....

oh.....

that's right. my son did die.

Every day my heart pleads to be pushed to the limits that once existed. I broke past those limits the day Bram died. I got taken beyond my breaking point and I lost it. I am still lost. My limits got pushed farther than I could handle, AND then some and I have to keep mothering?

Real life confession(as if this whole blog isn't): I suck at mothering. I love my boys. I love them to heaven and back. But sometimes they do push me more than I want to be pushed, more than I can be pushed. I get snippy. I get caught up in stupid petty nonsense, like matching clothes, or neat hair, or another package of gummies. I get irritated when A wants to nurse 17 times in a 5 minute span because he cant decide if he want to play, or if his gums hurt, or if he needs snuggles, or if another baby could be honing in on his milk. I'm annoyed when it takes 30...40...50... minutes longer than normal to leave the house because "I don't want to wear those shoes" and they cant remember if the shoes they wanted were taken off in the car or in the backyard or at a friends. I let them eat an entire box of gummies before breakfast because frankly the whining for gummies is just going to grate too much on my nerves. I can barely breathe anyway so just eat the box of gummies! I DON'T CARE.

.....

See.....sucky mom....

When it comes right down to it though. I enjoy my kids. I love living with them, learning with them, learning from them, and occasionally teaching them things they didn't already know. I appreciate these little people. I appreciated their glory before Bram died, and even more so now. These wonderful people who on my bad days, where I physically cant get out of bed, they hug me, the love me, they tell me they understand and they miss Bram too. A sign that maybe I don't suck as much as I think I do.

Success in parenting: it's loving your children through it all, it's knowing that at the end of the day you couldn't have loved them any more than you did, it's not regretting the love you gave them if they were gone tomorrow.

By that measure, I am a success.

Thank you Bram, for making me a success. <3

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Meeting people on their worst day...

Sometimes you meet people on their worst day.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. Ian MacLaren
Such true words! By and large people have been kind. I have deep valleys of appreciation for these beautiful people. I've found, with my very tender heart these days, that to be kind requires vulnerability. A certain amount of wearing your heart on your sleeve and good lump of bravery. Kind of oxymoronic, brave and vulnerable. But they exist as grief and love, facets of the same emotion.

I have sadly met people who haven't been brave or vulnerable, and have showed me unkindness in my grief. Nasty looks, harsh words, accusations, blaming. How I want to hate them. In the first couple weeks I would be just as mean as they were to me. To protect myself, putting up that shell, not allowing people in my world, not allowing their world to effect me. But our worlds, even if they are vastly different do effect one another. Just as the driver's world collided into mine, taking Bram from my world. As much as you dislike it, your life effects mine, maybe not directly, but in someway what you are doing, how you are living, how you treat others WILL effect me. Just as what I do and say WILL effect you.

It takes a lot of energy to be kind, being already broken and vulnerable it utterly exhausts me to not stop and scream at people who are living inside their own bubble, who don't dare wear their heart on their sleeve or think beyond themselves(see...affecting me...). It wipes me out so much I often can't leave the house, some days I can't leave my bed. On those days my sweet boys show me their kindness and their vulnerability and their bravery.

So be vulnerable, be brave, and be kind. If everyone dared to be so bold, to be so fearless, what a nicer place this would be... if only it had begun sooner... perhaps Bram would still be here.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Bram's army

I've reached a milestone, over 30,000 views so I want to do a giveaway to say thank you. Bram is touching many and my friends have commented that they are part of Bram's army. So I'm running with it, will you join Bram's army?

One lucky person will win 50 of Bram's cards, a pendent, and the book that brought me much comfort Heaven is for Real for kids. Warning: the book is Christian in perspective, it brought me much comfort immediately after. It is a children's book, very sweet and simple.


The pendant made by the wonderful Amy Swagman
Bram's cards, great to hand out to friends, family, bank tellers, waiters, and those who might need and extra hint.


So here's how you enter: comment below with you email address and tell me how you're sharing Bram's story, what you've done to stay safe and keep others safe in parking lots, and how you're loving fearlessly. I can't wait to read the comments. I will choose the winner on March 13th, Bram's 3rd birthday. Sending love to all those who are supporting and loving our family through this.



Friday, February 15, 2013

Bereaved mothers are failures

Why is it that we jokingly measure parenting success or failure based on a a child's survival. Are we that horrible at parenthood that we are glad that we didn't kill our kids?

We've seen the memes. We may have even laugh or shared them. But I have to tell you, as funny as you think it is. It's not.


Welp, the internets have spoken. I have failed the ultimate test in good parenting.
The kids aren't all alive, and I'm still in my pajamas, and I feel pretty ugly reading this.
Failed at taking that shower too.

I understand the bad days, where life really pushes you to your limits and then some, where the house is left in shambles, where you really just don't get out of bed or function beyond telling the kids how to make a sandwich. But here is the thing, according to this standard thousands of parents are failures, through no fault of their own they have failed the ULTIMATE in proving that they are good parents. These memes feed into the guilt I carry, they make my pain bigger on the days it's not, they make me wish I had been gutted of my reproductive organs before I brought another person into this world. 

It's hard enough to lose a child, it's hard enough to know that for the rest of my life I will question my value as a mother, but to have this slapped in my face, LAUGHED ABOUT in my face on a continuing basis what are you telling me? I failed. I failed Bram, because I didn't keep him alive.

How about on those bad days, instead of "at least the kids are alive" how about "I'm pretty awesome for making it through a rough day"? That's far kinder to those of us who carry a burden you don't know and I hope you'll never know. It's far more loving to yourself as well. 

A kid dying isn't funny. Thanks for the sharp stick to the eye.  

Thursday, February 14, 2013

That moment when you realize your grief has become too much for everyone else to handle

I'm there. I've hit that wall.

I've hit the wall where I realize that this isn't going to get better. I can't fathom this pain not ending. I listened to my mom describe her chronic pain due to fibromyalgia and she described how this feels, physically, perfectly.

I often wake up with a weight and breathlessness that is so big I think I'm drowning. I question how I'll survive another day, and when I do I dread having to do it again. And then I do.

I can't stop eating, I can't stop sleeping. I'd spend recklessly if I had the money to do so. I'd drink all the wine if I had the money to do so. I want to escape, I want a break from this pain, but I'll never get it except for the moments of numbness.

I think it might of been a comment on here, it was mentioned "I don't want my kids to say, oh you should have met her before" I'm failing at that one. They will say that, and I tell them often I would hurt and be just as broken if I lost them. The are so empathetic, so understanding. They don't question when I fall into a puddle of tear soup. But I'll never be as I was before.

I'm so sad, and so jealous his killer will get a break. This person will be able to move on, and be able to mostly forget. Thats not ok, when just looking at my boys reminds me. Hearing them, and not hearing him too reminds me. It's not ok that this person gets away with it.

I don't think people get it. The things you're saying are cutting through me. They hurt. Don't try to use logic on me. Grief is a 3 year old, you can not be logical with a 3 year old. And oh how I looked forward to his 3rd birthday. I love 3 year olds, I love their illogical ways. I hate that I'm missing his.

The 3 month mark is Sunday. I'm not ready. Time keeps ticking. My heart keeps pumping. My lungs keep exchanging gases. Completely against my will. I'm not ready for life to go on. I'm not ready to say goodbye to my baby.

So here I babble, alone in my grief, minutes until tomorrow. So happy valentines, may your heart never be as broken as mine.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Grief cannot exist without love. Or don't rush me.

For some reason I'm running into people who want me to be done grieving  I know my grief is not convenient for YOU, but my grief is not for YOU, my grief is for Bram.

In less than a week we reach the 3 month mark. Three months without my son. If you have children and they are all alive, you don't understand. If you don't have children then you're completely out of the realm of comprehension. Not because you don't want to, but simply because you can't.

I'm going to dwell. I'm going to be a mess. I'm going to rage, and cry. I'm going to hole up in the house, where I'm safe. Respect where I'm at. Respect that I'm not going to move on from this, and as I move forward it's not going to move fast.

Don't give me a guilt trip. Don't shame me. Don't try to manipulate me.

Leaving my house means flash backs, flash backs of my perfect boy's face ripped off of his skull, his tissues RIPPED from his bones. Flash backs of his blood rolling across the pavement. Flash backs of his pulse fading. Flash backs of confusion and horror pouring out from T and K's faces. Flash backs of their innocence crushed while they watched their brother die. Flash backs of paramedic telling me "no he doesn't have a heartbeat." Flash backs of  the doctor and nurse walking to me, and the look on their face. Flash backs of those words "skull fractures...it's too much." Flash backs of walking in his room, and seeing him, CPR, tubes, machines, yelling, the palpable effort to make him live and his body being unable to fight, to heal. Flash backs of the horror that rippled across everyone's face as I had to tell them he's dead. Flash backs of his body turned to stone so we could hold him again. Flash backs of our last good bye as they transferred him into the cremation machine. So no, I can't leave my house today, I can't handle the flash backs. I can't handle the most horrific movie you could ever imagine being replayed involuntarily in my head.

So I can't be the friend you want. I'll likely flake out and cancel plans last minute. I'm not going to apologize, because in doing so you're asking that I apologize for loving my son. As uncomfortable as it makes you grief is a facet of love, it cannot exist without love, and to feel it so deeply it knocks me to the ground and changes  my world means I have known love greater than most.

3 months and you want me back to normal. Normal doesn't exist. You wouldn't hold this expectation to someone who had been in a coma for 3 months, or had a heart transplant, or lost all their limbs. For all intents and purposes pretend I've done all 3. Stop expecting normal. I haven't found mine yet.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Don't let fear rule your life

Bram was safe, and he's dead.....

I share not because I want you to be scared, not because I want you to be helicopter parents, not because I think you should wrap your kid in bubble wrap. I share to remind you to enjoy.

Enjoy your child's life. Enjoy your life.

Have fun, get dirty, dig for worms and rolly-pollies, run wild with them. Love them in a way you won't regret if they are gone tomorrow.

Take more pictures, but don't let the camera rule your life. And find a way to be in the pictures too. Even if you have circles under your eyes, or you have fat rolls, or the house is a disaster, or your clothes are proof of your status as a walking napkin.

Keep them safe, but don't hold them back. Don't hold yourself back from joy.

Make memories in the mundane, enjoy the little things.

Savor your moments, allow yourself to linger in the right now. Tomorrow is not a guarantee, today isn't either. I've learned in grief to simply live in this moment because that's all I've got. So simply enjoy this moment, it may be all you get.

Don't let fear rule your life, a life ruled by fear is a life wasted. Love this life, as cruel as it is, love it fearlessly.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Bram the big brother

Today A turned 1. Another first, without our perfect boy. I cried, I screamed, I hid in my room, and still managed to laugh and enjoy A's birthday.


My dear friend made this and it hangs in my living room. It was one of the first moments of him and A together.

This was the inspiration.

He loved becoming a big brother, and he was good at it. He was patient, he was gentle, he was loving. Pretty impressive for a 2 year old!

He played with A before he was even born. Blowing raspberries on my belly or rolling blocks down my belly and that A would kick off. He helped labor continue by nursing often. He snuggled and loved his brother. He wasn't upset to share his mama with his baby, because he loved babies. He would have made a wonderful dad.

But this is A's birthday, and even at his birth I celebrated that A made Bram a big brother. It's a special thing, and they were bonded. The nursed together for the first 6 months of A's life. Bram weaned gently having taught A all the tricks. Bram seemed to be waiting for A to catch up, so their bond could grow, to be best friends, to play together, but A was just 9 months when Bram was taken. They never got to play the way Bram wanted. A completed our family, we became 6, I gushed with love for the wonders of my family. Now we are missing a piece, it will never be filled, because he can't be replaced. We are learning slowly how to be 5 again, you never expect to have to learn how to be a smaller family, but thats what we have to do. His light still shines through us, we shine for him, but it's still not him, it's a little off kilter, strange, distorted.

The firsts are hard without him, harder than all the other days. We missed you today Bram. The next birthday is his, and I'm not sure how to face it....