Saturday, April 29, 2006


I just figured out that grief is sort of like doing the Hokey-Pokey dance.

You put your left foot in, you put your left foot out...

Sometimes I put my foot in the grief and sometimes I am taking it out. This week, I seem to have thrown my whole body into this dance and have shaken all about. You see, dear internet, this week has been a week of freakin' hard firsts. And the surprising part is, I never anticipated these firsts, didn't prepare for them, didn't see them coming at me like a steam engine that jumped the tracks.

Every spring since my kids could walk, they have been enrolled in soccer. That's right, everyone, I am a soccer mom. Happy to oblige too. Since Shalebug has been around that means not only do I drag my sorry butt to the fields to watch six year olds stand around and pull their jersey's over their heads, but I dragged my angel as well.

Where we would both sit there and freeze our asses off. Being the good mom that I am, I used to stick my hands in his armpits to keep my paws toasty. And him being the good boy he was, he let me.

He would giggle when the ball rolled our way. He would cry when I got excited and started to cheer on a player. (I'm an equal-opportunity mom, I'll cheer for any kid who manages to get the ball.) He would get mad when the local train came rolling down the track and toot it's horn.

I didn't anticipate the loneliness I would feel, sitting there on the field with no body to keep my lap warm. No armpits to stick my fingers into. When the train rushed passed and whistled, I braced for the screaming. Except there was none. No one noticed the train but me. No one giggled when the ball rolled past my chair. No one squirmed to get free and stand, holding on to my chair.

It hit me like a ton of bricks. Soccer is just not the same. So here I am, stuck again in the mire of grief and sadness. Doing the hokey-pokey, just waiting to turn myself around.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

What Six Months has Brought

When I started blogging this blog was my priority. But with each entry it became less and less important to tell the world how much I miss my son. My other blog brought laughter back into my life so therefore, it quickly grew and gained importance. This blog is now my touching post, where I pop in occasionally, just to remind myself the new reality that I find myself living in.

Don't misunderstand, I haven't forgotten my son, or my pain. In fact, quite the opposite. Friday the 21st was the six month mark since Bug's passing. And I had planned this huge post about all the things that have happened in these past six months. But the more I thought about it, the less has happened. I still grieve everyday for my son. I still cry every night. I still pray to God that my son is safe in Jesus's arms and for the Lord to lessen our pain. I still can't empty his clothing drawers or go into my son's bedroom when it is dark. I can look at about 100 familiar photos of Shalebug and feel no pain. But if I look at any others with him in it, I fall into a pain that steals my breath away. And most importantly, I still love my son with the same ferocity I did the day he died.

So not a lot has changed. The startling truth is our lives have soldiered on without my bundle of love. His brother and sister still talk to him when they go to sleep, but they no longer cry for him. His grandparents still miss him, but they've moved on to focus on the kids who live. His aunts, uncles and cousins no longer talk about him, he is just a picture in their photo albums. All of these people loved Bug, but his loss hasn't altered who they are.

But my husband and I have morphed into two different people. The people we were before he died, have slowly withered away. That's not to say there aren't remnants and reminders of who we were. But our personalities have shifted, altered, just slightly enough that it is only noticeable to those who were really close with us.

How can it not? How does one carry this burden of pain everyday, and not change? For every smile we make, there are more tears to be shed. Every happy and joyous occasion is marred by the reminder of the little guy who is not here to share in the event. The six month mark brings with it a reminder of what I have lost and what I have gained. I lost my son and gained a sobriety to my personality that never existed before. And I can't see that changing. Because I can't figure out how to stop loving the little guy and stop missing him.

Perhaps if his death was expected or even explained. Maybe then it wouldn't hurt so much. Or would be easier to let go of. But I am still reeling by the suddenness of this loss and I find myself still floundering. Who is to say?

Six months have passed. I lost my son. But I retained a husband, rediscovered the joy of my other two kids, and kept my sanity. I got a job (which will be ending in a month,) and my new puppy arrives May 26. I found clarity with the friends and family who have stuck by me and peace with the ones who had to let me go. A new nephew joined our clan. We have managed to smile and laugh throughout, while remembering the boy who was.

In the end, I guess things have changed. Except for how much I love you Bug. That never will.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter blues

This time last year I was shushing Fric and Frac. I was holding your hands and helping you struggle your way upright. I helped you waddle around the house with you hanging on to my fingers and my back stooped over. I honestly thought I would never stand up straight again. I led you into the bathroom and there in the tub, was a beautiful basket. Inside it had a big ball, which your brother and sister still toss around the house and sit on. There was no candy, but an assortment of baby toys I prayed would interest you.
Turns out the toys didn't catch your eye, but the big blue ball did. You sat and balanced on that ball all day. With a little help from mom and dad of course. You would roll the ball and try to kiss it. I was thrilled you found something you liked but I confess to being concerned about the germs you were slobbering off it.

We then tried dyeing eggs together. You liked the shape and feel of the eggs and you didn't seem to mind getting your fingers wet with the dye. You were fascinated by the colors your fingers were stained. You sat and stared at your hands for minutes. Trippy.

Off to Grandma's we went, and there you blew bubbles while Fric and Frac rode their bikes. I held you on my lap at supper and let you drool over my mashed potatoes. When it was time for dessert you enjoyed your ice cream. And grossed everyone else out.

This Easter is marred by your memory. No dyeing eggs, no shushing your siblings. It's pretty quiet around here. We still had the egg and basket hunt, but it wasn't the same because I wasn't stooped over. Easter supper is not going to be the same with out you to slobber into my food.

But one thing will be the same, and that will be me, outside blowing bubbles. If you see them Shalebug, they're for you. Sent with love from a mommy who misses you more each day.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Enter Mr. Sandman

Next Friday will have meant six months have passed since Shalebug died. Six long months. How is it possible that my life can have continued for half of a year and not once have I kissed my boy. Or changed his bum. Or plugged in his feed. Bathed him. Held him. I miss everything. I miss him.

The one thing that still takes me by surprise is how much I still love him. As if he never died. To me, it still feels like he is here and we are only separated. Just waiting to be reunited. Let me tell you something, if I wasn't a Christian before Bug died, I surely would be one now. Because with out the hope, the possibility of reuniting with him, my life is bleak. The pain too overwhelming.

I am feeling marginally better now. Acceptance is slowly fighting it's way into my world. Laughter is easier, loving is better. I am learning to deal a bit better with my raw emotions. But I still welcome sleep. Not for an escape, but rather, because I look forward to seeing my boy in my dreams. There, I can feel him, smell him, taste him. For a few short minutes, he is with me. And all is right with the world. The only down side is how much it hurts to wake up and leave him all over again.

Easter is here. And I will celebrate with great joy. Because it means my boy and I will be together again. Until then, we have a date in my dreams.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Springing through the firsts

It rained here yesterday, the first time since Bug passed. The sounds of the water hitting the glass pane of my windows was melodic; soothing. I wondered, as I sat there watching the water drip down the window, if it really is tears from heaven, like I used to tell my kids.

I have been grieving hard these past few days. Spring has sprung and with it brings a whole new set of firsts to deal with. The first time I go down to the garden, sit in the swing, go for a walk. I haven't done any of this without my boy and I am not looking forward to the rush of emotion when I do decide to tackle these firsts. Funny, my property spans more than 20 acres and I have used less than .1 of them since Shalebug died. It didn't occur to me to leave the house. God knows how long it took me finally feel comfortable in my home with the gaping hole Bug's abscence created. I never thought I wouldn't love my yard anymore.

So, as I have learned, I will soldier on. Trudge through these firsts, face my fire-breathing dragon. Time will numb this too. And I hope I will be able to push past the pain and rediscover the joy of my yard and remember sweet memories of Shalebug and butterflies.

Monday, April 03, 2006

For Lyle

I fell in love with Shalebug's pediatrician the first time we met. Well, maybe not love, but strong like. Lyle is a shorter man, but well built. He looks as if he could bench press an ox. If it wasn't for his Donald Trump hairstyle, I would have seriously considered trading Boo in. But Lyle's muscles weren't the reason I liked him immediately. When we first met, Bug was four weeks old and the biggest baby in the N.I.C.U. His size made his health problems deceptive. Imagine a Giant among three and four pound babies. Some of the nurses would down play his health because of his size. It was frustrating for me as a mom who longed to take her baby home. If he wasn't that sick, why was he there? Lyle didn't downplay Bug's health, nor did he beat around the bush.

Within the first few minutes of our meeting, he explained Bug's handicaps in a way no one else would dare. He told us Bug's chances for surviving until he was aged two were less than stellar. He told us to get used to the g-tube, it wasn't going away. He told me not to expect to hear my baby say "I love you" because he wouldn't be able to. He explained how Bug would have cognitive impairments. How Bug wouldn't walk very well, or may be not ever. Within ten minutes he told us everything he believed Shalebug would never accomplish. And then he told me to decide there on the spot if I could handle this. Because if there was a shred of doubt, he would place the baby in foster care until I got my head on straight. I know, dear internet, I have made him sound unbelievably cold. And he was. But the moment I invited him into my son's life he became my son's protector and his second biggest advocate.

I stuttered and stammered for a millisecond, got my back up, and told him to fuck off. Really I did. He smiled, and said he approved. He just wanted to see if the two of us were a good fit. And we were. Are. I have no doubt at all that if he thought my hubs and I couldn't handle Bug he would have brought the authorities down on our heads. I have seen him do it for other children.

But after that moment, he stopped telling me what Shalebug couldn't, wouldn't do, and started telling me what he would. He told me Bug would be the best thing to ever happen to our family. He was right. He told us Shalebug would love us like no one else in the world and he was right. He told us to ignore all the doctors and to just listen to Bug. If we loved Bug enough, Bug would be enough. And he was right. Bug proved Lyle wrong time and again, except for his speech. And if we had more time, I'm sure strides would have been made.

Shalebug had to see Lyle every three to four weeks. Primarily to monitor his growth, and to make sure his lungs weren't filling up with secretions. Being a tube fed kid made it difficult for the little guy to pack on the weight. So he was my skinny minny. He was not short, but not tall either. Every time Bug and I went to Lyle's office, it was like visiting a friend. He held my hand and told me over and over again I was a good mommy even if Shalebug wasn't progressing as quickly as I had hoped.

The only thing as hard as telling my family Shale died was meeting Lyle's eyes when he walked into the room that night. My shattered heart splintered even more seeing the pain on Lyle's face. Every one was in a state of shock. It wasn't supposed to happen this way. At all, really. Lyle sobbed and I sat there and consoled him. I never doubted his love for Bug, but I was sorry to have proof of it now.

I had to go see Lyle recently, for Fric. Hugs and tears abounded. He brought me into his office and showed me his memorial he has for patients who have passed. A wall of over 200 dead children. And in the middle of it is an 8x10 photo of my Bug. The biggest pic on the board. The fact that Lyle cares about his patients even when they've passed, touches my heart like nothing else.

Lyle was the only person, other than Bug's parents, who could see the spark in Bug's blue eyes. Who could see his value immediately at birth. Who saw past the face of stone and made Bug (and me) giggle time and again. Thank you Lyle. I love you.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

A woman's perogative

I have been struggling these past few days with my grief. I haven't been overwhelmed by it, don't worry, quite the opposite dear internet. In fact, I have been underwhelmed. I seem to have a handle on it lately. Probably because I am too busy to deal with it, having children running amok in my home, working my butt off in a greenhouse, but perhaps just because I am truly able to cope with the loss lately. Which bothers me. Am I leaving him behind? Does this mean I am going to forget him, forget his value to our family in ten years? I feel guilty for not being grief bound lately. Lord have mercy, I am losing my mind. Such a woman, always changing her mind....