Thursday, November 13, 2008

The long road…

Alec is grieving and some days it is hard enough coping with my own grief let alone being responsible for someone else’s as well. This is one hellishly long road…with no end in sight for either of us.

And sometimes, when Alec is having a really difficult moment, I must take my grief and tuck it away in a little glass jar and place it high upon a shelf. I am then able to pull myself together and be completely ‘there’ for Alec. And once he goes to sleep, I will take that little jar off the shelf once again and open the lid and peer in. The jar may appear empty… but the grief is in there, swirling around at the bottom. Sometimes looks can be deceiving. Just like when you look at me…I may look fine…but the grief is still there. Always there.

So we continue down this road. At night it has become part of the routine. Alec is processing…So we talk about David. We talk about Cancer. Alec talks about his daddy’s head and how his brain got hurt. And then he’ll talk about the Cancer and how the doctors couldn’t get it all out. Sometimes he’ll stop there. Other times he’ll talk about the day David died. How daddy’s body stopped working. He’ll remember all the people that came to visit and the noises daddy made. That always gets me. I want him to remember so much, but there are some things I wish I could forget…and there are some I wish he didn’t remember and that is one of them. That awful rattling, moaning sound haunts me. And as Alec recounts that day…sometimes I just want to scream. And yet I can’t…not now. I must sit next to him, rub his back and smile. Encouraging him to talk about it and intern helping him come to terms with it on his own.

But the disheartening thing is...we’ll being doing this again and again. And as Alec continues to grow and his mind continues to develop...he will be able to understand things on new levels, and we’ll go through this all again. And for better or worse…this will always be a part of our life. As Alec hits certain milestones in his life, he will relive his fathers’ death. That’s normal. It’s part of the healing process. And it sucks.

And somehow I have to keep my shit together so that he is able to do this. Making sure he is in a safe and loving environment so he feels secure enough to process the things he needs to, so that he is able move beyond this loss. All in hopes that someday he will become a well adjusted man who is able to have normal and healthy relationships. Life is hard enough without throwing abandonment issues into the mix...and this little guy has already had too much thrown at him in his short little life.


At November 13, 2008 12:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Skye have you thought about writing a book about David with Alex? One that you and him can read over and over..It might help and become what he remembers and helps you both to stop relieving that last day. Just a thought. Stay strong warrior I pray for you both everyday.

At November 13, 2008 12:28 PM, Blogger Skye said...

Wow. No, I hadn't thought about that, but it is a lovely idea. Thank you anonymous...

At November 14, 2008 4:56 AM, Blogger Jess said...

It's interesting to me how kids process things. When my ex left, one of my girls (5 at the time), suddenly became obsessed with quicksand. She was very concerned about if there was any where we lived and how someone could get out of it if they fell in.

My therapist helped make the connection that for a kid, quicksand is mysterious, hard to spot and when things get stuck in it, they disappear forever. She was worrying that other people in her life would also disappear.

Skye, you're doing all the right things. It's hard to explain something you just don't understand to your child. Some people shut down and refuse to discuss hard topics with their kids. But it's just so important. If we don't, they're left to fill in the blanks on their own.

I'm sure as Alec grows he'll forget the unpleasant details and will hold onto the wonderful memories. What you're saying and doing now are helping him give these events shape and meaning.


At November 14, 2008 11:16 AM, Blogger Skye said...

I just discovered that I can leave comments to respond to comments that others have left…go figure! It never occurred to me. I may not always get a chance to respond to everyone, but at least now I know that I can!

Thanks Jess,
You always have such kind and wise words for me. Your encouragement means so much right now, especially from one parent to another. I know you have been through hell and back yourself and you inspire me to move forward. You are a beautiful reminder to me that there is a future, although it is unknown to me right now, it is out there. And that children too can survive the crazy stuff life throws at them as well. Thanks…

At November 15, 2008 7:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one can relate to how incredibly difficult it is to help your precious little boy sort through the complexity of his feelings unless they have been "there". I have two little boys of my own and when I read about your experiences with Alec after David's death, I often find myself wondering if I would be able to put my grief in that little jar while I tended to their grief. There are so many people that couldn't do what you are doing...who would be so overcome by their own loss that the thought of relieving those moments with their little ones would surely break them each time. Yet you do it, every night, and it's proof that motherhood brings out the animal instinct in us to protect our child at all costs.

Before David, I never knew anyone that had cancer. We recently lost my grandmother. She was 80 years old but for the past 6 months or so she complained of pains...pains that the doctor's couldn't pinpoint. In the end, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on 10/18, we lost her on 10/26. As adults, while we grieve for our loss, we know that 80 years old is a long time to live but the small children are taking it the hardest. Your recount of how you are helping Alec has helped me educate their moms and dads on how to handle their children's grief.

You are a warrior, although some days more brave than others. I firmly believe that those of us who have been following you these past few months have benefited from your posts. It's an incredible gift that you give each time you blog. I just wanted you to know that your ability to write about such a difficult time in your life has helped me help my family.

Take Care,
Olga Cruz

At November 15, 2008 10:37 PM, Blogger Skye said...

I cried like a baby when I read your comment, and then I smiled. It meant so much to very much.

I will email you a few books I found helpful in explaining it to young children, hopefully it will help your family in this difficult time of loss. The little ones do take it hard, but it is good that you realized that they are greiving just like everyone else...just maybe a little differently. I am glad that I was able to help you and I hope you realize how much your kind, supportive words help me. Some days I feel as if I'm blindly stumbling along...and words of reassurance mean the world.

At November 18, 2008 2:00 PM, Blogger Satine said...

You leave me a lot of knowledge about children and how their world turns when you post--I have no kids from my previous marriage, and only have 2 nieces... otherwise am not around children, so I find your posts very interesting and thanks again for posting--as always I wish you love and send good karma!

At November 18, 2008 6:11 PM, Blogger Jackie said...

Oh Skye,
I understand. I call it "Mommy by day, Mourner by night."
My daughter talks of the noises as well. I want to scream when it happens but I have to shut myself off and be there for her.
Since Jeff died, I never know if I should attribute either of my little ones not-so-positive behaviour to their age and abilities...or to the fact that they are mourning their daddy.
I am thinking of you, you warrior woman.


At November 19, 2008 11:10 AM, Anonymous Roads said...

That's an elegant explanation of how to deal with it, Skye.

Putting your grief in a jar on the shelf.

You have to isolate your two roles here, I agree. People often said to me that it would be good to share my grief with the kids, but if ever I did fall apart when they were around, they tended to freak out.

So I tried my best to avoid it. And it takes a great deal of strength, so well done for trying.

At November 19, 2008 3:43 PM, Blogger Kelly said...


As incredibly difficult as this has all been for you, you continue to handle it beautifully. I'm very relieved to hear that Alec is talking about David and processing his grief now. As hard as it is, he's healing tiny bit by tiny bit, just as you are.

You know, my dad was just a little boy when his father died. I can say without question that he is one of the best men I know. He remained devoted to his mom until her death several years ago, has successfully run his own business for over thirty years, has been a devoted husband and father for almost forty years, and is now the best grandpa any kid could ask for. Though his time with his dad was short (or perhaps because of it), he was able to take all of the wonderful things he remembered about his dad and apply them to his own fathering. While I can still see some of the scars he bears from having lost his dad so young, he is a well-adjusted, loving, wonderful man. So please know that everything you are doing for Alec now will do the same for him. You are doing a wonderful job.

At November 19, 2008 4:20 PM, Anonymous Scott Hirschfeld said...

Hi Skye... just wanted to let you know we were thinking about you!

At November 22, 2008 9:50 PM, Blogger Skye said...

Thanks Kelly for sharing about your dad. It means so much to hear that others not only survived experiences like this at a young age, but continued on to be not only successful, but happy people. To hear he had not only a happy marriage but was a wonderful dad brings smiles to my heart. I feel sad for the scars he and so many others share…but I try and remember that we all have burdens to bear. Albeit they are all different, but they are all scars none the same.

At November 22, 2008 9:52 PM, Blogger Skye said...

Thank you everyone for your continued words of encouragement, compassion and support.


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