Thursday, February 12, 2009, 09:45 AM ( 5 views ) - Posted by HeidiI am downstairs sitting in my recliner watching TV. The recliner is in our little living room right at the base of the stairs. Sometimes I can see J.T. just out of the corner of my eye coming down. I hear the squeak of the third stair and see a flash of blonde shaggy hair. I find myself washed in a sense of relief until I turn to welcome him and find he wasn’t there and the sharp pain of disappointment stabs me back into reality. Do you ever do that?
I am lying in bed lost somewhere in a delightful dream. It is a sunny day and I am walking in a bountiful garden of colorful flowers, butterflies and that sweet smell that signifies Spring. I am looking for something beyond the blooms when I see him. My precious angel walking toward me with that look, that look that means “I want to tell you something!” I begin to move toward him anxious to hear that beautiful secret but I can’t get there and he manages somehow to remain just out of my reach, jolting me awake with frustration. Do you ever do that?
I go upstairs and around the corner to the end of the hall then pause with my hand on the knob to the door that holds the past, J.T.’s room. I open it slowly savoring that familiar smell. Just as he left it, shoes by the bed, his NFL comforter strewn across the bottom bunk and his robe still hanging on the ladder. I stand in the center of the room making slow circles with my body while conversations swim in my head. “Clean your room Bubba, this place is a mess!” I laugh thinking how relieved I am now that he didn’t, it is so much better just like this. I touch everything picturing it in his hand, I open the drawers to find his secret notes and hidden candy wrappers, I lay on his bed and talk to the ceiling whispering my regrets and devotion and for a moment I feel connected and reassured that he was here and he was mine. Do you ever do that?
Tuesday, February 10, 2009, 09:41 AM ( 30 views ) - Posted by HeidiToday I post for Andrew Bahl, the beautiful angel who was taken by the Yamaha Rhino on August 24th, 2008 at three years old. His Mother has told me some about that day and their story sounds all too familiar with phrases like “This means so much to have Andrew out there and for people to realize that this does happen to children as young as three years old. Even if it's just a SLOW ride in your FRONT YARD!! “ Her words express the words of so many other grieving mothers like me who just don’t understand how the Yamaha Rhino can be so unstable that it kills even when operated carefully. I don’t think it something we should have to force ourselves to understand but something that we must force to stop happening. Her words also convey her great love for Andrew and a glimpse into the type of little boy he was “ He was my little fish in the summer who loved to play with the hose at Gamma and Papa's, the one who could dance the night away with his Mommy, the one who would play in the dirt whether he was wearing his Sunday best or not as that always got a good laugh out of Daddy, and the one that would always give a great smile when getting his pictures taken - cheesy or not.” The world will miss Andrew his cheesy smile, his potential and his radiating light.
Tiny Angels rest your wings
sit with me for awhile.
How I long to hold your hand,
And see your tender smile.
Tiny Angel, look at me,
I want this image clear....
That I will forget your precious face
Is my biggest fear.
Tiny Angel can you tell me,
Why you have gone away?
You weren't here for very long....
Why is it, you couldn't stay?
Tiny Angel shook his head,
"These things I do not know....
But I do know that you love me,
And that I love you so".
Monday, February 9, 2009, 09:55 AM ( 9 views ) - Posted by HeidiI would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.
I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.
I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been fixed.
I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.
I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.
I would have cried and laughed less while watching television - and more while watching life.
I would have listened more to my friends and complained less.
I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.
I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.
When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner."
There would have been more "I love yous"... more "I'm sorrys"...but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute... look at it and really see it...live it...never give it back…and learned these things long ago.
"Be courageous and bold. When you look back on your life, you'll regret the things you didn't do more than the ones you did."
Monday, February 2, 2009, 09:41 AM ( 2 views ) - Posted by HeidiThe show goes on…wake up, drink coffee. Make breakfast, take a shower but inside my mind she screams. This grieving mother screams, searching for her baby racked with despair and no ability to set aside her terror or pain. “I hear you” I say sometimes aloud into the air, in hopes to calm her for a moment but it doesn’t work. I take the kids to school and they pile out with backpacks and lunch boxes, I waive and say goodbye and then she cries louder, perhaps thinking now she has my full attention and I will give in, stopping time and joining her search. “I want to, but I can’t now.” I tell her in an effort to placate her. I run errands in town, the grocery store, the pharmacy all the while putting on a good show complete with wardrobe and makeup. Someone asks “How are you?” and I give the standard response “Fine and you?” We chat a while about the weather or our children and I try to focus and listen while she shouts in terror “HELP ME!” I find refuge in my car and scold her “ I Hate it when you do that, just calm down!” I demand of her to no avail. Hands on the wheel, I go to pick up the children from school sitting in the line of cars looking out the window at the playground. This is where J.T. had his Easter Egg Hunts, end of the year picnics and play days I can see him standing by the big tree smiling for a photo. I want it to be a pleasant memory, perhaps bringing a flicker of joy to my face but there is no time, she has lost it now. She’s on her knees convulsing with sobs, muscles sore and buckled from tension and pain, and as she crawls away to vomit and the curtain closes I once again taste the tears of defeat run down my face.
Friday, January 30, 2009, 09:39 PM ( 5 views ) - Posted by HeidiNormal is having tears waiting behind every smile when you realize someone important is missing from all the important events in your
Normal is trying to decide what to do for Birthdays, X-mas, Thanksgiving, New Years, Valentine's Day, July 4th. Or not to do anything, or know if you’ll ever feel like doing anything for those days again.
Normal is feeling like you can't sit another minute without getting up and screaming, because you just don't like to sit through anything anymore.
Normal is not sleeping very well because a thousand what if's & why didn't I's go through your head constantly.
Normal is reliving the accident continuously through your eyes and mind, holding your head to make it go away.
Normal is having the TV on the minute you walk into the house to have noise, because the silence is deafening.
Normal is staring at every boy who looks like he is J.T.’s age. And then thinking of the age he would be now. Then wondering why it is even important to imagine it, because it will never happen.
Normal is every happy event in your life always being backed up with
sadness lurking close behind, because of the hole in your heart.
Normal is telling the story of your child's death as if it were
an everyday, commonplace activity, and then seeing the horror in
someone's eyes at how awful it sounds. And yet realizing it has
become a part of your "normal."
Normal is each year coming up with the difficult task of how to honor your child’s memory and their birthdays and survive these days. And trying to find the balloon or flag that fits the occasion. Happy Birthday? Not really.
Normal is my heart warming and yet sinking at the sight of something special he loved. Thinking how he would love it, but how he is not here to enjoy it.
Normal is having some people afraid to mention my son’s name.
Normal is making sure that others remember him.
Normal is after the funeral is over everyone else goes on with their lives, but we continue to grieve our loss forever.
Normal is weeks, months, and years after the initial shock, the grieving gets worse, not better.
Normal is not listening to people compare anything in their life to this loss, unless they too have lost a child. Nothing compares.
Even if your child is in the remotest part of the earth away from you - it doesn't compare.
Losing a parent is horrible, but having to bury your own child is unnatural.
Normal is taking pills, and trying not to cry all day, because you know your mental health depends on it.
Normal is realizing you do cry everyday.
Normal is being impatient with everything and everyone but someone stricken with grief over the loss of their child.
Normal is not listening to people make excuses for
"God may have done this because…"
I know he is in "heaven," but hearing people trying to think up excuses as to why a fantastic young man was taken from this earth is not appreciated and makes absolutely no sense to this grieving mother.
Normal is being too tired to care if you paid the bills, cleaned the house, did the laundry or if there is any food.
Normal is wondering this time whether you are going to say you have three children or two, because you will never see this person again and it is not worth explaining that he is dead.
And yet when you say you have two children to avoid that problem, you feel horrible as if you have betrayed the dead child.
Normal is asking God why he took your child's life instead of yours and asking if there even is a God.
Normal is knowing you will never get over this loss, not in a day nor a million years.
Normal is having therapists agree with you that you will never "really" get over the pain and that there is nothing they can do to help you because they know only bringing back your child back from the dead could possibly make it "better."
Normal is learning to lie to everyone you meet and telling them you are fine. You lie because it makes others uncomfortable if you cry. You've learned it's easier to lie to them than to tell them the truth that you still feel empty and it's probably never going to get any better -- ever.
And last of all...
Normal is hiding all the things that have become "normal" for you to
feel, so that everyone around you will think that you are "normal."
The above poem was originally written by Tara and Heath Carey after they lost their daughters Violet and Iris in 2002 when natural gas caused their apartment to explode. I have taken the liberty to rewrite and change parts of the poem.