Showing posts with label child loss. Show all posts
Showing posts with label child loss. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

In the Eyes of a Sibling

My daughter, age 11, chose to write about her sister for a Language Arts assignment. I just wanted to share.

                 By Mxxxxxxx Cxxxxxx
              The Little Angel                                                                                                                                                                 Little did I know that day was going to be the first and the last time I saw her. The day was June 5th, 2008. At the time I was only two all my siblings were there, Cxxx, Pxxxx, Exxxxx, and Jxxx. It was early in the morning suddenly my mom went into labor with her second home birth.                                                                        
   I was pushed out of the room and left puzzled while I heard my mom scream. Fourteen hours later a baby cried, “ It’s a healthy baby girl “, said brenda the midwife. We all got to hold her I was majorly excited about being a big sister. My mom went to sleep and we all played with mary the new baby. When I got to hold her I thought she smelled a little like baby powder. My dad thought mary went to sleep, but she wasn’t breathing he woke up my mom in a flash and they left for the hospital. I was honestly a little frightened, Mary was pronounced dead at the hospital and my parents held her for four hours crying no more like breaking down. They were forced to hand mary over, so they came home my older brother josh asked were the new baby was and they told us everything. I was very sad, We went to the funeral my mom bambi said “ we walked in mary was in a tiny casket we should have been burying her in a bassinet”. I saw her in her little white dress she was so adorable, I gave her a kiss and she was cold like ice.

In the end MaryBeth Chapman was taken from us as soon as she was given to us. She will always be our little angel.  

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Loss, There IS a Hierarchy

When we have losses, whether it's a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal, infant, child, etc, it's said in support groups that loss is loss. I'm going to take an unpopular stance and say that no, loss isn't loss. I'm sure you're starting to grasp your pearls at reading that. Let me explain.

I will preface this by saying that I have miscarried, twice, in addition to having my daughter pass away. When I had my second miscarriage, I held that little tiny person in my hand and actually had a specimen cup in which to place the tissue in in order to bring it in to the doctor. The experience was terrible. I grieved for a long while over that loss. First one, it didn't really phase me (and that's ok). That baby, I had a whopping eleven weeks with it. I didn't know if it was a boy or girl, so I chose a unisex name. I was so adamant that I refused a D&C! I had to labor and birth my baby myself at home. So, on to my next points now that you know part of my back story.

When I lost Mary Beth, women told me they understood because they had miscarried. I drew on my experience and let me tell you, the experiences didn't compare. I carried my daughter for 36 1/2 weeks, labored, and gave birth to a living child who (supposedly) was healthy. My miscarriage was nothing like what I went through with her, not by a long shot. In groups, women with miscarriages were considered as being in the same camp as those of us who lost our (actual) babies. Let me tell you, you have not gone through what I have. I can commiserate with you, but you are not like me when it comes to losing my daughter.

Got your attention now, don't I? As much as I identify as a grieving mother, my loss with Mary doesn't compare to the people I've seen lose their children. It doesn't. My mother had a special needs child that passed away at 6.5 years old. She had so much time with my sister and add in the medical needs, I can only relate to my mom as fellow loss moms (which is a blessing and curse). Back in August, I wrapped my arms around the mother of one of my child's friends and told her she wasn't alone. Her son was 14 and died at his own hands. She had 14 YEARS and has to live with the decision her child made. Her grief and life aren't even fathomable to me. Last night, I held a mom who was watching her son die from cancer in hospice. He lost his battle today at 21 years of age. I knew her son as a lively, artistic, and eccentric young man. Her grief and what she has been going through, my loss is NOTHING compared to that.

This realization hit me last night. Loss groups are out there telling us there is no hierarchy in grief or loss, but there really is. Yes, some of us didn't know a gender or a personality or memories and that in itself does hurt. But, some people have their child for years only to have them ripped away. They have nothing but memories from years together. I have no problem telling my friends that they have it worse than I do, I can't even wrap my mind around what some of them have endured. I've buried my child and cannot imagine what it would be like to lose an older child. I hope I never have to find out.

I'm going to be honest and say that I feel like I got off easy. My daughter passed away a few hours after she was born. I didn't have the time with her to learn anything or create memories and that will always haunt me. I was shorted with missing out on memories these other women have to draw on. If I listed the moms I've known and/or encountered, who lost children after 2, 5, 6, 8, 14, and 21 years, perhaps you could see your loss from another perspective too. Right now, I admit, what these other moms have went through is so much worse than what I have.

We need to openly admit that there really is a hierarchy on grief within this loss community. Some, they really do have it worse than we do. As much as we all want to see ourselves as being on someone else's level, we're not and never will be. We have some similarities, but, they're still not enough to say we're the same or going through the same thing. Yes, futures are cut short so there are what-ifs, missed memories, and we all have to learn how to get through various milestones, but that really is as far as it goes. Perhaps instead of using the term hierarchy, I should say that our losses are vastly different though similar, though I still believe burying an hours old baby is almost preferable to watching your 21 year old child die from cancer.

Let me end with reiterating the fact that, no matter what happened, we all go to bed with various regrets and heartaches. On holidays, we're all going to see/feel that empty space where our child should be. On birthdays, we're going to feel that heartbreak. On death anniversaries, we're going to remember that day wondering if we could have done something different to change the outcome. We're still hurting and wanting our child here with us.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

My Childs Friend Took His Life

As I sat in my room yesterday morning, my 15 year son walked in and sat on the edge of my bed after having been fishing with friends. His demeanor was off while his friend seemed very solemn. When he sat, he began crying. My son is one of those tough boys who doesn't cry, ever. I knew something major had transpired, I just didn't know what.

After several minutes, he was finally able to utter the words that his friend, whom he had known since Kindergarten, had taken his life late the night before. Being a mom, my heart broke for my child who was now wracked with grief, anger, disbelief, and guilt. This boy had been smiling as he talked to my son last week when we were at the school picking up essentials. As a mom, I cried over this innocent lost life, over what his parents are going through, over what my child is now carrying, and lastly asked myself how I could keep one of my children from feeling that this was their only option. 

My son has taken to rambling on about the situation trying to piece together the whys. He knew of the issues that his friend dealt with throughout school, with the most prominent one being bullying from other children. There is so much talked about in regards to this, so I wonder why it's just not working. Are we not taking this seriously? We know children commit suicide over this. I know and have seen bullying not taken seriously by administrators as I've been that parent. My child was bullied and it wasn't taken seriously until my son sent his bully to the hospital. It shouldn't have reached that point. It should have been taken seriously when my child was hurt six months prior!

My son is trying to figure out what he could have done. He's angry with the kids that knowingly bullied his friend and are now posting RIP things on social media. He wonders if he should have tried spending more time with his friend over the summer, but his parents disliked their sons friends. My son helped him the last time he felt this way and wonders if he could have helped him the other day. 

I feel terrible that he is now carrying this weight, it's not something that a child should deal with. He already told me he can do services alone, which I nixed. He needs our support as he works through this. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Dads Grieve Too

Oftentimes, when we lose our children, people are concerned for mom. They are worried about whether or not we've eaten, how are we sleeping, how we are emotionally, how are we feeling physically, etc. The concern lies with mom. That child we have just lost is only half ours, with the other half belonging to dad.

Let me say it- Dads matter too. They've also just lost their child.

During grief these men are overlooked. Nobody asks how they're feeling, if they even acknowledge his roll in that child's life. Us moms, if we have a loss during or immediately following pregnancy, are enduring all the postpartum body changes. Other than that, our partners are dealing with the same emotions.

Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding manhood says that our partners are suppose to be our rock and support us. The stigma says that men don't have feelings surrounding the loss of our babies. It doesn't acknowledge men grieving in any way. All that this does is create hurting men and further the stigma about how men are suppose to be. Look at the support out there, it is predominantly geared towards us mothers. There's virtually nothing for fathers. We even have a Bereaved Mother's Day. There is no Bereaved Fathers Day.

Having spoken with my partner, he's opened my eyes as to the disservice being done to fathers. He really felt as if he didn't matter. When Mary passed away, he had to be strong and support me. Nobody ever asked how he was feeling. He felt like he had to suppress everything he was feeling and I can say that it threw a wrench in how he handled his grief.

The reason I choose the above photo is to illustrate the emotion that so many fathers have to keep inside. This rocks them to their core. They're devastated. They have lost something precious to them that they love. They feel the same way that we do.

More than Milestones

When my daughter passed away, I knew that I wouldn't watch her grow up. What this ended up looking like, predominantly, was emptiness.

I knew I would never see the toothless grins or hear the giggles coming from that grin. I would never see her determinedly roll over, see the excitement on her face of being able to crawl across the floor after siblings and pets, or watch those cautious first steps. She would never be able to run through the house as we're playfully chasing her around.

As holidays approach, you feel the emptiness where your child should be. I never got to see my grandparents holding her during dinner on Thanksgiving, her exploring the massive tree my mom puts up in the family room on Christmas, or her sitting at the kids table during family togethers with her cousins. We never got to do Halloween costumes or Easter Baskets for her. On Mother's and Father's Day, she isn't physically present to do fun things with our family.

There are times where I look at my children and can feel that empty space. I see the other things, things that nobody thinks of, that we were robbed of with Mary Beth. I never got to see her in school performances with classmates, never got to celebrate the first and last days of school, or take her shopping for new school clothes with her sisters. When shopping, I wonder if she would have the eclectic fashion sense that her little sister has, the more laid-back blase style of her older sister, or the fashionista style of her oldest sister. We never got to teach her how to ride a bike or even buy her one. We never will have the chance to see if she liked playing in the water. She never got the chance to go sled riding with us or build a snowman. She never got to experience painting her nails and using our make up to try to get fancy with her sisters.

Not only did we miss out on these fun childhood things, but, we're going to miss everything that occurs during the pre-teen and teen years. I'll never teach her how to shave her legs or argue with her over inappropriate training bras. There won't be any figuring out classes in school or any extra-curricular activities. I'm left to wonder what things would she be into- band, choir, softball, football, wrestling, etc. I won't get to deal with the "my mom is uncool" stage. We won't get to teach her how to drive or help buy her a car. There will be no sleep-overs with her friends or first boy/girlfriends or having to comfort her after her first heart-break. There won't be first jobs. We won't get to help her figure out her homework. She won't be here for any of our notorious late-night Walmart trips. There won't be any of her friends walking into our home saying, "Hey, Mom!". I won't get to go shopping for Homecoming or Prom or helping her get ready for these. We won't get to schedule senior pictures with my cousin.

As an adult, we won't be helping her figure out college, if she would have been interested in it. Would she of wanted to go in the military? There won't be any engagements or marriage, if that would have been on the table. There will never be grandbabies or grandfurbabies. I'm going to miss out on her talking with me while trying to figure out her future. There is someone out there that will never be part of our family because she isn't here.

We've lost more than milestones, we've lost an entire person worth of experiences and a chunk of our future. There's so much that was taken from her, us, and our family due to her death. We will never get that life back.

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Blame Game

Being immersed in the world that I am, stories of loss either come to my attention or are brought to my attention. After I read these, I peruse comments. I am oftentimes brokenhearted for the parents that are sure to one day see these terrible things that are written about them. I've seen the horrible comments that people have made placing all the blame for my daughter on me. The things that have been said, I can assure you, are not things that I haven't dwelled upon or felt since that day.

As a human being that wears these shoes, I can assure you that your criticism has a negative impact upon me, even if I don't know you. I have blamed myself since the day she passed away. I wonder if I could have done this or that different. Looking back, I know I could have done something different. I wonder what kind of mother that I am even though those around me tell me that I'm a good mom. It seems that the moms that stay calm and speak in matter-of-fact tones are criticized for not falling apart or freaking out. Let me assure you that those times come, even if you don't feel it when it happens. This is shock, the body and brain go into protection mode. I remember feeling such disbelief that this was happening, I couldn't wrap my brain around it. It's normal for a person going through a trauma to just shut down. Losing your child is one of the worst traumas you can endure.

When a mother chooses to share her story with you, or anyone for that matter, she's sharing her vulnerable heart with you. As a human being, you should feel almost obligated to do what you can to not injure that heart further. Look at it as an open wound. If someone you knew had an open wound that was trying to heal, would you help bandage it to protect it and help it heal or would you injure it further and prevent healing?

Though some of us have chosen to speak out, it's vital to remember that some women can't whether it's due to the emotional/mental aspect or due to the social aspect. I cannot stress how difficult that it is to stand up and say that your child's death was preventable and that you accept responsibility for the choice you made. That was one of the hardest things that I had ever done. I live with this realization every day and I wouldn't wish it upon any other mother. For some, they cannot speak up because their "support network" would turn on them causing them to lose people they value. Though some prefer that mothers share to help prevent deaths, many cannot fathom what is at stake should they choose to go this route. Of course, if they decide to, they can find support with mothers like myself and the friends I have. This should never be expected of them though. We should accept their decision in how they choose to approach the topic.

The ways in which moms are treated directly correlates to the silence that occurs after a death. Sadly, this is the example that other mothers see as well, so nobody will want to say anything about their child's death. If the death was preventable, this means there will be less women wanting to share or make a difference. How can babies be saved when the mothers are blamed and shamed into silence? They can't and won't.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

My New Forum

I have the Moms of Angels one but decided I wanted something different. So, I created Angels Among Us. This board will cover all types of losses but Child Loss will be the biggie. I have also included Abortion Loss because the need for it is high!!! Come check it out!!! I'm going to be plugging away at making it better. If you know anything about Invision boards, you can give me some help, lol!!

My New Forum

I have the Moms of Angels one but decided I wanted something different. So, I created Angels Among Us. This board will cover all types of losses but Child Loss will be the biggie. I have also included Abortion Loss because the need for it is high!!! Come check it out!!! I'm going to be plugging away at making it better. If you know anything about Invision boards, you can give me some help, lol!!

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