Bereaved Parent Support – the balance

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the balance

I’ve wanted to write about this topic for a while. I know every parent goes through it in their own way. For myself, being a bereaved parent and a parent to a living child the balance of love and attention for both of my children is a tough one.

This came up the other night which inspired me to finally get on writing about this. So the other day we had my cousin and her sons over to play with my daughter. My cousin’s oldest son is turning 10. He is 4 months older than my son that passed. My cousin’s other little boy is turning 8. Imagine how thick of thieves the 3 of them would have been together. ❤ They play wonderfully with my daughter who is now 4. More than wonderful. They are so patient and loving and the 3 of them are thick as thieves. It makes my heart so full watching them but I know there is one missing.

I was talking to my husband about this the other night. I said that I glanced over once thinking of our son not being there but should have been. The children were sitting on the couch together and it was right in my face obvious that there was one missing. I didn’t want to dwell on my son not being there because I needed to be present for my daughter but I didn’t and don’t want to NOT think about my son because then I feel guilty for not thinking about him. We were talking about it being a struggle because our daughter is here and we never want her to feel second best to our son; that she isn’t enough but we also want our son to know we think of him each and every day.

Holidays are a good example of what I’m talking about. We are internally very sad that our son isn’t here. Some holidays are quite a struggle to get through but it’s not something we want to show our daughter because we never want her to grow up thinking she wasn’t filling our hearts. The flip side of that is we don’t want to not think about or mention or honour our son because he is still a big part of our lives. Forever missed, forever loved and definitely forever remembered. The balance.

We reserve 2 days a year just for our son. His birthday and the day of his passing. Well actually 3 days, because the day before his passing was also a very hard day. Again, the balance, he deserves more than 3 out of 365 days of the year to be honoured. Our daughter deserves for us not to be sad and dwell on the passing of her big brother for an extended period of time over the year. That’s how I feel.

This is one of the reasons I try not to say too much at my daughter’s school about having 2 children. I don’t want school to be anything but about her. On the other side of that I found that not being truthful about having 2 children when asked “just the 1?” was making me really sad and feeling very guilty. The thing is, people aren’t comfortable hearing about a child passing away. I understand that so I feel sometimes that if I tell people about our son it alienates me from parents and in turn will alienate our daughter from other children to play with. I don’t know if I tell teachers about our situation and I’ve decided that unless it is an issue I don’t need to. I don’t want the passing of our son to be my daughter’s story through her schooling. This is proving to be a tough one as she gets older. I will figure it out as I go but this is a tough balance.

Most days I’m fine but on some I’m conflicted. Like any other parents with more than 1 child. It’s just a more complicated one (I think) to be a bereaved parent and parent to a living child(ren).

the balance … the struggle is real

Tiffani

nicubereavement@yahoo.com

 

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Bereaved Parent Support – just the one?

2 hearts on beach 2

just the one?

If I hear this question one more time …

Where to even start on this one? Let me say this is not just a blog, this is a public service announcement!

I am so tired of being asked “just the one?”, “is she your only one?”, “do you have more children?”.

I didn’t realize how much I would be asked this question once my daughter started school (I didn’t realize a lot of things to do with this topic would affect me so profoundly). Since September alone I have been asked so many times that it finally hit me today to say to myself “ENOUGH”. Enough. I don’t want to be asked anymore.

I know that people are just starting conversation. I know people are curious. The fact of the matter is, it’s not your business to ask. At all. No matter how much your curiosity needs to be fed or how much you want to start a conversation with a stranger but don’t know where to start, it’s none of your business.  If someone has 2 children why am I not hearing “just the 2?” “are those 2 your only ones?”. This 2 is the magic number in society is annoying.

Let me lay it out. If someone doesn’t have any children or they have “only 1”, the reasons are usually the following … 1. they don’t want any children or don’t want any more than one. 2. they can’t conceive, having a hard time keeping a pregnancy or can’t carry a baby. 3. it’s expensive to have children, naturally, with help of fertility treatments and/or private adoption. 4. and this is the one you really don’t want to hear the answer to from a parent like myself “I gave birth to 2 children but our son passed away”.

So please, if you are thinking to go personal with a stranger, don’t ask “just the 1?” or “do you have any children?”. It’s not your business. It’s a really personal question.

As you can probably guess, I was asked this (again) this morning. In the hall way waiting to drop my daughter off for school. It’s a fully public everyone can hear my answer hall way. So I answered that my daughter is my only child. I feel awful not telling the truth. Not awful for the stranger but awful for my son, awful for me. I used to always say I have two but our son passed away but I have found I don’t want to tell strangers. I am more selective in who I tell it to in a face to face situation. It depends on the location and what’s happening at the time. It chips away at my heart each time and although people don’t know our circumstances I just don’t want to say it. So please stop asking. You don’t even want to know the questions I came up with in my head once I got in the car for the stranger.

Don’t ask people personal questions. Not unless you’re getting to know them or starting to have a friendly relationship; investing. Don’t ask just for conversation or curiosity. Stop yourself and say something else or nothing at all.

Public service announcement over. Return to your regular progamming 😉 And wow I needed to get that out!

just the one? … no. not just the one. 2 beautiful children and sadly just the one that is living.

Tiffani

nicubereavement@yahoo.com

Bereaved Parent Support – summer with 1

PR July 22 2017.jpg

summer with 1

Summer is here. I’ve let far too much time go by (as usual) between blogging. I have topics. I have things to talk about. The struggle for time to myself and what to share is where the problem is.

But here I am.

We just got back from a mini family vacation. We went to my peaceful oasis; Point Roberts, WA. This is where I grew up all of the summers of my life. It’s a generational thing and my daughter will be the 4th generation to keep the tradition going.

It is such a wonderful place to go; Point Roberts. For me. It is where I feel the most connected to my Mom. The smell of the cabin, the ocean, the beach, the air, all of it. Makes me feel closer to her and to remember my times as a child, teen-ager and young adult (she passed when I was 21). I miss her terribly and being there soothes my soul.

We had a wonderful time. The weather couldn’t have been better. Every day there was a big sand bar to play on. Just like the summers I remember and cherish. My heart was pretty full.

BUT, my son wasn’t there. I didn’t dwell too much on my grief but it’s there. It always will be. As the week goes on it has been tough on my heart and mind. I had dreams of taking Kenneth to the same beach I played on. Kenneth’s cousins (both boys) are only 4 months older and 2 years younger. I always pictured the 3 boys playing together. Now we have my daughter and I picture the 4 of them playing together.

Mostly as I said, it was a beautiful family time but I always get anxiety when we go somewhere where I know there will be a lot of children playing. I have to watch that I don’t put that on my daughter. She’s innocent enough not to know what I do or what I fear. I fear seeing siblings. It gives me so much anxiety. I wait for the day she begs me for a living sibling or asks why her brother can’t be with us. I worry about the interaction with other children. It’s my issue, not hers. When I see siblings being loving towards one another it kills me. I want that for her. She should have it. We did have it. I watch her reaction to it. It is a hard one.

One morning my husband took our daughter to the park on the trip. He said there was a brother and sister there. Our daughter told them that she had a brother too and that she loved him so much. She told them his name. My poor husband. When he told me the story he completely broke down. I’m breaking down now thinking about it. It’s weighed heavily on my mind. It’s grief and it’s guilt. I’m glad she knows about her brother but it hurts me for her.

So of course like I do every few months I think about more children. I always wanted a big family. I still want them but I can’t physically have any more children. I had our daughter at 41 and that was my 2nd high-risk pregnancy. I was advised to not carry any more children after I gave birth to our daughter. It was a blow for me to hear but I knew it. It has been very hard for me as a woman to not decide on my own that I am done having children. Very hard. Besides losing my son and Mom, that has probably been one of the hardest things in my life that I’ve had to deal with mentally. I don’t feel done. I don’t want to be done. My husband doesn’t want to adopt. I respect his decision. That is a decision we absolutely have to be mutual on. I constantly have to resolve this in my heart and mind and so back to it I go.

I know that we have a beautiful little family. We create many good memories big and small. There is always someone missing. My son. It’s a balance. It’s so difficult some times to know we have a 4 person family but only 3 to show for it. Like I said, it’s a balance. A tough one.

summer with 1 – should be 2. I don’t think I’ll ever be ok with it.

Tiffani

nicubereavement@yahoo.com

 

 

 

Easter then and now

Easter egg beach 3

Easter then and now

In 2008, Easter Sunday was on March 23rd. 5 days after Kenneth was born.

A holiday with our son. Needless to say, Easter is very important to my husband and I.

It’s not a holiday about being sad, for me it’s about celebrating. Of course I will have my moments of wishing my son was here and remembering Easter of 2008. It hurts of course but I also feel fortunate that I had my little boy for at least one holiday.

Easter of 2008. Kenneth had just had a little heart surgery. He was doing very well. We have a special photo of Kenneth that was taken by some lovely people in the NICU from that Sunday. I am so thankful for this photo. You can see the little Band-Aid from the surgery and my baby’s perfect beautiful little face. Life was turned upside down with having a baby in the NICU. My husband’s friend’s Mom made us a lasagna for dinner. 9 years later I will never forget. It was so touching and so thoughtful of this Mom to do this for us. It helped so much. It gave us a nice dinner for Easter and got us back up to the hospital quickly to see our little love. I will forever have a special place in my heart for this Mom. As well, we now have lasagna every Easter. A tradition that is special to us. It’s the little things. Little things that make special memories.

So as Easter Eve is here I thought I would write about how special it is to us. I am missing my son. I wish he was here with us to have an Easter egg hunt in the morning and to enjoy the sunshine that I’m hoping for tomorrow. (he’ll bring it I’m sure) To enjoy the special lasagna dinner we’ll have. To see my children playing and enjoying the day. But I am thankful that I have a memory of one holiday with my beloved Kenneth.

Easter then and now … still special ❤

Tiffani

nicubereavement@yahoo.com

 

 

Bereaved Parent Support – 9 years

Kenneth cupcake March 18 2017 2

9 years

On March 18, my little boy turned 9 years old in Heaven.

This was a rough one. Every year is hard but some are harder than others. This was one of those years. This year felt as hard if not harder than the 1st year.

So as always, the lead up to the 18th is full of anxiety, thoughts, replays, heartbreak etc. The actual day itself wasn’t too bad to start with. After writing the initial blog on how I was feeling leading up it was a good emotional release. It always is.

The night before, my husband went up to the hospital on his own. It’s just not something I want to do. It always is too hard for me leaving there without my son and leaving always brings me back to that night that we left without him forever. It’s not my thing. I don’t think it ever will be. Even when we left with our healthy daughter 5 years after losing our son it still was so hard leaving without him. My husband is very much the opposite. He needs to be there, he needs to be with the tile. It’s where he feels the most connected. It was good he went on his own.

My thing is putting the yellow roses in the ocean. We did that. Our daughter is 3 and she also puts them in the ocean. It was hard this year. I tossed them in and I bawled. I usually cry but I really felt it this year. My daughter put the roses in and said “Happy Birthday Brother”. Heart in a thousand pieces.

BUT it was a beautiful afternoon. The sun came out, the weather was gorgeous for our rose tossing. That made a difference. We had a nice afternoon and evening.

We got cupcakes to celebrate. What was ironic about this? My husband got a lemon cupcake for our little boy! He hadn’t read the blog I wrote about the “sourest lemon”. I hadn’t told him about it and here he picked a lemon cupcake. I still haven’t said anything to him but there was something almost comical about it for me and I had a little giggle. Damn lemons!

That was my son’s 9th birthday here for us. It is always mostly remembering, loving and celebrating the life of my beloved first-born. Tears and heartbreak are part of it too. It’s a balance.

9 years – …

Tiffani

nicubereavement@yahoo.com

Bereaved Parent Support – the sourest lemon

lemon sand rocks

the sourest lemon

I cannot believe I didn’t blog last year at this time. Well I can because I’m so conflicted about blogging about bereavement worried that my daughter will read it one day and if she doesn’t talk to me first will think I was always sad. Which I am not. This time of year. I am.

This time of year is about my son.

Yesterday, March 14th – 9 years ago I went into premature labour with my son.

I will get to that, although I don’t know how much of the details I’ll go into.

I call this blog “the sourest lemon” because I’ve started watching the tv show “This Is Us”. Without giving much away but already known for the most part, the couple on the show lose a baby at birth and the doctor refers to it as getting the sourest lemon life can give you.

Did that ever resonate with me. The tears came down hard and they came down fast. As I embark on watching episode 16 I tell myself each time this is the worst time of year to start a show like this. Yet I keep watching. It almost gives me an excuse to cry at least once a day without having to have a conversation about what’s really happening in my heart and in my mind.

My son’s birthday.

My little boy’s 9th birthday. Fast approaching. March 18.

March 14-March 18 were a whirlwind of days. Doctors, nurses, 2 hospitals, an ambulance, monitors, phone calls, it was the most terrifying time of my life.

I can’t stand the replay of events and as I’ve mentioned many times before it makes me feel so guilty to dread my child’s birthday. I dread it because we know we have to do something special and he’s not here. We’re celebrating a little boy who lives in Heaven and it completely kills me. My husband wants to go to the hospital where our son was born to visit his memorial tile there. I really don’t like going to that place. Not the hospital because my daughter was born there as well but going to the tile makes me so sad. We’ll find a compromise. The sourest lemon.

Of course I have been torturing myself this birthday. A natural torture bereaved parents think of because we need to know. What would my child look like? I so desperately went through a few days where I looked at his picture and so badly wanted to picture his face today. At 9. I looked at pictures of my daughter and imagined my son’s face without the long hair. Yah, those weren’t good days. The sourest lemon.

I love my little boy. My love still grows and I guess that’s why it hurts so horribly. We will celebrate his special day but it’s not easy.

the sourest lemon – 😦

Tiffani

nicubereavement@yahoo.com

 

Bereaved Parent Support – my son

night you were born

my son

12:01 a.m. April 12, 2016. 4 minutes until my son passed away 8 years ago.

I wrote a blog last night with the heaviest heart. That writing lightened my heart and my mind enough that I am doing ok today and tonight.

I have thought about how I relive everything and what came to mind yesterday was that my little boy wouldn’t want me to relive those tragic moments. As much as it hurts me to remember it probably breaks my son’s heart to have to watch me feel so awful.

So tonight as it approaches the time of my little love’s passing I will honour my son by talking about how much he means to me.

12:04 a.m.

My Kenneth. When he was born it was all very whirlwind but I caught a very good look of him and he was beautiful. He had the sweetest little nose and I said that’s MY nose. He had the sweetest little face. So perfect. So beautiful. He had such long limbs. Like his Daddy. He had such beautiful light coloured hair. His hands were amazing. Our hand holding was so special. He was so perfect.

12:05 a.m.

8 years ago. My son.

I had many hopes and dreams for my little boy. The love I had and continue to have for him is so great. It is what gets me through the darkest hours. He was so brave and he had such a fight for life. It will always inspire me when I’m at the lowest points.

I wish he was here. Desperately wish. I know he’s in good hands with my Mom and Anthony’s Dad. With my Nana and Anthony’s Nana.

I am so exhausted by the grief this week. I really wanted to end another year’s anniversary of Kenneth’s passing on a note that focused on the love I have for my son. I could write about him forever. Every aspect but I feel like now that 12:05 a.m. has come and gone I can finally rest without such anxiety. Tomorrow we will find a special place for some yellow roses.

Missing my little boy. Loving my little boy. Remembering my little boy.

my son … always and forever.

Tiffani

nicubereavement@yahoo.com