I Don’t Count the Days Anymore ~ Going On After the Death Of My Daughter


A couple of weeks ago, as I performed my morning torture of weighing in on Nintendo wii previous to ignoring my exercise that I should be doing for the day, but wouldn’t, the scale informed me that it was the 800th day since wii came to our lives.
800 Days.
I remember the day it was given to us the December after Robbie died.
I turned to Jim, in slight amazement, and said
“It’s been a little over a  year AND 800 days since Robbie died …” 
It occurred to me that it had been a while since I knew the Amount Of Days.
I was Well Aware that it was 38 months plus; just a few days short of 39 months,
but I didn’t know, until the  wii told me so that it was 800 days plus about a year.
I didn’t know how many DAYS.

I don’t count the days anymore.

In that first year, I always knew exactly how many days, every day, that she was gone.  And because I have figured it out
(there are Date–Duration Calendars on line that make the math so easy:
timeanddate.com )
I know that on her 39 month anniversary, it was 1,186 days since she left the earth plane.  And ten days later, on the day that we should be celebrating her  32nd birthday, it is 1,196 days.  But, I had to use the duration calculator to figure it out.  What I do remember, firmly ingrained in my heart,  is that she lived 10,493 days; or 10,795 days if I count her seemingly-never-ending-10 month-throwing-up-everyday-pregnancy-from-hell  (That I’d-relive in a second to have HER again!  She loved to tease me about those most uncomfortable-for-me-ten months ~“I decided to live in, Mom!  Whaddya’ kick me out for!  It was warm, cozy and safe in there!”)

Sometimes when I need to provide comfort to myself, I will figure out the percentage of time that she has been gone, compared to how long she was alive in my life.  On her birthday, March 14, 2012 she will have been gone from the earth plane only a mere 11% of the time that she lived.  I figure that I am “allowed” to be sad and grieve.  11% is such a small percentage to “get used to” being without her.  When others try to push me to “get over it”  (as if it were possible!) or “move on”, I just think that if 100% is a place of WHOLE, that it is perfectly OK for me to be at 11% NOW.

But, mostly, I don’t count the days anymore.

That isn’t to say that I have securely “found my footing” again after having life turned upside down, inside out, and shredded to barely recognizable bits.  I haven’t, quite

BUT there ARE CHANGES.

I have found that I no longer sigh every few minutes, I am starting to sleep better (though not GOOD), I have longer periods of concentration, my memory is a bit better than a year ago, there is less ”fog” and though I am not who-I-used-to-be and may never be again, I do laugh more honestly and feel less deeply sad all of the time.  The other day, I used the word “enjoy” to describe my day, and was shocked, not only to hear the word pass my lips again, but more so, to realize that I MEANT IT.   It is not the same level of ENJOY that I used to experience, but compared to the deep and often overwhelming sadness that has enveloped me since my daughter’s death, it was a different and more peaceful feeling…and that was a Surprise.

When we were working on our The Compassionate Friends meeting room activity last month and checking off anything on the list that we had experienced since the death of our loved one, I was amazed to find that though I had felt all but one of the AM I GOING CRAZY experiences, that many were no longer every day occurrences.  Some of them I remember quite clearly, but they are no longer the emotions that my day is built around.  It has been getting lighter in my heart…slowly, very, very slowly…but the shadows are less a densely black void and more grey with some translucent light peeking through.

Change has been occurring.  Living Life has been slowing resurfacing, though if you had asked me a year ago, I not only wouldn’t have thought that it was possible but I wouldn’t have wanted it.   I am still not embracing Life, or Joy, or able to Dance or wear funny shirts and hats (sorry to disappoint you, Daughter-Mine, but your death has broken me and rebuilding is monumental), but I do recognize that I AM GOING ON.  Life is continuing…and I am continuing all with it.  I still resent it, but not as deeply as I did this time last year.  I still cry, but not every day.  I still long for my daughter nearly all of the time, but I am able to see beyond my own personal pain long enough to reach out to help, validate and comfort others.  Among the tears, I can smile and laugh when I tell her stories and look at her pictures.  I can remember Her Life, before I remember Her Death.

I am no longer the “Perky-Pain-In-the-Patootie” that she sued to tease me about being, especially first thing in the morning, her least favorite time of the day.  When I wake up each morning, I still can’t look at the clock and sing the time followed by “And all is well” that had been my morning ritual before my daughter’s death.  It still isn’t.  Life is not yet In Balance.  Life is Not Yet “Well”.  I still long for her to be the first morning phone call, and I do wake up feeling sad, most every day.  But I am no longer listening for her ring on my cell phone or waiting for her texts.  Her absence still hurts, but it no longer shocks.

Life continues to be a jumble.

And not a day goes by that I don’t think about her, longing for her to be HERE.

I may not always like them, but
I Don’t Count The Days anymore.

I guess that I am beginning to endure them….
…and maybe even, live  them.♥

2003 Robbie and Grandpa's Last Birthday Together

 

14 March 2012
To My Daughter and My Dad

Today, March 14, is the anniversary of your both of your births.

I want to be sharing birthday cake with you both, not sending you letters to Heaven.

But know, my loved ones, that my life was better for having had you in it, and so much less, my darling daughter, since you have been gone.

I have been watching videos of days past, when death was not the giant cloud it has become.  I listen to the two of you laughing and living.  And I miss you both, and Gram, so very, very much.

You will, always, always have my hearts.♥

 

 

THE UGLY CLUB (part 2)

(THE UGLY CLUB  Part 1)

I am a Member of  THE UGLY CLUB.

I never wanted to be and I truly hate being so.
I have found family and friends and compassion among my fellow bereaved parents.
I have made great and what I hope will be long lasting and meaningful friendships with other parents who I understand and who understand me.  We easily talk and listen to each other as we share stories about the children we love and miss so very much.   We socialize together, go out to eat together, go for walks, and sometimes even travel together.  I have met people I probably never would have if not for my daughter’s, or their children’s, death.  I like these new friends.  I care about them.  I am glad that they are now in my life.

And I Would Trade Every  One Of Them Away,
as I know they would me,
If I Could Only Have My Child Back Alive With Me Again.

I AM A MEMBER OF THE UGLY CLUB.
AND I DON’T WANT TO BE.
THERE IS NOTHING MORE UGLY, TO ME, THAN A PARENT LOSING THEIR CHILD.

But apparently, not everyone who has read the words “The Ugly Club”  understands “the club” to which I refer.  I regret any misconception.   Let me assure all that I was NOT using the term to reference The Compassionate Friends;  nor was there any inference that Compassionate Friends are UGLY.   In fact, “THE UGLY CLUB” has nothing to do with Compassionate Friends at all!  “THE UGLY CLUB” is a term that I first read as coined by a young mom who had lost her 5 year old to cancer.  It refers to the fact that loosing our child, feels ugly and horrible…

…that losing a child is an UGLY EVENT
that we are forced into this “ugly club” against our will.
Our children have died and WE HATE IT.
It is UGLY in our hearts.

A compassionate friend wrote to me:
“Ugly is the reflection in the mirror that seems to have forgotten how to smile or to look carefree – ugly because it is the antithesis of all that I was and ache to be again but know that my scars will always be visible. Ugly is experience that robs beauty and joy from our lives.  Ugly is the sound of inconsolable tears… Ugly is the loss of a child.”

Being a member of the “THE UGLY CLUB” is different from happily joining a sewing circle, a Bible Reading Class, or a car club…the things that we WANT to be part of…the things that provide us with fun and enjoyment.  We don’t CHOSE to be in it.  We are FORCED to be Members…and the price we “pay for membership” is too dear, too horrible, too much.

 As a  bereaved mom wrote to me:
“Nobody wants to join this ugly club, there is no BEAUTY in being a member. There is love and compassion and beauty among those of us who were forced to become members against our will, but certainly not in the reason that the ugly club exists”

We are all members who did not chose to become part of  “THE UGLY CLUB”.
Our families,
Our friends,
Our lives have all become different.
And it is an ugly reality that made it so.
Many of we who relate to the term “THE UGLY CLUB”
are on the end of newer bereavement”* and  deeply feel the  ugliness of it being forced upon us.
For many of us, “THE UGLY CLUB” is a very apt description.

I absolutely agree that The Compassionate Friends is a source of comfort and compassion, and there is beauty and friendship among our meeting room walls and within the pages of our bogs and newsletters.
As it states on the National Website

“We are truly glad that you have found us but profoundly
 saddened by the reason of your visit.”


It is absolutely NOT BY CHOICE that I am a MEMBER OF THE UGLY CLUB.
I am, though, very much by choice
and by need,
a Member of The Compassionate Friends.

Bettie-Jeanne,
Forever RobynApril’s Mom

* We are considered NEWLY BEREAVED for the first full five years and including the sixth anniversary.

THE UGLY CLUB

BEING A MEMBER OF THE UGLY CLUB

My use of the words “THE UGLY CLUB” has spurned  some emotion…and unfortunately a tiny bit of confusion for at least one reader.  It is time for me to clarify the pure intention of my words and to share some of the notes I’ve received from parents who have read them.  The first of this two part article will share the reaction of other parents,  to my use of the words THE UGLY CLUB.  Part two covers what is in my heart and why.

 ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

Just wanted you to know that after reading the newsletters you have written, I think you have done a great job of putting feelings into words, and understanding how everyone feels things differently.   The Ugly Club is a different name, and I relate to it.   Ugly feelings make you feel so bad.  And there is nothing worse for BAD feelings than losing a child, at any age.  We all grieve in our own way, but the “ugly” feelings are so hard!  Even now sometimes when I look at Jen’s picture, the stab in the heart is renewed fiercely.  I try to have positive memories, and often I do.  But when you have watched your child slip away, sometimes it is so hard to have good thoughts.  Anyway, thank you for doing such a good job.   Lord knows I could not handle writing alot right now.   My concentration is still off!

Best to you,
Michele H,  Jen’s mom

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On July 29th, 2007, our 21 year old grandson Greg was killed, 5 days after his Dad’s birthday, that was “Ugly”.  He hit a tree, that was “Ugly”.  His body was virtually untouched, except for the head trauma, that was “Ugly”.  I will never forget the pain in my son’s voice, when he called to tell me what had happened to Greg, that was “Ugly”.  Two month’s before we were celebrating his graduation from college, and his whole world ahead of him.  That was all taken away on July 29th, how “Ugly” is that?  I am sorry if some people take  offense at the word “Ugly” but that is the way it feels. I hope in time the ugliness will go away, but I don’t know when.  Until then, don’t blame me for feeling that this whole situation was
“Ugly”.

Lucille Rothammer, Greg’s Grandma 

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I do not like the term “ugly club” when it references the Compassionate Friends.  An organization is made up of it’s members and the words ugly club have a direct reflection on the membership.  This group reached out to me when I was at my lowest after losing Russ.  The love and compassion was something  that has helped tremendously in the healing process.  To refer to the group in the way you do says that the members are ugly because they belong to this club.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  Maybe you don’t mean it that way but I would like to see you stop using the term in regards to the TCF.  I know what you are trying to say, because I wished I never met any of the groups members.  That would mean Russ would be alive.  But  the fact of the matter is he is gone forever from this life and this group will help you and I get thru the grief…

Pete Hany,  Russ’ Dad

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THE UGLY CLUB Part Two  covers my reaction….
~Bettie-Jeanne, Forever RobynApril’s Mom
TCF East Of The River CT Chapter Leader