My photo
Matt and I were together for 10 wonderful years - met in 1998, married in 2002, until his untimely death on November 15, 2008. We have two beautiful, healthy children - Jacob (born 5/04) and Sydney (born 5/07)... the most precious gifts he could have ever given me.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Tonight's conversation...

We were eating ice cream tonight after dinner and I asked Jacob if he remembered what his dad's favorite kind of ice cream was. He didn't remember, so I reminded him that it was vanilla ice cream with chocolate powder (Nestle Quick). Chocolate ice cream was too chocolaty for his liking, so he preferred to mix the chocolate powder in with the vanilla ice cream.

A few moments later, he said, "I wish Daddy didn't eat ice cream." I asked him why, and he said, "because maybe he wouldn't have made mistakes."

Now, I know one thing doesn't have anything to do with the other, and I'm certain that Jacob knows that, too, but I'm sure that was just his way of bringing it up. Maybe. What the hell do I know. 

Anyway, I reassured him that ice cream has nothing to do with making mistakes (how horrible would it be to grow up thinking that eating ice cream leads to mistake-making?!). I asked him what kind of mistakes he thinks Daddy made, and he said that maybe he wouldn't have gone in that room and got killed.

Again, I reassured him. It was not his daddy's mistake. It was the mistake of many others that caused that. The room wasn't safe, and no one told daddy or any of the other workers that they shouldn't go in there. But because of Daddy's accident, now they know it wasn't safe and some changes were made to the room that will hopefully keep it safe for other workers that have to go in there.

One of the things I learned from the psychologist at the SSLF conference last year was that kids verbalize a fraction of what is actually going on in their heads. It's on his mind more than usual lately, and is imagination is running wild. I hope I'm giving him just enough information to give him a correct "picture" of what happened, but not too much that it will cause his mind to go in places a five year old's mind shouldn't go. Oh hell - his mind is already where a five year old's should never go. And Sydney will probably hit this stage at some point as well, and I'll have to go through the same motions with her. She's already hitting her own stage right now as it is. This SUCKS.

It does seem that lately, we're all going through a tougher time dealing with Matt's death, but I'm also just taking the time and making the effort to write more about it. Maybe these aren't things I should write down and commit to memory, but I've got to get it out of my head. I'm hopeful that by getting it out in writing, that maybe my nightmares might subside, and my waking hours may be a little more peaceful.

I should also clarify that I'm not in a constant state of mourning like I was, but it just seems more pronounced lately. Not to mention that this IS my outlet, and while there are lots of other positive things going on in our lives, it's this stuff that I have to purge.

So many more of these types of conversations have taken place from the very beginning - with Jacob, Sydney and many, many others - but I typically don't write them all down because who wants to hear about this shit every. single. day? (Even though there are many of us who do live it every day and all day..)

I'll try to make more of an effort to write about the good stuff, too. But right now, part of my grief (I should be a fucking counselor since I'm constantly analyzing the reasons or unreasonableness of my feelings) is that I'm letting myself feel it more, and it's more pronounced because that's the best way I know how to hold onto Matt. I'm not ready to let him go yet, and when I grieve and remember details of the good times and bad, it keeps him closer to me. I don't know if that's healthy or not, but I don't particularly care about now - this is just the way it is for me.

Maybe another reason is that if I let myself feel it all (unlike what I'd been doing for a while), I'll be able to somehow heal more. Maybe it also has to do with the stage my kids are at right now. Maybe I should feel it more so I can be more effective at helping them through their stages better. Again, what the hell do I know - I'm still faking my way through all this like I know what the hell I'm doing.

I doubt there's a right or wrong way to grieve; it's different for everyone, and everyone has to do what they need to do to get through.

This is just what I need to do right now.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing - give J a hug from me. Think about you guys often.


Michelle said...

Hi Andrea, I just wanted to write that what you wrote here: "I'm letting myself feel it more...I'm not ready to let him go yet, and when I grieve and remember details of the good times and bad, it keeps him closer to me." makes total sense. I do/did the same thing with my dad. It's the reason why, last year on the eve of the 10 year anniv. since his death, I looked through my box of his stuff. Yes I cried the whole time, but darnit, at least I felt connected to him. Remembering is a good thing. I love you and am praying for you today and every day!

Shannon said...

Wow, Andrea, I have been with you now for a long time, since almost the beginning. We moved together, sold a house together, had holidays together, did alot together.. even spoke on the phone. You are so deep with your feelings. I "feel" what you are writing. That says alot. I have my own blog too and it IS an escape. You are an amazing mom and Matt would be so proud of you. He IS proud of you, and I am sure he sends you little signs letting you know so. I can't imagine how hard it must be to raise two kids alone. Answer all those questions and keep your head afloat. I can't say it gets easier, because I don't know the answer to that. My sister has been gone a year and two months and it is NOT easier, it seems to be harder. Hang in there and remember I am always ou need here if you need me!!!

Heather said...

Oh Andrea. While you do have many people who follow your blog, the thing that is most important to remember is it is YOUR blog-it is your place to remember, vent or what not. Write what feel YOU need to write. Sometimes that is not going to be all puppy dogs and roses; sometimes it will be.

Grief is a roller coaster that we don't magically get off after a year. While there seems to be more straight track after awhile, there are still hills and valleys. (For myself, 15 months was absolutely brutal). Sometimes you will feel it more than others for no apparent rhyme or reason but that's normal.

Wouldn't it be nice if this came with an instruction manual?


annie said...

Kids grieve like they grow - in spurts. I found with my daughter (she was 3 1/2 when her dad died) that every time she got to a new level of understanding - stuff came up.

Recently she said.

"Let's say 'passed away' instead of 'died'. "

This was in response to her realizing that most people don't talk about death in as stark a terms as we do in our family (my second husband is a widower). I think terms don't matter much really so I am fine with her new outlook.

As to feeling it more or less, that's going to change and you just ebb and flow with it. There's nothing more you can do, so try not to feel pressured.

Jennifer M Karn said...

I often feel like my blog may send a selfish message. One that says, "Oh look at me, poor me, such pity and give me all the attention." That's not at all my intent, but I still feel guilty sometimes. Really, I just need to put my thoughts somewhere.

Crash Course Widow said...

I find it fascinating to read all the different ways our kids grieve the deaths of their parent. Since she was only 10 months old when Charley died, she was rather oblivious to the whole thing for 2 years, until (oh joy) the 2-yr anniversary of Charley's death, which was about 2 months before she turned 3. And for the next 2 years or so, she asked a lot of questions here and there, mentioned stuff about her dad frequently, and we'd talk about him. But then our dog died last summer, and since then, I've heard almost NOTHING about her dad; now, if she talks about anything dead or gone, it's the damned dog. And I confess that sometimes it irritates me that the death of her daddy has been overshadowed and usurped by the death of her dog. A dog? Really? But I know it's the world of difference between an absence, death, and loss that she KNOWS and feels--and a death she witnessed (or at least the aftermath of it) versus a conceptual character she doesn't even remember. As awful, violent, and horrific as our dog's death was, she's handled it remarkably well, and sometimes I wonder if it's because of all the "conditioning" she's gotten for the previous 2 years from her dad's death.

Sometimes it really upsets me, in a weird way, that she won't ever really grieve for her dad like she would if she'd been older when he died. But at the same time, I know it'd be a lot harder for her if she had been older. Damned if you do, damned if you don't, I guess.

One thing I've learned about grief over the last 4 1/2 years is that you can only process so much of it at a time before your body and emotions unconsciously take a break from it. Then it backs off for a while, we get a bit of a breather, and we delusionally think we've conquered it...but once we've built back up some strength and reserves, it comes surging back in until you need the next break from it. It feels like regression and that you're sliding back, but in the long run, they're always moves forward, into the next round of grief that you previously weren't strong enough for. And eventually, you do come out on the other side and the "regressions" aren't as strong, debilitating, or long lasting. The nasty little secret of grief, though, is that it takes a hell of a lot longer than most people ever expect or would admit--unless you've been through it and lived to tell the tale.

I'm sorry it hurts so badly right now. That you're aware of any good at all is something to be celebrated.

Lots and lots of hugs to you, and vent on here about all the so-called bad stuff as much as you need. Like everyone else has said, this is YOUR outlet for processing all this and emerging out the other side eventually.


Glenda said...

When I was a kid and we didn't have chocolate ice cream in the house, I used to put the quick powder too :D funny... Matt did that too :) thanks for sharing...and this is YOUR place to vent... good or bad feelings and I'm always reading. I may not comment all the time, but since coming across your blog I've been here. Have a good weekend w/ the kiddos. Sending you hugs XXX