Tag Archive | boys

Triggers

As a child, I did not like hospitals. At all. I was not a fan of needles, blood or anything medical. Thankfully, I was never in the hospital as a child, but visiting others was always an uncomfortable experience. Even as an adult, I prefer to stay away from hospitals unless absolutely necessary. When I was in the hospital to give birth to my children, the only way I made it through was to remember that I was there for my children. I’m sure I would have handled it differently if I was in the hospital for another reason. My fears were subsided, but not completely gone.

Obviously my experience in the hospital when Kyleigh was born was much different than when I had been in the hospital before, both emotionally and medically. I had emergency surgery, a variety of tests/procedures done and many vials of blood drawn. Not my idea of fun, even if my daughter had lived. Somehow, I made it through. I think my emotions had overtaken my body so much that they could have poked and prodded me all day and I wouldn’t have noticed. I became as comfortable in my surroundings as I could. I’m sure having a very supportive doctor and wonderful nurses helped immensely.

A family member has been in the hospital for the last few days. I have been to see her three times, once, staying as long as four hours. In the past, I would have been a ball of nerves and probably would have only gone once or twice for a very short amount of time. This time, I felt comfortable going. It wasn’t a big deal to walk into a hospital that I had never been in on a Sunday afternoon. Since it was the weekend, there was nobody at the information desk to tell me where to go. I navigated my own way to her room without any anxiety. I was comfortable talking to the nurses and making requests on the patient’s behalf.

So why then did I burst into tears last week when I read Curious George Goes to the Hospital to my boys? Did I really cry over a monkey? It wasn’t because Curious George was sick. It was because of the detail it gave about being prepped for surgery. And we’re talking about a children’s book, so the detail was really not that detailed. About a month ago, I was among a group of about ten people. Someone started talking in detail about a surgery that they had. I had to get up and leave the room. I have discovered that any talking and I guess now reading, about surgery is a trigger for me. I can’t handle it.

On Saturday I went to Kohl’s to do a little shopping for everyone. I needed to pick up a few things here and there for both boys, as well as Rodger, and I was hoping to find some new clothes for myself. As soon as I walked in the door I knew I was in trouble. Christmas decorations were everywhere. All I wanted to do was turn around and walk back out, but I knew this was the only time when I could get this shopping done by myself. I was doing okay until I went to look for pants for Oliver. Of course the Boys section is right across from the Baby Girl section. I tried not to pay attention. Then a “Mommy’s Little Turkey” outfit practically jumped off the rack at me. It hit me like a ball to my gut. I might as well have just left at that point. I struggled the rest of the time that I was shopping and while I found what I needed for all the boys, nothing fit or looked right on me.

I’ve figured out why I am seeing so many “I’m expecting!!” posts on Facebook these days. And why everyone is now due in April. This is the three month mark. Twelve weeks. End of their first trimester. The point when most, except for those who find it acceptable to snap a photo of their pee stick as soon as it turns positive, announce they are expecting. Another trigger. Another thing that brings my emotions to the forefront. Another thing that hits me out of nowhere and upsets me, usually for the remainder of the day. It’s not that I’m not happy for these people. I just don’t want to share in their happiness right now. It’s just another reminder that at this point last year, I was almost four months pregnant with Kyleigh. All was well. We made it to the end of our first trimester. After that, there was nothing to be worried about, right?

Some of these things that trigger my emotions are expected. I know that hearing or reading about someone else being pregnant/having a baby upsets me, except for a few dear souls in my life. The problem is you never know when someone is going to post that fact on Facebook, or how they are going to do it. It’s almost become an unwanted contest of who can do it the best.

Other triggers come out of nowhere. I don’t know what others are going to talk about around me or even how it is going to affect me. I don’t know what is lurking around the corner at the store or what song is going to come on the radio next. I heard a song on the radio just a few days ago that I had never heard before. It was a beautiful song and the lyrics were written for me, I am sure of it. As I listened, the tears started. I haven’t heard the song since. At some point, I know I will hear it again. Will it trigger me to cry the next time? I no longer cry at the songs that we played at Kyleigh’s service, but I’m always quick to turn the radio up extra loud and tell the boys to listen when they come on the radio.

There are some triggers that are diminishing. Thursday’s used to be horrible days for me. Those around me could pretty much count on Thursday’s being the roughest day of the week. That has stopped. I have admittedly lost count of how many weeks it has been since Kyleigh left us. I’m sure that has something to do with Thursday’s not being a trigger for me anymore. I am still very aware of the 5th of each month and expect that that day will be a struggle for some time now. I wonder when I will stop counting the months (it will be seven months on November 5) and only count the years. Does that progression happen just like it does for the aging of a living child? I know for me, I told my boys’ age in months until they turned two. Will it be the same for Kyleigh?

I know all of this is normal. I have been told by some that even after five or more years, something still comes out of nowhere and makes them stop still in their tracks. A smell, a sight, a sound or a taste takes them back to a place they never want to go to again. But, at the same time, it makes them remember their child and brings a smile to their face, even after all the tears.

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Awareness

Today has just been one of those days. One of those days when nothing really went wrong, it just would have been better had I stayed in bed. My emotions this week are all over the place.

Sunday, we went back to church for the first time since Kyleigh was born and died. We had intended to go long before now, but we didn’t want the first week to be a holiday (there have been three: Memorial Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day). Other weeks we just weren’t up to it and then my grandma’s death set us back a few weeks, as well. The boys were starting to ask about why we haven’t been, so we decided it was now or never. Overall, I think it went well. The fact that we had waited so long probably helped. We saw some friends and a few familiar faces, so that always helps, too. One thing that Rodger commented on later was how he had forgotten that there were so many babies in church. I tried not to pay attention. Since I was very pregnant the last time we had been, I expected the boys’ Sunday school teachers to ask about the baby. Nobody said anything, so I figure either we had been gone so long that they forgot I was pregnant, or someone had told them what happened. Either way, I was glad nobody said anything.

Sunday evening, Rodger and I went to the cemetery and saw Kyleigh’s headstone for the first time. You can probably imagine the emotions that surround that, although we were not surprised to see it in place. When we were out there last week, the temporary marker had been removed and flags had been placed to mark the ground for her permanent marker. Kyleigh’s headstone is beautiful. It just makes everything so final. Now, instead of looking down at dirt and hints of growing grass, I see my daughter’s name. I see one date, where everyone else around her has two. Having her headstone placed was the last step in the “funeral” process. Now all that’s left is paying off the credit card that we used to buy her headstone.

Thursday marks three months since Kyleigh left us. Three months is a big milestone for me, and not in a good way. At three months, babies turn from newborns into infants. They start to develop a personality. They don’t sleep as much during the day. It becomes harder to tell how old a baby is starting around three months. It’s fairly easy to tell when a baby is a newborn. Guessing the age of infants is harder, especially if they are smaller or bigger for their age. I find myself less aware of newborns now and more aware of infants, wondering how close in age Kyleigh would have been. These are the babies that will enter Kindergarten the same year as Kyleigh would have. I wonder if in five years, I will look at five year olds the same way that I look at babies now, with envy. Three months also marks milestones for me physically. My hair is still falling out; a daily reminder that I was pregnant. The maternity clothes still hang in my closet, although I refuse to wear them anymore. Newborn items can be found throughout the house. Items that would have been put away by now if Kyleigh was with us because she would have outgrown their use. Three months is a quarter of a year. A quarter of Kyleigh’s first year is already gone.

Friday is the light of my week. Oliver turns 5 on Friday and I am so excited for him! He is excited as well and we have a lot of fun things planned throughout the week to celebrate him.

Can you see why my emotions are like a roller coaster this week??

One thing that makes my emotions crazy like this is being aware of so much more then I used to. Some of it is good, most of it is bad. I am super sensitive to babies and women who are pregnant. They are everywhere. I always noticed them before Kyleigh died, but now, they are coming out of the woodwork. Since I have two children under the age of five, most places we go are kid friendly. Enter the abundance of complaining pregnant women and crying babies. Rodger and I went on a weekend getaway last weekend and the first night, there was a baby crying in the room below us. On the flight home, the lady sitting next to us was pregnant with her third child. The flight attendant thought this was the greatest thing since sliced bread and stopped to chat with her every time she walked by. We heard the whole family story and how number three was not planned, but they were so excited anyway! Sense the sarcasm. I wanted to scream, but figured that would get me kicked off the plane and all I wanted to do was go home to see my boys.

The other thing that I am much more aware of is the death of other children. In the past three months, I know of two other families who have suffered the loss of a child. Another is fighting for his life at a local children’s hospital as I type this. These are not families that we know directly, but are friends of friends. Just yesterday, I connected with a mother who lost her daughter a year ago in a tragic accident over the 4th of July holiday. When we visited the grave of my grandmother over the weekend, there is a mother, father and daughter who are buried not too far from Grandma. The mother lived to be 100, the father was in his 40’s and their daughter passed away when she was 7. What a story that woman must have had to live so long without her husband and daughter. Children die every day. Did I turn a blind eye to it before?

I know that I am more aware of these things because of my loss of Kyleigh. If Kyleigh was with me, I would look at other babies and expecting mothers with joy, not sorrow. I would see them, but would ignore them at the same time because I would be focused on my baby, not theirs. If Kyleigh was with me, I would hear these stories of children dying and while it would make me sad, I would say “I can’t imagine going through that” or even as more say “I’m glad I’ll never have to endure that pain.” Well, guess what? I never thought I would have to go this and endure this pain. But I am and so are they.

Awareness leads to sensitivity and empathy. I am sensitive towards babies and pregnancy. Having these feelings is part of the grieving process. I will not always turn the other way when I see a baby. For now, it’s the only way I know to deal with my pain. I have extreme empathy for those who have lost a child. My heart breaks for these families who are experiencing the pain of the death of a child. I feel like I grieve all over again when I hear of these tragic stories. Knowing of two, possibly three, deaths of children so close to Kyleigh and through people who are connected to us, is just overwhelming. I prayed to God tonight that he would heal the little boy that is clinging to life. I prayed that He would spare this mother from the pain that I am going through.

These are only a few of the things that I have become more aware of these days. There are others, such as the smiles on my boys’ faces, laughter in our home and the number of kisses I get each day from all of my boys. There is good in all of this. Some days are just still so sad.

Time Marches On

This is the first week that I have driven in six weeks. I got released from all of my restrictions a week ago today and can now resume all regular activity. I drove for the first time on Tuesday, making stops at Hobby Lobby, Michael’s and Target. I was exhausted by the time I got home and I was by myself; no boys to get in and out of shopping carts and the car. Wednesday we met friends to play at a local business full of fun activities for the kids and on Thursday, we checked out the new aquarium in town. Again, I was tired after each of these days, but enjoyed seeing the boys having fun. My stamina is not what it used to be and it is going to take some time to build it back up again.

When people hear that I am getting out and about, or see me out and about, they are excited for me. They are glad to hear that my restrictions have been lifted, as that must mean that I am healed, physically, at least. What most people don’t realize is that getting out and doing anything right now is a struggle. I cried in the middle of Hobby Lobby because I had to pick out flowers to place on Kyleigh’s grave for Memorial Day. I walked around Michael’s forever trying to find the perfect arrangement of red flowers, because that’s what the boys requested for Kyleigh. Target was exhausting on every level. I hadn’t been in so long that I forgot where a lot of things were and had to double back more than once, making me even more tired physically. Every time I turned the corner of an aisle, I prepared myself emotionally, just in case I saw a newborn baby. You don’t realize how many babies are out there until you really don’t want to see one. Our play date on Wednesday was successful. Not too many others were there that day, the kids all got along and I had some time to have genuine conversation with a friend I have known since at least Kindergarten. I left feeling pretty good and thinking to myself that I can do this. Going to the aquarium on Thursday was another fun day, especially because Grandma went with us. The boys were excellent and I powered through seeing the occasional infant. Getting out of the house really is good for me, I realize that. I also realize that it presents a whole other set of triggers and by today, Friday, I am exhausted emotionally and physically.

I made it through this week. Another week down. This was the last week of school for many and Memorial Day is this weekend. For most, this marks the kick-off of summer. When Garrison saw that the pool was open today, he clapped from his car seat and said, “Yay! Summer’s here!” The timing of me being able to resume regular activity at the same time as summer starting is not necessarily a good thing. It means that time is marching on. A new season is beginning, but I am still stuck in the old one. Rodger and I mapped out the next few weekends and before I knew it, we were into July. This weekend is Memorial Day, the next is our family tradition of making the drive to ride Thomas the Train. A free weekend after that is before Father’s Day, followed by our anniversary weekend. The next weekend gets into the Fourth of July and Oliver’s birthday. I know not everyone cares what our weekend plans are, but this was a huge realization to me that life is moving on whether we want it to or not. It’s going to be the middle of July before I know it and while I am excited to celebrate my son’s fifth birthday, I am so saddened by the fact that Kyleigh won’t be here for it. Every holiday, every family celebration, every trip to Target, is a reminder that Kyleigh isn’t here for it.

We have plans to travel later in the summer to see family and I am not excited about it. Rodger and Oliver were to make this trip by themselves and I was to stay home with Garrison and the baby. Now that there is no baby, Garrison and I are going too. How can I be excited when every time I think about it, it reminds me that Kyleigh’s death is the reason that I am going? I am going for the boys, for they are the reason that I do everything right now. It is their lives and their time that make me get up every day and power through. Their lives are continuing. Their time is marching on. I don’t want my boys to miss out on life or time because I am too sad to take them to the park where I might see a baby girl. Just please realize what a struggle it is for me to do so.