Sunday, March 30, 2014

More of the Same

I miss Jack.

I will always miss Jack. I’ll continue to say it and I’ll continue to write it. Bear with me because me missing Jack will never change. I was at the cemetery today and saw a banner with information for a “Grief Recovery” support group. Really? As if it’s even possible to "recover" from the death of my child. One doesn’t recover from grief, one merely learns to live with it. Okay, maybe it’s just semantics, but the message bothered me.

The days continue to be hard. I’ve cried more in the last two and a half months than I have the last 15 years. People have been telling me for years how strong I am and, yet, I never felt strong. I just did what I had to do for Jack. Jack was my motivation and my inspiration. Without Jack, I have to tap into every ounce of strength I do have just to get out of bed and give a damn. People tell me that Jack is still with me – in my heart. Sorry, I just don’t feel it. I don’t feel him at all. I think he must be mad at me. In the end, I couldn’t help him. I couldn’t keep him from dying. The guilt can be overwhelming at times. That’s probably what I need to work on more than anything  - letting go of the guilt.  I trust that time will get me there.  

I spend a lot of time at the cemetery. I go by in the morning on the way to work, at night on the way home from work, and at least once, sometimes more, on the weekends. The cemetery is about a mile and a half from our house, so I will often walk up there on the weekends. Hanging out at a cemetery is not something I ever thought I’d do. Then again, I’ve never buried a child before, so what did I know.  It’s another one of those things that I’m guessing time will heal and, eventually, I won’t feel the pull to go there as often. I don’t know. I don’t know much when it comes to this leg of the journey.   

Today's view

I’m heading to St. Louis at the end of this week. I’ll be there for a week and I’ll be spending time with “Jack’s people”. I’ll be visiting St. Louis Children’s Hospital, handing out “Onward” stones and just walking around the campus and visiting the places Jack and I used to hang out when we were there. Hopefully, it will be a sunny day because I’ll need to wear my sunglasses to hide all the tears I expect will be falling. It sounds strange to say I’m going to miss SLCH. But, those of you who have medically complex children understand the connection to a hospital and the medical team that cares for your child. Saying goodbye to SLCH is another painful step in the journey of letting go and learning to live life without my sweet Jack.

Finally, I was going through my old text messages on my phone and went back to January 5th – the day Jack died. The text messages between Mark and me are tough to read.  With Mark’s ok, I’m sharing them. I'm sharing them mostly for me because I want to preserve as much of this journey as I can and, as painful as these are, they need to be saved.

(As I shared in Jack's Last Day, the decision to remove Jack from the vent never had to be made by us. Jack made that decision himself)

Thank you for all your love and support. You help me to push Onward. xo


Anonymous said...

I just don't have any words of wisdom for you. I can only do my part to keep Jack's memory alive in my thoughts and in my heart. Hugs Ann. Whitney

ssouth said...

Thank you for writing and letting us in to your grief, Ann. I don't think Jack could be mad at you. I'm sorry you don't feel him with you. The grief must be overwhelming. I hope that being at Children's will be a good hurt that might bring some healing as you continue onward. Love, Jenny

Susan said...

You may be feeling it, and you can be mad at me for saying this but there is just NO WAY that Jack is mad at you! I think you have been "being strong" for so long because you had to, and now that you don't it's natural to let go a bit. People won't think that grieving or crying over the death of your child means you aren't strong. Go ahead and let the tears fall. Love and hugs!

Shari said...

This is now your journey and you'll never stop missing Jack. I wish I could tell you grief gets easier, but I'd be just gets "different". You say you are not strong but only someone strong in love, spirit and determination could have been chosen to be Jack's mom. You'll always be Jack's mom so you'll always be that strong woman...never forget that. Thinking of you all!

Ann said...

Thank you Shari. xo

Karen Gerstenberger said...

Ann, you are not alone in your tears, strong emotions, guilt and bereft feelings.
I have been through many "what ifs" and questions over whether or not we did the right thing for Katie at various junctures. Yet I know now that we did the best we could under terribly trying circumstances, and am going to guess that you and your family did the same for Jack. I will bet that Jack knew at each moment that he was totally and completely loved. Total devotion and tender care will communicate that, and something tells me that you gave him that gift, every single day of his life. I hope that you will be very patient and gentle with yourself. The path will get easier; it is not "easy" to live after the death of a child, but it gets "less impossible," one day at a time.
Did I mention's DVD called "Portraits of Hope" to you? It really encouraged me.
God bless you and your family, Ann.