Friday, August 27, 2010

Prayer Part 1

I have been struggling with prayer ever since DJ's death. This is a common struggle for families after the loss of a child, though knowing this fact doesn't help me much within my own issue. You pray for years for your child, for God to keep them safe, for God to help them grow up to who they should be, for Him to protect them....And then there is death and no protection. Or so it seems. It seems that the power of prayer is gone, that God is going to do whatever he wants in the end so why really pray about it, what good does it do? He is God and I am not.

My heart tells me one thing about prayer but the life I have lived tells me the another. My heart tells me that there is power in prayer and that God did protect DJ so many times. DJ had a serious infection when he was around 2 that could have resulted in death, he climbed a small skinny tree way too high once. He heard it cracking and heard me hollar to get down at the same time-another time he could have easily died. He had a crash on his skateboard three months before the ultimate crash that could have been bad.

My heart tells me God has protected DJ, my heart tells me that God allowed DJ to be in our lives for probably longer than planned--so did our prayers actually mean something? YES, they did, God kept him here longer I believe because we did pray for safety and protection.

My life shows me that God didn't protect DJ at the end. All the years of prayer did not keep him safe in the end, all the dreams of his future died with him, all the dreams God placed within him died with him. Where was God when DJ was falling? Where was God when he fell twice? Where was God when DJ decided to go down that stupid hill? Where was God? Where were the answer to my prayers?

I have those answers in Part II

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fun Guilt

We went out of town this week. My husband and I realized that our youngest son didn't have any memories of his own of a city we liked to travel to. We had plenty of them with his brother DJ and sister but he just heard the stories. He didn't remember much at all since he was so little when he had gone along.

Most of our vacation spots are like that for him, he was so little when we went that he only has memories through the pictures he looks at. We just don't take vacations anymore, the whole family unit isn't able to go now since DJ's death. Without all five of us it doesn't feel right to go and enjoy some place-that is a guilt that parent's who lose children have. We don't feel that it is okay to go and have fun, we have to really work at it and make a point to do it or life does completely pass us by.

This week though my husband and I worked at it and went out of town to create new memories for Jake. In this case I can say "new" memories because these are good times, these are fun opportunities that he gets to experience without too much haunting from his brother's death. There are so few places that our family has gone to travel since DJ's death that DJ was not part of. Jake hears so many stories of when we were here or there as a family, as a complete family group but so few places are just his memories. Jake has gotten robbed of family vacations.

Even this trip, as short as it was had memories flooding in of old times. I had to make a point of not saying the memories out loud, I didn't want Jake to feel that it wasn't about him and that it was all about our own memories of his brother. I wanted Jake to feel important and special on this trip, not shadowed over by his brother's death. That is another guilt we have, if we talk too much of our lost child than the remaining can feel less significant, less important. How do we balance that guilt? We don't want to forget our child but we can't forget our remaining child. We have to try to balance it out, we have the memories in our head and not all of them have to be expressed out loud all the time.

Guilt is a circle for a parent that loses a child. Guilt of not talking about the child, guilt of talking too much about the child. Guilt of making the remaining children feel less important, guilt of not giving those same children the same opportunities the other child had. The guilt can go round and round until you are exhausted.

This trip though I have no guilt. I am not the type of parent that has much guilt anyway, I can't live my life that way and I make a real effort not to allow false guilt into my world. However it still lingers occasionally and I am thankful that Jake got to have an opportunity that was his. He got to enjoy life this week and have a new experience. Hopefully this will be the beginning of breaking that fun guilt down and creating memories and blocks of good opportunities for him and all of us in turn.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Scrapbooking sucks!

Today is not a good day. This week I decided I would get caught up on my scrapbooking since I am almost 4 years behind. I worked yesterday and today and got around 40 pages complete. Unfortunately I am now done for awhile, I only have 10 more month of DJ's life left to scrapbook. What happens when I have the last photo to put in of DJ laying in his casket? What happens when there is no more life of his to put in the scrapbooks. Everything I wrote was past tense the last two days, everything was "DJ loved doing this, DJ loved doing that" This sucks. There was no present tense because there is no present day with DJ. I am done scrapbooking for awhile, all is put away-all of Em's pics and all of Jake's and all of the last 10 months of DJ's life.

I might jump ahead and go 12 months in the future, I don't know.

I don't have answers to my own questions on this one. I don't know how a parent gets through scrapbooking their child's life and the end of their life. I don't know, if anyone out there does then let me know because I don't have the answers today.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Dentist-more fall out

A few days before DJ's accident he went to the dentist for a filling. A few weeks after his death my youngest son Jake went to the same dentist and sat in the same dental chair as DJ. It made him cry during his appointment. Now everytime Jake goes to the dentist he gets sad. Jake had a root canal, a very painful one and cried tears. He cried outloud for his brother saying how much he missed him and he wished he was there with him.

This has become such a negative association for him. Even now almost 4 years later when Jake had to go to the dentist and again was told he had to have another root canal he began to cry. At 12 he still gets sad whenever he goes, he left the building crying. His huge hate for the dentist just isn't about the dental work, it is about DJ. It is a trigger and it sucks for him on so many levels.

How do we get through this? How do I help him disassociate this? I don't know yet. People say time will help and it does. Second by second and day by day time does go by and time helps. It doesn't make the event less sad, less horrible but it makes it easier to manage the pain.

I am guessing time is the only thing that will help Jake. So much fall out, so many triggers after a child passes away. So much pain. I plan to start taking Jake to the dentist every 3 months after this root canal, perhaps normal check ups will help him learn to hate the dentist less. Maybe this will help him think of DJ less during his appointments. It may take years or he may always think of DJ during the dentist appointments. On this I am alone in solving the mystery of grief for Jake--we are all alone on so many levels.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


My husband and I decided the week of DJ's death that we weren't going to let this destroy our marriage. When we were both kids we had friends die and we watched it destroy their families. It's crazy what you see as a young kid sticks with you and unfortunately comes full circle to you as well. This of course is not as easy as it sounds.

Marriage takes lots of patience! Patience is the most important thing of all I think, actually I know it is! Even in a marriage without the loss of a child it takes patience but one which has struggled with the loss of a child needs extra loads of patience.

When my husband would be angry and just seething with grief I would have to be patient and realize it was not me he was angry with, it was the anger from losing DJ. When my husband was up late at night and not going to work the next day I had patience with him. I was wishing he was going back to work to create some normalcy for him and me but I had to be patient with the depression that was taking any drive for work out of him. When he was quiet and withdrawn I would have patience to not take it personally. I just had to keep talking to him to let him know no matter how withdrawn and depressed he was that I still loved him. When he would be grieving and I wasn't I had to be patient with him.

Now on the flip side, my husband has had to have patience with me as well. When I was exhausted at night and just couldn't fathom being intimate with him he would have to patient with me. When I would forget to pay a bill because my mind and memory were just gone with grief he would have to be patient with me. When we were just going through the steps of marriage and barely communicating he would have to be patient. When I was going down a hole he would have to be there to help pick me up and be patient with me.

Love is patient is so true. I take it a step further to say that a marriage where a child has died is in need of great PATIENCE.