Today marks 2 years since Ollie died. I still can't believe it is real most days. At times it seems like it just happened when other times I feel like he was just a dream. I see his photos and of course know that he existed. The immense pain I still feel is proof that he was here, that I loved him and still love and miss him terribly.
I still find people's cluelessness infuriating at times. People still make comments about things they just don't get. They just DO NOT understand grief. Maybe they just don't understand MY grief. Who knows. The last four years have been difficult. Misery abounds, but so does love and laughter. I KNOW Oliver would want to see us laughing and living... he told me that several months before he died. I don't feel guilty for laughing. I know lots of people that suffer through a loss do feel that guilt when they allow themselves to feel good. Maybe Ollie is helping me laugh from the other side. I know that he left me with plenty of memories that STILL make me laugh when I think about them. (ie - him peeing in the refrigerator door when he was sleepwalking at the age of 5.) Most people see me when I'm numb or when I'm trying to feel normal and smiling and laughing and most of the time it is real, but sometimes it is just a fake smile for the sake of not making others feel uncomfortable. Because... lets face it... our society does not know how to deal with grief. Few have seen me really break down. I broke down a few nights ago, from frustration... from grief, but not from hate.
I used to be a social butterfly, but now I find it really hard to be around people that haven't experienced the same thing I have. When my grandparents died, I still felt normal. I was sad, but I could function. I felt like I was the same person. When my son died, my world shattered. It's not the natural order of things, I could NOT function. I have been changed forever. I was pretty numb for the first year. I didn't cry much. I didn't sob, but once. I think it's God's way of helping us cope with such a horrific loss. After the first year, I made it a point to try and be more social. I couldn't stay a hermit forever. Maybe people need to be taught how to relate to others that have lost a love in such a way. I needed to feel 'normal' again. I needed to be around other people and feel loved and supported and be able to love and support others. There was book club... a monthly meeting where ladies from church get together and discuss a book. Even if you didn't read it, you could go and chat and have a relaxing night out. First time I went back, someone started talking about how horrible their child's first photos looked. About how they looked blue and looked like they were dead. I stifled back tears. I WANTED to feel normal, but it seems like grief sneaks in no matter where I am or what I'm doing. I didn't go back for a while. Ok... let's try it again... another book club, someone is talking about a funeral. Ok... get up and go to the kitchen. Fight back the tears, I don't want to make a scene. Again... I just want to go out and forget about life for an hour or two... but there it is again. Went a few more times... and then Thursday evening comes around.
Three days before Oliver's 2 year mark. Anyone who has grieved, knows that the days and months leading up to the actual day are just as difficult if not more so. I just felt like I needed to get out of the house, especially having a newborn at home and Ed working so much. So, I go. I even thought in the car, "I sure hope no one talks about a child dying". It's still hard to be around people because I feel like I don't fit in, but I'm trying. I'm trying to change and not feel lonely by going out, but it always seems to turn out badly for some reason. So we begin talking about the book and of course... someone mentions the main character losing her babies. Okay... I feel the tears starting to well up, but I just try to remember... it's just a book, it's book club, this is what is in the book, of course it's going to be discussed... don't cry in front of everyone. So I hold them back and the conversation turns, but then it's brought up again. This time the tears start, I excuse myself to the bathroom and start to cry. Not just cry, but all out sob. I can't hold it in anymore. I haven't cried this hard in months. I'm thinking great... my coat and shoes are in the room where everyone is. I have to see everyone before I leave. I try to stifle my sobs and I hear chatting and laughter out in the other room. Of course most people don't realize what is happening. This isn't THEIR reality. I'm just thinking to myself, "Why do I try?? Why do I even bother trying to be normal. I'm NOT." Finally, I get up, get my coat and shoes and leave... not meaning to slam the door behind me, but I'm so engulfed in emotion everything is just a blur. I get my shoes on and a friend is there to console me, but I'm just a mess. I'm embarrassed, I'm sad, I'm frustrated. I leave and when I get outside I scream. I'm so full of sadness... I cannot even keep it in. I get in the car and sob and scream and sob and scream some more. Is this what life is always going to be like? I hope not. It's only been 2 years, so yeah... I think I'm still entitled to be angry at life and sad. Even 20 years from now I may scream and sob. Who knows.
A few people get it. A few people emailed me and said that they were sorry the conversation went that way. They understood that it was a difficult time of year for me, they understood my frustration with wanting a night out without the reality of loss slapping me across the face again. But some people just don't get it. I get an email where a 'friend' tells me that I blame everyone and hate everyone. First of all... don't email me this. Second of all... can you wait until after the 16th? Yeah... I'm a bit stressed right now dealing with the anniversary of my son's death. I can't stand it when people try to fix me and point out my flaws or explain how I'm not grieving correctly. THIS IS GRIEF. I don't hate people... I hate the things they do. I hate how they try to fix me. I hate how they think they are helping when they are only making it worse. I hate that this is my life. I hate that my 6 year old says he wants to kill himself to be with his brother because this world is so mean. I hate that I have to visit a grave on holidays. I hate that my son is DEAD. I cannot kiss him. I cannot hear his laugh or see his face. Yes, I know I will see him again, but it doesn't help the pain NOW. The loss is real. And no... it is NOT like other losses. It IS worse. You won't understand this unless you actually live through it. It guts you. You are supposed to protect your children. They are supposed to be a living part of your future. It's not supposed to be this way.
So... yes... I'm still grieving. I will always be grieving his loss. I miss him so much. I think about him EVERY SINGLE DAY. There is a hole that won't be filled until we are together again. And the pain that hole causes is ENORMOUS. It's crippling at times. I get up every day. I try to do more than just exist. I now measure success differently. Did I get out of bed today? Yes... success. Did I change my clothes? Yes... success. Did I spend time with my kids? Yes... success. Your whole life changes. I'm trying to rebuild and learn how to deal with a loss. Telling me I blame and hate everyone doesn't help me try to be better. If anything... it makes it worse. You are trying to climb a ladder and get yourself out of a hole and someone comes and knocks out a few rungs. I know the things I need to work on. I don't need someone that 'thinks' they know everything to tell me these things. I'm sure she was just trying to help. I give people the benefit of the doubt every freaking day because I KNOW that they don't understand. I didn't before Oliver was diagnosed... and before he died. So, yes, I'm trying to understand where THEY are coming from. Just THINK before you speak... or write. I need to focus on myself and my family I guess... not on social time and friendships. Maybe that is where I'm going wrong. It's just difficult when people say hurtful things that make you stop in your tracks and cause unnecessary grief.
I won't be going back to book club. I'll just read the books I want to read and grieve quietly in the comfort of my own home. Live and learn I guess. I hope I can be somewhat normal again. I guess only time will tell. I'm a work in progress and I'm struggling at the moment, but every day is a new day and one day closer to being with Ollie again. So I will continue to trudge through this life.