September 21, 2009

Flashbacks

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 1:45 am by letterstoelias

I have them all the time, of the night you died.  I lie in bed at night and try to sleep, but various aspects of that day/night will play over in my head.  Last night was a little different though. . . .

I was putting the girls to bed, and as I was lying with them, waiting for them to fall asleep, I noticed there was a vehicle with flashing lights outside.  It didn’t look like red lights, so I thought perhaps a tow truck.  I stepped out of their room into the office only to see an ambulance right outside our house.  My knees were instantly weak and my head felt like it did a 360.  I have a hard time seeing ambulances as is, driving down the highway, etc, but to see one right outside really hit me.  One of the paramedics came out of the ambulance and looked as if he was coming right towards our house.  It was the same one who came when you had your seizure 2 yrs ago (almost to the very night) when I was pregnant with C.  He also came to your memorial service to pass his condolences on behalf of the paramedics, which I thought was extremely thoughtful.

For a split second the thought, ‘They’re coming for Elias’ actually came into my head and I was struck with this strange fear they were going to take you away, even though you are already gone.  Obviously they were not coming to our house, but to see one with its lights on right out front gave me chills.  I remember walking up the driveway and getting into one, stopped in that very spot, as you were lifted into the back.  The last time we would leave this house together.  I felt a pit growing in my stomach, but the girls were calling for me – E wanted to come and see the ambulance and C was just crying because I had left.  It took me a few minutes before I felt like I could walk back in there, and as I lay down with the girls again it was all I could do to choke back tears, though a few snuck out quietly.  Have I mentioned recently how much I miss you?  I seem to be crying more lately, not less.  Maybe not for as long or as intensely, but more frequently.  I have no idea how I have survived almost 5 months now.  That seems way to long to have been able to live without you.  It’s almost half a year.  I hate that.  I just wish I could stop the time from passing – somehow continuing to live on without having to see the calendar change, without the 22nd of each month staring me in the face, without anniversaries, holidays, or birthdays for you to miss.  I don’t know how I’m going to face C’s birthday – I can barely think of it without crying.  I actually think I could manage somewhat better if we were just frozen in time.  If the girls didn’t grow and change, all without you here to see it.  They are both so amazing and I hate that you’re not here to see it.

I also hate that, as much as they are everything to me, I get so much more frustrated with them these days.  I yell more than I used to.  I try to ask E something patiently and calmly 3, 4, 5 times, in a different way each time, and seems like it’s only when I yell that she responds.  I’ve been trying to use information from the book Bridie lent me about non-violent communication – and when I put the effort in I find it works quite well much of the time, but it’s just the extra effort that’s so hard to find some days.  It’s not all bad – we spent some time in the past few days pretending to be lions/belugas/polar bears, we picked all the pears off the tree (please don’t be mad at how I stood on the top rung of the ladder and had a foot on the tree to get the highest ones . . .), we played board games, and the girls are getting much better at playing together – but I don’t have patience for E ripping something out of C’s hands for the umpteenth time in a day, causing C to scream and often now push back ( but hey, at least the biting has stopped), and then I have to try and talk it over with them yet again.  And C is definitely finding her ability to express her extreme distaste in a situation – the world is an incredibly unjust place a lot of the time when you are almost two.  Today she spent most of the day upset about something, but I don’t think either of us ever really figured out what it was.  She loves to bury herself in my legs if I’m standing up, even if it means she has to wedge herself between my legs and the cupboard if I’m in the kitchen, and she’s also getting into the comical flopping around when unhappy.  The other morning at music class she suddenly wanted nothing to do with it and spent the rest of the class flopping around on my lap or face down on the floor.  E, on the other hand, was supposed to be colouring in the corner with the other older siblings, but just couldn’t keep from participating and eventually just joined the circle and took over.  I tried to keep reminding her to let the little ones get their instruments first because this is not her class, and usually she’s pretty good about that, but she was in an ‘off’ mood that day too.  Thankfully the teacher is amazing and really helped as I was just about ready to give up and leave the class.

I made it through the parent’s meeting the other night, but not so smoothly.  Things started off ok – it was easier to blend in because the meeting was for the parents of the 3 /4 split class as well, so there were a lot of new parents.  About half way through though, they brought up a situation involving one of the families at the school – a little boy was due to start this fall, but was diagnosed with leukemia late in the summer.  I knew about this already, but as it came up in the meeting, my hands started shaking.  I tried just looking down and eating my little cup full of grapes, but when she started talking about the positive affirmations they were using it was too much for me and I signalled to Sian that I was going to step outside.  I had joked about wanting to sit in the back ‘just in case’, and was thankful that we were in fact in the back of the room – but in my attempt to ‘sneak’ out before everyone could see that I was crying, I knocked my aluminum water bottle against the metal leg of the chair, making a nice big ‘clang’ for everyone to hear as I bolted for the door.  It’s so hard to hear about a little boy going through something like that – you hated it the most when kids were affected.  I can still hear you saying, ‘I can take it, I’m an adult.  But a kid should NEVER have to deal with this.  It’s just so wrong.’  And, doing the positive affirmations is obviously great – it’s just hard because it was something that we did so much of.  I remember being convinced that if every night I imagined us growing old together, both of us with grey hair and swinging our grandkids through the air, that it would come true.  And it didn’t.  It was really hard to go around the house and take down the numerous ‘Apoptosis’ signs with hearts and smiley faces.  The pictures of your MRI with no visible tumour.  I’ve heard that this little boy is doing as well as can be expected, and I read that this type of leukemia can be treated with great success, but it is just so wrong and my heart aches for the family.  And for my loss of you.

Sian followed me out and gave me a big hug (breaking my little plastic cup of grapes which we managed to laugh about), then I told her to go back in and I would be there in a bit.  Just as she went inside I heard a rustling sound in the parking lot.  I figured it would be just my luck and there would be a bear, but a beautiful deer walked out.  It was a calming sight, and I figured you sent it to me to help give me some ease.  After a few more tears of anger at myself for not even being able to make it through a preschool meeting, I eventually made it back to my seat for the rest of the meeting.  I think between that event and worrying about C’s upcoming birthday is what’s gotten me in this state the past couple of days.  I feel like I’m letting you down too, and that’s hard to take.  I know I can make the choice.  I can choose to have a good day or a bad day.  I can choose how I react – that’s what we did when you were here.  We could have chosen to get depressed, be mad at life for what we were facing, give up – but we didn’t.  We took what we had and made the most of it.  It’s so much harder to do without you here.  I know I still take time to enjoy a number of life’s little things, but missing you takes over.  I think I could even handle the every day of running the house/yard/girls/work/classes/cooking/etc on my own if I at least had you to sit with and talk with at the end of the night. . . . not just the keys on my laptop.

Because today was rough, upon hearing my frustration, Sian came by after dinner and helped with the girls and we chatted over tea for a bit after they were asleep, which was great help.  Just having another adult in the house for a couple of hours makes such a big difference.

I should get to bed.  C has already stirred twice so far tonight, and though I haven’t had to go all the way in the room just yet, it’s likely to happen soon.  Between the two of them they’ve been waking a fair amount at night lately, which isn’t helping matters with my mood – so going to be earlier would be sensible, but this is a little time for me and it’s hard to give that up.  Especially when I’m using it to write to you, My Love.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

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4 Comments »

  1. Carolyn said,

    Chelsea,

    You feel like you are failing – but you are not! You are feeling allot of anger, and although it doesn’t feel good it is a good thing. Your world has been destroyed and you are trying to rebuild it and that takes loads of time and energy.

    You don’t want to lose patience with your girls, but your “body” can’t help it, it needs to let the anger out. 2 year olds are trying at the best of times and these are not the best of times for you, they are the worst.

    You want to be more patient with your girls (which is a good thing for any parent), but you need to be more patient with yourself!

    Having to leave the preschool parent meeting isn’t a failure, it simply shows how much you loved Elias, and that you ache for him, and you want him back with you.

    C

    • letterstoelias said,

      Thanks so much for your words Carolyn – another reason I write is comments like that help me out on a bad day.

      I know I need to take it easier on myself – I make it sound pretty bad, but when I stop and actually think about it I know that the majority of the day the girls are laughing, smiling, happy, playing, and know how much they are loved. I just never really resorted to yelling to get action before so even though it’s only periodic, to me it feels like a lot.

      Thanks again,
      ~C~

  2. Roads said,

    Flashbacks — yep, they are stubbornly persistent. I think they eventually fade once we feel able to cope with them — that’s a bit like the bank manager who will only give you a loan once he has proved to himself that you don’t need the money…

    • letterstoelias said,

      Or like when my mom finally agreed to let me take tap lessons when I was 16 yrs old, and not so interested in it any longer . . . =)

      Thanks Roads – I always appreciate your input. Having people who have been through this is an incredibly valuable resource.
      ~C~


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