We had a pretty good Thanksgiving, we were at my parents lake house with my side of the family. We missed having Caleb with us but for the most part stayed busy enough not to be depressed. The next Monday Jason hit the ground running with putting up Christmas Lights. (he has been putting them up since the beginning of November but the week after Thanksgiving is the busiest!) He leaves for work at 7am and isn't usually home until 6-7pm. It's a crazy time, but thankfully is only a few weeks long. Jason did an amazing job on our own roof this year
Shortly after Caleb died, Jason and I started attending GriefShare. It's an international program for anyone who has lost someone. You can go to www.griefshare.org/ and find a location near you. It just so happened that Gateway (our church) was doing the class! It doesn't matter how recent or how long ago the loss was, and you can start attending at any point throughout the 13 week class. It starts with a video and then a group discussion. It was a wonderful place to hear truth and then to get to talk with other people who really understand grief and loss. It gave Jason and I an opportunity to say things out loud that we had each been thinking, and then gave us things to discuss when we were on our own as well. There is a workbook to do daily exercises as well but we haven't gotten there yet. I HIGHLY recommend the group!
Anyway, they had a special night for "Surviving the Holidays." One of the ideas presented was putting up a special tree and filling it with ornaments about the loved one. I thought it was a great idea so I asked our immediate family to find an ornament (or make one) and we got together last Friday night to talk about my precious boy. More than anything I wanted it to be a time where the people that knew Caleb the best could get together and talk about him. To remember and honor him. To cry if they needed to, or to laugh when remembering special memories. It was a special night and I love every ornament that is hanging on his tree.
Last week was really hard. I was in Caleb's bedroom a few times and that is the hardest place for me. I think of all the times I rocked him and sang to him in the middle of the night. I look at the paint job on his walls and his firetruck bed and think of the memories I had hoped he would make in that room. I think about his last morning at home after I gave him a bath and was getting him dressed in that room. I can see him laying in his bed after a nap or in the morning when I would come and get him. It feels like so very long ago that I held him and I miss him so much.
We moved his train table up into his room and moved most of his other toys out into the garage. Mostly to set up the Christmas tree, but to make more space too. The girls don't play with his toys and I don't want them losing pieces either. Thinking about Caleb just a year ago, helping us set up the tree, playing with his new train table. It's so hard to wrap my brain around all this. That a year ago he was here and strong, and now he is gone.
I was actually thinking just tonight about something, (not that I can remember what it was now) and being thankful again that Caleb had a good life. He was kicking over blocks the Friday before we went to the hospital. He was smiling and watching Barney that Sunday morning. And then, just that fast the crucial parts of his brain no longer had the energy they needed to survive. His heart, his lungs, his digestive system, all of it started malfunctioning. And then he left us. I hate Mito.
I'm trying not to fall back into the shock and denial of it all, but it is oh so hard. Everything about my life is different now that he is gone. My day pretty much revolved around making his food and giving him his feedings, making sure he had toys on his highchair tray to play with, making sure he got his nap and meds, remembering which therapy appointment he had that day, paying medical bills and trying to apply for assistance, researching medical supplies that would help him, or a new blend for his diet. (I blended up all his food to feed him through his feeding tube) What is so crazy to me is that life without him feels normal. Well except for a huge hole in my heart. It's like I don't remember the way it used to be. I'm busy with a 4 year old and a 1 year old, working twice a week, ladies group, coffee with friends, making food, cleaning, all the "normal" things a mom does, and yet how does this feel normal??!! I just don't understand most times. I don't know if it's a coping mechanism or if I am making progress. I allow myself to feel at different points throughout the day, but most of the time it just doesn't make any sense.
I am finally feeling some anger about the whole situation but I feel like most of the time I take it out on the kids. I'm not really mad AT anyone and that's what makes it so hard sometimes. I guess I've read that I'm just mad that I don't have control. Oh how true that is. I have always had issues with control. I like to be in it and I don't like to be out of it or give it over to someone else. I like to control people, situations, outcomes, and pretty much my life in general. (any wonder I'm a teacher??) I have come a long way in letting go of that control, thanks to many hours of counseling and 12 step groups and finally God, but this part of my life has really thrown me for a loop. I mean, how little control do I really have?? Nothing like losing a child to put things into some perspective for you!
So today I'm trying to open up my hands and loosen my grip on my life a little. I'm trying to release my anger in healthy ways, even though I am struggling to figure out what that looks like. I'm trying to love my girls and be a good mom to them. I don't want to get stuck where I am, or go back to the prideful person I once was and have to fight not to become. I have to choose to look up and to ask God for help, and I am not good at that!
So maybe that will be my goal for tomorrow, just to look up and ask for help