Monday, 7 August 2017

Diary of a Grieving Mom: Sick with emotion

July 26
I can't keep track of time. For some reason I have been stuck back in the middle of July but somehow time keeps moving forward. 
Lately it's the little things that get me ... like having the last kind of ice cream Xavier ever ate. He wasn't well when he had it but he still enjoyed what he could of it. 
No kid should ever have to have their last ice cream at 7 years old. 
Then the sad thought that when Mackenzie comes home from a night at her grandparents that Xavier won't be coming home with her. He hasn't just been gone for a visit. He is gone forever. 

July 27
How do you choose God what child will get cancer and die? If you have our lives planned our paths already laid out how do you pick... do you ask them before they come to earth? Do you give them a choice at time of death? I don't understand how such a loving God could allow so many children sick and die. I get that it is a much bigger picture and everything matters and is connected to the life of another person... so if so many kids weren't dying of cancer those scientists and researches wouldn't have purpose or find that cure to help so many. But their deaths are a sacrifice for someone else's life... it sets off chain reaction the ripple effect. So again how do you choose which lives will be affected? 

My realities are so messed up. Now when I look at pictures of us all together it feels like a dream. Having that life with you seems so distant already that it feels like it was never real but only in a dream I had once. 
I dream now of a life with you forgetting we had one. 
The longer we are without you the more that life feels like it's fading and hurts more because it's forcing me to live in this new reality without you. I am trying so hard to hold on to you it's not healthy I know because it will keep me suffering 
I forget that there was more in my life that made me happy than just you.
When I look at your picture from years ago when you were well and looked like the old Xavier I can do it without crying at least for a few moments. But one glance at a more recent picture of you and I am full of tears. I hardly recognize you after seeing pictures of you well. I didn't realize how much you had changed because I was with you as you changed and we didn't usually have so many pictures around from years before. It makes me so sad that you had to go away even before you went away. 

"The goal of grief is to say goodbye to our child on all levels, to embrace the contribution our child was able to make to life and to exercise gratitude for the life that was, albeit all too short. To identify and express anger as a natural, human response is one of the steps on the way to recovery."

I am sick with emotion.
As the day goes on I fill with anxiety, wanting wishing for the day to be over. It happens day after day the feeling washes over me again as I yearn for this day to be over again and again. 
My days are long and hard only tiny slits of sun peak through 
My mind is racing yet to an outsider I am hardly moving I am left with no energy as I try to make sense of the incomprehensible 
I hold in so many tears yet it feels as though I cry waterfalls every day 
I wonder how others have made it through 

July 29
Mark just found a cassette tape in his garage stereo and it was Led Zeppelin ... of course Xavier's favourite 

The simplest things bring a lump in my throat like watching a fluffy feather float from the tree to lay on the ground in front of the kids playset. My thought immediately drifts to Xavier in Heaven. 

Aug 1
Today we head out for our first family vacation without our whole family. Going away without Xavier seems so wrong and fills me with so many mixed emotions. It's a step in the right direction towards our new life without him physically here but not without much pain. 
To say I have bad days is an understatement. These so called bad days split me open again to the very core. I feel every fibre of my heart breaking apart again. I sob uncontrollably and I lay in fetal position wishing I could go be with Xavier. It's in those moments that I don't think I can do this... the pain is so great I lose all sense of control. The hope I may have had yesterday dies and I wonder how others have survived this misery, this torture we know as the watered down euphemism grief! 

Aug 3
Vacation without you
It's been so hard to enjoy our only summer vacation but it's too hard without you. You have been on my mind every minute here. 

August 5
Had a dream last night about a big tornado. The weather was terrible but as we (was with friends but could exactly tell who) looked beyond the darkening clouds it looked light. We watched and saw the dark blue and grey clouds with pinkish orange sky underneath. Long fingerlings shot out from the bubbling cloud reaching both up to the heavens and to the side of the cloud before appearing to come down. At that point we ran to the basement for safety. It didn't take long and the storm was over and beyond was sunlight and calm. 

A crashing awakening

I have attempted in making sense of what's in my mind, my heart, in writing recently with little success. 

This skill I thought I had for perfectly pairing words to make beautiful lines of symmetry have become a multi-vehicle pileup on 401 near Woodstock. 

Words and thoughts colliding with each other in every direction and spinning out of control only to come to rest in places not meant to be driven. 

And as this mess inside my head ensues, it slows every other function of my body. Much like the ensuing traffic jam after the crash. But somewhere, somehow, life goes on and traffic flows on other roads much like the lives of those around me. I am stuck in this misery, but it's only on one highway - mine. 

See I have already veered off in a direction and travelled much further than had intended when I started this drive.

There has been a slow transformation happening within me since Xavier died. I did not realize it until recently reflecting on these changes inside me. 

It all started with a song. A friend on Facebook had posted a song. Although I can't remember the title of the song, it resonated with me so I clicked the link to listen. The song was good, but I was curious to see what else this musician had done. That's when I came across a song featured in the Christian movie The Shack. Immediately I didn't care about the song. I was intrigued by this movie after reading a short synopsis about a grieving father who lost his daughter. 

I watched the movie. Then I watched it again with my husband. Both of us in tears as our hearts and souls grappled with the messages from this movie. I still wanted more. So I found the book at the library and read it within three days. It was so much better than the movie but most are. 

Nothing happens for a reason. It was meant to be that I stumble on this movie that gave me some peace, some explanation to ease the pain of losing Xavier. Yet at the same time it made me question so many things and left me longing to learn more.

I started googling. I picked up the Bible and began reading scripture. I searched my own heart and continued to wrestle with ideas about life, God and the universe in my mind.

God is good. 

I don't blame him for what happened to Xavier. He is not the reason for my pain. But He is using this experience to pull me closer to Him. 

He is speaking to me; in my dreams, in meditation and in my heart. I never understood when people said God talked to them, but through my experiences with Xavier I am seeing, rather feeling this. 

I know when he is telling my heart something. It's my heart not my mind that I listen to. He is here with me and helping me figure this life out without my precious son Xavier. 

I get Him more now than I ever did. Do I have questions, yes of course. Do I still have doubts? Yes, of course. But I am learning to trust what's in my heart, that intuition. And when I can do that I know I am trusting God. 

Since making releasing blame for Xavier's death, I have felt more peace. An understanding for what it's worth and that as much as I miss Xavier, life still has a purpose, although I am not sure how or what it is. 

I am beginning to consciously recognize an existence beyond what is seen. To know that earth, like our bodies, are only temporary shells for which we live. Living is not a place, life is not a thing. I want to surrender, to unleash the control I think I have on life and just be. I have felt the connection to a greater being and I am hungry for more. 

My relationship with Jesus is the closest I can get to Xavier right now. I want to know His spirit. I want to see Xavier again someday in the Heavens with God. 

I am a child of God. 

Spiritual relationship 

Tuesday, 25 July 2017


July 22
Last night I woke up around Xaver's time of death. I was jolted awake my a memory.
It was within the last three or four months of his life when Xavier came to me and told me about a recurring dream he was having. He had it before in 2015 when he relapsed and came home after being very sick. He explained to me how we were all walking together as a family, but there were big holes in the ground everywhere. He told me with fear that he fell into one of those holes and the rest of us kept walking. I am not sure the significance or whether he told me this or not but I always associate the colour purple with this dream. He remembered the dream from the last time he had it so vividly. It scared me to hear him have this nightmare again. I assured him we would never just leave him and walk away without him. I wish I had said more, validated this dream - this telling of his future that was in his heart and mind. He was being prepared for his own death, but I was too scared to acknowledge.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Diary of a Grieving Mom: If only Google had the answers

Date Unknown
I am struggling so much these days 
I am so lost and empty without you here Xavier. My life will never be complete without you. I want so much to spiritually connect with you ... to feel you somehow that I know I haven't completely lost you. I know you had to go, you couldn't live in the body you had. You needed to be free and that's why I let you go. But I miss you more than words. To have made you suffer more to stay with me would have been selfish, but I really didn't want to see you go. 
So much pain ... beyond just what I feel, but how I feel for Mark and Mackenzie and our extended families and friends who knew him well. I need to do something to honour your memory. You taught me so many amazing things about life, about childhood cancer and emotions.  I just don't know what yet. 
What's the purpose of going through this Hell if I am not going to do something with the things I have learned from it all. 
The pain is still so intense. I don't see how it will ever dissipate. I long for you every day Xavier. 

July 10 
My tears are like the rain today; gentle yet constant 

July 11
I finally had a dream about you. It has been almost two months and you had not shown up in my dreams. Last night I dreamt I was telling people you died and talking about the loss when the dream suddenly transformed into you being there. You were at school where you loved to be and were running around in the hall with other kids. You were running! You were happy and it brought me comfort because I needed to know you were ok. Thank you Xavier for showing me how much fun you are having. It was a new memory of you and I look forward to having more with you ❤️

Date Unknown
Every time I look out into the backyard these days I see a robin. I think of you every time. But the thought crossed my mind tonight about the winter. You go away. There will be no robins. How will I know you are around. There will be no robins, no rainbows when the snow falls. Just cold. We didn't get to talk about that. I was just happy to get something out of you at that time ... to tell me one thing and shake your head when I said the right thing you would send us as a sign. But I never thought about the winter. I was in the present which they say is good but ...
The hole
(taken July 19 at London Regional Children's Museum) 
This picture says it all. As soon as I went to take it my heart sank thinking about how Xavier's face should have been in the other hole. I almost stopped from taking the picture because it was too hard to bare. This hole is representative of our life now. There is an empty space - a hole in our hearts. I can put my face there or anyone else's but it's never going to be Xavier's ... it will never be the right fit. 
I like to go places and do things we always did with Xavier because it keeps him alive to me. But it hurts. When I see where he was and where he still should be beside his sister I can't help but feel sad. But when I don't do that and do something new he never was, I feel as if I am forgetting about him. It's an internal tug of war to try to fill or cover the hole left inside me. 

My physical pain mimics my emotional pain.

I was recently diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear and inflammation in my shoulder. I was not surprised as I knew I hurt it months ago while carrying my beloved son around when he could no longer walk. I refused to see a doctor back then because I was not going to listen anyways. I wouldn't stop carrying him and I didn't have time for physio. My life was about his pain at that time.

But now strangely enough I find a parallel between this injury of love and the pain of loss now that he is gone. It hurts, a dull ache most days. At least once a day I do something that sends shooting pains through my shoulder and numbness into my fingers. Other times, I am just weak and tired. Much like my emotional pain of grief.

It's there, but you can't see it. And my should will never heal the same nor will I. My fragile limb is the physical representation of my broken heart.

In my agony of missing Xavier I said to myself how am I supposed to live when a part of me is dead?

But people do it all the time. They live when a part of them is broken. Whether its an arm, a leg, or my injured shoulder. I have found ways to cope with the  shoulder pain, to live with it but still do the things I needed and wanted to do. Of course it held me back at times, made me struggle to do ordinary daily things of life and makes sleep challenging.

I could remove my shoulder and arm and not have to live with the "dead" piece of me. But that wouldn't solve a thing. Much like grief. I can't just cut if off, (ignore it altogether) or I will never have a chance to heal. It would still leave me broken. At least with two arms I am still balanced. It just takes more practice to balance, to have my two arms work together again.

Again, like our lives now. Although I feel we are imbalanced without Xavier physically here, I can't imagine cutting that part out of my heart. I just have to find how to create balance with him in a different way. 1`q

Sunday, 23 July 2017

To be blunt...

Diary of a Grieving Mom: Social shyness

A moment of truth - after the loss of a child, social gatherings make me cringe. I can't even think of a suitable analogy to describe the mix of emotions. It is a sickening anxiety.
I speak for myself in my grief, but have also talked to others and read stories of others who share my dread of social gatherings following the death of our children. It all sounds good; a day or night out with friends or family. A pleasant distraction or a chance to have some fun.

But for the grieving mom, they are exhausting.

First off, we have to put on our mask. We have to pretend like we are ok, like we are living even though our child is not. But in reality, we are dead inside. Things are not ok and we hate life. For me, life stopped when my son's heart stopped beating. Everyone else's lives kept moving forward, and all we want is for time to stop so we can catch our breath. Pretending is hard work, especially for long periods of time. Who wants a miserable party pooper at their gathering to bring everyone else down anyways.

So, I put on my mask.

Aside from our blue moods, another reason gatherings are so difficult is that we have nothing to talk about but the death. As stated before, my life stopped the moment Xavier's did. What can I possibly talk about... how I cried three times instead of six yesterday. I feel I have nothing in common with anyone right now. I am in a heavy dark cloud surrounded by puffy white clouds. The only things I do now are those tasks that have to be done. Even those things I have to push myself to do. Anything I do beyond that is not for my enjoyment, but to keep my daughter's life somewhat normal. Maybe someone there would want to listen to me become a blabbering mess as I talk about the only significant thing that has happened in my life lately, but its not a great way to get invited to the next party.

I suppose I could just listen.

But, to be honest, listening to others talk about their summer vacations, workplace drama or life in general is painful. I want to be supportive and excited or even sympathetic, but I struggle. It hurts because I am stuck in my grief. I can't just snap out of it or move forward because grieving is a process we must go through to heal. To deny these feelings, this misery called loss, will only delay the process.

The grief is so intense I can't hide from it.

And then there is the awkwardness. Do you or do you want others to talk about your loved one? The fact I can't even answer that question right now tells me I am not ready to be social. In the first place, I don't want people to tell me they are sorry Xavier died. It feels too much like visitation all over again. And if they bring up memories of Xavier it will make me happy, but also sad. And then they will try to make me feel better with some good-hearted, but stupid comments like at least he is not suffering or he is in a good place (for which I am also guilty of saying). But, in those moments of pain, no words can console me. He is not here anymore and nothing makes that better or right.

But, to not talk about him at all hurts even more.

I will find the strength and one event after the other it will get easier--or so I hope.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017


Tomorrow is another anniversary I wish we never marked. But I can never forgot the time, the days, the weeks and now the months you are not with us.
July 13 is two months since you died in my arms. I think of those moments less and less every day and try to forget. But I can never forget. I miss you beyond words and hurt more than anyone can describe.
Every moment now is a reminder you are not here. When I make a food you liked or go to get the plates out for supper and only grab three instead of four. I think of you when I see the TV remote you always had control of and when I do laundry and never see any of your dirty clothes. And every day as I watch Mackenzie play by herself I feel a stabbing pain for her loss. No child should ever have to go through what my two have.
I try to be positive, put on a brave mask but behind it all I am broken inside and will never be the same. Xavier, you brought out pieces of myself I never knew I had. You made me stronger than I ever thought possible, and love deeper than ever imagined. When you left, I feel I lost that too. I want to be strong for you, I want to be that person I was when you were here, but I am drowning in sadness. Someday, I pray I will find those parts of me -- the ones you helped me build -- so that I can carry you on within me forever.