Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Wish List....

I received the below private comment on Jillian's Care Page tonight, and I though it was worth sharing. I know some of you can relate to these wishes. This comes from a mother who lost her daughter about four years ago.


1. I wish my child hadn't died. I wish I had her back.

2. I wish you wouldn't be afraid to speak my child's name. My child lived and was very important to me. I need to hear that she was important to you too.

3. If I cry and get emotional when you talk about my child, please know it isn't because you hurt me. My child's death is the cause of my tears. You have talked about my child and allowed me to share my grief. I thank you for both.

4. Being a bereaved parent is not contagious, so please don't shy away from me. I need you now more than ever.

5. I need diversions so I do want to hear about you, but I also want you to hear about me. I might be sad and I might cry, but I wish you would let me talk about my child, my favorite topic of the day.

6. I know that you think of me and  pray often. I also know that my child's death pains you, too. I wish you would let me know those things through a phone call, email, or a card, or a real big hug.

7. I wish you wouldn't expect my grief to be over in 6 months. These first months are traumatic for me, but I wish you could understand that my grief will never be over. I will live with the death of my child until the day I die.

8. I am working very hard on my recovery, but I hope you understand that I will never fully recover. I will always miss my daughter and I will always grieve that she is gone.

9. I wish that you wouldn't expect me "not to think about it", or to "be happy", or "smile". These may not happen for a very long time, so don't frustrate yourself.

10. I don't want to have a "pity party", but I do wish you would let me grieve. I must hurt before I can heal.

11. I wish you understood how my life has shattered. Please be patient with me.

12. When I say, "I'm doing okay", I wish you could understand that I don't FEEL okay, and I struggle daily.

13. I wish you knew that all of the grief reactions I'm having are very normal. Depression, anger, frustration, hopelessness and overwhelming sadness are all to be expected.

14. Your advise to "take one day at a time", is excellent. However, a day is too much and too fast for me right now. I wish you could understand that I'm doing good to handle one hour at a time.

15. Please excuse me if I am rude. Sometimes the world around me goes too fast, and I need to get off. When I walk away,  please know I need a quiet place.

16. I wish you understood that grief changes people. When my child died, a big part of me died with her. I am not the same person I was before my child died, and I will never be the same again.

17. I wish very much that you could understand my loss, my grief, my silence, my tears, my void and my pain, BUT, I pray that you will never understand.

~The Compassionate Friends

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

No Warm Fuzzies...

I think Jillian’s brother, Josh, has it right. "There is no sugar coating what happened to Jillian. It should not have happened. It sucks, and I’m not okay with it". 

Yesterday the reality of losing my daughter, my children’s sister, smashed me to my knees. I remember telling a good friend of mine a few months before Jillian died that I was afraid if I let go of that tight grip I had on myself, I’d fall into that deep, dark, hole and never find my way back out again. 

Jillian is everywhere in this house. I have always had tons of pictures hanging on the walls with the kids photo’s. She is in every room. She’s in my freezer, in the bathroom. Constant memories are flooding me where ever I turn. And that’s a good thing. Until it hits me once again that I won’t be able to touch her, to kiss that sweet forehead goodnight. Our relationship has always been a tactile one. Especially the last few months. Helping her walk, her every day care. Rubbing lotion on her face, arms, hands and feet. There is something so comforting about that touch. An expression of love when no words are needed.  I so miss that.

The emotion’s change quickly however. Now I’m mad. I’m mad at the person working the register at the grocery store who wants to know if I’m having a good day. “No, not so much you see, I had a memorial service for my 23 year old daughter who died of Melanoma Cancer the other day, and I had to force myself to come here for milk”. I’m mad at every single person who is going on with their life, while mine has come to a screeching halt.

And then I’m not mad, because I want life to go on for that person at the grocery store, and for everyone around me. We live in a vibrant, exciting world with so many possibilities, and opportunities to explore. I want to be a part of that world too.

What I am realizing is that I will grieve in my own way, in my own time. Just like every person that was touched by Jillian in some way. There is no right or wrong way.  These are uncharted waters and I’m going to do it MY way. I’m going to embrace the feelings I’m having in the moment and remember all I need to do is get through this minute the best way I can. And pray.

Yesterday I had several text messages from friends and co-workers. Today I had a beautiful bouquet of flowers delivered to my home from a very dear friend of mine. God sent in His angels for me. I think He’s going to be busy with me for a while.

But, I’m still standing, Jillian. Still standing.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

"Where Are You Going?"

It’s been one week and one day since Jillian has left this Earth. The week has passed quickly, the week has gone by at a snail’s pace. Family have been in and out of my house constantly. Arrangements for Jillian’s Celebration of Life needed to be completed. The kids, Steve and I, spent several hours going through photo’s for the slide presentation for her visitation. So many photo’s. We all had pictures we wanted shown. It was therapeutic for us as we went through old photo albums remembering and laughing about fun times.  Each of us felt Jillian’s  presence. In the end, the presentation lasted about 25 minutes. It was beautiful. 

Thank- you, for those who came to Jillian’s visitation. It was so nice seeing people I hadn’t seen in years. So many kids, parents of soccer team mates, teachers, coaches. Someone said to me, “Does all this really help”? Are you kidding me? Yes, it helps. These are the people who have been praying and supporting Jillian and our family. These are the people who have their own memories, their own grief to cope with. It helps our family, and it helps them. Yes, it is hard to go through. But I think it’s important.

The service itself met all of my expectations. And more. It was geared toward the younger crowd. Why? Because Jillian was young. It is not the natural scheme of things to have a young woman of 23 die. There was a time of sharing of memories where I spoke, as well as Jillian’s brother’s, Jonathan and Joshua, and Jillian’s Uncle Jeff. The message was one of Hope, Love and Life. I know Jillian approved and was proud.

So now what? My house is empty, quiet now. The kids have left for various activities, Steve’s family from Bay City have gone home, and Steve went up north to his cabin to spend some alone time with Jillian.

I’m trying to figure out how to feel. Where do I fit in now? The last two years have been spent living around Dr. appointments, and caring for Jillian. I know I have a lot of emotional work to do. I haven’t properly grieved the death of my dad. My husband filed for divorce the day after Jillian came home with Hospice care. Jillian is gone. Now what? Now I have to learn how to navigate around that gaping hole that was Jillian. BUT, I’m not planning to fall into that hole. Maybe I’ll plant flower’s around it. Add a pond filled with fish and frogs.

The song “Where Are You Going?” keeps ringing in my head. I don’t know where I'm going yet. But I do know this. Jillian would stand. She would not let life’s circumstances break her. Jillian would live her life each and every day fully. She would have fun!  I’m terribly sad, but I’m not broken. I’m lost, but I’ll find my way. God hasn’t let me down so far, not once. I’ll listen for His voice, and wait for His exciting plan for me.

In the meantime, I’ll take Jillian’s lead. In honor of what she has taught us, I’m going to Fall Seven Times, and STAND Eight. Or eighty eight.

~Peace and LOVE!