When my life turned upside down that horrific night of December 7, 2008, I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep. I did good to choke down one What-A-Burger chicken strip, that's how bad it was. I drank coffee and soda so I had something in my system. I had to function somehow, yep caffeine could be the trick. I lost 20 pounds in a few short weeks.
It had probably been about three days at the hospital with Andrew when our social worker looked at me and said "How much have you slept?" I replied with "maybe a couple hours" as I burst into tears. A couple of hours was not an exaggeration. How could I sleep? I had nightmares every time I closed my eyes. I could see and hear everything - the blood, the headlights, the car, the sirens, the helicopter, my kids crying for me, my screams, metal on metal, crash, my lifeless child. Everything! How could I possibly sleep. It was so much better to be awake. At least that way I could "control" something.
He told me to call my doctor and ask for something to help me - "at least for now". I took his advice. I called my doctor's office and had to tell a unexpected nurse the news about my little man, only to hear her gasp on the other end and not have any idea what to say to me. I told her "I need help to sleep". She proceeded to say "I'll have the doctor call you." I was given a drug that now I can't remember, but it didn't work. The first night home to see Danielle while Andrew was in the hospital, I had to have my mom sleep with me - the first time in 30 years I needed that. I couldn't be by myself because of the nightmares.
After the funeral and family going back home, things settled down at my house and I fell into a "depression." That's normal, right? I mean I just lost one of my precious children. A piece of my heart, my soul. I remember feeling lonely, guilty, not wanting to live. I wanted my my sweet boy back with me. I walked around like a zombie.
When I finally went to the doctor I was put on anti-depressants and anxiety pill. Obviously, we all know what the anti-depressants were for, the anxiety pill was to help me get back behind the wheel of a car and to sleep, without the nightmares.
Flash forward to now - 22 months later, and I have now decided that I am going to attempt to go off the anti-depressants. I am tired of taking a pill everyday. I am hoping I can do this. I can feel a side effect. Haziness, light headed, airy, anger, stand off(ish) to a point. Those that know me well have already noticed (and you know who you are) and it's only been a few days.
I have prayed to God that he will help me through this next "battle" I face. This is the first step. The anxiety pill will be down the road. I am not sure when that battle will be. I am afraid of the nightmares. My "daydreams" are enough to haunt me.
Will I ever be normal. The normal I was 22 months ago, never. The "new" normal is me now, but it sucks having a new normal. It sucks - big time.
Brett has been on my mind a lot lately. This time of year is really rough for me. Everything that has to do with the beginning of school seems to be a trigger. I hate that Brett can't be here to start first grade. It's been a while since I have had "those" pains. The pains where you feel like a sharp knife has stabbed and you feel like your heart is going to be pulled out with it. Yeah, those pains.
And then the anger comes back. I am angry with God for taking my sweet boy from me, I am angry that I made that frickin' left turn, I am angry that the doctors couldn't save him.
I HATE the phrase "Everything happens for a reason". Can someone please explain to me what the reason was for my son to be taken from me? Yeah, I didn't think so.
I didn't start writing this post with the intention of all this rage coming out, but I guess that's the way it is. It's been 18 long months. And while I will say I have had some really good days, the bad seems to outweigh the good. August through December are crappy months for me. School starting, holidays, anniversary, etc. I dread these months. Maybe this time around they will be better? Only time will tell.
I wanted to share with you a picture that I received today of Brett. This was taken in January 2008 at Brett and Andrew's friend's birthday party. While I at the time probably cringed at the site of Brett's face (since I have issues with messy hands and faces), I am not cringing now. What a beautiful child I had. What a beautiful angel he must be. I love you baby. Mommy always thinks of you and will forever love you.
I was going through a picture album on my e-mail the other day and ran across this video of Brett. I remember this like it was yesterday. Brett was 2.5 and we were at my mom's best friends house sometime during the summer of 2006. Brett was very excited that he could name all of his colors.
Usually when a parent records their child doing something "special" they do it because they want to show their child the video when they grow up. This is why I did it.
Not one parent out there ever records their child because they think something will happen to their child, they think that something will happen to them. You see, life is suppose to go like this. Mom and Dad go to heaven first and then the children, years later. But not my life. And not Brett's life. I now find myself watching this video because I can hear Brett. I see excitement on his face. I see his beautiful smile. I see that he knew he was loved. I see that he knew how proud we were of him. And the best part, I see it all through his movement, not from a still picture.
I encourage you all to bring out your video camera and capture those precious moments of your children so you do get to watch them when your child is an adult and watch them through tears of joy.
I have been meaning to write in my blog, but every time I think about it, I am too tired to get off the couch to do it. But I am sitting at my computer this morning and thinking now is the perfect time to do it.
It's been a few months, the last I wrote was after the anniversary of Brett's passing. I made it through Christmas, but it was extremely hard. Christmas Eve in particular. Chris and I sat on the couch after the kids went to bed and finished watching the classic "Home Alone" movie. Chris feel asleep on my lap about half way through and I didn't have the heart to wake him, after all I had to wait anyways to wait for Jolly Ole St. Nick to make his debut. I woke Chris after the movie ended to get ready to do our parental duties and I couldn't manage to get up off the couch. I completely lost it. I cried. And I cried hard. There was nothing for Brett, because Brett wasn't with us. It was gut wrenching. I had "those" pains, something I hadn't felt since they told me he had passed and after his funeral.
To think about it today, I am glad I had my breakdown that evening. Something I didn't have to have in front of Danielle and Andrew. They were able to enjoy Christmas without having to worry about their mom and how I was feeling - something they do often. Just a few weeks ago, we were all sitting at the dinner table together (something that doesn't happen often since Chris travels 80% of the time), Danielle innocently asked at the dinner table where Brett was going to sit when he comes home and my emotions got the best of me. Just when I think I have it all together and BAM it hits me like a rock! Brett is gone and he's not coming home. Danielle asked me why I was sad and said "You miss Brett Mommy?" I replied with a soft "yes". A couple hours later we were sitting on the couch and she lightly touched my face and said "Mommy you will be happy when Brett comes home." Whose the mommy here? I explained that Brett was in heaven and that he wouldn't be coming home and one day WE would go to Brett's home with God.
As I write this I realize that Brett is home, but not MY home where I want him to be. He's not coming home to my house, his life that he was suppose to have. I wish my faith was stronger and that I could understand. I guess all in due time.
One year ago (yesterday) I lost my beloved little man. Brett became my guardian angel. It is truly hard to believe that a year has come and gone and that I have survived it. Has it been easy, absolutely not. Do I ache for my son every day? Yes. How did I do it? I pushed through one day at a time with no expectations for myself. I didn't look to far ahead and sometimes planned things at the last minute, something that is not one of my characteristics, but maybe this is part of the 'new' me.
When you lose a child, your entire world turns upside down, inside out. You feel as if your heart cannot break any further and at many times you feel as if it no longer beats inside you. Your world stands still and you really wonder if you are in a dream, no, make that a nightmare, that you can't wake up from. You tell yourself that if you could just have those few days back before everything went so terribly wrong, you would take them and never go forward.
Brett last few days with us were great. He left us with some great memories. On Friday, we took family pictures outside in a cold, brisk 40 degrees. I was determined we were going to get a good shot of all of us since Chris was home to enjoy in the 'fun'. The kids were troopers through it all. Jackets on, jackets off, 'stop smiling like that', look at the camera, no fake smiles - yeah you get the idea. They were greatly rewarded with Little Ceasar's pizza and hot bread sticks. To them it made it all worth it! Saturday, we went to see Santa and see two live reindeer's and take family pictures in front of a huge Christmas tree and a few haystacks that kids just had to sit on.
Later that night we took a drive up the 75 at exit 68 to see a fantastic display of moving Christmas lights where were drove through for about half an hour. The kids ooh'd and ahh'd over the many displays. (The pictures which are still in my phone because I can't bring myself to delete them.)
- and most of all he loved life!
It's the day before Thanksgiving. Why is it that Thanksgiving is the day that smacks you in the face and makes you think about why you are grateful. Do you every ask yourself why don't we think about this every day? Now I have to admit, that was me last Thanksgiving. The day that I sat down and thought why I was so thankful. But not any more. I think about my gratitude and my blessings everyday. One of the many lessons I have learned since that dreadful night last December.
So tonight on this Thanksgiving Eve, I thought I would share a few things I am so grateful for:
- My Life.
- My children.
- My hardworking husband.
- Andrew having his last surgery on Tuesday and that he is finally DONE!
- Raising $1800 to help kick off Brett's Blessings foundation and all the people that helped bake the baked goods.
- Phone calls and text messages to see how my day is going even though it's been almost a year.
- A Safe Place to Heal.
- Journey of Hope
- A friend that got my $700 speedometer repair work done under warranty.
- Old friends that have stuck by me through thick and thin, even though I may be an emotional wreck.
- New friends that don't questions my motives and support me as if they have known me for years.
- Giordani, Swanger, Ripp & Phillips law firm and Cindy Grossman for helping me set up Brett's Blessings foundation and doing it pro bono!
- My neighborhood and the people in it.
- Stonebridge United Methodist Church.
- Facebook - for all the many resources it offers.
My list could go on and on, but then I would be here all night.
I must admit it's hard to be thankful during this holiday because I am still grieving so much and Brett is constantly in my thoughts. The holidays are really tough. The anniversary of Brett's death is soon approaching and Christmas is just around the corner. But what I have realized is that I was given four in a half years of love and joy from my sweet little man. Something that can never be taken from me although he was taken too soon.
So I challenge yourself when you wake up every morning to ask yourself what you are thankful for. Unfortunately, life happens at a blink of an eye. You should cherish the moments - always.
I leave you with this beautiful picture of all three of the kids from last Thanksgiving. So happy and grateful that I have this picture to remember it. Love you Brett. I hope God is saving you a turkey leg.
This has been a rough week and it's only Tuesday. It's the week of Halloween and I am dreading it. My 'first' Halloween without Brett. I didn't buy any Halloween decorations until last week because I didn't think I was going to, but Andrew wanted them so bad and had asked a million times if I was going to get any and I decided to do it for him and he was thrilled with my $10 Walmart decorations.
Today was an emotional day for me. I went to my counselor and got some much needed aggression and tears out for an hour and carried on.
Later in the afternoon, the mom's group that I organize in McKinney (McKinney Mom's Meetup) had an event at Walls of Clay. This is a pottery studio where you can go and paint your own pottery with your children or have a mom's night out and the mom's can paint a piece of pottery. For this event, we took our children to the studio where either a foot or hand of your child is painted and placed on a platter and the art work is done for you. (My kind of deal since I am sooo not an artist). I did this event last year with all three of my children and today I took two. It was hard to not go back to last year. Brett was not the kind of kid that liked his hand painted, (nor his foot for that matter) so getting his foot painted and placed on the platter was not an easy task. My poor little man cried through the entire ordeal, but it was well worth it. I received my platter three days after he passed away . . . three little reindeer's made out of my babies footprints. What a keepsake I will have for the rest of my life, something I would never be able to do again. I managed to keep myself composed at the event and probably spoke Brett's name about ten times to keep things smooth and then I started to crack after Andrew and Danielle did their hand and footprints. I went to the bathroom, cried for just long enough to get it out, and then rejoined the members/friends that were still there.
My day didn't stop there. I proceeded to take my kids to Chick-Fil-A for dinner. I couldn't resist since after all it was for a good cause, Baker Fundraiser Night, 15% of all purchases from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. went back to Andrew's school and the kids were so good after sitting at the studio for 3 hours. I walked in, order our meals, sat down and realized I had not been at that Chick-Fil-A since the Burdick Family Fundraiser was held. Chick-Fil-A held a fundraiser for an entire day that was for my family and hundreds of people came out to support my family. It was amazing to me to see people walk in with flyer's already in their hand to give to the cashier after they paid. A lot of these people were total strangers.
The kids and I came home and Eileen and I started watching The Biggest Loser. This season has one particular contestant that I was immediately drawn to from the start. Her name is Abby. You see, Abby lost her husband, her 5 year old daughter and her 2 week old son in an automobile accident 3 years ago (2.5 years from the seasons taping). When I first heard her story I immediately thought 'that could have been Chris. His entire family could have been gone in the blink of an eye.' I never thought about that before until Abby's story. I always thought 'Why Brett and not me'? I still don't have that answer, but I do know that Andrew and Danielle need their mommy. Andrew told me that last week as he hugged me in the pantry while we were getting snacks to pack for his lunch. He said "Mommy I am so glad you weren't hurt in the accident." It was totally out of the blue and my heart jumped. Maybe that's why it wasn't me.
Abby has found strength in herself to want to "live and not just exist". Sadly as I watched through my tears, Abby got voted off tonight. Why? Not because the other teammates decided it was her time to go, but because Abby asked them to send her home. She saw that her four other teammates needed to be there more than her because she had found herself again because of the ranch and was ready to go home. Her teammates had it right, Abby is a kind, loyal, giving person. She may not have been the Biggest Loser, but she is my Biggest Inspiration. I hope to find myself to be like her one day, living and not just existing. Thanks Abby, from one mommy to another.