A Day in the Life of a Full Time Grandparent

It’s Saturday, I should be sleeping or cleaning or doing anything other than trying to keep up with a four year old. Yes some days it is very hard but the truth is I believe we have saved each other. My son (my grandchild’s daddy) passed away 6 months and 13 days before my grandson was born. My world as I knew it was torn apart but that’s for another time. I was away for work when my grandson was born, I cried missing out on the birth of this little miracle. The thing is that it was okay, and my daughter was able to be there in my place. A once in a lifetime miracle and she was there to watch her brother’s child be born, it is the way things were meant to be.

My grandchild is now 4 1/2 years old and the current love of my life. I look into his big brown eyes and hear his beautiful innocent laugh, I know just how precious this little miracle really is. I have watched him grow, walk and talk and listened to his stories. We play super heroes and turn the living room into dinosaur land. How could any day not be the most wonderful day ever? Every day with him is a blessing, I remind myself daily especially when I am tired and wish I could just be a grandma.

Yes, I am tired and the house is full of toys, experiments (crafts) and other things I am not quite sure of. Sometimes I wish just for some quiet time alone or to just jump in the car and drive anywhere. Life is no easier now being a grandparent “parent” then it was while I raised my children. The guilt for wishing for just a moment of silence or to watch a movie without answering a million questions throughout the entire thing can be quite over powering.

The truth: this is not easy and sometimes it feels completely impossible to continue. Would I change it? Not if it meant not knowing what kind of life he would be truly living if things were different. He is such a smart, imaginative, beautiful little boy so much so that my heart over flows with so much love for him. It is possible to be tired and happier than ever known possible at the same time.

There are so many of us grandparents that have taken on the roll of full time “parents”, I feel sad knowing the parents the ones who could be there for these children actually choose not to be. So on those days where I just want to run away and say there is no way I can continue I hold my grandson tighter and tell him how very special he is to me. We snuggle closer and begin a new day tomorrow, for as many tomorrows as I am chosen to be blessed with the luck of loving this child with every ounce of my being.

For all of you who know exactly what I am seeing, feeling and living I send you hugs. Remember to snuggle closer and love with every ounce of your being, these little ones need us just as much as we need them. I may have saved him from a very different life but he saves me every single moment of my life. My purpose in this world is not over yet, neither is yours. That is my reminder to all of you when you are tired and feel ready to give up, remember you are their miracle and their hero forever.

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July 21st – Five Years Later

Five years ago today my world as I knew it was forever changed. The day my son chose to end his pain and leave so many of us broken, lost and forever sad. In some eyes five years may seem like a long time, for me it still feels like it was just yesterday. When I say not a day goes by that I don’t think about him I truly mean it. Yes, I have many good memories that I still think about and smile. I smile remembering my sweet little boy who pretended to be hulk, I remember him dressing up as Wolverine for Halloween, I remember his hugs and his laugh. There were many rough times between us I cannot deny that. So many times I begged for a padded room just to get a break, to not fight and argue with this stubborn teenager who knew just how to push my buttons. The thing is through all of it the good and the bad I loved that boy with my whole heart and still do. Only now a part of my heart is gone with him, and what’s left hurts all the time.

I feel lost so many days, not sure where I belong or even where I want to be. Home was always me, my son and my daughter. It’s like an empty nest only it’s so much worse! I have been told by people closest to me that I live in a dark hole and refuse to move on. Part of this is true, a part of me will always be in a dark hole because the child I carried for nine months and watched grow into a young man who gave me two beautiful grandchildren is gone forever. I am not sure how I have even survived this long, how is it possible to keep breathing when I was supposed to protect my son forever not grieve for him forever? I am still breathing and I am still living, just not as I once had.

I believe this pain and sadness will last forever but I also believe I am able to find joy in little things even more now than ever was possible before July 21, 2014. Life is so very precious and I don’t want to waste a minute of it, this does not mean I won’t have my bad days. Some days the pain knocks the wind out of me and the sadness over takes me. I am able to smile and to laugh again to look forward to things again. The loss is still with me, sometimes it feels stronger now than ever. I know life keeps going and I know I have a beautiful daughter who is still here, who I am so very proud of and love more than life itself. I have two beautiful grandchildren who need to know that their daddy was one of a kind. My job now is to live for both of us and to make sure not a single soul forgets my son.

July 21, 2014 the day my firstborn my son left us forever, the day my world changed forever and the day I will dread every year forever.

To the moon my children…..to the moon! XOXO

Living While Grieving the Loss of My Son to Suicide

Every morning my alarm goes off, I get up and start my day. Whether that is going to work or just taking care of my grandson. Every morning my son is still my first thought and as I go through my day the memories seem to hit me like a punch in the gut.

Memories, so many memories some happy some sad. Isn’t that just a normal part of life? The difference – my memories whether happy or sad are filled with guilt, anger and anxiety. Every single memory of my son brings that ache in my heart the knot in my stomach and tears so many tears.

I had tried counseling a few years ago, it was not the right fit for me. I went a few times until I finally realized it was in no way helping me process my grief. So what did I do, I stopped going. I let life take over, going to work, paying bills and taking care of my grandson. That was all I had time for until I made the major decision to change everything about my life. My daughter sent me a link to a group for Survivors of Suicide that is local and I attended my first meeting this last week. What did I learn, 1 hour is definitely not enough time. I also was able to speak freely about my feelings, my anger, my guilt, my sadness. How I feel isolated because no matter how much someone is just trying to help me it feels as if I am being judged. This causes me to feel so alone and isolated in my grief, if I allow my true feelings to show it causes everyone to worry about me. This group allowed me to just feel, and be completely honest and open about my true feelings. I am thankful I attended however saddened that such a group needs to exist. I look forward to continuing my journey with this group, a group that none of us want to have to be a part of.

So today I enjoy a day off, spend time with my grandson and putting my words to paper (so to speak). Living life while grieving is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I don’t have a choice and I have no idea how I actually accomplish this everyday. If you too are trying to live life while grieving know you are not alone. There are others that do actually understand and do actually feel what you are feeling. Our circumstances may be different but no less heartbreaking. I have had to learn in the past 4 1/2 years that I have to do things at my pace and not everyone can accept that. As I hope they will continue to love me and support me I also hope they can do their best to understand there is no right or wrong way to grieve. There is no milestone as to where I or any of us should be in our stage of grief. I lost my child and every breath is painful, but I am here and I am living the best I can through this unbearable heartache.

I do feel joy and I know that is ok, I just wish it wasn’t layered with unending sadness.

Until next time…….”To the Moon”

The Day Life Became Known as Before and After

“I am so sorry Anna” the words read, and I knew then my son was gone!! During the phone call I begged “Where is my son? Please tell me he is ok! Where is my son?!” He was not ok, he was gone with no goodbye and no real reason why. Time stopped and everything kind of blurs after that, even today it seems my memory does not work properly.

My world as I knew it ended that day, the me that once was strong and confident no longer existing. My oldest child, my son completed suicide on 7/21/2014 and life has never been the same since.

I will tell you more of my story at another time, today I talk about the pain, the feelings of hopelessness, confusion, my literal broken heart. It’s been 4 years, 6 months and 18 days how is it the pain somehow feels worse. The ache inside is real and physical, my heart is completely shattered. How did this happen? How can I still find myself in denial at times? How is it possible to relive the worst moment of your life every single day? I cannot handle any type of stress, I used to be stronger. I cannot deal with anything that may be even close to possibly causing me pain. I cry for no reason, no longer everyday but at any given moment. I don’t understand how this could be real, I find myself looking for him everywhere I go. I was afraid to make any changes, don’t move, don’t cancel his phone, don’t change your email!! What if he cannot find or contact you? No I am not delusional I know my son is gone, yet there is still a part of me that longs to deny the reality of his absence. Others have a hard time understanding, they want to help. I cannot handle the things I once could, and seeing I am not the person I once was they can only see this as something that needs to be fixed. No loved one wants to see me be a shell of myself, but there is nothing that can bring back the person they knew so long ago. There are times I wonder if I should be better by now, should I be fixed not so broken? Then I think of the almost 22 years I had with my son, I can see the day he was born just as clearly as the day he left this world. I have become part of a club no parent ever wants to join, no parent ever should be a part of. We are not supposed to lose our children, they are not supposed to leave before us. Sometimes I am still numb, other times I ache so badly I swear I will literally fall apart and I am angry so very angry. I don’t know who to be angry with, myself? My son? God? My family? The doctors that released him even though they knew he was not well? I blame everyone and no one! I just don’t want to hurt anymore, I do not want to miss him anymore, I want him home and safe and for this to be nothing more than a very bad nightmare.

A part of me knows that every single feeling I have is a normal part of grief, but how awful is that? There should be no “normal” part of grief, it should not hurt this bad and it should ” be normal.

Today is a paragraph of feelings, next time I will share a different chapter.

Until then. (To the moon)