Monday, October 12, 2015

Disbelief.

It begins with an email. An announcement. A mother has lost her child. Another mother. A freak accident, no explanation that makes any sense to anyone.

The phone calls between friends begin. The tears. The "what should I do?" The "I can't imagine." The shock. The walking through the grocery store in a daze because you can't seem to comprehend why a little girl had to die.

I don't pretend to be best friend's with her mother, but I do call her a friend. When I think of her face, I see a smile and a warm greeting. She always walks toward me, not away. She doesn't deserve this heartbreak.

Her daughter was in my son's class two years in a row. I was disappointed when I heard she wouldn't be a classmate this year. She was the one I had picked to grow up with Ryan. I teased him occasionally to remember to be nice to her because you were going to take her to prom someday.

They live around the block from us. Her mom, dad and little brother. She had an infectious smile and a comfortable sense around adults. Her eyes as bright and smiley as her mother's, her golden disheveled curls revealed her inner tomboy and she could definitely hold her own while playing with the boys. She was adored by so many.

As I write, I have a feeling of disbelief. This feeling will continue for months to come. My heart sank and my tears are flowing. Knowing that her parents and brother's lives are forever altered breaks my heart. They will be followed by a dark cloud. Joy will be impossible for the coming days and months. Pain and grief will come into their lives uninvited. They will have to discover a way thru it all and carve out a new existence. A new way to live. Because they'll never go back to who they were before they lost her. You turn into someone else.

I hope that smile doesn't disappear completely. I hope that warm greeting can be returned by me and others in her life.

She will need everything we can give to her now. This grief is a terrifying thing. This pain is easier to look away from, but we need to go towards the pain, look it straight in the eye and be in it with her.

Bring them food, send them cards, attend memorials. but most of all keep showing up, remember her daughter, talk about her and miss her. Even after all the ceremonies are done and the food runs out and the relatives go home. Show up. Stop by. Share a hug. Anything to know she's not alone with her grief. That's what we can do.

We will miss you sweet Sophia.



Saturday, October 3, 2015

Home bound

I'm still here. Dermot is still here.

On September 9th, Dermot's leg was broken at school. We've been home bound ever since.

What does home bound mean? It means Dermot's in a rented reclining wheelchair that is next to impossible to put in my van. It is equipped with four flimsy nylon tie downs that make it "safe" to ride in a car. It also requires hastily purchased manual tie downs for $114 at the mobility van store.

So Dermot hasn't left the house since September 13th when we returned from Gillette Specialty Hospital. Unless you count the one time my husband took him for a walk around our neighborhood (otherwise known as "utopia") which he admits was excruciatingly difficult from a fitting in standpoint. I'm working up my courage to take him for a walk this afternoon. We'll see how that goes.

My fall as planned has not gone as planned at all. One nanny just delivered her first child (hooray for her, not hooray for the Sullivans), next nanny is only available on Thursdays, but not last Thursday. (Sorry!), Next one suffered a death in the family and needed to be with her own family. Then finally, the interview went great, the references all checked out, and the hopefully next nanny, declined my offer. So, my self-employed husband or my sister-in-law have been able to come home for 90 minutes a day for me to get my run in or my yoga class attended.

I have discovered a new grocery delivery service (thank god!). I have watched an obscene amount of television. I am thankful that I had never watched Parks and Recreation before, because it tends to be a bright spot in the early afternoon.

I have also been baking. Double chocolate chip muffins, lemon poppy seed muffins, my signature chocolate chip cookies, loaded oatmeal cookies, cake batter cookies, pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese cupcakes, and my latest (in the oven as I write) pumpkin chocolate chip bread.

I have had a few visitors. Dermot's teacher comes for an hour each weekday, Owen and Ryan's piano teacher comes once a week. Dermot's therapists come to the house twice a week, and my parents are here now. But I'm always craving more connection. The fishbowl gets lonely when the only creatures around are a non-verbal nine year old boy, two very old beagles and a cat who insists on being pet as soon as the nebulizer machine comes on.

But I'm still home bound. Dermot's respiratory infection is almost gone, but I'm still in charge of the suction machine, diaper changes and nebulizer treatments. I'm still the person responsible.

We visit the surgeon on Monday morning for a progress report and x-ray, but then I have to wrap my head around letting him go back to school.

Will he be ok? Will he be excited or scared to go back? Will the teachers and staff know how to care for him safely? Will he be able to ride the bus in his normal wheelchair? Do I want him to?

Have I reconciled my feelings about what happened? I would hope so, but idle minds are the devil's playground. I've been idle...

Home bound. Still.