Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Took the words from my mouth!

I just love Joe Purdy! He's got an amazing voice, and a talent for saying exactly what I want to say, only better. I just keep finding more Joe Purdy songs that speak for me, and its really interesting to hear someone totally removed from me and my life sing my thoughts and feelings. Really cool.

Tonight Elvis is working nights, the ideal time to sit down at the computer and deal with some thoughts and feelings, the way one might tackle a big load of laundry, sort through the pile, tackle the heavy duty dirt first, and hopefully when you're done, it all comes out clean. I find its best I tackle my emotional dirty laundry when Elvis isn't here, because you never know whats going to "come out in the wash", things tend to get a little wild on laundry day.

I've got nothing specifically nagging at me today. I'm not busting at the seams to get something out or let some particularly painful feeling loose. I just feel compelled to write and just see what comes. The kids are tucked nicely into bed, and I'm neglecting any household chores I could be doing to listen to some songs I like on YouTube, check out my mommy message board, and just be alone with myself and my thoughts. I'm listening to Joe Purdy, as the title of this post may have already given away. Rainy Day Lament is the song I am listening to right now, I've never heard it before tonight, but its great. Its slow, and draggy, and full of emotion and despair and sadness, as the title may already have suggested. Here's my favorite lyrics from the song:

Gotta get my head together, yeah
Gotta get my thinkin' straight
Gotta keep my mind from racin'
But it might be too late
Well it might be too late

Cuz these demons in my head
They just won't wait
They just won't wait

feel just like a failure
Well maybe I am
Say it and give you somethin' better
But I don't think I can
Well I don't think I can

Cuz I got nothin' else
In my hands
Yeah in my hands

And all these things I'm feelin'
Maybe I don't wanna say
Maybe I'm just tired
Or maybe I'm not brave
Well maybe I'm not brave

Well maybe I'm afraid I can't
Maybe I'm afraid I can't

So come on over here
I don't wanna be alone
But if you're busy dear
I'll see you later on, yeah
I'll see you later on, yeah
I'll see you later

I feel like these words sort of represent how I feel about expressing myself and my emotional and physical state after losing Everett. Scatter brained, demon haunted, failure, not brave, scared, lonely, the song sings about them, and I struggle with them, practically each and every time I'm alone with my thoughts and my memories.

So, thanks once more Joe Purdy, for singing about my heart and my life, its great to have music that you can apply to your life, like my own personal soundtrack. If my life were a movie, Joe Purdy would be my soundtrack, along with some Killers, maybe some Cat Stevens, and my movie would probably make you really sad, and depressed, you'd probably cry.

Anyway, moving on.

My sister Courtney is visiting for a few days, she doesn't live too terribly far away, but we don't see her as often as we would like. Her handsome traveling companion is her 8 month old son, my gorgeous nephew Xavier. Its always so good to see them. They're special people.

Courtney and I are 11 months apart in age, our relationship has cycled from close in young childhood, to a bit more distant as school aged kids, to very close now in adulthood, and I love it. She's definitely more then just a sister to me now. She's been very supportive to me throughout Everett's illness and his death, and still is throughout the healing process. She's one of those people I talked about in a previous post, who were right there with us on the front lines during Everett's time at Sick Kids. We camped out at her place, and she often watched Avery for us while we were visiting Everett, so she'd be there waiting for us when we got back so we'd have a child to hold and love before we fell into restless sleep. She waited in the waiting room with us while Everett was in surgery, she was anxious and worried and scared along side us, and she was there when Everett was baptized, and after he died. She held him when we held him, after he had died, and she let her emotions wash over her like we did, she was overcome, she hurt, she couldn't handle it, and I was touched. I was touched by how deeply she felt it, I was honored that he meant so much to her that she could grieve like that for us, and for him, and I was appreciative that I could rest assured that she truly, and deeply "got it", I would never have to explain anything to Courtney, she already knew. As much as it pains me that anyone had to feel this pain with us, it is of some comfort to know that she will always understand me on a level that not many others will. Aside from my mom, and Elvis, Courtney, and Elvis's sister Jeanette, I don't think anyone really knows how bad it was.

Courtney had Xavier on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day the year after my boys were born. He was 5 weeks early and his birth was traumatic and scary and we're all really very lucky sweet Xavier is here with us today. She gave him the middle name "Everett" in honor of my sweet baby, another way that I can tell that Courtney really cares, and understands, and loves Everett too. Xavier is a healing baby I think. He can't erase the past, and no baby can replace another, but Xavier is very special. I love him very strangely, because I love him very much like I love my own kids, there's a very thin line differentiating the two kinds of love. He's my first nephew, though Elvis has many nieces and nephews, so this kind of love is very new to me. He's my sisters baby and I love him like he's an extension of my own family, and I think Courtney feels the same towards my kids too. Next to me, Courtney is the "mommiest" to my kids, she's like me in many ways, from how she talks, to how she cares and mothers, and I wonder if thats how Xavier will see me when he's older. Risking getting completely off track here, my mom's sister, my Aunt Martha, is very much like my mom, from how she talks, how she cares, and even how she looks, and I've always felt particularly drawn t her, like next to my mom she was the "mommiest" person I knew. Having a nephew of my own has given me lots of insights these days, Xavier has been healing and good for my brain too!

But what I mean by healing is this, he's came at very special time in our lives, when we as a family needed something good and happy, and he gave everyone something new to focus on. He's also sort of living proof that sometimes miracles do happen, and he's a precious little reminder that life goes on (unlike some of life's uglier reminders). His middle name is Everett, thats special. He also provided me with a less painful way to deal with Everett's stuff. Tackling Everett's things was a very difficult thing to do, but it needed to be done, I had two of practically everything. I was able to give Courtney Everett's crib, and some other items and rather despair over how my baby never got to use them, I was able to give them to a baby I would love and be happy that they were put to good use. Xavier did all these things for us without having to "do" a thing, just his presence in our family has done so much good. We'll never expect him to "do" anything, we love him just because he is Xavier and he is incredibly lovable. I'm not trying to hamper him with a job by calling him "a healing baby", its something he is, but not something we expect him to be. I hope that makes sense. Just like Landon was a healing baby, I don't expect either of these little guys to fill up spaces in our hearts or magically mend our hurts, simply by being here with us they've worked wonders and thats all we could ever ask of them.

Just look at this amazing baby:

Seriously, I can't believe how precious he is. My sister is a very lucky mommy, and I am a very lucky Aunt.

I'm also a very lucky sister. I have to go back to talking about Courtney for a moment, because I'm feeling like I could never say enough how good it is to have her. You may think that most family members would "get it" or have some innate understanding and show you extra sensitivity and support, but its just not true. "Getting it" is the exception, not he rule. Though you would think most people are capable of trying to put themselves in someone else's shoes and rustling up some extra compassion, it just does not happen that way. We've been hurt and disappointed by a lot of people we thought should "get it", friends and family alike.

Shortly after Everett died we were at a large gathering and I overheard something that was a painful reminder that the loss of our son didn't bring everyone's world crashing down, just ours. A pregnant woman discussed with another woman that she had originally thought she was having twins, the non pregnant woman said "Oh, did you want twins?", the pregnant woman gasped, "Oh God no!!" At that very moment I crumbled into a million pieces and scattered across the floor, though I am very certain neither of them noticed.

The world just can't see our pain anymore, on the outside looking in I guess we look better, or at least healed a bit, thats why Courtney is special, she's on the inside, and she knows how it really is. I love that I don't have to pretend at all with her.

I know I'm rambling on and on, this post must be getting terribly long, and at the risk of becoming nonsensical, I'm going to go on a bit longer. I'm feeling rather sentimental right now, all this talk about love and family and the value of surrounding yourself with people who "get it" has started me thinking about other people who make me happy, or warm my heart.

My Mom was a rock for us when Everett died. I know she experienced incredible pain and still grieves to this day, losing him crushed her too. She mothered and loved me so much during the time he was in Sick Kids, and right after he died, she dished out comfort and guidance and love like she had a never ending supply. She was there for us like a mother should be, and to this day she can detect an "Everett moment" and comforts accordingly. I can't say too much about my Mom without getting too overcome with emotion, and then I'd have to stop this post right now while I sob hysterically over how much I love my Mom and how happy I am that she loves me (because I realize that not all moms love like my Mom does). She was and still is a rock, and she is also one of those people who "gets it", she's on the inside with us, and I am grateful for her.

My little sister Kerry never met Everett while he was alive, and I know that pains her. She wasn't able to come to Sick Kids to see him, but I know she wanted to and that means a lot too. She cried at his funeral, her hurt clearly displayed for all to see. I know Kerry loved Everett and I know her heart broke for him and for us. I know she still thinks about him more thens he says, and I am thankful for her. She'd go to bat for us if we needed her, she'd be the first to get riled up if someone were to say anything remotely hurtful or offensive or ignorant in regards to us and Everett and his story. She's passionate and strong and outspoken and I have a big giant soft spot in my heart for Kerry. I bet I love her more then she knows, I should probably tell her more.

I know my Dad is highly unlikely to ever read my blog, so I'm going to say a lot of sappy things about him that I would never say to his face, because I would cry (like I am right now) and we just don't go getting sappy like that with Dad.

He saw Everett just once. When he was still at our hospital, still brand new and still believed to be totally well. He saw Everett when he was pink and healthy, though on a respirator and not looking much like a "normal" new born. When my Dad met Everett he expected that he'd be coming home with Landon in a few weeks, and he'd wait until then to get to know them. My dad doesn't like hospitals, so he met Everett once, then stayed home.

My Dad also doesn't do funerals, or large social gatherings. He never came to Everett's funeral, and I didn't expect he would. He stayed home and watched Avery for us.

My Dad is a introverted guy, he's the strong and silent type. I've never seen him cry over Everett, or express his sadness over his passing. He's never wrapped his arms around me and offered me comfort when I was falling apart, but none of this has ever made me thing my Dad wasn't bereft like the rest of us.

I know my Dads heart broke over Everett, I know this change of "plans", going from two babies to one, three grandkids (at the time) to two, it hurt him deeply in a way he'd never be able to express. But I know it. My Dad is an incredible Dad. Not perfect, no one is and no one should be expected to be. My Dad is imperfectly wonderful. He's an even better Grampa. He's a much loved and sought after Grampa, Avery and Landon and Xavier adore him, Everett would have too. I know he knows that, and I know he thinks of Everett and how the loss of Everett hit our family like a meteorite leaving behind a massive crater of hurt and grief. Because my Dad is very smart, I know he's not unaware of our hurt, and because he's my Dad, I know he cares and is effected. He doesn't need to say it, or show it, we know it.

My Dad was never on "the inside" though, he was a bystander in this train wreck, but people he loved were on the train, and you can't watch such a catastrophe unfold, powerless to change it or stop it without being permanently changed by it, you just can't. You can't watch life go from this:

To this:

And not get hit with a little shrapnel. I just really love my Dad.

There are some other people I could thank, God knows that so many people reached out to us as our world came falling down around us. But I can't go into detail about why each and every one of those people is special and amazing, so maybe I should stop here.

I started this post off not knowing what I was going to talk about, because I had nothing in particular on my mind, I just wanted to write. I'm thankful that my mind seemed to go a different direction then usual, rather then think about the hurt and pain, which is the most natural thing to write about when writing about life after the death of a baby, I'm grateful my mind decided to direct my hands to talk about love.

My life is filled with it,

I love so many people so much more then they know, I am so filled with love,

I love my Mom, and my Dad, and my sisters, and my kids, and Xavier,

I love my friends, and of course, I adore Elvis,

I love Everett, and miss him,

I love that there are people in my life to make it easier to love him and live without him,

My cup is truly overflowing with love,

And now my eyes are overflowing with tears,

Time to go.


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