Just as the season begins to change so do I. Strange how the grieving process works. I looked forward to the end of the summer. The heat and the sun left me feeling exposed. October brings forth the chill of the fall, the kind of chill I can wrap myself up in.
I believe grief takes time. But I also have learned that in the tragic case of the death of a child it takes even longer. As I reflect on my own healing process, I realize it has taken me nearly a year just to accept Konnor’s death and come to terms with everything that has happened since then. Children don’t just die and then the parent’s and family go on living and everyone involved lead a normal life. In an ideal world we hope we can. In a stable family it is a possibility. But in my family’s case, my daughter and her husband lost their home to eviction, Konnor’s father and his wife divorced soon after and within months my daughter and her husband separated. (Konnor’s mother and father were not together at the time of his death)
~It was a Sunday morning in November when my daughter called. I was hanging plastic on the windows to keep the chill out. We had our first snow storm the night before. She called in a panic, “I’m taking Konnor to the hospital, I don’t know what’s wrong but he looks bad and he’s been vomiting. Can you meet me there?” I knew it was serious as she doesn’t ususally ask me to meet her at the hospital, Konnor has had many ear infections and ER visits are not rare.
You are very aware of the depth of your grief. You believe it will never end. Once I came to the point where I realized I could not go on in sadness anymore I searched for ways to cope with my loss that were productive yet endurable. When blogging became an outlet for my grief I also joined a few grief support groups. In these groups I have found others who suffered the very same emotional struggles I had in which I felt no other person understood.
~I was driving up I55 and the highway was eerily empty, there was an occasional car in a snow bank on the side of the road. My daughter calling, now desperate “are you coming!” “Yes, as fast as I can” I was feeling frightened. I lived an hour and a half away. I had no idea what was going on. The next call was from Konnor’s father telling me to hurry that Konnor’s heart had stopped but that the doctor’s had managed to restart it. I was frantic, driving alone, scared. Konnor. Konnor, I asked him to hang on for me, hang on Konnor, hang on…
The people in the groups talked about love and loss and questioned how to go on. They couldn’t comprehend how family and friends didn’t understand their pain and their grief. How long will they feel this way? What do they do? I always knew I was not alone in my grief. That there were others who lost grandchildren and loved ones and who struggled with understanding and had difficulty coping with the “ache.” Maybe we just need to be heard. Maybe we just need to be understood.
~At one point they were going to helicopter Konnor to Peoria because Pontiac just wasn’t equipped for the critcal care of a child. But then Tommy called me and said “Mom Konnor died. I’m sorry Mom” I just remember screamng No! please, please no I’m almost there. I don’t know where I am. I need to get there. I was stlll 15 minutes from the hospital. Too late. Konnor was gone.
When people in loss tell you a year is nothing to them, believe them. My year was barely enough time to wrap my head around my grief. I have just started to feel – I can’t type the word “normal” so I will use – numb. I am just beginning to breathe again and feeling a sense of calm within my inner storm. My inner storm being my emotional turmoil. I couldn’t get a grip on my emotions. I was down all the time. So sad, depressed, lost.
~My daughter was inside the ER, hysterical. “Konnor is dead Mom” she said it as if she could not believe it. Like it was a question. She was in shock. I hugged her, my poor daughter. I asked where Konnor was. I needed to see him. Don’t go she told me. You don’t want to see him like that. I wanted to say goodbye. I needed to kiss him and tell him I loved him. My Konnor…
The longevity of grief is in part due to PTSD. The tramatic events and the devastation of what we witnessed of our beloved Konnor took many months to cope with. I cannot tell you what I saw. But I can tell you that it took months of medication to help me sleep at night to block that vision out of my mind. For Konnor’s parents, God Bless them. My heart aches double for them. This is and of itself is the very reason for months of sadness. I cry even now as I type this out. I love you Konnor. Not one ounce of my love has weakened for you, not one.
I want to remember Konnor and use his angelversary to honor his memory. I must not concentrate on what remains in my mind of that day and remember him as the happy child and the funny kid that he was for those 8 years. It is more tragic to his memory to recall the last day of his life than his life as a whole. I need to fight my own mind for the proper Konnor memory. I choose what should remain in my head and what does not to do him justice. Konnor was so much more than his last day.