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Topics - SarahW

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1
Child Loss / Just checking in
« on: September 22, 2016, 07:56:21 PM »
I know it's been a long time but I've been so busy . . . which is a good thing.

Though it was 7 years in July since I lost Vince, it still hurts almost as much as it did on day 1; I'm just better able to deal with the pain.  I still cry for him a lot.

But the bad times are interspersed with good times.

The two teenage girls I adopted are still in my life, thought the older  one has taken off with her horribly objectionable boyfriend and I rarely see her.  I am hoping she will hit bottom one day and manage to crawl out of this hole she is digging for herself.  The younger one is now 16 and is really showing so much progress in overcoming the terrible years of neglect and abuse she went through before going into foster care.

I have a two year old foster daughter that I am just in love with, but I am trying to resist the temptation to adopt her.  I've had her for 8 months and I am pretty attached to her. I'm a single woman who is much too old to be her actual mom, and I don't want to be selfish about this.  I am guessing once all the paper work is done they would have no trouble finding someone to adopt this sweet, smart little cutie pie.

I also have a 3 yr old foster son, off and on - his mom has been having serious mental health issues and she gets better for awhile and then he goes back, but then he comes back . . . it looks like I might be getting him back soon for another few months.  I am crazy about him, too, and worry about him when he's gone.  I think his mom truly cares for him, but she is very unstable and I worry for his safety when she is unwell.

ANYHOW- I know I haven't been around here, but please know I think of you all quite often, and I will never forget the help it was to find this place in those early years. It is still good just to know in the back of my mind that you are here.

I still miss Vince like crazy and sometimes it still seems like I can't take another breath, but having my daughter and the little ones keeps me going.

I've had more "little signs" and dreams where I get to see Vince, and that helps, though I wish they were more frequent.

One thing that really helped me was one night about a year ago - I couldn't sleep and I felt so much like Vince was near . . . and I just gave into it.  I said hi to him and I felt this rush of feeling like he'd just come into my arms.  I hugged my pillow and cried and cried with joy.  It felt so much like he was really there and he was so glad I'd finally said hi and let him in.  It wasn't all I hope our reunion to be someday; it was just my pillow and my mind's eye . ..  but also I think, some real presence and connection to him.  Whatever it was, it helped lift my spirits. It still does when I think of it.

I told no one about that, by the way - I mean, who can you tell who would understand? So it feels good to tell it here - to people who will understand.

All my best to all of you!!  Much love to all.

2
Child Loss / Just saying hi and catching up
« on: November 05, 2014, 02:42:48 PM »
All:

Haven't been here much because I've had so much going on . . ..

--Adopted the eldest foster child, Mariah, in August. (She just turned 18.)

--Will be adopting her younger sister in late November. (She's 14.)

--Still have the youngest sister also, working on adopting her, but it is not a sure thing. (She's 12.)

--We moved to a new house!  The house hunting and buying and moving has been wild and crazy.  We are still living partly out of boxes and I'm still working on getting the old house ready for sale.  WHEW!!

Moving from the house I lived in with Vince was hard in a lot of ways, but I "brought him with me."  I had such of feeling of closeness to him that first week in the new house.  I know he is still with me.

Hugs to all - I did some reading and catching up . . . best wishes for the holidays to all posters, new and old.  Know you are not alone in what you are facing.  Much love!


3
Child Loss / Good days and bad
« on: June 15, 2014, 08:45:23 PM »
So it was a bad day yesterday, and this is the best place to share, with people who know how it is.

I was taking my foster daughter to an activity at a local center, and I noticed the parking lot was full of people, and there was wedding going on in another part of the building.  Then I noticed one of Vince's friends in the crowd, and called to him - talking to him, I learned that another of Vince's friends was getting married . . . and anyhow, it was quite a gathering of "Vince's old crowd," many of whom I had not seen, and had not seen each other, since Vince's funeral almost five years ago. 

It was so unexpected, to run into that bunch - see how they are getting married, having children . . . it was wonderful, and I was grateful for the coincidence (except I don't really see it as a coincidence) but it was also so, so hard.

I kept thinking that Vince should be there, in that crowd, he would surely have been invited to the wedding, maybe I would have even dropped him off there yesterday, instead of my foster daughter.

It's hard not to keep thinking:  Why Vince?  Of all those people, why is Vince the one who is gone?  Later, someone posted pictures from the wedding on FB, including a picture of all the old pals together again, smiling and laughing - and I kept thinking:  Vince should be in those pictures.  Why isn't Vince in those pictures, grinning with that semi-shy, twinkly grin of his?  Where is Vince?

So I had to have a good cry, and I'm still feeling down, but a bit better.

Good news is that it looks like I will be adopting the girls - it's a long process, but it is looking very hopeful.  The older two sisters have been with me for 3 yrs, and the younger sis has been with me for 6 mos.


4
Child Loss / Judy Collins
« on: February 17, 2013, 10:38:01 PM »
I picked up Judy Collins' book (Judy Collins - Sweet Judy Blue Eyes - My Life in Music) at the library because it was sitting out on display - it was was a very random choice; I was waiting on my foster daughters and just trying to stay occupied.

Anyhow, it was pretty interesting, so I took it out and brought it home.  She wrote about her life, including her son and only child, Clark, who, as a teenager, developed drug and alcohol problems.  However, he gets sober and married and has a child and seems to be doing well.

I was cluelessly reading along, and got stunned when she tells of her son's death in 1992 (suicide, shortly after relapsing and staring to drink again).  It made me cry, but it also made me feel less alone, and I wanted to share a part of what she wrote - she herself is an alcoholic, though she hasn't had a drink since 1978 - she is writing about coming across a note he wrote her:

I wept when I found this letter again many years after he had sent it, many years after his death - a letter from the grave.  Like the touch of his hand, like the dreams I have of him that have come in startling numbers over the years since, they reassure me that I am not separated from him in any but a physical manner.  He is here in his daughter's beautiful bright eyes, in how his name comes up often in the world, in the memory of his sweet soul.  I will never be apart from him.

When Clark died, I dug myself out of the pit of despair again, Louis by my side all the way.  Each day I chose not to drink.  And I chose not to take my own life.

I must make these choices anew every day, one day at a time, and on many days it remains the only thing I do that feels right.  I find great comfort in talking to other suicide survivors - great peace, in fact, in telling them that there is a gift in every loss and that they can survive.  I tell them my story, and tell them what I do, and hope that it helps.  That way I can keep Clark's legacy alive, and keep my own heart busy so that it will not break, though the breaking heart can be a healing heart as well.

When my son died, I began to understand what heartbreak really was.  It turned out I hadn't had a clue.


Here is a song she wrote about dealing with his death:



And another:

JUDY COLLINS - "Wings Of Angels" 2002 Small | Large

5
Child Loss / At any age
« on: November 17, 2012, 10:18:29 PM »
Met a woman in her late eighties today, and as I was leaving the event, I said, "Have a nice Thanksgiving."  She hesitated, then said that it was going to be hard, because it was near the anniversary of her son's death.  It would be 3 yrs, she said.

We talked about how hard it had been to lose a spouse, but how much worse it had been to lose a child.  She talked about how she didn't feel "over it" at all, even though it had been 3 yrs.  It was 3 yrs for me in July, so we talked about how 3 yrs was very little time in this context.

It's interesting, how similarly we all relate our experiences, whether we lose our "babies" when they are 5 months, 5 years, teens, in their 20's or in their 60s.  The devastation, the long and never completed recovery . . . I thanked her for sharing her story with me.  And I confess that I felt some envy that she was probably much closer to the end of her life than I was.  What a strange thing to envy.  The loss of a child just turns everything upside-down.


6
Child Loss / Insomnia
« on: December 18, 2011, 11:35:43 PM »
Lots of trouble sleeping and thinking a lot of Vincent, lately.  I think of him all the time, but somehow, it's been even more than "all the time," lately.

Hard to explain to anyone but you all, as I am sure you know what I mean.

Have been looking into lucid dreaming, thinking maybe if I can find a way to regularly dream of Vince, and see him that way, I can reconcile myself better to this.  I miss him so much, and so much of me still doesn't really believe he's gone.

It's been over 2 yrs now, but it is still so much like yesterday - you all understand that, too.  I have people who love me in my life, but I don't know how to explain this to them.  How even though I seem OK, I am not OK - not even a tiny bit OK, and I never will be.

As much as having my beautiful foster daughters has helped me, and as much as my soon-to-be retirement (Jan 1 can't come soon enough!) will help as well, ithe underlying horror of not having my son with me in this world is always there, lurking.

I have not been able to sleep thie last few days, and have been reading "The Elephant Man."  This story actually does provide me some hope.  That fellow had it so bad - yet he maintained, somehow, a positive attitude and loving disposition.  So it helps to read about him, as I think - If HE could face every day with hope, I guess can too.

7
Child Loss / A never ending connection
« on: September 29, 2011, 08:22:27 PM »
A friend of Vince's, who is a published cartoonist, has a book coming out of his cartoons, and he sent me a note that Vince is featured in one of them!  He draws his cartoons from his real life, and his drawings are stylized cartoon versions of how the person actually looks.

He sent me a brief note telling me how much he missed Vincent, and about how Vince's appearance in the book (a 400 page collection of his comics) is "based on a dream I had about him."  I am going to be getting a copy in December, and I cannot WAIT to see it!

ALSO:

My elder foster daughter is very good with pottery. She takes a class in it at the HS, and brings home some great pieces. Anyhow, she saw the last piece Vince made - unfinished (not painted/glazed, just white, unfinished surface only, a little cup). He had not had time to finish it; it was one of the last things he ever did.

So she surprised me by saying, "I'll take this to school and finish it for him."  She asked me what colors he liked.

This made me cry, but in a good way. I cannot WAIT to see it, either!


So two Vince-related things to look forward to - this kind of thing helps me a lot.   I have been surprised with how very real and enduring the connection is.  I think my biggest fear was "losing Vince" utterly - having him fade from everyone's memory, having no new memories to make that involved him - I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to stop him from becoming a distant memory.

So though it hurts that he stays so fresh in my memory and so active a presence in my life, that pain is a small price to pay for staying close, for still having things to look forward to due to his existence in this world, as my son.  I see now that he will always be a wonder and a joy and a gift to me, in a real, present, every day way.

And that is good to discover.

8
Child Loss / I want my son
« on: September 11, 2011, 07:33:20 PM »
All:

My foster daughters are asleep and I am suddenly feeling overwhelmed with missing my son, but can't get it out with screaming "I WANT MY SON!!!!" as I have done in the past.

So indulge me by letting me do virtual screaming here:  I WANT MY SON!!

The fostering is helping me but nothing really makes it go away.  I miss that boy so very, very much.

Thanks for listening.

9
Child Loss / Back to school
« on: August 23, 2011, 06:56:58 PM »
My foster daughters started back to school, and this meant trips to Vince's old HS and elementary school.  The younger one, in elementary school, has one of Vince's teacher for some classes.

So I talked to her for awhile, along with the other parents.  Vince was in her class 20 yrs ago, and she didn't seem to recognize me, so I said, "My son was in your class 20 yrs ago." She seemed doubtful that she would remember him, but she asked his name.  When I said it, she immediately got a huge smile on her face.  She remembered him very well, and said what an ornery - but very nice, and very smart - boy he had been.  Then came the bad part, when she asked how he was doing.

I thought I was ready for it, but I wasn't it.  I said, "I lost Vince two years ago," and tried to talk about it a bit more, but I couldn't talk, or stop the sudden flow of tears.  My older girl, who was with me, told me that the teacher later told her that Vince was a really good kid, and one of the smartest kids she ever had in her class.

Earlier this week, one of Vince's friends let me know that some of his pals had gotten together recently and talked about him, and wanted to let me know they loved me.  Ah - it touched me so much.

The whole thing - visiting the HS, getting the note from his pal, talking to his elementary school teacher - it caused the biggest meltdown I'd had in awhile. 

Sometimes, I think I am never, ever, ever, going to get better.  Other times, I can tell that I have gotten better.  The meltdowns are less frequent, but when they come, they still knock me to my knees.

I cannot stop missing my son, and it doesn't seem it will ever stop having times when I am hurting so badly that I can barely stand it.

The girls are wanting a lot of love and attention, and I am giving it to them as best I can.  I care about them, and it does help me a lot to be able to continue using the mom skills.

Not sure what I'm trying to say except sharing this with people who know what I mean:  Ouch.  Even the good stuff, the getting moving again, the doing what I need to do for the girls . . . even that hurts, sometimes.

10
Child Loss / Hello and update
« on: July 12, 2011, 03:39:25 PM »
Hi to everyone!

I know I am not around a lot, but life has been exceptionally busy, with busy time at work and home.  This is a good thing, since it is still very hard to get through the day and not cry about my son's death, almost two years ago.  It's still hard to believe.

I was lucky and had a dream about Vince two nights ago.  We were talking and he was telling me about having a new job.  He was saying how much he liked the job, but that he had had an emergency come up, and had to help a friend, and he missed a whole day of work without calling in.  So he was very worried he would be fired.  But instead, his boss had been very understanding and he (Vince) was very relieved and happy.

In the dream, I was thrilled to see how well he was doing and how happy he was.  I kept listening and nodding, and reaching out to squeeze his hand occasionally.

In other news, I also just finished my first fostering experience with two little brothers, 4 & 5 yrs old.  They are gone now, but wow!  They kept me very busy and it made me happy to stretch the mothering skills again.

When I was out with them, I ran into someone I hadn't seen in years, who asked if they were my grandchildren, and asked how Vince was doing.  So I had one of "those" moments, and had to buck up and tell her that Vince had died.  That was very hard, though I noticed that having the little ones there kept me from falling apart.  I had to be strong.

So . . . there ya go.

I do try to drop in and log in and read, even when I can't take time to comment.

Please know you are all in my heart; the pain we have experienced in losing our children binds us, regardless.

11
Child Loss / Slow progress
« on: March 08, 2011, 07:30:42 PM »
So, I finally did find someone to take Vincent's enormous old piano - a 103 yr old Baldwin Upright.  It was in decent shape, but was approx 54" high and weighed at least 700 lbs, so it took awhile to find someone who both wanted it and could handle moving it.

I have mixed feelings - but mostly, I feel pretty good about it. I liked the young woman who wanted it, and I believe she will play it, enjoy it, and take good care of it.

I gave her a little bag with some small items that belonged with the piano, and I included a small, labeled picture of Vince in with the items.  I don't know what she will think about that when she sees it, but I hope she will appreciate it and keep it with the piano.

Also, a lot of work has progressed on the remodeling of the upstairs rooms, where Vince lived.  That is even harder on me.  I cried my eyes out up there a few nights ago.  But now I am that much closer to having the house ready for my fostering certification - and underneath it all, I know that is a good thing and that Vince would definitely approve of the plan.

He was a very enthusiastic environmentalist and believed in recycling and not wasting things.  So he'd be all for others getting good use out of the piano, rooms . . . and Mom . . . he left behind.

Vincent, I love you.



12
Child Loss / One step forward, two steps back
« on: February 19, 2011, 08:36:57 PM »
Well, I did it.

I gave away Vince's piano - to a family with two adorable little girls who are taking piano lessons and are very happy and excited.

And work is starting on the upstairs on Monday.  Vince had both rooms up there, and I had the bedroom downstairs.  I am turning the two rooms into a bedroom and bathroom and making a few other changes . . . to get ready to take in a foster child.

I had been doing OK, but when I was talking to someone who was interested in the piano, I told him that I no longer had use for it because my son played but I don't play.  And suddenly I could not talk and tears just started streaming down my face.

I've been touchier than usual, and crying more than usual, but I think I am doing the right thing.  I'd rather see Vince's things and space put to good use than turned into a shrine . . . and I think he would too.

But it sure is hard.

(The last picture in the strip of pictures in my sig line is of Vince playing a piano at a friend's house.)

13
Child Loss / Sharing a picture
« on: January 21, 2011, 09:16:12 PM »

I found this picture of my son in an old online account - I had totally forgotten it.  Anyhow, he is being silly, sticking out his tongue at me, and looks as if he just woke up from a nap (puffy eyes, messy hair).

No wonder he stuck out his tongue at me, but hey - moms have a right to take pictures of their kids, anytime, don't they?

Anyhow this gave me a big grin, so I thought I would share it.


If anyone wants to use this thread to share other pics, please do.

14
Child Loss / A bad day
« on: November 19, 2010, 08:43:32 PM »
I saw someone today that I hadn't seen in a couple of years, and she didn't know about my son's death.

I started to tell her, but then - I don't know.  I got out the first two words, "My son-" then I froze solid.  I could not talk or look at her.  I had to shade my eyes with my hands, and croak out, "Just a minute . . ."  I finally managed to say "My son died last year."  But unstoppable tears were just streaming down my face.

I managed to pull it together enough to finish the conversation, but when I got back out to my car, I had the worst meltdown I've had in awhile.

These days, sometimes, I manage to talk about my son without too much trouble.  But other times, it feels like I've made no progress at all.  I am crying again just writing this.

I was widowed years ago, and that was bad, but I know that at approx 1.5 years, it wasn't still this horribly raw.

The thing is, there is this big part of me that doesn't want the pain to fade, that equates fading pain with fading memory and fading presence, and the truth is, I want to keep Vince close to me for as long as I live, no matter how much that hurts.

Don't know if I'm making complete sense but I had such a rough time this morning, I wanted to share my feelings a bit. 

Thanks for listening, Webhealers (this is my name for all of you here).


15
Child Loss / So alone in this
« on: November 03, 2010, 08:32:27 AM »
I miss my son so badly.  I was widowed when he was a tiny baby.  He was my only child, and in many ways, he saved my life.  I couldn't "just quit," or stay down too long.  My baby needed me- and he was such a happy, curious, bright little guy.

I never remarried or had other children; instead I went back to school and got a degree and built a life for us, myself.  He was in his late 20s when he died, but he had not yet married or had children.  It was a year in July since he died.

Both my parents are gone, but I have several siblings, and my late husband's mom, and his two siblings.

The aunt and uncles loved my son, but I think only my mother-in-law really understands.  She lost her son, and now her grandson, whom she adored.  But she lives many miles away.  We do stay in close touch, and that helps a lot.

On the day to day though - well, it is very hard.  I don't think people realize how close I am to falling apart still, every second of the day.  In fact, people tell me how well I am doing. 

I am seeing a counselor, and that helps too. 

Just wanted to share a bit more and say hello to all of you.

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