Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dancing with the Stars

Most days, I do okay. I work, I take care of the house, I walk the dogs, I cook, the usual day to day things. But here and there, something just takes my breath away. This week, it's "Dancing with the Stars." The new season started last fall while Adrienne was in the hospital. I left the TV on much of the time, mostly for background noise. When Adrienne was awake, she held the remote but after she was put on the vent, I would ask her if she wanted to watch this or that and she would nod. I knew what programs she liked so it was easy. Her last "good" day was the Monday before she died. Uncle Kent stayed with her for awhile so I could go home and get cleaned up. When I got back to the hospital, Kent was telling her stories and she seemed to enjoy them. Later that night, I asked if she wanted to watch "Dancing with the Stars" and she nodded yes. That was the last "conversation" we had.

A friend asked me recently if Compassionate Friends is helpful. I'm not sure myself. I've learned some good coping mechanisms and have received some good advice, but I think it's making things harder right now. Of course, losing a child is the worst thing that can happen but, even in that, we have different experiences and different relationships with our children. I'm not comparing or saying that one is worse than the other, it's just different. I find it hard to imagine what it would be like to have a drug addicted 28 year old who commits suicide, just as that parent can't imagine what it's like to have a sick child for many years. I find myself crying on the way to the meeting and for days afterward, which doesn't seem productive. There's also an online group of parents who lost a child to cancer. I read the posts and occasionally post myself but I even find it hard to relate to some of those people's experience. Reading about grief isn't very helpful either. So, I guess I'll take a little break from all of the support stuff for now.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Getting By

Last night was my Compassionate Friends meeting. Sadly, there were a lot of people there, some I knew, some were new. There was a young couple whose 9 year old son died 3 weeks ago from an asthma attack. Raw is the word they use. Dad did most of the talking. Mom couldn't say a word. I still feel raw at these meetings, even though I think I'm getting through the days better. I had a tough time during Oscars, since it was something Adrienne loved and they showed clips of "Julie and Julia," the last movie she and I saw together. I know she would have been rooting for Meryl Streep.

Through these difficult years, I was always thankful, knowing that there were people out there that had it worse than us. I knew many people who had lost a child to cancer, but we still had Adrienne. Even though it's the most awful thing that could happen, even though I lost my best friend, there are people now who have it worse, people who lost a child more recently or who are waiting for the day when they'll lose their child, knowing that it's inevitable. Last night, one dad said that each day, he finds 10 people who are having a worse day than him. When his only daughter died last year, he couldn't find 10 people, much less 1 or 2. Now he's getting closer to the 10 number. I'm sure I'll get there too.

One concern that we all share is that our kids are okay, even if they aren't with us anymore. I think about that all the time. Some people have seen a psychic but I'm not into that type of thing. Still, it's given them some peace of mind, hearing that their kids are okay. I pray that Adrienne isn't scared or in pain, that she's at peace.