Wednesday, September 23, 2009

1 year

Just one straight and narrow way, at the end of which, though we arrive trailing tears, we shall at once be “drenched in joy.” - Elder Neal A. Maxwell

So we made it. It was true that the anticipation was worse than the actual day. The night before was actually harder for me in some ways. But the day of, I really didn't feel that differently...I was sad, but I'm always sad when I think about not having Gavin. Throughout the day I would cautiously assess my emotions to see how I felt...Hmmm. Yep, today sucks. Just like every other day! Time was still slipping away, life was still charging on...and Gavin was still not here.

The kids stayed home from school with us and we slept in late, went out for breakfast, bought way too much dessert to take home, and took another long nap. Later that evening we went down to the cemetery to plant some grass seeds on Gavin's grave (I hate saying that). But surprisingly, there was already grass grown over the entire thing. It was sort of comforting, I hated seeing that rectangle of dirt...but it was also disconcerting. You couldn't even tell he was there anymore. It made me really want to finish his headstone. We cleaned up the flowers, and left some yellow and green butterfly decorations. Then Andre and I layed in the grass and watched the stars come out while the kids ran around and played.

Later that night we watched the picture montage video that my cousin made for Gavin's funeral. Andre and I hadn't seen it before, since it was playing out in the foyer. The kids remembered it however, and had been asking to watch it for the last 6 months. Andre and I didn't really want to because we knew it would hurt, but we did anyway. It was really, really hard. All of us cried through the entire hour long video.

Let me tell you what almost hurts worse than losing a child...watching your remaining children sob uncontrollably because they miss him so much. My heart truly shattered. In that moment I hated God so much...I didn't even care about my hurt could He do this to such innocent, loving children?? How could He let them hurt so much at such a tender, young age?? And when my kids hurt, I get angry!! I think He understands. The feeling didn't last long, but its still so hard to understand why... How do you even begin to explain something like that to a child who just loved their brother with all their heart and soul? You can't. I almost turned the video off a few times because I just couldn't bear to see them hurting like that anymore, but they begged me to leave it on.

Afterwards, Andre and I tried to comfort them as best as we could figure out. We cried some more, hugged some more, and discussed what they remembered about the day Gavin died. Mostly I just tried to listen to them. When they finally stopped crying, we drew pictures and wrote letters to Gavin. Joenick ended his with "please come back soon"...

But even with all that, I never felt that terrifying, uncontrollable, black hole feeling. No nightmares. Just sadness. I did find myself occasionally checking the clock and thinking back to what we had been doing at that time...but I wasn't gripped by the trauma of what we went through that day. I think the therapy we have been going to helped a LOT with that. I'm so glad we were able to get through most of the sessions before this day came.

Thank you so much to all our friends who stopped by to check on us and to drop off cards, etc. It helps to not feel so alone in this. We also received some emails of flowers already planted for Gavin, and donations towards the wagon!


Janell said...

It sounds like your day was a very beautiful, touching tribute to Gavin. I love what you have planned for his birthday too. I'm so sorry for your kids' pain. I can't imagine how hard that must be for you as a mom. They are such great kids. I think you're doing an amazing job helping them through it.

nancy said...

i know it was so hard to watch your children so heartbroken, but it was good for them to feel safe enough to be able to express their grief and know that their feelings would be accepted and validated. as a family you were able to grieve together and share your love for gavin with each other. i love that you let them stay home from school and all the things you did together. it's so hard when you approach times like this... trying to decide how to spend the day, but i believe following your heart is always good. it guides you to do the things that are just what your heart and your spirit need. our prayers were with you and will continue.
no matter what anyone else may say (or think), one year does not mark the time your grief should be over and anyone who thinks otherwise has never lost a child. having experienced the worst thing that could ever happen, it is important to take all the time needed to process this loss, not only of our child but of ourselves and our former life. each day of each year give us the time to learn what we need to experience our personal resurrection. the person we were before has surely died and our rebirth will take longer than one year so be gentle with yourself (and patient with others). you are a work in progress as we all are and we will all get through this together... one day at a time. xo

Angela said...

Thank you for your words. It is so hard to see your other children bearing the heartache that should not exist in any child. I can relate so well...Everything you said, I could've said myself! On Evan's one year, we also watched our little video that was made for us...We cried so hard too...and ours was only a few minutes...I have yet to get out old movies of him. If your kids ever want a pen pal that understands, let me know! My kids love writing emails and they have blogs on my file. Sending warm hugs your way.
Angela (Evan from Heaven's mom)