I can’t sleep!

I can’t sleep! It’s 1:00 am and I’ve been lying in bed for over an hour and my heart is pounding so I’m wide awake. Sometimes I get anxiety at bedtime which is very annoying because I was tired and now I can’t sleep. I had a quiet day so I don’t know what triggered it….but it snuck up on me as anxiety does sometimes.

I’m on an SSRI medicine to help with depression and anxiety since the death of my son, Andrew. It is helpful, yet makes me feel disconnected which I don’t think is good. I can’t feel the way I normally feel. It’s like instead of the grief being in my actual body….it’s sitting on my shoulder. I don’t know how else to describe it. It almost feels unreal at times and like I’m in a dream….actually a nightmare!

One of Andrew’s friends asked me if she could have one of his hoodies. We were having lunch together so I wanted to bring one to give to her. I went into his untouched bedroom and was looking through his closet and starting smelling his clothes and began crying and thinking how unbelievable it is that he’s never coming home! Andrew’s room is just how he left it….his dirty clothes still in his hamper & a half full water bottle still sitting on his buereau. I just can’t get rid of anything! It’s like I’m accepting he’s gone and I am not ready for that yet! I would rather pretend maybe he’s coming home! It sounds insane because in reality I know he isn’t but I still want to trick myself into believing it even if it’s fantasy.

There are certain places my mind begins to go and I have to stop it because it’s too painful! I start to replay the accident and picture exactly what happened and see Andrew in his car. I imagine if he knew what was happening? Did he die instantly? God, I hope so! He crashed into a fence down the street from our house so me and my family have to drive by the site every single day. We have a cross there to acknowledge where our son took his last breath. I can’t go by without saying something to Andrew, but some days I wish I wasn’t forced to drive by that spot. It pisses me off that my son senselessly died there….10 seconds from our home!

I also replay his funeral and our son laying in the coffin. That day…actually those weeks are a blur to me so when I think about it, I feel like I’m watching a movie. It’s almost like I’m trying to convince myself it’s real because it still isn’t 100% real to me. So when I’m trying to go to sleep and quiet down my brain, my heart starts to pound and my mind starts to race!!

I told myself to write because maybe it would calm me down and it actually helped. I need to acknowledge my feelings so I can let them go. This is my life now and I need to do whatever is going to help me get through another day without my child. I feel like I’m talking myself off a ledge all day and it’s exhausting! My mind goes places on it’s own and I can’t always control it which is frustrating.

It’s work to just try to find small joys in each day. My two puppies have been a blessing and I’m so glad I got them. They are so sweet, affectionate & funny…I love them both so much! I definitely believe Andrew brought them to me because they are exactly what I needed! I’m so proud of Amanda & Michael and they bring a lot of joy into our home. My husband, Mike is my best friend and I’m grateful I have him by my side in our crazy life!

Losing a child is the absolute worst thing that could happen to a parent! It’s cruel and our lives will never be the same! This type of pain you never move away from, you just learn how to live with it! I’m trying so hard to do the work to heal in a healthy way and continue to live a life with value and meaning. My job is to keep my beautiful Son’s memory alive! He was so passionate and had a huge presence. Andrew was extremely generous…he would give anyone the shirt off his back! He loved huge and was so kind! I want to honor him by taking my pain of losing him and do good with it. That’s what he would want from me!

So now it’s 2 am and I’m feeling calmer and hopefully can fall asleep. I want to thank everyone who subscribed to my blog and have been following me. It’s an honor to have you read what I write & I really appreciate each one of you! I’m very grateful to have you on this journey with me!

Spring has sprung

I was taking my two puppies (yes I am crazy) for a walk today and noticed a lot of new growth and life all around my neighborhood. There is a huge pond down the street and it was full of frogs, turtles & huge coy fish. I could hear them splashing around in the water which is the first time this spring. I saw a nest with blue eggs in it ready to hatch and I heard a really loud woodpecker knocking on a nearby tree. Flowers are in full bloom and the grass is plush and green.

Last Spring, Andrew was alive and life was good. I could have never imagined what was to come in a few months. May 12th will be 9 months since I’ve heard his voice or saw his beautiful smile!! That is still so unbelievable to me. How does your son, your baby, just vanish from your life? One minute everything was simple and the next it was completely turned upside down!

Since Andrew has passed away, I am a completely changed person. I feel like I see life from a new set of eyes! Everything is different, everything! I can’t tolerate being around certain people because they trigger my anxiety. I resigned from my job because I don’t have the patience to do what I was doing. The simplest of chores take so much effort. I definitely don’t sweat about the small stuff…I really don’t even think about stupid or petty things anymore. It so doesn’t matter and not worth the energy.

I try so hard to focus on all of the great things my other two children are doing and tell them how proud I am of them often. Watching a movie on the couch with my hubby is a perfect Saturday night now and I love to cuddle with my puppies and embrace their kisses! Things I used to consider fun just aren’t fun anymore. Taking my dogs for a walk is one of my favorite things to do and I didn’t even want a dog 9 months ago.

My main focus on life right now is to get up out of bed and get dressed. Sounds pretty routine but it isn’t anymore. I have to write down a list of things I need to accomplish and try to get a few done. It feels like it’s work to live right now. I am choosing to do the work because it is too easy to stay in bed and hide from the world.

So I’m trying to appreciate the flowers, hear the woodpeckers and see the bright orange coy fish swimming in the pond. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life with my head in the dirt. I don’t know what tomorrow brings for me or my family so I’m trying to see the beauty in today. I can’t give up….not for Andrew, Amanda, Michael, Mike or myself. It’s not easy but I’m doing my best.

Why God?

I have so much to say and I don’t know where to start!! It has been a really difficult 4 years. After my son, Michael battled stage 4 cancer (Burkitts non Hodgkin lymphoma) and we basically lived in the hospital for 8 months, I thought the worst was behind us! Watching your child suffer in pain is unbearable for any parent. We never lost hope that Michael would get through it and get back to his life and he did!

The whole time Michael was sick he was so positive and strong….he laughed, danced and sang his way though his battle with cancer! He amazed me and taught me so much during that crazy time in our lives! He taught me how to take a horrible situation and turn it around and actually make it fun! He showed me how to live in the moment and be grateful for today!

After our lives returned to normalcy, I thought I had it all figured out, until I began having anxiety!! I was in CVS printing out pictures from Michael’s make a wish trip to Turks and Caicos and I started having an anxiety attack out of nowhere! I never suffered from anxiety but I knew what it was.

That’s the first time I realized that your body is so connected both mentally & physically. I was so calm and together the whole time Michael was sick. I saw him suffer through some very rough days, but how could I get upset and show my fears when he wasn’t. I couldn’t! However, your body never lets you escape it! One way or another it all catches up to you! You go into fight or flight mode during the traumatic time but then when things quiet down….BAM! There it is!

I went to a therapist and she told me I had PTSD and I think she was right! Living in a Pediatrician hospital for 8 months and watching your child get 10 rounds of intense chemo 16 hours a day 5 days in a row is not normal! Watching him be put to sleep 14 times to insert chemo into his spine was so traumatic! He had a huge wound from his surgery that wouldn’t heal and had to be connected to a wound vac for 4 months and have painful dressing changes 3 times a week! He suffered with migraines, nausea, mouth sores, diarrea, naropothy & so much more. I met many people whose children passed away and that is so so devastating! None of this is a normal way to live!

I went on anxiety meds for a while and talked out my fears with a therapist and felt so much better. I eventually went off the meds and stopped going to therapy and focused on being grateful! I truly loved my life! I had 3 healthy & wonderful children and a great marriage to the love of my life! We even bought a house down the shore which was a dream of ours forever! I was surrounded by the best friends and had a lot of fun spending time with everyone I loved!

My faith was so strong and I thanked God every day for my beautiful life! I felt I had a close personal relationship with my maker and I talked to him alot. I really tried to live my life by listening to what God wanted me to do and I did my best!

On August 12, 2017, I received the phone call that is every parents worst nightmare! My precious son, Andrew was dead! He was in a car accident a block from my home and was killed instantly! How could this be? I already put in my time with pain and I was just getting back to a normal life! I learned from it and lived the way I was supposed to!! I felt so betrayed by God! How could He let this happen to my son? Why would he do this to me and my family??

I’m scared

My wonderful grief therapist recommended I start a blog which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time but I was scared to actually take the step and start one.

Last night, my 18 year old son, Michael  was chewing on a water bottle cap and accidentally swallowed it. Today he informed me while he was at school that this transpired and he was having some stomach discomfort. This is the same child who was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer when he was 14.

We decided to go to the ER just to check him out and it’s a very familiar drive that we have taken over & over for the past 3 and a half years.  I was reminiscing about us driving on this route to the ER in the middle of the night because of horrible side effects from the chemo such as fevers, mouth soars & migraines. Now we are on our way because he swallowed a bottle cap!!

It’s crazy how life changes in an instant but never stops moving…no matter what we are dealing with!  I was thinking how that seemed like another lifetime ago and how much has changed in our lives these past few years.  At that time I thought life couldn’t get any worse but I had no idea what was to come.

Eight months ago my 20 year old son, Andrew died instantly in a car accident.  I’m still alive and surviving day by day! I have tried my best to allow myself to feel the pain while grieving the tremendous loss of my child, but also continue to live a life worth something!

So as we pulled into the parking lot of the ER I thought….I need to do this! I need to overcome my fear and take the steps and make my blog and write my first post while we sit in this room and wait. Well, I’m sitting and Michael is fast asleep. It is now 3:30 am and I’m making the most of this time by writing this. Maybe that’s why this happened tonight…..to give me the courage to begin this blog.   Anyway, here it goes, I finally did it!!

They are sending us home and hopefully the cap will pass on it’s own but if it doesn’t in the next few days he will be getting an endoscopy to check it out, but I’m hopeful that won’t happen.