Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Shrapnel

Today was a sweats and T shirt day. When I get up out of bed, just to do it and I don't really care. I am sure people were thinking about the slideshows of people in Walmart. The sweats were about 5 sizes too large. I personally have always wondered if sometimes these were people who were depressed or sick. And to be honest, I would not be surprised to show up in one with some witty (brainless) remark underneath. Something people would laugh at on their desktop, feeling amused at this freak show of humanity.

We had a pretty bad night in the Williams household. We didn't all settle into bed until past midnight. The bed shook all night, with silent sobs and nightmares of Emily. I held her several times until she calmed. We tossed, our limbs a jumbled mass of the remenants of our family. I checked her pedal pulses several times, and startled out of sleep once until I felt the warm moisture of her breath in the hair that lay close to her mouth. This is the wake that follows after the plowing mass of denial. The reality you have to learn to live with if you ever hope to function normally.

After I finally woke up, I searched a bit on the computer and called my Mom to come rescue me out of bed. I have started doing this on my worst days when I feel inertia setting in. Emily will usually run to greet her at the door... I can't tell whether this is just exhaustion from the night before, or grief, or grief's close friend, depression. It is too soon to tell yet. The Holidays are emotionally taxing from the perspective of a person in the midst of grief labor. (And it is labor because there is nothing easy about it, and you are plain tired.)The rest of the time you can sort of pace yourself, but I was quickly thrown into the holidays just as the shock was wearing off. Holidays come at you with a frantic pace of parties and events. And when religion is kept out of it, the whole secular world focuses on the ideal image of a whole family. This is a battlefield for the emotionally wounded to wind through. And we don't always make it through undamaged.

There are a few thoughts on my mind lately.

The first comes back to what Perry would look like as a child or young man. What will he look like when I see him again? I found this website:
and I have to admit I am tempted. Apparently many parents that have lost a child have this same question, there is even a discount for the service through compassionate friends. But the total is still something like $100, and unfortunately my priority is Perry's stone. So this will have to wait.

The second thought on my mind is Santa. Emily desperately wants to see him. I have had three oppurtunities that I have dodged. Today there was a short line, and I started to take her towards him. I stopped. In line, every child was in a pumpkin seat or stroller. They were all there for their first pictures with Santa. I wound up distracting Emily with a huge heart ballon that benefitted missions. Everywhere in the mall are babie's first Christmas stockings, ornaments, and clothing. I rushed through JC Penny, pulling along Emily who was saying she didn't want to see Santa tomorrow, tears dropping from my face. I am sure it was quite a scene.

I feel pretty weak and fragile. Christmas parties are filled with landmines of casual converstaion focused around children. Even in places where they ought to know, with people who have sent plants, cards, or attended the funeral, they are complaining about hauling around pumkin seats and diaper bags... My God if I could only lug him around again!!! I try to skip the kids/ages question by asking what they do for fun, only to wind up with a parent saying how they were sad because they wished they could go on cruise sans children... "How about I trade you that ability?" I am thinking. But I smile and say I understand. But I don't.

How horribly twisted that everyone forgets so quickly. He is dead less than a month and they have forgotten. He does not exist. And these people had seen him alive, breathing, strapped to my chest in a carrier. And as I sit thinking the worst is over, another woman comes up and she just keeps going on... I am going to have a hard time getting to know this woman in the future, it struck me as at best, poor situational awareness, and at worst as someone so self absorbed I did not want to get to know her. I am going to have to pray a bit on this one. Once again, I guess I should be thankful she DOESN'T HAVE A CLUE. Her child was breathing that night at a sitter or family member's.

Please, talking about your kids is ok, I'll be a bit sad but that is normal. Complaining around someone who has lost a child is, well, incredibly insensitive. And here's a thought... if you know and a friend starts grouching in earshot, say "Well, I used to say stuff like that but I recognize that it is really a blessing. There are lots of parents who would trade their lives to give their children life again." Awkward, maybe. But real awkwardness is standing in line with one child and leaving. You can't stand horse bawling in front of strangers who will not get that there is someone missing on Santa's lap.

And just so you know, I have explained the situation to my Mom and she is taking Emily to see Santa. I had seriously considered getting a picture of Emily holding Perry's picture on Santa's lap, but I just don't know.


  1. I really like that new picture of Perry, when was it taken? I realize you added the flowers in the background. Could you send me a copy of it?

  2. Katie I hope you don't mind but I included a gift for Emily when I sent your mom Sheila's gift...hugs

  3. As you know, there just are no words. When I read this, all I could do was shake my head in agreement and think, "Yep, I know." Thank you for saying 'out loud' what I often feel.