Sunday, September 16, 2012


I am not Catholic or Shinto. I do not pray to dead saints or relatives, but I find myself praying to God and asking him to pass along things to Perry. It is as if I am locked into this by my protestant background.

Other friends feel free to talk to loved ones. "Dad, take a ride with me," one whispers as he swings a leg over the black leather of a Harley seat. And off they ride.

I am somewhat envious.

Instead I am left praying to a God who has shown that my will does not make things happen. If I prayed on my knees for my child's safety, what hope do I have that he will pass along my love notes like some intermediary in Jr. High?

But I still pray. "Please tell Perry that I love him and miss him." My Daughter seems to accept this and it has become an extra step in her prayers, right behind the "I'm sorry for" section.

And sometimes "please tell him that I want him back."

As if he has much choice.

At times I wish I believed in reincarnation. That way there would be some chance that I could grow a new body in my belly and hold him in my arms again. But then he could also be born as the butterfles that dash into my windshield as I near his grave or the small red breasted bird I find cold and still in the driveway. Neither one of these is fine, I want him to lay in the newly mowed grass as a child and feel the blades as itches on his skin. I want him to dance across the kitchen as he blushes from his first kiss from a female who is not his mother. I want him to hold his own child. I want him to cry his own tears of loss and joy. I want him to live a long life with all the boredom, excitement, love, and heartache that real living entails.

But if he did have a choice, would he return to me? Would he visit me in my lonely moments or be drawn to the laughter of his sister as she dances with her arms wide open? Would he burrow into the safety of my womb?

I don't know. I think he loved me with all the simplicity that was Perry. With strong fists tangled in hair and smiles in the morning after his hunger was stilled.

I know I still love and miss him with a rawness that even a burn patient would be free of by now.

But some people think he should fit in some nice little box now in my mind, with tidy boundaries that do not bleed into every corner. That I should be over this fog that settles across my shoulders like a heavy velvet. I should be happy and smile for them and forget this little person that in their mind still inconviently intrudes upon them. "After all," they mutter, "it is time to move on.... "And silently 'because I am tired of it.... it does not suit me.'

They do not know me. They never knew him.

If they knew him or me they would not expect this as their due. Maybe they would cry with me. Or perhaps sometimes welcome his memory with a small smile as it flashes like sunlight through the dense trees.

He forged these brief smiles in the small time we had, with more patience as an infant than many adults. He didn't scream for no reason and learned to read my emotions with the clarity of a young baby tuned to his mother's needs. He gave without hiding his motivations. His motivations were not greedy beyond simple survival. He expected affection and love, not out of a sense of entitlement, but because he was never exposed to it's abscence.

Perry deserves my smile.

They do not.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


This isn't an easy post to write, and I need to warn you that today will not be uplifting... just scary. So you know now, please stop reading if you can't handle it.

Everyone has started having nightmares again, and here are a few of my own.

We find this house in Brentwood, but my family that I am a part of is not my normal immediate family. They are different people and there is no Emily or Chris. It seems perfect- a decent size on about 2 or 3 acres in Brentwood. Trees surround the perimeter and the house is set in what looks like a field of tall grass. The inside is imaculate, but the yard hasn't been tended and it is part of the field.

I am walking and a large golden dog starts circling me and drawing me away from the house. The landscape gets a little darker and it is like the brief respite before a tornado.

I follow the dog and he leads me about a mile down the road. We take a right onto a gravel path that looks like it is leading into another field. I look towards the right and suddenly realize I am in a graveyard, tall while stones line the  right side of the road. The dog stops and circles in an area.

In the space of a normal plot there are five stones all close together in a neat row. The ground is not freash but it is not old either, it is slightly irregular from the flat soil around it.

As I read the names and ages, I learn that it is two parents and three children. I suddenly realize that this was the family that lived in the house.

2nd dream-

My son is dead again and I am about to go into the service. A female person who is attending the service asks me how his corpse is. I tell him rigor mortis is setting in and she nods and says 'Good'.

This time the service isn't in a church, it is in a small room- perhaps in the mortician's business. There aren't a lot of people there. Perry is in a coffin but it has a clear lid. As I stand there someone starts his Eulogy, it is impersonal and I realize someone from the funeral home is talking. I look into the coffin and Perry's body is jerking. As if he is dying again, but I know he is dead but somehow still afraid. I reach down and stroke his head while everything continues and I keep whispering it is ok for him to go.

Everyone knows what is going on but they act as if nothing is happening.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Natural Order of Things

Sometimes as a society I think we become so 'enlightened' that we actually begin to deny basic truths. In some instances the reasons behind the denial is good intent, but the truth just sort of bubbles up.

I think one of these truths is that genetics does matter. We have hid it because we don't want people to be chained to the past and we want to accept children fully regardless of origin. Which are both wonderful concepts that should be accepted.

But the truth is that when I look at my children, I see myself and my family. My son was a little bit of everyone that I love. The literal joining of two people. I felt like not only did my son die, but a piece of myself, my husband, our parents, our grandparents died that day. It's a strange thing because in todays society you are supposed to say that all this doesn't matter.

The reality is that every person has two ways to keep living in this world once they are gone. The first is the ripple effect, and sadly some people do not produce a very big wave. It is not only the achievements but how you cared about others and made them want to be better people. I think here is where adoption and choice of bringing friends into your inner circle matters- this is part of your ripple. If you can pass good things along you still live.... but sadly some create waves of terror that echoe through generations. Sometimes perhaps a person does a little of both.

The second is through your genes. Yes I said it. But in a very real way your personality, facial features, and health/ pschological characteristics go on. I think this can be good or bad for obvious reasons, but also because of how people treat those who are or aren't related. It's become taboo to acknowledge because of rejection by others because you weren't 'their blood' or the extreme of genocide.

But it is real. Don't reject the truths that are good because of the bad.

I miss my son. Because of who he was and who was part of him. It was no mistake he was named after our two favorite men in our families, Perry (my husband's father) and my Grandfather Bryce. It is a whispered hope that this child will embody them and live out the best of both men. It is also a hope that this child would carry them forward. You want them to continue to live not only by that ripple but to hopefully see the physical part staring back at you.

And when he died we all died, even those who still breathed.

I feel like a very real part of me is buried wth my son, like part of me died before the rest of me. You can't see the missing limb (genetic) or the hole in my soul (ripple), but it is there. I feel like I have seen my own funeral and watched my own body descend into the ground.

I never really felt this before in all of my losses. The natural order let me whisper that they would live on through me. Instead I see an end where there should be a brillant future. He was supposed to be my ripple, and instead I am now his.

And I feel sadly inadequate at times to live large enough for both of us.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Facebook Groups

I live in a sort of surreal world that very few people, thankfully, understand.

A lot of people are on different facebook groups and I'm now a member of several secret ones. I have also sought out other parents that lost children. These groups are places where you can talk away from the world and don't have to pretend. It's a place where you can talk about what you need to, examine the worst in your head.... and sometimes by examining it and talking to other people who look similar to you you can accept it as normal. Sometimes you get a little resolution, and other times it is like a bunch of women (men rarely join although they have at least one group of their own that isn't as active) that sit virtually together and face that there is no good answer.

This is our heart of darkness, but it didn't form from a cancer within, just a sort of insideous event that crept into our lives against our will, wishes, and best prayers.

I've been asked to talk at at safe sleep/sids conference and I think sometimes it would be an awkening for people to know what a parent experiences. I'm not saying any one person experiences all of them, but they are not uncommon.

1.  Autopsy results- waiting, what does it mean, why can't they sit down in person and tell us what it does and doesn't mean.

2. Experiences during 'the interview'- experiences with CPS, PD

3. Medical personnel- did they do enough? Good experiences and bad. CPR.

4. Aspects of death- was this normal? What was that red stuff? When does XYZ set in.

5. Details of 'that day'- it always rolls around in your head

6. Taxes and facing that your child will no longer legally exist outside of this year.

7. How to avoid scum who steal your child's identity. By the way if some other crapster claims them, the IRS won't let you know who....

8. Children facing death of a sibling- do you let them go to the wake, nightmares, insecurities, sweet stuff they do, guilt over things they've seen you couldn't protect them from, going to the grave with them

9. Facing anniversaries and birthdays, the day child is dead as long as he/ she was alive

10. Suicidal thoughts- sometimes of members, sometimes spouses, what do you do when DH disappears and you are afraid he is dead or going to kill himself

11. The blame game- from spouses, relatives, strangers

12. Picking up birth and death certificates

13. Fear of it happening again to future infants, relatives who also lost children

14. Checking other children, fear of them dying

15. Motion monitors, precautions

16. Discussion of causes

17. Saying goodbye- cremation versus burial, the effects of autopsy on your child (some are not warned), lack of casket options, funerals, lingering debts, picking out final outfit, tombstone designs

18. Regrets

19. Missing my child

20. People who pretend the child never exists

21. My child should be.....

22. Pictures and video- nobody asks to see them anymore outside of these groups, so women share beautiful pictures and memories

23. Flashbacks and coping with them, dealing with anxiety

24. Family members who support and don't support

25. Ways to remember your child- projects, charity, momentos

26. What do you do with clothing, objects, things associated with the death

27.  Warnings to parents about their babies pictures being placed on a dead baby joke page (thanks facebook- free speach that terrorizes others isn't speach)

28. Dealing with depression and anger

29. Use of antidepressants, when, what, weaning off, facing loss again after going off them

30. Did you get XZY back from PD/ coroner

31.  Marriage issues relating to child's death

32. Dealing with facebook- the 'God didn't forget you because you woke up' share stuff (when your child didn't wake up),  random painful stuff popping up, blocking versus defriending people who hurt or don't understand you, going off the net because you can't say what you are thinking

33. Dealing with strangers (how many children do you have?)

34. How to include child in family photos, remembering them during family events and holidays

35. How much things or photos do you display?

36. How do you cope with children you associate with your dead child or connect randomly to their death?

37. Longing for heaven or feeling like everything has lost a little color or flavor, when will I care about silly things again

38. Compassion fatigue for people who don't see the big picture in life- worse days of my life involving car break down

39. Dealing with the feeling life is out of order- my child wasn't supposed to die before me

40. Questioning or effects on faith

41. Being taken to task by family for not acting normally, not celebrating happy events enough, talking 'too much' about child, still having up pictures/ keeping things, and not 'getting on with life'- often seen as rudeness or trying to alienate others.

42. 'Kisses from heaven'- little things, dreams, or supernatural events that are seen as messages that there is life after death

43. Supporting parents that are new