Today Landon said “I wish Kenley was alive. She would be the most fun sister ever.”
What do I say to that? As a parent, I want to say one thing, and as a grieving mother I want to scream and cry out another reply. My heart gets torn in so many directions so often these days that I sometimes forget how I’m truly feeling.
Every single day is different; different day, yet the same intense grief. I feel like some days I wake up and I feel good, but then the day just seems overwhelmingly difficult and I break down. Some days I feel like I can’t handle everything that I have going on in my life, on top of my grief…yet somehow I do, and then there are days I wake up feeling like superwoman and handle the day, start to finish, like a pro (this is rare).
The whole notion that grief and joy can coexist was something I truly thought impossible in the early days. I remember laying in the hospital bed after Kenley died and just thinking that it was all different now. I very specifically remember thinking that this is my life now. I have a dead daughter and that’s who I am.
And it is who I am.
It will always be who I am.
I am her mother.
But, I am also Landon, Alden, and Rowan’s Mother and even on days where I would rather crawl into a hole and die I have to remind myself of that. I seriously do not know where the will to survive comes from some days. I just don’t. Some days I count down the minutes until nap time, or bed time, or until Shane comes home.
Today, today was one of those days. We took Landon to Nationwide Children’s Concussion Clinic for a follow-up on his concussion diagnosis and it raised a lot of emotions inside of me. I know he’s fine deep down, but it just really triggers some heavy shit when you have to walk into any hospital after you lose a child. I often think I’m doing better, then I have a day like today and it takes my breath away and brings me to tears. Landon is fine, he is cleared and the doctor thinks he is almost healed from his concussion, but referred us to the Neurology department for Landon’s tics. I knew this would be necessary but I’m thankful for the shove because I had been putting it off.
It’s wonderful news (healing from concussion), but still just too heavy. Thinking that there could be something wrong with him or his brain or whatever is just TOO heavy for me. I can’t. I know it’s probably just transient tics like he was diagnosed with back in 2014, but now? Now I go to the dark place immediately.
Tumors. Cancer. Death. Another dead child. How can I survive that?
I. Just. Can’t. Even. Handle. It.
I’ve been finding myself feeling like Alden will die, and as I type that out I realize how ridiculous it might sound to some people but when it has happened to you, nothing is ridiculous in your own brain. You get stuck inside of these dark thoughts, or a dark place and it’s extremely hard to get out of it or stop thinking them.
Nothing has really triggered these fears, per se, but it’s like I LOVE HER so incredibly much that I’m so fearful. Same with Rowan. I keep thinking that something is wrong with her. There is no reason for me to think that, but I just keep running scenarios in my head. I’m also finding that my anti-depressant is making me a little irritated. I think that I may need to have my dose adjusted or something. Life is not supposed to be this hard. Or maybe it is. Maybe my life was cake before, and now this is just normal. I often feel as if I caused Kenley’s death, not by my own hand, but just by the choices I have made in my life before her. I don’t know. I know that’s not possible, but it’s guilt. It will always be there. I am her Mother and I could not save her. I didn’t know she was sick. I didn’t know something was wrong.
Life really likes to kick you when you’re down…