October 13, 2012

Joshua's 2nd Birthday

 Last year for Joshua's first birthday we went to Las Vegas. This year we went to Disneyland. It wasn't very crowded and we were able to get on a couple of rides without waiting at all. I was very disappointed that the Indiana Jones Ride was closed down (it's my favorite), but besides that we had a pretty good time. (Salesi was a good sport and at least acted like he was having fun.)

And we got to see my grandfather (who is getting pretty old).

October 6, 2012

For All You Haters Out There

I know some of you are  haters. Okay. Okay. I can be a hater too. (I'm sure you all are rolling your eyes right now saying, "dang right you are".) Yes. I can be a brat sometimes.  But in my defense--since this is my blog--I wanted to address a couple of issues that it seems like people "bother" me about quite often on here.

1. Why don't you tell more people (or everyone) about Joshua?

Think of all the people you see/meet/talk to on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. Now think of how many of those people you actually might see more than once. Now multiply that number by 34 and divide it by .053. (Ha, just kidding.) I know that some people honor their child by making sure they always talk about him/her when people ask. That's cool. I, on the other hand feel like telling everybody wouldn't do me all that good. There's just some people that I feel as if maybe they just don't need to know. You know--that grocery clerk that I might only see once. I feel like it isn't worth their time, or mine. And sometimes they might cheapen my experience which is just going to make me feel worse than I already did. So, I have decided to pick and choose who I tell. 

There are also times when I'm feeling really emotional and just plain out do not feel like crying in front of anybody that day. It basically just depends on how I'm feeling and who the heck the person is. And sometimes I just don't have a chance or reason too. Think of what it's like going to church. Nobody sees us with any kids so they all assume we don't have any. Unless it's part of the conversation I don't just randomly tell people, "Oh by the way I wanted you to know that we have a son that died." (However, I did bring it up when we gave talks in our new ward because I wanted people to know.) I'm pretty sure it will be a lot easier (or maybe not) when we have more kids. When people visibly see you with children they usually ask the question "how many kids do you have" more often than not. Then, when we do have more kids, I plan on adding Joshua to the number and letting them figure it out and ask more questions if they wish.

Sorry if that answer isn't good enough for you. Please--if you have lost a child--tell me if my response seems all that strange.

2. Why is it so difficult to find support?

For me, it's been difficult finding support. There is one support group I've heard about called "Compassionate Friends", but I've never gone. (Yes, maybe I should.) A couple of girls from my church started a support group for moms in the Phoenix area who have lost children. We try to get together every 6-9 months and go out to breakfast. I have done that twice. I appreciate that group and it's nice getting to spend a morning with other moms that I can really relate to. However, I haven't gotten close to any of those girls. I only see them once, maybe twice a year--so, it still makes it hard for me. To be honest, I don't have anyone I'm really close with that I can talk to things about. Not even family. Sad, I know. (And don't get me started on family. Not saying all of them are bad, but just don't get me started.) Every so often I will meet an old lady at church that lets me know she, too has lost a child. I'm always grateful for those moments. (And nothing against old ladies.) I appreciate all those who remember and acknowledge Joshua. Even just a note on Facebook or a text. 

I have also tried to find counselors that might give me support. This is also a tricky one. It's tough finding a counselor you like, let alone one who really understands grief and what you are going through. Some of them want to understand you but when they haven't been through it themselves it's pretty much impossible.

Again, I try to make it public knowledge to those I associate with on a regular basis, hoping that if any of them have also been through a similar experience they would let me know so that we could support each other. Yes, you would be surprised at how many other people have also lost children...and then you would also be surprised at how few people have also lost children. 

So for me, it just makes it difficult at times--if that's okay if I say so.    

October 2, 2012

The Club

There's something about meeting a fellow member of the club. You don't even have to say anything. You just know. It's like they can see right through you--right into your soul. They know what you are feeling...what you've been through...what you are still going through...and what you will yet go through. They know exactly what to say. They never offend you. They never disrespect you. They would never ever want to cheapen your experience. They would never ever say anything cliche-like or cheesy to make you feel awkward or mocked. In fact, many times they say nothing at all. They know not to compare, make assumptions, and say "I know what you are feeling". They know better than anyone else what you are experiencing--but they know just how stupid it would be to say so. Instead--they just listen.

When you come across a fellow club member you can breathe a sigh of relief. You know if you needed to talk they would be there for you and not judge. They would never try to change you. Even if they are just an acquaintance--you can have confidence knowing that you can give each other that specific look that says, "I know. I know."

It's very difficult finding support in this club. In the rare instances you feel understood--it does something to you. You feel a bit of gratitude knowing that you are not alone. It's exhausting sometimes trying to explain your story to someone not in the club. You worry about what kinds of things they will say.  Will they be offensive without even knowing? And even worse--what will you say back to make certain you protect yourself, your child, your grief, your pain and emotions that are so sacred to you because only YOU experienced it and know just how dark those dark moments really are.

It's hard. You want to tell people. You want everyone to know about your child. You want them to know that he is a real person. You want them to know that a piece of your heart has been ripped out and you will never get it back--not in this life anyway.

Everyone whose not in the club will want to compare--liken any experience possible to your experience. Unfortunately this doesn't work. A counselor I was seeing shortly after Joshua's death would always compare my emotions of losing a child to his emotions of finding out his toddler had cancer. This offended me. Finally one day I had enough courage to let him know what I was thinking. When I started to verbalize my hurt feelings, he quickly realized why this would bother me so much. He responded, "You are right. I should not compare that situation with yours. That was wrong of me. I got to take my son home from the hospital--and you didn't."

I know we all make mistakes and say things without thinking. I'm probably the worse one of all. I know that is one of the reasons I was given this trial--to learn to be just a little more sensitive, a little more caring, and a  little more loving. I never used to know what to say to someone who had lost a child--or any family member or loved one for that matter. However, I now know the best and most simplest thing to say in this type of circumstance: "I'm so sorry." And that's all you have to say and do.