Stage Fright

The following is found on Google :

The five stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling.

Bull***  Don’t get me wrong.  I have encountered and continue to encounter all of these emotions in their entirety.  However, they do not come in the perfect order we are told they will occur.  They come in any order they want, and sometimes they come with vengeance.  They are scary, they are mean, they are breath bandits. They visit me whenever they want to… like an unwanted, annoying guest. They  beat on your door and you try to hide but they stay and pound on your door until you have no choice but to let them in.  You can’t hide.  They know you are there.  You let them in and you tell yourself, “I am one step close.  Then, God help me, it starts all over again.

It is explained to us that  once we have dealt with the first four steps, we will then have  acceptance.  Excuse me….WHAT??!!  Acceptance???!!!  Are you kidding me??  Who wrote this?  Definitely not a grieving parent.  Not a mother that has touched the face of their child who has taken their last breath.  Not a parent that has felt their heart torn from their chest and had it shred to pieces, never to be put together whole again.  Not a person that has seen their son or daughter, lying lifeless on a metal table …the life stolen from them. ACCEPTANCE?? I will NEVER accept the fact that my son is gone!  I refuse to ACCEPT  the fact that my amazing son will never hug me, hold me, kiss me  or say I love you momma, ever again.

What I will do is train myself to know he will not be home for the holidays or blow out candles on his  birthday.  I will train myself to understand that he will not dance at his sisters wedding.  He will not teach his nephew how to throw a football or his niece how to dance.  He will not be raiding our fridge or taking all the leftovers home after a BBQ!  I have trained myself that I will never hear him laugh at me when I answer his  phone call with “what’s wrong!?” instead of hello. “Nothing momma..I just wanted to say I love you.”

I will bargain with God…I will yell, scream and question God…I will be angry at the world…I will be depressed and I will cry at the drop of a hat but I will NEVER, EVER accept the fact that my son is gone…..NEVER


A Week Lost in Time

The following week felt like the movie Groundhogs day.  It was the same thing over and over. I remember these details…nothing more.    I would drag myself out of bed, get some coffee, go outside, stare at the sky, cry.  The door bell ringing constantly.  People coming and going.  Church dropping off meals throughout the day.  Delivery people bringing flowers, plants, fruit bouquets.   My ex and his family arriving in the morning and leaving in the evening.  Go to bed.   Wait for the uncontrollable sobs.   Stare at the camera’s light.  Fall asleep.


Arrangements had to to be made.   Talk to pastor.  What should his obituary say? What day?  Which funeral home?  Find pictures.  Who will speak?  Are we having food? What would Joey want?  What do I want?

I want my son back….


The Sign

Scott was sleeping.  I envied him.  I wanted to escape into a world of dreams.  I turned on my side and started staring at a yellow light illuminating from the security camera in our bedroom.  We had a security system installed a couple years ago.  The cameras are hard wired.  They are always on unless there is a power outage and even then, they are backed up by batteries.  The are continuously, steadily on.  I write this because I NEED to hold on to this fact for dear life.  It needs to be as factual as us needing oxygen to breath.  No one will ever convince me otherwise.

I stared at the camera light and began talking to it as if it my son’s being.  I don’t know long I stared at it or how long I talked to it.  Time seemed to stand still.  Then I saw it! The camera’s steady light began to blink.  Blink, blink, blink…For some reason I started counting the blinks.  Five, nine, 12, 16.   Then, it stopped blinking and the light stayed on steadily for  a few seconds.  It then started blinking again.  This time it only                blinked twice…steady for a few seconds, then it blinked twice again.

Sixteen,…sixteen…sixteen blinks….the 16th …the day my son was born….the day my son passed.  Could it be???  Ids it a sign??? I wanted to believe…I needed to believe!! I struggled, though….Why the  second sets of blinks?  If I would know why, then it was surely a sign from him!!!  It want the time he was born me….it was the time he left me  Why the second set of blinks?? What did it mean…was it  meant to be 2,  & 2…4…11 11…What did it mean???  I know it’s you Joey and I know this is not a dream.  God help me…I need to believe…..what does it mean???

I would get my answer soon enough.

The Quiet Amidst the Cries

We started dispersing from the hospital.  His dad suggested we all go to my house so family could gather there… (from that moment on, my home became the gathering place for a week.) One of my brother’s said he would pick up food.  I remember nodding.  I can’t recall the walk back to our vehicle, the drive home.  I can’t even recall walking into the house or who was there.  My brother arrived with food.  There was bustling as my sister’s in laws (I think) were putting plates out.  My ex husbands wife stood to the side.  I grabbed her hand.  I led her to the couch.  We sat in silence.  She squeezed my hand…i squeezed it back.  She started to cry.  I stared straight ahead.   I  felt like we sat forever….alone….in silence.  .

Someone brought me a plate.  I thanked them.  I placed the plate on the coffee table. I walked out to the back yard.  I remember exactly where everyone was.  My daughter and son on the red patio furniture.  They were surrounded by their friends.  My brother standing by the water fountain on the phone with someone.  My sons girlfriend was in a rocking chair staring into the pool.  I recall thinking that our tears would fill the pool if it was empty.  I looked up to the sky.  I watched the palm trees swaying back and forth.  So many happy memories in this backyard.

My back yard would never be the same

My husband and I started excusing ourselves.  He wanted to get me to bed.  People began  to leave.  As we climbed the stairs, he took my phone.  The notifications dings were coming every few seconds.  Questions being asked, “What happened? Is it True? Can we come by? What do you need?”  We don’t have answers yet…, yes it is true..not tonight,  prayers….I want my son back.  I  want quiet, I want peace, I want silence. I want my son.

In the peaceful  surroundings of our bedroom, I collapsed in to a heap of pain and distraught.  My husband ran to me and sat on the cold floor with me.  I heard that painful sound  once again….I heard my screams but I can’t remember what I screamed.   I think I was begging God to bring him back. In between sobs, I recall a calming quietness but it was a fleeting calm.  I cried harder.   We held each other and rocked back and forth…I couldn’t breath …my body limp… my husband trying to keep me from passing out.  I know he was scared . Scott picked me up and put me in bed.   My cries turned into a quiet tired sob.  I have never cried like this…I never want to cry like that again.

Scott fell asleep before me.  I know he fought it hard.  He was afraid to leave me awake and alone.  His body took control…it needed to rest…he needed to regain his strength. I would need his resilience  more than ever.

I Hate Pink Waffle Like Blankets

A male nurse arrives.  He tells us that he will be leading us to the room where they have placed our son.  We will have some time to be with him.  He will answer any questions.  We start walking… going through double doors after double doors.  The corridor is cold and drab.  Gurneys are lined up against walls.  Medical equipment litters the hallways.  It feels as if we are walking into a basement.   I find out later, we were.  We get to this small room. How many others have sat here, I wonder.  It’s a room full of broken dreams,  stolen lives.  It is flooded with tears of so many loved ones, unanswered questions lingering through the musty  air, clinging to the drab walls.   There are a couple chairs, a side table with literature, a box of Kleenex, a fake plant.  Inside the room, there is a window.  I don’t want to walk inside.  Instead, I peek in. Through the window I see a pink blanket.  It’s one of those rough feeling waffle type blankets.  They remind me of the times I was in for surgery and the nurse would bring me a warm blanket.  They weren’t pink though.  They have been a beige color.  Does pink symbolize something?  Do they think that pink is calming, approachable, comforting?  Why pink???

I don’t think I could go in.  I start to shake.  My daughter has already gone in to say her goodbyes.  “I don’t want to go in” I tell her.  “I can’t do it”  “You have to, mom.”  You’ll regret it if you don’t.” People are all around me, but I don’t see them.  I hear cries. I feel a darkness surrounding me.  ok…I go in.  There he is.  My beautiful son…my baby…my first born…my teacher.  Teacher??  Yes. For 31 years.  He taught me to love without hesitation.  He taught me to belly laugh, to play in the rain. He taught me unconditional, unending love.  He taught me what it felt like to be deprived of sleep, yet not to want to sleep because I worried he would stop breathing.  He taught me to agonize over a simple cold, to fight off bullies and to slay the bogey monster.  My teacher was gone and left me with one more lesson.  The lesson of unimaginable pain.

I place my hand on his face.  He looked the same.  He still had the mouth shield in his mouth.  They couldn’t remove.  Coroner had to.  I want to yank it out.  My husband stops me.  What are they going to do, I ask, kick me out!!!  He holds my hand. I turn my gaze back to my son.  I lay my head on his chest.  I rub his leg, I bury my face into his chest.  He feels cold, hard, but he looks like he is sleeping.  I talk to him.  I tell him how much I love him and I am blessed to know how much he loved me.  I tell him to visit me…I tell him I will talk about him to his niece and nephew.  I will tell them what a great laugh he had and how much he loved them and how he wanted to teach them sports.  I tell him how much I will miss him.  I laugh and ask what he thought about this stupid pink blanket.  I HATE PINK WAFFLE BLANKETS! My other brother walks in.  Him and my sister in law are holding up my mom.  She can’t walk.  I hear that god awful sound again.  The sound of pain, disbelief, anger, sorrow trying to disguise itself as a cry.

I sit her down.  “MY JOEY!!  OH MY JOEY!!  GOD TAKE ME!!  I’VE LIVED MY LIFE!!  WHY MY JOEY!”  I grasp her face.  I try to soothe her…console her.  I tell her to go see him.  She can’t, she says.  I smile at her and tell her that he is still here.  I gesture to the window “That is just a body that carried his love, his soul, his passion, his love for us.”  He is still here, mom, I tell her.  All along,  I was trying to convince myself.

The corner is taking longer than usual, the nurse tell me.   “He should have been here by now. My shift is over but don’t worry, I’ll stay here.  You should start having your family say they final goodbyes.” I tell him I don’t want an autopsy.  There is no reason and nothing will change the fact that he is gone.  I am told that by law, it has to be performed.  “Your son was a young, healthy man.  It is necessary.”  ” OK” I say…I get up…i wander back and forth for a bit.  My husband is making the necessary phone calls..his family…my boss…my best friend.  My ex husband is talking to the donor center.  My mom’s sisters are consoling her.  She tells them to look at how brave I am.  Relatives I haven’t seen in ages start arriving.  I don’t want them here but I don’t want to hurt their feelings.  I glance at the nurse.  He gives me a nod.  I walk back into the room.  I tell everyone they have 2 minutes.  After five minutes,  I ask everyone to leave the room.  I want to be alone with him.  I feel eyes on me. They are scared for me. I don’t care. I just want everyone to go away!!!  I want them to leave me alone with him….forever

I tell him goodbye and that we need to leave now.  I straighten up the stupid pink blanket around him.  I tuck him into it as if he was a newborn.  I turn and leave.  My legs feel like lead. My body is dragging.  I feel guilt that I left him.  Later, I understand why we couldn’t stay.  Our bodies start to change very quickly once the life is stolen from them.

Doesn’t matter.  I am angered that I felt rushed. I am angry that the coroner took so long!!  I am MAD that I had to leave him.  I am pissed that I had to share my last  moments with him  with all these people. stealing moments from me.  Yet, I don’t want them to leave my side.  I need them to take some pain from me and take it on themselves. I hear someone laugh…I should be happy someone broke the tension…but I am angry that they stole that from me too!   The first sign on life…a dare they!!