What Does One Wear to Their Child’s Funeral?

The house was eerily quiet that Saturday morning.  It was a drastic change from the days before.  Between visitors, food deliveries, flowers being delivered, there was never any silence to escape to.

Everyone had left to the church.  My husband and my other children had to be there early to make sure everything was set perfectly in place.  He left instructions with my best friend to make sure she kept a watchful eye on me.  There would be no one better, besides him, to make sure that I didn’t fall apart.  I heard them whispering in the hallway.  “Don’t leave her alone too long.” “Hold her hand while you walk.” “Call me immediately if anything happens.” “Make sure  she knows, she  won’t be alone.”

I sat on the edge of the bed until I heard the front door close.  Rosie came in to the room to check on me.  “You OK, Mamash?” (our nickname for each  other for close to 40 years) . “You need anything?”  “Do you want me to bring you something to eat?” “No” I told her.  “I’m ok.  I just need a minute.  I promise I won’t do anything stupid.  Just let me catch my breath.  If I need anything I’ll get you.”  She smiled at me, walked over and caressed my cheek.  A tear started rolling down my face.  I managed a smile back.  “I love you”, she said. “I know” I replied.

After a few minutes of solitude, my mind started to race.  I didn’t even know what I was going to wear.  I wish I could just stay in the tear stained t-shirt and sweats I had been wearing all week. Who would care anyway?!  Who would bother  judging a mother who was about to bury her child?!  People would probably look at me somberly.  They would whisper among themselves: “Poor thing.  She looks terrible… frail almost.” Looks like she hasn’t slept in days!”  “Who would blame her?” They would come up, hug me, whisper “I am sorry for your loss” as they try to tame my unruly hair and wipe toast crumbs off of my shirt.

As I stood in the middle of my closet, looking over my wardrobe, I recalled my daughter saying that everyone should  wear blue.  My son adamantly agreed. That was Joey’s favorite color…Dodger blue.  No black they said.  Joey would not want that.  Now, as I stood in my closet, that conversation went through my head over and over again.    I began pulling out the blue pieces that I owned, but they were TOO”blue”.  Too bright.  Too cheerful….something I would wear out to dinner and drinks with our rowdy friends.  A mom doesn’t wear blue to their son’s funeral!  Mom’s don’t wear bright colors or white t-shirts with a  picture that say R.I.P.! We wear black! Black is the color of mourning, not blue, not red, not a screen printed t-shirt! I wanted to wear black! I wanted a color that represent my dark, empty, ugly, broken soul!   I am mourning the loss of my first born!  Blue would not adequately describe the dark, ugly, pit hole that I was currently in!  I am living in the valley of darkness.

As I was scolding myself for not having appropriate blue clothing, I heard my daughter’s words come back flowing back to me again.  It’s as if the conversation was just taking place. I finally understood.  She didn’t want today to be a day of mourning.  She wanted it to be a bright beautiful day.  A day like her brother’s spirit.  One that represented his beautiful bright soul.  I stood there and looked around my closet once again.  I composed myself, took a deep breath and decided to compromise.  I  pulled out a black top that had pictures of beautiful red, yellow and blue colored flowers.  I slipped it over my head, tucked it neatly into my black skirt.  I slipped on my black heels and took a deep breath I stepped out and took a look at myself in the mirror.  I started to cry.

So this is what a mom’s wears  to her son’s funeral.

What is Grief

I am standing on a beautiful beach, watching the ocean water creep up to my toes. I feel the warmth of the sun on my face.  I stand in silence and hear the music of the waves surround me, serenading me like an old friend.  I slowly close my eyes and take in the peace and calm I am finally feeling.  I start to open my eyes and out of no where,  I see it coming at me with full force!  The ocean water has turned black and the waves are starting to grow to full fury.  I try to run but I can’t. A wave catches me and takes me under.  I can’t see, I can’t scream, I can’t breath! I go deeper and deeper. I fight with all my might.  I kick, I scream, I cry out!   I grasp at anything I can to hold on to.  I think ‘Oh God, this is it.  This is the one that I will not come out of.”  Then, just as I think I can’t​ go on,  I see a glimmer of light… a beautiful and calming light.  The waves are getting calmer and smaller.  I can finally touch the bottom.  My heart is no longer racing.   I can feel the sun beaming on my face once again.  The noise has silenced.  I can breath again….for now…until the next wave

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.

REPEAT 

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.