I am sitting in my silent living room, just myself and my dog on this cloudy overcast morning. I have been thinking about this set up for weeks, knowing that I need and want to sit down write to all of you. I have had this urge to get on the blog and make a handful of confessions. I need to come clean. My stomach is churning, but here goes….
So throughout Oakes life, blogging, although sometime tiring because it took energy to type everything out then edit my words just how I wanted, and the choice usually seemed to be blog or sleep, was always a real gift. It was helpful for me to download everything. And now I am so glad I have all of that history recorded. And then selfishly, I wanted and needed your prayers and love, so I always knew if I took the time to share, I would get the reward of goodness coming our way. Content was always easy to come up with. All I had to do was explain my day, share pictures, and relay an important conversation I had had with a doctors or share test results. The content was there and the theme never seemed to change – I adored my son, I was endlessly hopeful, I wanted to stay connected and I had no shame asking for grand and specific prayers.
But for the last year blogging has not had the same appeal. I was so very public throughout Oakes life, but as I have been grieving his loss, I have wanted to stay comfortably private. I have often wanted to connect and share but have felt lost about what I would actually put out there. There is so much happening in my head on a daily basis, grabbing one thought and running with it has felt overwhelming, and to be totally honest, I have felt protective of all of you. I have been pretty certain that no one would really want to read my words anymore, especially if I were being honest with you. Who wants to read about the sadness and struggle of a grieving Mom? The truth is that I am in therapy; I have medication to calm my mind and help me sleep. My patience, which I used to have in abundance, is very short. And it has been so scary and really lonely as I have been keenly aware that Greg and I have been grieving in such a different ways. I much rather you all know me as the hopeful, ridiculously positive mother that powered through an unbelievable time. I don’t want to be the weepy, sad, struggling Mom that I am at times, and it hasn’t been exciting to think of sharing that with you. I mean, we are doing OK, we are pushing forward, I am still hopeful for my family, life has continued without Oakes here, but my thoughts during this past year have not been about blissful hope, and miracles and amazing milestones. It was easy during Oakes life to focus on the good, and to cling to hope. It was easy to do that. But the grief that I have gone through over the last year has left me feeling like a mess, not like myself and instinctively I wanted to pull back a little, turn inwards, and give myself a little break. While Oakes was alive, I was constantly trying to listen to him, and I had to do that for myself. I had to listen to the tearful lady that just wanted to quietly back away from the crowd.
This last year has just happened so quickly. This Thursday, June 6th will be the one year mark that Oakes died. I don’t know how it has already been a year. And still, I cannot believe that he is gone. I cannot believe that I am a mother who lost a child. I simply cannot completely wrap my brain around the fact that I gave birth to two children and I only have one sleeping under this roof. The shock of that reality is still great. And the pain and sorrow that comes from his death has not become lighter. I miss him as much today as I did the first day that he was gone. And really, every day, the most grief I feel is because I just miss him SO MUCH.
When Oakes died several people told us that the pain wouldn’t go away but we would learn to live with it, which sounded impossible a year ago. A year ago I thought I would drown is sadness and tears. I remember talking to my Mom about a week after Oakes died or maybe it was just days, and just crying and crying, asking her how I could make the ache go away, and she tearfully and gently told me that this was grief and I had to go through it. And I am sure that at that very second I began experiencing grief through anger. I was so mad at grief. I was mad at the world. I was pissed at God, and the universe and everyone and everything that had let me down. Everyone and everything could go fuck off! Really. I wanted to punch grief in the face. I wanted to stand on the roof of my house, in some super hero stance – arms up in the air, wind in my hair and just flip off the world. I wanted to grab God by the shoulders and just shake him. I wanted to scream at Mary in the most rageful way. I thought if I jumped up and down the earth would tremble, and I swear there were times that I let out yells that could have been mistaken as a lion’s roar. We had already been though so much. Fifteen plus months of stress and anxiety and worst case scenarios coming true, sleepless nights, and buckets and buckets and buckets of tears, and now after saying good-bye to my beautiful baby I was left with an ache in my heart that I was sure would cause all of my organs, my spirit and soul to just decay and fall apart or just harden and fail.
Grief is the shittist trip to take. And after just wrapping up one of the most gutt-wrenching, stressful, anxiety filled journeys that I never could have imagined, grief was not welcomed. Ugh... sitting here replaying parts of the past year has caused tightness in my chest and lot of tears.
But it is true what we were told. The ache doesn’t go away, I have just gotten used to it.
I feel like Oakes life was like this breathtaking helicopter ride. On the ride I saw so much. I saw so much beauty. There were risks involved that we were told about before taking off, it was always a delicate adventure, but I saw the world from an amazing perspective. The beauty that I saw was a gift that I will always have and I know that it transformed the person that I am. But then in a horrifying, scary way our helicopter went down. My body survived the crash, but I was exhausted and just a mess afterwards. Then immediately and without being asked if I wanted to, I was plopped into a boat and dropped into this rushing, powerful, turbulent river that bubbled and churned. The river was just mean and chaotic. I did not want to get in that boat. I fucking did not want to get in that fucking boat, I hated the boat.! But I sat there because I had no choice. At first I was just thrown around by the water but eventually I figured out how to maneuver the boat a bit, and now I feel like I am standing at the shore, looking at this iced over river. I feel some calm knowing that the ice has hidden the waters, but I haven’t been tricked, I know the water is still moving under that ice. And I know that the rest of my life will take place on the banks of this river. That damn water will always be there churning and spraying up towards me. But after a year I have faith that I can navigate the boat when I am in the water, and I know that I can invite others in to help me when I need it.
So there is my confession. I have needed to retreat. I have been scared to share. I have wanted to mother you all and protect you from my yuck. And I drop F-bombs. Despite all of the hurdles in Oakes life, I always chose to hang onto hope and find beauty, but I have had a hard time putting a rosy spin on grief. I know the grief is still around, but I am staking my claim; I am back, and intend to post regularly. I know this will take some time to sort of find a direction with the blog, but I am going to make my best offer.
As for this week, we are not planning much. We will definitely go to Children’s and visit Oakes’ tree. We will likely go to the rooftop garden and release some balloons. On Oakes birthday we talked about him all day, and we all shared some of our favorite memoires of him, which was nice. I am sure we will do that again. I am also sure we will have lots of tears. The water will be rough that day, I know, but I will have Isla and Greg in the boat with me and we will find our way back to the shore.