Our “New” Normal
I hate our new normal. HATE it! I’m told that will never change. Right now I believe them. Don’t get me wrong, none of this changes my love for my husband and the girls. It also doesn’t mean that I won’t continue putting one foot in front of the other and living.
The first couple of days were the worst.
We got home from the hospital around 2:30 AM on December 26th. I had been awake since December 24th. Beyond exhausted! I hadn’t let myself close my eyes at the hospital for fear of missing a single second that I had left with Cameron.
Our house was full of family that had flown in. My Mom met me with a hug. I was so happy to see nothing was put away. His presents were left right where I had stacked them when we opened gifts with Melia. On the counter was his last spelling test (100%). A piece of paper from his homework notebook on the table. It had been ripped out.
I walked to the couch. The last place he was before we left. His pillow and blankets still there (though it was now a bed for someone else).
All I wanted to do was curl up in his bed, with Reindeer, and sleep. But I didn’t. I walked into his bedroom. Just stood there and looked around. I wanted to see everything exactly as he had left it the last time he was there. It somehow made him feel closer.
The present he got when we first got to the hospital, I placed on top of his dresser. It’s still there today. I don’t have the heart to open it. He told them he wanted to wait until he opened his presents on Christmas Day.
That night I did sleep. I curled up with Reindeer, but in my own bed. I could barely keep my eyes open so sleep came fast. It was the baby that woke me at 6:08 AM for a bottle. I remember exactly because when I looked at the clock I started crying. Cameron would usually get up about that time and start begging to play video games until the rest of us got up.
This was the first time I realized that my life would forever be divided. Before and after.
That morning when I got up, I was trying to keep a low profile. I realized the dog hadn’t gone out yet so I slipped out the patio door to take her out. The moment I opened the door and stepped out, I was overcome with grief. Cameron used to take the dog out every morning when he first woke up. I sat down by the pool and sobbed.
I find it’s the small things that suddenly hit you that have the greatest impact.
A song on the radio. Not necessarily even the songs that he liked. They don’t even always make sense. Most are about lost romantic relationships, but some of the lyrics fit and I lose it. Adele’s “Hello”. Meghan Trainor’s “Like I’m Gonna Lose You”.
School drop off. Every time I pull into the school, I look at the area we used to drop off or pick up at. Now we drive to the back side of the building to Melia’s entrance. The first two days back I cried the entire drive home.
There is a little bird house he painted that hangs in a tree in my front yard. It’s bright orange and stands out. Every time I leave or return home, I see it and think of him. He painted it almost 3 years ago. I’ve always had it hanging outside. I told my husband I want to take it down so I can put it in a box to keep before it gets ruined from the weather.
Tonight I put Melia’s lunchbox in the cabinet. It’s something I did with their lunch boxes each weekend. When I opened the door, my eyes were met with his blue Spiderman lunch box. Exactly where I put it before Christmas break.
He is everywhere I look. I just wish he was here.
I’m not constantly crying. In fact, there have been a lot of days I haven’t shed a tear. It feels wrong, but I just can’t. I’m so numb. It’s as if my emotions haven’t caught up to the reality. So I continue to wait for the breakdown. Even though I’m not crying, I’m constantly thinking about him. Devastatingly sad inside.
My husband and I have read a lot of articles. It seems what I’m feeling is very normal. Nothing about this is normal. We continue telling ourselves that everyone grieves differently and in their own time. I know this is true and it’s OK. I still feel like I’m not doing it right.
Our new normal sucks. The idea of creating new memories that don’t include Cameron hurts. Not that I have it in me to think about creating new memories right now. I feel as if there is such a void in my heart. Like a huge part of me died with Cameron and was left with him in that hospital room.
Nights are the worst. I find myself avoiding his little corner of the house once it gets dark. Not sure why. During the day it doesn’t bother me.
The other night I cried. Mostly because I remembered how happy we were. My focus has always been on creating memories for the kids. I wanted them to look back on their childhood and have so many happy days to reflect on. My greatest fear is that the girls will miss out because that part of me that died is the part that was so happy.
I am trying very hard to create “normal” for them. To smile. To laugh and play with them. Make sure they are happy and loved. Inside, my heart is broken. My mind is often somewhere else. Thinking about the boy that I miss terribly. The way things used to be.
We talk about Cameron a lot. The things we remember. The things we miss. It helps.
One moment at a time. One foot in front of the other. Figuring out our new normal. Our lives forever changed.
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