I’ve had so many bereaved parents tell me it was their other children that helped them through. Gave them a reason to get out of bed every day. Helped them move forward and live again. I get it. My girls are the only reason I get out of bed. Though at this stage, I feel as if I’m just existing. Going through the motions.
Parenting after the loss of a child is a blessing and a curse all at the same time. My coping mechanism seems to be turning myself into a robot. Very few emotions live here right now. Maybe I’m still in denial? I do often look at his bedroom and hope he will come walking out. Though I can tell you I know he is gone. Maybe I’m still in the bargaining phase? I do often say I’d trade ANYTHING for a chance to have him back. To wake up and find out this was some horrible nightmare. I’m not sure those thoughts will ever really go away though.
What I can tell you is I’m in the “crappy parent” phase! My interest and motivation to do anything is non existent right now. Everything feels so overwhelming. I swear I felt myself starting to have a panic attack a few nights ago in the middle of the night. Melia woke up and I was helping her put socks on. Yes, I said put socks on! I couldn’t do it. I had to back away and sit down. Really?! Who is this person?
My house is a mess. I start to clean something up and then stop. I just can’t right now so I look for any distraction. I’m not cooking (though one could question how this is any different from before…some would say this can stay…like me). The last time I really went grocery shopping? It was December 23rd.
Now don’t take this the wrong way. My kids are fed, bathed, clothed. Well taken care of. Happy even. I drop Melia off at school each morning, and pick her up each afternoon. We do it all with a smile. Even though I’m not cooking, we eat dinner as a family (minus one). We talk. Laugh even. New normal.
The problem is new normal sucks. I’m still waiting for the emotion to set in. Just waiting. Maybe I’m too logical and realistic in how I process things that the emotion I’m expecting will never actually show up. All this non-processing is exhausting! It takes every ounce of energy and focus I can muster to do these bare minimum things. The extras? The things that I used to make a priority? Almost non existent. I’m trying.
I need to try harder. I promised myself that these girls weren’t going to feel negatively impacted. Weren’t going to feel they lost something. At least not beyond what has already happened. They lost their big brother. Their playmate. One of their biggest supporters. It’s devastating. I know Melia feels the impact. We say his name a lot. She often says “when Cameron was here” and shares something she remembers.
Parenting is hard right now. I find I’m either too tired or too distracted to fully focus on her, though I try hard not to show it. She’s still sleeping in our room. She’s basically been allowed to do whatever she wants. This will change eventually. I know it all will in time. We will find our way back to being good parents again. We have to! Right now, I’m just trying to go easy on myself. Let myself feel however I feel.
My goal this week is to bring back our surprises. I often used to “surprise” the kids. Almost everything became a surprise. I think it helped them appreciate even the little things. Sometimes we would go to the park or somewhere fun. Other times it was an activity we were going to do at home. Maybe a treat I had for them. Melia has been asking if she can have a surprise. I think it’s time I figure out how to bring them back. For her. For us.
I know this will get better, easier. Though a big part of me doesn’t want it to. Cameron consumes my thoughts every moment of every day. In some crazy way, I feel closer to him when he does. It’s a mixture of sad and happy all at the same time.
I never would have thought that I’d have to struggle so hard to make good parenting my priority. How life changes in a flash. One foot in front of the other. I know Cameron would want us to keep moving forward. Keep making memories. Even when they no longer include him. So I guess that is our new normal. #WWCD.