Monday, July 25, 2016

Losing a Child

July 25, 2012

I lost a grandson a few weeks ago.  His death was caused by a freak household accident that claimed his life within hours.  No one had time to do more than react and pray for the best.
For once in my life I had no words of wisdom for my daughter, no remedy or solution that would make everything better.  I stood by while she heard the words no parent ever wants to hear – her child, her baby, was not responding to everything the trauma medical team was  frantically trying. 
Her twenty-two-month-old child was dying.
One moment her fearless little boy was bombing around the house playing and climbing on furniture, the next he was injured and quiet. What should have been a boo-boo made better with mommy kisses, ended up a fatality.
I try not to relive the horror of that night, but I struggle to sleep.  I wait until my eyes close from exhaustion and I wake a few hours later with a start.  Sadness and fear chase me in my dreams.
I do not dare imagine what goes through my daughter and my son-in-law’s dreams.  They were there.  They saw the baby’s injury a second after it happened.
I’ve lost weight, something that has eluded me for years even though I faithfully follow a diet and exercise at every opportunity.  I am hungry but after a few bites I cannot force myself to eat any more.  What I do ingest does not stay for long.    
I’ve watched my daughter leave behind a full plate of food on the table.
I know that the stages of grief are recursive, that right when you think you are progressing well onto the next stage you fall back onto the first step all over again. There must be a different set of rules of recovery when one loses a child.  Maybe there isn’t any. The universe as you know it has been turned upside down.
Death should come after one has lead a long, full life.  Death should be top-down and not robbing us of babies who have yet learned to create full sentences, tie their shoes, or use the potty like a big boy.
I believe in a good God and in an afterlife.  That is some comfort, but it does not assuage the huge loss and the extreme regret we all feel.  My daughter’s house is full of his and his three-and-a-half-year-old brother’s toys.  His sister and brothers call out his name in play, and his parents set an extra plate at the dinner table before remembering there is one less in the house.   

Our guilt is blanketed in “what ifs” and “only ifs,” but these do not change what happened – one fearless little boy left us all stunned in disbelief, frozen in our pain, cowering at the tragedy we all witnessed.  

Monday, July 11, 2016

Goodbyes, Garage Sales, and Goodwill

When my grandfather passed away, we had to downsize my grandmother’s household so she could move in with my parents.  We went through all of her treasures and the unsellable stuff went first – old oleo containers, chipped or broken things, and paper bags in all sizes and shapes – into the trash can. 
Next we went through all of her better stuff, especially the things she had squirreled away in the tops of her closets and in the bottom drawers of her dressers. Some things were still in their original packaging or in their gift boxes with their price tags still attached.  She doled out the better stuff among us, and then, we labeled the remainder, assigning it a price and held a two-three day garage sale in her front yard until most of it was gone. I don’t know what happened to the stuff that didn’t sell, but it was probably donated to some charitable organization, like Goodwill.
My grandmother never complained, took it all in stride, but I know it must have been difficult to see her beloved things go for so little and with such lack of feeling.
          I occasionally go into the local Goodwill store to find things I can use for my crafting hobby.  I buy old puzzles or a basket or vase, but as I go through the things, I can feel their history.  They once belonged to someone, and like my grandmother’s treasures, they meant something special to their owners. 
A wedding dress.  Why did she get rid of it? 
A complete tabletop Christmas village.  Did someone stop believing in Santa?
A table with one chair. Was there always just one chair?
When I am gone, most of my stuff will end up in the trash, or sold at an estate sale, and the remnants will be donated to a charitable organization.  Someone will take off with my dishes for a quarter a piece.  My clothes will hang on wire hangers at Goodwill and my books will be recycled for the paper. Things I once treasured will mean nothing more than a bargain to others.  

Strangers will go through my things and ask, “Will you take half for this?”           

Monday, July 4, 2016

My Staycation 2016


·       What if I stay home, save my money, and take in the local sights?
Don’t go outside for prolonged periods because of the mosquitoes and Zika.
Drive bys happen anywhere, hackers are waiting for you to use the ATM machine, stalled traffic, drunk drivers, road rage, safety recalls.

·       Maybe I will go to the beach?
UV rays cause melanoma, flesh eating organisms lie in wait in the gulf, sharks bite everyone.

·       The local lakes?
Alligators or is it crocodiles?

·       Disney?
Crocodiles or is it alligators? 

·       How about a movie in a nice cool, air conditioned theater, visit a new church, or go to a nightclub?
Self-radicalized terrorists, crazies, disgruntled ex-employees strike in the most vulnerable places.

·       Maybe I should go ahead, take a risk and travel, maybe a plane trip or a cruise?
Norovirus, pirates and hijackers, the ever-depreciating American dollar, terrorists, crocodiles, alligators, sharks . . . .

·       What if I go nowhere, see no one, stay indoors, shades drawn, refuse to answer the phone, the door, my email, and hoard my money in my mattress?
Bed Bugs