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Five Weeks, But Seems A Lot Longer

This has been a whole helluva weekend. I wander around totally unfocused, spending a few minutes looking at this room and that closet and the drawers in the kitchen and not having a clue as to what I am going to do with it all. Or where I am going to take it all.

Where am I going to live and how will I find it. If I find it, will I have a room that has his collectibles and keepsakes. He was an avid collector – must have gotten it from his momma – and how can I just throw his treasures away? The house is a mess with moving things around, trying to figure out what can go and what stays. I’ve spent more than a decade collecting for my hobbies and those things that I love. I have a well stocked and supplied garage workshop. I need a house the size I am living in now, although I suppose I could do without a guest room, I suppose, and I am ready to give up my giant bedroom suite for something more simple, but I don’t image see parting with a single thing in my sewing room.

And then my mind shifts to Mother’s Day in a couple of weeks and how I will never get flowers or breakfast in bed from my baby. Ever. Again. I will never hear his sweet voice telling me how much he loves me or do I want eggs over or scrambled. Never have him watch television with me or share the viewing of our favorite move “The Thing” again and say all the lines together. Never have those inside jokes and those telling looks we used to give one another.

I’m afraid that people are getting tired of me going on about it. Sometimes I feel like I won;t be able to take another breath and sometimes I wish I could get on with things. I just feel so hopeless.

I have this book in my bathroom called “8979 Words of Wisdom” and the most apt line that I have read so far is: “Some questions will never have an answer.”

I suppose over time the little issues will resolve themselves, but right now they are right there in from of my mind. The bigger issues – like why? – will never be understood.

Streeter's Mom

Oh, for Mother’s Day I am planning to get my blog signature tattooed over my heart. He, of course, will always be there.

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Thank Heavens for Good Friends

It just really dawned on me that I could not have made it this far without the friends I have in my life.

There are so many issues that I have to deal with and usually with strangers without knowledge or understanding. And most people in business are so cheerful and happy, always wishing me a ‘great day’. I know that it isn’t their fault, they need to be happy and cheerful… but it still hurts that I cannot be happy in return. To the few that I tried to explain that I wasn’t being rude… it caused me to break down in tears. Mostly, I just try to not interact with the public. Over the phone seems to work better, but honestly, I’d just rather not talk to anyone just now.

On the other hand, texting and emails are perfect. There is no expectation of response or the real emotion that underlies the texted words.

I love these friends and that they know me and when to reach out and when to be there when I need them. I just found the most beautiful flowers on the front porch (after I checked the Nest camera feed. (Thanks Kim and Robert!)

And the real proof is that the people who have contributed to my GoFundMe project. I can tell you that it has made all the difference in how I look at my friends, my true family.

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Here he is helping me hang my quilts to get photos for OnMyCreativeSide blog. What a sly grin as I caught him unprepared.

 

 

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Can I Only Expect One Good Day a Month?

Today was another one of those days where I couldn’t seem to get one foot in front of the other. ALL DAMNED DAY.

I have about a hundred things going on at the same time so I figured I’d get a planner and get things written down in one place. Driving down to Office Depot, picking a planner (they have like literally thousands of ’em) and to actually navigate back home took hours. Then to find all the appointment cards and notes written on several different pads of paper and get them filled into the book, making calls and setting appointments and then getting those filled in as well.

Something that like should only take a few minutes, half an hour tops… but for me it was a solid four hours. I am living in absolute chaos with things half packed and sitting everywhere. I thought that I’d get a heads up on things, but then later realized if I utilize an estate sale company, they’d want to be able to see everything out in the open. I am trying to figure out what I want to keep, need to keep and would fit into a new place. I’ve spent so much time and energy and money accumulating what my husband referred to as “too much stuff”. This is the equipment in my sewing room and my well equipped garage with the best tools and materials… you know the “stuff”  enable me to create the stuff I show on my other blog. All of the wonderful things me and the kid found while thrifting and collected on all of our exploration trips.

And of course, there’s everything in Streeter’s room that I cannot bear to lose.

I’ve mostly stopped eating… for some reason I only eat canned corn and fresh broccoli. I’ve stopped drinking Diet Coke, with some good results (healthy, I think). I’ve officially lost more than 25 pounds… hell of a way to lose weight.

I’m still not sleeping much more than about six hours. I try to nap during the day but I just can’t sleep. I wander around the house and everything makes me cry. I applied for about a hundred jobs – I know that I duplicate-applied to some jobs… but I am simply not getting any responses or invitations to interview. I just feel so hopeless about everything.

I’m hoping for a better day tomorrow. I have someone coming out to fix the floor that had to be removed by crime scene guys and I know that is seriously going to knock me on my ass.

But I did find a group that I may try and attend tomorrow. I have a “care coordinator” with my health insurance who is an amazing and wonderful woman. She has been so supportive and responsive. She found this group and I think I might try it but may just hang back and just see how it goes. I fear that I may just cry through the entire thing and just not have the strength or energy or the ability to talk to a group about my situation. I was told that the woman that started the group lost her son – and described him as her ‘best friend’ (the same way I described my son – 13 years ago.

I worry that both I will find that she has not moved on at all in 13 years or that she has completely gotten over the death of her son. Did I tell you that I had someone say to me that after two weeks in the hospital “shouldn’t you be fixed by now?”. Most of my friends have been understanding and supportive, its my “family” that has disappointed me. It is just one more reason that my true family are the friends that I have made along the way. My family has always let me down. I thought that Streeter and me would always be the ultimate team.

I miss him so much… I can’t ever imagine not missing him this much.IMG_2238Streeter's Mom

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Okay, Today Was A Little Better

I’ve been going through all of Streeter’s Legos looking for just the minifigures, working on displaying at least some of the best ones we collected.

IMG_4702This is just some of what I have found… it at least gave me some good memories of all the Lego sets that we bought and assembled them together. Its the one thing we loved doing and as he got older, I would organize the colors and sizes and help him find them as he needed them. The great thing about Lego sets is that they come in a wide variety of prices.

When Streeter was little and going to half day kindergarten, I would pick him up everyday and we’d have lunch together before I took him to his afternoon daycare. We ate quite a bit of McDonald’s and Burger King and Wendy’s and other fast food places. I set up a little system that he could trade his meal “toy” for a special ticket that I created. One ticket was worth a small Lego set, four tickets was worth a medium toy and ten tickets was worth a large toy. Saved myself from throwing away a lot of those crap toys and he ended up with a very nice collection of Lego sets. In California, his Dad built him one of those Lego tables and once we built a city – had a zoo, a hospital, houses on a lake, gas station, mountains with pine trees… lots and lots of details and it was so much fun working together.

Unfortunately, there came a time when he wanted less to do with Legos and was more interested in computers and computer accessories. We sold the majority of them on eBay for more than $2000, a nice start for his new interest. Several times afterwards, he said he had wished that he hadn’t sold his collection and there were times I wished he hadn’t either.

So, over time we did manage to acquire a few more sets – like the Beatle’s Yellow Submarine set. They have those mystery packs of minifigures which was really fun trying to guess what the bag contained. I will probably continue to collect these to keep that part of us alive.

I collected a couple of shadow boxes and collection boxes and am organizing those I want to display. I’ve contacted this company that makes special large Lego men sized for holding ashes. It doesn’t appear that there will be an Alaskan trip – at least not this summer – so I am considering ordering one for the meantime. There were only four very generous donations to my GoFundMe campaign (https://www.gofundme.com/Streeter-sAshes) but not coming close enough to make the trip.

I met with a new psychotherapist today and having to start the process all over didn’t feel helpful at all. Still looking around for the right support group. Trying to attend to too many things at the same time seems to overwhelm me, so I am trying to deal with less things in a single day. Tomorrow I’ll try to take on a couple of more.

 

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This Has to be The Worst Day Yet

Today marks one month since my darling son felt that he had no choice but to take his own life. I awoke in tears today.

And it went downhill since that. While I have often put on a “brave” face for many things: jobs, shopping, paying bills, cleaning the house and trying to be creative enough to merit yet another blog post on my other blog, today was almost impossible.

So, in addition to feeling lost, lonely and utterly sad, I am now faced with the fact that my husband (while I was in the hospital) hired a divorce attorney, set up his own bank account and diverted all of his funds into it and announced to me – when I finally got to come home from the hospital – that he was divorcing me, retiring from his job and moving to Arizona.

From the moment I knew infertility treatment had finally worked and my baby boy was safely on his way, I was intent on giving him everything I didn’t have growing up with so many brothers and sisters – an steadily absent father (long haul truck driver most of my life) and an overworked and angry mother who blamed everyone else for having all of this thrust upon her,

I have said many times that there is no way that two people should have this many kids – there just isn’t enough time, attention, love and interest in a couple (let alone for all intents and purposes a ‘single’ mother) to give to that many kids. And I was angry about all that I did not get and that doesn’t even include the lack of ‘stuff’ that every child dreams about.

I wanted Streeter to have everything – mostly my love and attention – but those material things that I never had. A nice house, his own room and bed and the very best in clothes and toys and opportunities. I wanted to give to him – while also giving myself those things – the opportunity to travel and see the country. And (almost) every toy that he ever wanted. But most of all, I wanted – no needed – to give him my affection and love, hugs and kisses, to be read to before bed and the real need to be proud of himself as well as his family.

I have worked very hard over the past thirty years or so to acquire those things I felt were necessary to live the ‘good life’. And now I see it unraveling right in front of my eyes on the heels of him losing his life. I can’t seem to find a job, my health right now is a joke, I am soon to lose my house and my car and that goes without saying that everything that he had that meant so much to him.

Yesterday I had this breakdown in an aisle in HomeDepot, today it was in IKEA. If I don’t say anything and don’t look people in the eye I have the slightest chance of not losing it, but the checkout clerk was so kind and I didn’t want to intentionally hurt his feelings, so I stumbled out the words that I wasn’t intentionally being disrespectful, but that I had just lost my son. As soon as the words fell out of my mouth, he wanted to hug me and say something meaningful but I couldn’t stand there one more second, but broke down into tears, sobbing as I stumbled off towards the exit. Once outside, the tears flooded from my eyes and I couldn’t turn it off for like fifteen minutes.

I am missing him so much it physically hurts. I’ve not had anyone offer me a hug or a hand or arm across my shoulders in weeks and I am so used to have hundreds of hugs and kisses from my baby. It is the worst kind of withdrawal I couldn’t ever imagine until now.

My life seems to be falling apart a little more every day. This morning I didn’t even get that fraction of a second when waking to not realize he was gone, I woke up in tears. One month has passed and I can’t seem to see it ever getting better…. only worse and worse.

I really don’t know how I will ever bear this…

Streeter's Mom

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Tomorrow Marks One Month

I honestly don’t know how many more mornings I can wake up and deal with the fact that my baby, my best friend and constant companion is dead.

Sometimes I think this is the longest April Fool’s joke anyone has ever played and that one day he will walk through the front door and give me a big bear hug and lots of kisses.

But my mind knows better. And my heart is just so broken that I can’t see much past the next two minutes at any time and it is only due to my doctor that I can sleep now that he has prescribed sleeping pills. Even at that I am only getting about six hours of sound sleep. Every night when I go to bed, I look upwards and ask that if there really is a God that he take me before morning. It never fails that I wake up and think about my baby and cry and cry and cry. I can’t imagine how this will ever get better.

I see and hear and remember him in every corner and room in this house. I can’t imagine living in this house without it driving me slowly insane, but then again I can’t begin to think about loosing the house that he spent most of his life growing up in and even dying in. I am so confused and lost and don’t know what to think or how to move forward.

I can’t even imagine what was going on inside of him. He always seemed like such a happy and helpful kid…. he always was helping with my projects or willing to sit with me and watch television or a movie. Loved to play on his computers and always willing to lend me a hand with my issues. One of the things we loved to do was go ‘thrifting’ and looking for Pyrex or Magnalite pot and pans and apples and cupcakes and mostly his love of all things military. He has enough fatigues to clothe a small army. And, of course, his collection of money… he was a numismatist.

Legos. He loved his legos. I love Stephen King’s books. It was so fun going out on a saturday morning and hit three or four thrift stores. Occassionally we went to estate sales… you never know what you might run across. He always said that the houses smelled “like old people”, so we didn’t go often, but when we did, we usually found some pretty cool stuff.

What was going on in his head and his heart that he felt he had no reason to go on? I couldn’t have loved him more and told him often. Hugged and kissed him all the time and he would do this in front of others… in public. He was the essence of my heart. When he was born, someone told me that I would then know what it meant to live with my heart outside my body. It couldn’t have been more true. And now that he is gone, he took my heart with him and I feel dead inside.

Streeter's Mom

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How Can This Ever Get Better?

Mornings are the worst. There is this fraction of a second as I am waking up that it doesn’t quite occur to me that he’s gone. And that everything isn’t broken.

Most of the time I just wished that I would be dead alongside of him. I can’t really understand or make it make sense how I am supposed to live without him.

I picked up his death certificate yesterday. Can you believe that they make you pay to get this? And the clerks behind the glass are so unfeeling and unkind. Again for the detective’s report at yet another police station. I am stiff fighting to get back the possessions when they carried him out of here.

If it weren’t for the myriad of drugs that the psychiatrist has prescribed, I’d not sleep either. Sometimes I wish I would never sleep again. Or always be asleep. My head hurts and I am dehydrated from crying constantly and it breaks my heart over and over to have to think about selling this house that he grew up in. You can see him everywhere in this house… things he did, things he said, places where he just ‘was’.DSCN0164Everything I did in the past couple of years, I absolutely depended on him for help. Sometimes it was because of my knees, sometimes it was because he was an excellence source of help but mostly because I just like ‘being’ with him. Just hanging out. He help maneuver my large quilts as I was sewing, helping me with ALL of the projects we did on OnMyCreativeSide.com, making dinner, running errands with me… just everything.

As I sit through these days realizing everything ahead of me, my brain can’t help but leap first to needing his help. And then, of course, realize that he is no longer around to help me. And then my brain goes numb trying to figure out how I am ever gonna make it without him.

Streeter's Mom

 

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Everyone says it will get better…

Just about the time I think I have the positive energy to get something done, my brain goes into overdrive and my heart breaks in about ten millions pieces all over again.

In between job hunting, doctors’ visits, therapists’ and group meetings, I have to think about finding a new place to live, getting rid of probably 75% of all my “stuff”, which includes all the heartbreaking things that my baby boy collected. The carpeting in his room has to be replaced so there is dealing with the homeowner’s insurance as well.

The new place has to be able to accommodate at least my quilting stuff, which I can’t even imagine trying to move all of that downstairs. There’s five bedrooms’ worth of furniture and it just seems to go on and on and on.

Looks like I will lose my health insurance, no small thing in this day and age coupled with the place I am at right now.

I sit here an try to get organized in some way and I can’t help but think about what life was like just a month ago… I never had a clue that he was so depressed.

And there is that… I am still dealing with an unsympathetic Kansas City police department and medical examiner’s office… I can’t even get his Certificate of Death. The detective in the case was a real asshole when I tried to talk to him about what happened. It’s like he was just one insignificant kid to the rest of the whole world… but to me he was the whole world. My whole world. I don’t know how I am going to make it in this world without him.

photoThis was just the kind of kid he was. I just don’t understand what was going on with him. I never saw a second of depression in him and God knows I know depression in me.

Every morning I would hear him come down the stairs, taking them three at a time: thump thump thump, thump thump thump, thump thump thump. And he’d be cautiously knocking on my bedroom door to see if he could make me breakfast. Or better yet, come slip in beside me and snuggle with me. Talk about the day and what had to be done and what we wanted to do.

And every night the same ritual when I would text him that I was heading to bed… thump thump thump, thump thump thump, thump thump thump… and a couple of g’night kisses and a hug or two. We exchanged about a million texts, it was just such a part of our communications… and he could say anything to me. Told each other we loved each other dozens of times a day. And kisses and hugs all the time. Even though he was not a kid anymore, he still loved his momma.

Took such good care of me when I had all those surgeries in the past couple of years… gall bladder, kidney stone and both knee replacements. Would drive from Kansas City North to Overland Park every day. Never hesitated if I needed him to pick up something or make dinner or breakfast or run to the store. I feel like I died right along side of him.

010114I love you so  much baby bear of mine…

Streeter's Mom

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Grieving is Hard Work

For the second day in a row, I have spent every second alone. Even though I know that people cannot just drop their lives and rush off to support me. Especially when I’ve intentionally secluded myself…. but I suppose I wished that I had someone reach out. My son’s best friend has been wonderful in attempting to help me, but that’s a heavy burden to put on the shoulders of a 21 year old young man also attempting to deal with what I think is his first hand knowledge of death.

Even my son’s father is not understanding in the least. His last comment to me was something along the lines of “I thought the hospital was supposed to fix you”. Perhaps I should be thinking of him as well, but Streeter was my child, my best friend, my constant companion. We had all of these inside jokes and history. I had so much more to give to him and share with him.

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His Grandmother’s Funeral… Grandma loved blue, so he picked it out just for her.

I can’t keep myself moving in a single direction. So unlike me. I can’t think and I can’t keep my thoughts moving in a straight line. Right now I have but one goal and that is to raise enough money to get Streeter’s ashes to Alaska. After that, who knows. I am guessing that I will eventually have to go back to work… well, “eventually” seems a misnomer, seems I should have gone back to work months ago. Everything seems to be hanging by a thread.

I keep vacillating between selling the house and everything in that reminds me of my sweet baby boy. A clean slate, so to speak.

But then I start looking at the sheer amount of ‘stuff’ that he collected and simply could not bring myself to part with a single piece that meant so much to him. So many memories in the pieces he kept. And just the sheer amount of work that will be involved in looking, touching and assessing the personal value of each item. I can’t even begin to imagine how I can let go of even the smallest objects, let along let complete strangers paw through his prized collections.

On top of this, of course, is his day to day possessions, his clothes, shoes, toothbrush. I don’t even want to think about taking care of his room – the room he died in. I am staunchly on the fence about a clean sweep of the room, turning into yet another quest room or an extended craft room and restoring it back to the wonderful little ‘pad’ that we spend so much time and energy not that long ago. One of my therapists (yes, therapists with an ‘s’) tells me not to think about it right now. But how can I not?

Oh God, I think I need a nap and a reprieve from thinking. About anything and everything.

MacCupcake

Streeter's Mom

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Apparently, He Was a ‘Rainbow Baby’

I have been searching and hunting for a support group for women who have experienced what I’ve gone through.

The “official” definition is: A Rainbow Baby is a baby born after a loss. That loss may be a miscarriage, a stillbirth, or an infant loss. It may even be the loss of a grown child. But when the mother who has lost a child goes on to birth another live baby, the affectionate term “Rainbow Baby” is given to her new and wondrous gift.

So, I guess Streeter qualified as a “Rainbow Baby” and I couldn’t have loved any child more. The problem isn’t that he wasn’t healthy (he was über healthy) or that he didn’t have mental issues (other than the Einstein Syndrome). It was that he was the most perfect child I could ever have hoped for.

But there was something wrong- obviously. Whether is was ‘normal’ teenage/youth angst or about being expected to leap from the nest or that he was depressed. Now I know that he was extremely depressed/suicidal. Easy to make the diagnosis following. You know, the whole “hindsight is 20/20” thing.

I looked up what the signs of depression in young men are supposed to be and honestly, I did not see any of these in Streeter. Perhaps he was adept at hiding it or maybe I just wasn’t paying close enough attention (though I doubt it). Maybe it was one thing that hit recently and it impacted him too much… I don’t know. I went through a period of doubt and believing that maybe, perhaps it could have been an accident, but the coroner is ruling it a suicide. The signs were there that it couldn’t have been anything but intentional.

Tonight has been especially hard for me. Its been windy and cold and the house creaks and it sounds like he is upstairs playing on his computer much too late. I think that I cannot really find someone to understand, not having to – as I so angrily referred to it in the hospital – as no one who has walked through the fire of infertility for nearly five years to finally get the child of my dreams, only to lose him far, far too soon.

Who do I talk to? Who can I say, explain, cry about to who would really get it? I don’t have other children, I am too old for another child (and even if I weren’t, it would be the whole infertility thing all over again.

Mother’s day is just around the corner and now I am no longer a ‘mom’. I have no one who to make me a special breakfast or bring me flowers or just snuggle and watch a movie with. I’ll never be the ‘mother of the groom’ nor will I ever be ‘Grandma’. I don’t have someone to help with all my crafts and projects… sometimes I think I did all those projects just to have a reason to have him spend time with me.

I have lost my favorite traveling companion. We’ve been all over the U.S. and it has been great that we were both interested in seeing the same sites and places. Nice when he was old enough to help drive and wonderful that we essentially liked the same music and would sing out loud and crackly to the radio. As most of you know, we were talking about making the trip to Alaska this summer (so I would come home and finally go back to school while he either worked or started college). Make the drive, taking our time and do all those goofy things we always did together.

SoAsh Urn Pendent, I hope to take the trip with him one last tiAsh Marble Pendentme. I am planning on making the trek to Alaska and leaving his ashes there. At least part of them. There are a few people who will be getting keepsakes of his ashes – either in little enclosed pendents or I can have some of his ashes made into a ‘marble’ type pendent.

And, again much like his mom, he never found, was given or bought something that he didn’t keep. You would not begin to believe the immensity of ‘stuff’ (or as he called it ‘treasures’) that I have to go through and try to decide what to do with it all. I get as far as his bedroom door and cannot go any further. And, of course, are the ten thousand photos I have take of him. They adorn every wall of every room and fill dozens of photo albums (and don’t forget his four baby books!).

Half the time I want to leave everything exactly the way it is, like I am expecting him to walk back through the front door and yell “SURPRISE!” or something. The other half of the time I want to just throw it all away and spare myself bumping into his shoes on the stairs or his clean clothes still sitting on the cabinet in the upstairs hallway – right outside his door.

And then I get overwhelmed and I can’t breathe or stop from sobbing. I obviously need him to help me. What a painful, horrible Catch-22.

And I can’t sleep….

MacCupcake

Streeter's Mom

 

 

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