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Join me in figuring out "what now?"

Happy Birthday My Son

So far, okay.

Weird thing thoug2015-12-05-18-53-22.jpgh. When I woke up  – or rather as I was waking up – I saw Streeter standing a foot or two from my bed. His signature baggy sweats and his red ‘Coca-Cola’ t-shirt and that damned beanie cap that he wore to keep his hair out of his face. He was facing away from me, looking down.

And I said ALOUD, “There you are.”

And then I was awake. And he was gone. Again.

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What do the Words Mean?

How can I tell you how much I miss him? This is one of those days that he would have been right here to help… when I wasn’t feeling well, he knew my comfort food. He knew he could curl up beside me and watch “The Thing” for the ten thousandth time. He knew when to talk and when to be silent and just “be”.

I know most people, by this point, have long since stopped reading. There is just so much compassion and understanding people can have before something requires their time and attention.

What I say here virtually never changes and one can be sympathetic for so long. For me, however, every morning I have to wake up to the fact that he is gone and he is never coming back. Every morning is a fresh set of heartache and pain and losing him all over again.

I can’t image living with this every day of my life, yet I still somehow manage to wake up the next day. To the pain of knowing he is still dead and I will never see him or touch his skin or hear his voice. I know I fall asleep every night from sheer exhaustion – exhaustion from pretending that I am fine, that I have something to live for, that I need another day.

But another day simply means more grief and heartache. There is no end in sight. There is no hope on the horizon. And there is no happiness waiting.

 

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A Mini-Nuclear Breakdown

So, I’ve been humming along seemingly okay when out of the blue, something will make me – once again – realize that my sweet son isn’t upstairs with his headset on. He is dead. Really and truly gone from this world. It just seems so much easier to pretend.

But then I am watching this series on television and up pops a new character played by a familiar actor in another series that Streeter and I binge-watched not all that long ago and my first reaction is to shout out to him to come take a look.

Then it hits me, before I utter a sound, I know that there is no one upstairs. And that IMG_1887what remains of my darling boy is a container smaller than a shoe box and he is never coming back to me. He will never again hug or kiss me, roll his eyes over some dumb thing I might have said or have him cook for me, as he was a blossoming chef. Gone are the moments of sharing trivia and bad jokes and all of our adventures that we just hadn’t had time to take.

And then my chest gets tight and it feels like I can’t breathe and I pray for my end. Life is just not turning out the way I thought it would. And I guess that for everything that I have received, it has taken 150% more than when it is gone. Everything good in my life has come with difficulty and pain and frustration and heartache. Only this time it didn’t end with the thing that I wanted, this time it was just the beginning of the end.

Why did this happen? Why didn’t I see the warning signs? Why couldn’t he talk to me? What the hell was so fucking bad that the only option he saw was to end his life? Why wasn’t I paying attention?

I miss him so much that it hurts to breathe. Why didn’t I see?

Streeter's Mom Final

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12 of The Hardest Weeks Imaginable

Today has been tough. First, I realized that 12 weeks has gone by since I lost my baby. Second, after at least being physically okay, I have been hit with a major bug of some sort. I rarely surrender to these annoying 24 hour things, but this one hit hard. After sleeping a rough 12 hours last night, it hit again this afternoon and knocked me out for another four hours. And I don’t think it will go easy on my tonight, as its already 9:30 and I feel like I should head back to bed this very minute.

I happened to pick a movie to try to watch and so far the repeated phrase “Streeter would have loved this movie” keeps going round and round in my head. I swear on all that is holy that I heard him coming down the stairs from his room. I kept waiting for him to come ’round the corner and give me his standard “hey, momma momma” and I would ask him to sit and watch with me.

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I’m just wrecked. For the past three months it has been difficult to breathe let alone job hunting and house hunting and sorting and organizing all the crap in this house. I feel like there should be some special program for parents who’ve lost a child so that they can set aside the normal day-to-day and just grieve.

I think that I must still be in a state of shock or something. My mind races between our lives prior to this to finding him and now to have a small box of ashes that once was him. No more ‘just one more hug or kiss’, no more of our favorite outings and destinations. Just no more him.

His birthday is just two weeks away. I know that I am going to be stupid shocked… my beautiful boy would have been 23. Now he will forever be 22. This is just not fair. And it makes me angry and confused and lost. After all, who am I if I weren’t Streeter’s mom? I know that there was a me before him, but I don’t remember that person. I mean, who was I twenty-three  years ago (other than someone who was desperate to have a child)? Like I said to my therapist, when he was born it was like taking my own heart and giving it to him. And now that he is gone, should I not be gone as well? Who can live without a heart?

And spending so much time and money just to get him into this world and everything I’ve invested in raising him, there is no ‘going back’ to who I once was. Having a child (or children) changes you forever. There simply is no option to resume a life that is past. I used to be called  ‘JBG’, but she no longer exists. And for the past decades, I have and will always be, “Streeter’s Mom”.

I think I am going to back to bed. Take some hardcore-make-me-sleep-and-perhaps-not dream kind of drugs.

I just don’t know how this will ever get better for me. One woman in one of my groups lost her son 17 years ago and she still grieves and cries for him. I just don’t think I have 5 or 10 years to give to grieving, let alone 17.

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What of My Life?

What makes my life so valuable, when my son’s life was not?

I imagine that if I ever were in such a bad place as to take my own life, it would be because I failed my son. I failed him in so many ways that I spend hours debating the value of my life. And have come to the conclusion that my life no longer holds any value.

I loved that kid more than anyone has ever loved their child. I walked through fire just to bring him into this world and god dammit, 22 years was not enough. I want him back.

Of all the wonderfulness that he was and brought into my life, just makes my mind and soul ache. Oh, I put on a brave face most days, but I am really not sure how much more can I stand. As I am in this house, I listen for him. The far away sounds of his computer playing video games and the way he would take the stairs two at a time coming down in the morning. I miss his smell and his voice and his wonderful smile. The way he used to get so excited like he couldn’t sit still. He had such enthusiasm about even the minute things, but it was always there.

I used to describe his smile to people by saying that he smiled with his whole face:IMG_6683

Do you see it? Even his ears are part of his joy.

How do I communicate what an amazing and wonderful person he was? And how it continues to devastate me every second that his is not here with me.

Why didn’t I see it? It had to be there. Was I so hard to talk to that he preferred to die rather than discuss it with me?

And what of my life?

Streeter's Mom Final

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HotWheels and MatchBox Cars

I should know better by now. It is simple too soon to try and throw or give away any of Streeter’s “treasures”. Today, it was his HotWheel and Matchbox collections. I am going mad sorting and trying ever so hard to dispense of this “stuff” and I simply cannot. It hit me about the time I picked up one of his HotWheel tracks that I recall having searched down every avenue for additional “streets” that his cars were to travel upon.

I am getting much closer to actually admitting that I spoiled that kid rotten. But he never acted like a spoiled kid, he was always so outgoing and courteous and helpful and charming. Loved to cook and when prompted would keep his room pretty clean and organized. (Okay, as organized as a teenager can be.)

Today, as I was alone in the house, I had the strongest sense that he was here in the house. And for a moment, I held a singular HotWheel car in my hand, that I knew I would have to keep it. And all of it. I mean, how do you put a price tag on something that was so important to him, and in return, to me?

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Seeing Less of You

Now that I have been writing about Streeter’s death for the last six or seven weeks or so, I think I am seeing the inevitable. The outpouring from friends has been amazing but it is has been waning in the past couple of weeks.

I knew it was inevitable, after all, people have theirs own lives to get on with. Or they still don’t know what to say or do. Or it just isn’t in the fronts of their minds anymore. Or they just plain don’t want to think about suicide in general, or my baby taking his own life or what its done to me.

As for me, my grief hasn’t waned and actually made worse by being in this house alone and really not knowing or understanding what it is that I should be doing. My grief counselor tells me that I am in a stage called “acute grieving” which makes sense as every day I wake up it seems to be worse than the day before. I think the world in general just wants me to “get over it”.

And KC’s finest called yesterday and told me that the case is officially “closed” and I can pick up anything they had previously been holding as evidence. Well, Streeter went in with nothing but the clothing on his back and the gun he used to shoot himself.

I’ve finally found someone (professional) that I can talk to. Just by coincidence and an immediate need to be able to share this with, I would up attending a group meeting in Lawrence. Yes, way out there in Lawrence. For those of you reading that aren’t from around here, its about a 50 mile drive. One way.

Oh and I think I figured out why I am not getting any calls about jobs… I had put a short message on my other blog about being on a hiatus because of Streeter’s death, and never made the connection with the fact that the first thing on my resume is that I am a blogger and I gave that url. People don’t want to hire someone who’s just lost a child to suicide.

I reached out to a recruiter that has been a fairly loyal recruited and we’ve worked together from about the time I moved to Kansas City. I sent him my resume and he called me back almost immediately to remind me that I had that blurb on the home page. Guess I know why no one else was calling.

Which pretty much puts me out of the market here in KC. I either have to leave or change the field of work that I’ve been in since 1985. I guess, since I won’t have anything to tie me to this city, it shouldn’t be hard to leave. It will be difficult to figure out where to go next.

I just got back from voting (special election here in Missouri) and my first inclination was to tell Streeter.

Everything is just as painful – maybe more so – than the day I found him dead.

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Lego Man Urn for Streeter

I found this great place online that builds urns for children. I knew after searching, I had found the perfect urn for Streeter’s ashes.

And for those who know that I want to spread Streeter’s ashes in Alaska, I am still doing that, I am just not spreading all of them.

The company is called Fenix3D. The idea was derived from the need of the founder to find an urn for his young son and not finding anything that looked appropriate. You can visit the website here and their Facebook page here.

Here are some of their Lego Man creations:

Yes, these are urns. And once I saw them I knew this would be what I do for Streeter (well at least half of his ashes). The one being made for Streeter is grey (sweat) pants and a red shirt and then same face as in both photos (smile with glasses). IMG_3527Streeter’s favorite clothes were grey sweats and a red coca-cola t-shirt. I will have to find a way to get the logo for the t-shirt and I will top it with an actual cap the he used to wear all the time.

Yesterday as I was working on the minifig displays, I needed some more black 2×2’s so I headed down to the Lego store. While there, I managed to put together a real Lego man with the same colors (in addition to picking up a couple more small Lego sets.

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The young lady working there helped me find the right pieces, and after I said, “Now all he needs are his own little Legos” to which she disappeared into the back room and came back with those teeny tiny little Lego guys. She mentioned that they originally were ‘awards’, a la The Emmys. Aren’t they adorable?

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I might try to paint one so that it also looks like the bigger Lego man and the urn that is currently being made.

God I miss him so much. I am closer every day to my Alaskan trip, the last one we will make together. It certainly isn’t going to be the same trip that he and I were planning.

I had thought that I might take someone, but in the end, its all about me and Streeter. I will give updates on the trip.

Streeter's Mom Final

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A Little Bird

No, this isn’t about a little bird telling me something, but rather a real little bird:Little Bird

The momma bird was in the tree next to the driveway squawking at me the entire time. She must have figured out to rescue this little guy or he was able to get those little wings flapping. But he was gone a few minutes later when I went back out to put water in the birdbath.

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