Tomorrow is March 1st.
Alexander has been gone for 23 months
Alexander would be 3 years 8 months old
Julia is the exact same age Alexander was when he was diagnosed with STUPID cancer.
it is a strange time. I have mentioned in a past post about having PTSD. Most days it is okay, but some days it is really bad. For a bit Julia seemed to be having trouble pooping. I was freaking out, because that happened to Alexander (she now poops up to 3 times a day – not worried anymore there!) There have been days that she hasn’t wanted to eat as much, and isn’t taking in as much from the bottle. Same thing happened with Alexander before he got sick. Even little things can set me off. I had bought Alexander some “name stickers” and put them on a bunch of his toys for fun. But, then some of his toys have a label that says “Alexander Whipple” that I made with my label maker. The ONLY reason they are there was in case we forgot them at the hospital – so people would know they were ours, or to let them know they weren’t toys from the play room. That little label can bring back a flood of memories.
We are in a whole new world with Julia. She is starting to learn to crawl. She can “lean” and almost stand by herself. Alexander never did that. She babbles a lot – Alexander babbled a little bit at one point, but then he never spoke. We have to learn what it is to have a “normal” child – a child whose life doesn’t revolve around the hospital, medications, shots, chemo, surgery, blood transfusions. A child that can just GROW UP and be normal (yes, I know there is no “normal” in the world – but work with me here)
We took her to Floating Hospital in December to have an Ultrasound Scan. We had not “worries” it was more of a “peace of mind for mommy and daddy” scan. We had the same Tech that took care of Alexander. She is fine. No tumor. But, even with that scan, I still worry.
When we had the recent snow storm, many of my angel mom friends were finding themselves missing their children in a special way, because of their love of the snow. We took Alexander out when he was about 6 months old. He was not too impressed. We bought him a winter coat when he was 18 months old – he wore it once. He seemed to be happy, but he really only went out the one day into the snow. He was in the hospital the rest of the time. So, for me, I don’t have any special connections to the snow and Alexander. Valentines day – well – he was 7.5 months old his first one, the second, he was sick in the hospital in the middle of his Bone Marrow Transplant. Again, no strong connections to the day.
Some other Angel mom’s and I have started to try to go out once a month for dinner. It has been very nice to be able to talk to those that get it. Most of them, their children were older than Alexander when they died. I find myself jealous of this in some ways because they had so much more time with their children. Their children had friends – friends that will remember their children. Friends that will make the world a better place because of their children. Alexander really didn’t have this. We (Richard and I) had friends in the hospital, and Alexander would “interact” with the other children (when he wasn’t banished to his room because of a fever). But outside of that, he didn’t have a chance to make friends. And those other children were always older than he was.
But, while my friends had more time – many of their children fought against the cancer for YEARS, and despite all they went through they still died! It just all SUCKS no matter how you look at it.
I was missing Alexander a lot the weekend of my birthday (I miss him ALL the time – just some days it is harder than others) I was talking with a friend about it, and said maybe it was because it was my birthday. Then I thought about it some more…. in 2010, we went out for dinner the day before my birthday. At dinner, Alexander wouldn’t eat his food, but I gave him a dinner roll to “play” with. He really enjoyed it. We took one home with us, and he had it while we ate cake. That night, he threw up for the first time ever! We thought we were pretty lucky that it had taken him 7.5 months to throw up! 21 days later, he was diagnosed with STUPID cancer. Richard and I have been back to that restaurant, but I couldn’t go there again for a birthday. In February 2011, Alexander was in the hospital in the middle of his bone marrow transplant process. He was on the “upswing” by then, but still, we were in the hospital for my birthday (which only seems fair, since we were there for Richard’s birthday too)
Grief is a strange thing. It creeps up on you when you least expect it. I have friends now that are “years” in to this process – and yes it is a process. Someone once told me “the tears never stop”. Her daughter had been gone for 20 years.
Sleep is still a problem for me. (of course having an 8 month old doesn’t help!) I have trouble still FALLING asleep. I avoid going to bed sometimes. I don’t know if it is the quiet or what – but I can’t get myself to go to bed. But, once I do get there, and I am asleep – I never want to get up. There are days I wish I could just stay there all day long and never face the world. I know most people have those “days” but for me, it is most every day. But, I have to get up – I have to take care of Julia – I have to go to face life.
I have been having a rough couple of weeks. I use to be such a positive person – but this last week especially – I have been hating things in my life.
I hate that I know so much about childhood cancer – I wish I could go back to being oblivious like most of the world, and just go to the Scooper Bowl every year to “support” the Jimmy fund.
I hate that I now have more friends that have had a child die than those that don’t know such heart ache (but yet, I am so thankful that I DO have these new friends in my life!).
I hate the fact that Julia will never truly KNOW her big brother. I hate that Alexander isn’t here to teach Julia things.
In my support group, The Compassionate Friends, they often say you don’t get OVER grief, you get THROUGH it. It is a process. A very long long process. Some days are easier than others. Some days you just want to crawl back into bed and never come out.