Monday, April 13, 2015

Picking Up the Pieces

This will seem scattered probably...

I wrote last night about Leslie.  It was crap.  It was so down and negative, talking about the long slow slide at the end.  Emma came down from her room while I was typing.  Couldn't sleep.  It was 11:40.  I gave her some ideas about how to calm herself and told her I'd be up in about 20 minutes. 

I always do that for Emma.  When her brain gets too hot and she needs to distract herself, I've given her "dreams".  For years I've given her dreams. 

"Daddy, can you give me some dreams," she'd ask? 
"Sure baby."

The dreams were just me giving her a focus for her mind.  I'd usually pick a seasonal fantasy...a day at Kennywood, a snow adventure, that sort of thing.  I'd lie down with her and tell her, "Okay, I want you to try to dream about a day at Kennywood, just our family and whatever friends you want.  There are no lines.  It's hot, but not too hot.  Just hot enough that the water rides splash up around your clothes and feel refreshing.  You can walk up to any ride and you get immediately on.  You can ride it however much you want.  When you get hungry, you just ask for cheese fries or lemonade and they get it for you right away."

And she'd occupy her imagination with the seeds of a dream and usually that was enough.

Last night I couldn't think of a happy dream that didn't in some way shine a spotlight on her missing mother.  I told her to try to imagine a trip to Sky Zone without grownups.  Just the kids doing what they wanted.  I sent her back upstairs to her bedroom and continued typing.  My dream seeds didn't take root. 

20 minutes later I was done writing just past the part where we told Emma the news that her mother was going to pass, and I'd had enough.  It was all wrong.  All about doom and gloom, and nothing about the woman we lost.  All facts, no love.  Maybe I was protecting myself.

I walked into Emma's room and found her lying on her side, staring, wide awake. 

"Come on, sweetie.  Why don't you lie down with me."  She came back with me to the room I'd shared with her mother and curled into the covers.  I scratched her back for a while and eventually we both fell asleep. 

Things are rocky right now.  I think it's going to be a long time before things are "normal" in our house.  Right now the most normal part of it is Lily, who is COMPLETELY normal despite her mother passing, which, ironically, is not normal. 

She doesn't get the finality.  She hasn't even really processed that Leslie's gone.  She is happy watching Wiggles.  We say our prayers and she dutifully "godblesses" her mother, but says nothing else that indicates she's aware that Leslie isn't in our house, or our lives.  It is simultaneously heartbreaking and relieving.  Although I'll continue to watch her carefully...she seems blessedly unimpacted by Leslie's passing.

I have grief like pregnancy cravings.  One minute it's Leslie's voice.  The next it's her scent.  I'll look feverishly through the house for videos or audio files with Leslie's voice on them.  It doesn't satisfy the urge.  There isn't enough. 

This weekend while Emma slept, I couldn't bear to wake her.  What if she was dreaming of Leslie? 

When we are around people we're fine.  We entertain.  We chat.  Our attention drifts from Leslie's absence even if we're talking about her.  When we're alone, it's harder. 

If I think about the future without Leslie it hurts too bad, and I stop myself.  It hurts remembering the past happy moments too, but not as much as looking into the future.  Mother's day is a month away. 

Leslie's presence looms so large in our house.  Everywhere I turn something sucker punches my emotions.  I'm tempted to sweep my house clean of every trace because it hurts.  I know that I can't do that.  I know that it'd be ten times worse if those things were out of my grasp forever.  Too final.  Am I tricking myself?  I don't know.  Either way, I have to give it time.  I'd rather realize that I'm trying to hedge Leslie's death in a few months, then realize I overreacted in a few months.  I can ALWAYS throw that stuff away later.

A friend online offered to make quilts for the kids from Leslie's clothes.  I'm going to take her up on it.

More later...


  1. Sending you and your girls my prayers.

  2. I can't get you and the girls out of my thoughts. I wish I could come in and help you walk through this somehow. Cook a meal, read a story to the girls or something, bake some cookies...something. Sending you love and prayers for strength.

  3. Prayer and thoughts are with you all. I cannot fathom this. I wish we could take away the hurt and bring peace.

  4. You don't know us but I wish we could ease your hurt. If it helps, keep writing. You aren't alone...we're reading. My Hallee is 17 and has no understanding of life or death...just that a person is gone.

  5. I see you, Jim W. It was a full year before I could move my husband's guitar out of the corner where it sat waiting for him. Miss E (with her Aspie superpowers) had an amazing capacity to self-regulate her grieving. This is playing time, this is sadding time, and ne'er the twain shall meet. Miss E uses her dad's music stand for displaying her latest work of art. He'd have loved that. I've emailed Dawn. Here if you need, and here even if you don't. Love & light, Deborah/DeeCee

  6. Jim, I am so sorry for your family. There must be more to say or a better way to say it, but I certainly cannot figure out what it is.

  7. I think of you and the girls daily. You are in my prayers.

  8. Jim, sending prayers as always.
    You will love the clothing-quilts your friend makes. Someone made some for my sisters and me after our mom died, and though we were adults when it happened, we treasure them more than anything else. It's a bit like she's hugging me when I wrap up in it.

    DO take the time you need, and then take some more time. Allow the negative with the positive. You aren't wrong for whatever you feel. It all cycles through. There is no time limit, no correct way to grieve. Be gentle with yourself.

  9. Thinking of you and the girls... sending prayers for you all.

  10. Jimmy maybe not now, well certainly not now the memories will play such an important part of your whole families lives. Then pain and sadness is always there but in a differnt way too. In time you will process it better and thank yourself for having the memories to share and look back on. You are loved deeply by many and that will help you through some times too. keep an open mind and maybe try the think of a dream yourself sometimes.