Happy Birthday Son, I Miss you!

Shawn as youngster

It’s my son’s birthday today, but I can’t wish him happy birthday because he passed away suddenly 12 years ago, on Jan. 18, of a rare heart condition called Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia (AVRD).  If he was with us today he would be turning 30 years old.

I miss him, sometimes painfully, and I think of him most days. The hollowness in my heart never goes away but it has lessened over time.  Knowing I will meet him again sometime eases my loss.

Another thing that helps to mitigate the hurt is partially filling the void with another love.  It can never replace my heart’s previous tenant but will moderate the loss. It will take the edge off, it’ll provide some relief from the angst that comes from losing someone.  I’ll never forget my son, but having a grandson to love now allows me to use that love instead of letting it wilt inside me.

You will never get over the loss of someone you love, particularly your child.  They are your hopes and dreams, they are the future.  When they is gone so go those thoughts.

I had so hoped to write something fitting and appropriate today, a means to capture his memory and pay proper tribute, but the words escape me.  It will have to be enough to say Happy Birthday, and I love you!

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Depression. Mine is……well, Depressed – pt.2

In my previous post I was giving a bit of an update on how I see things have gone for me lately, how I’m feeling better and generally less angry and frustrated.  I think I’m coming out of this tunnel called Depression. I believe I can see a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not an oncoming train (I hope).

I discussed some of my symptoms, the treatments and path I took to deal with it, the meds and my visits with a counselor.  I left off with the discussion about if the death of my sons had any role in my depression.

More to the saga

The Cycle of Life

So today (technically Mar.10) I’m officially a grandfather.  Whether I’ll be Grandpa, Gramps, or I’m thinking Poppa, I am still very happy and can’t wait to meet the new addition.  His name is Madden, 9 pounds 5 ounces, and he is cute as a button.  Officially it happened last night around 8 pm and while we couldn’t be there we were with our daughter in spirit.

Continue reading The Cycle of Life

Am I Afraid to Die?

“Am I afraid to die?” my wife asks me over lunch the other day.  Not your typical table-side conversation topic, but timely nonetheless.  And the question didn’t come out of the blue, but rather as an extension of an ongoing conversation on my mental state and well being.  I have been mentioning to her that I’ve been feeling more anxiety lately, that it seldom seems to leave me and it’s particularly acute when I think about work and having to continue at my present employ for some time yet.  Anxiety I can’t seem to shake, a fear and trepidation of some significant event about to engulf me, perhaps not dying but death itself.

She is well aware of my depression, and even dealt with it herself as a result of the PTSD she suffered after the death of our son.  “Are you afraid to die?” she said, “because I’m not, I will see Shawn.” (our son).  Just the thought of that conversation brings tears to my eyes and a heaviness to my heart.  The thought of our son and seeing him again in the hereafter is emotional to say the least.  I would relish that time, but do I desire death to achieve it, No.  I can’t say I want to die, nor do I think she “wants” to die, but am I afraid of dying? Perhaps……., of death, more so.

I don’t think I ever really thought about my death in any depth before.  Of course we all probably consider that it might happen to us one day (joke), and I wonder if we are ever really prepared.  That, I think, is the crux of it for me.  I do not feel prepared.  I feel like my life is being wasted in its present use, I want so much more and yet feel trapped in my circumstances, held captive by my lifestyle and material wants, incapable of breaking free and shaking off the chains that bind me.  Saddened by my weakness, overpowered by my grief.

One of our daughters is pregnant, due in March 2012, gender unknown.  It is a sign of rebirth, an indication of life and how life should be.  The future incarnate.  It is maybe one more reason I am afraid of death, I want to meet my grandchild and live my life so as to see it grow and learn.  To be part of that learning, to teach much as I’ve taught my other children, to learn how much more I can love.

I have so much to live for.  Such a life we have in this great country, so many freedoms and opportunities, perhaps I am overwhelmed by my fortune.  I realize I am afraid, and worried I won’t be able to fulfill the destiny I’ve envisioned, of living with and loving my family.  I have also come to understand It’s not death I’m afraid of, it’s not having life.

Grief is Not our Friend

We never really grieved with our daughters, it’s only been recently that I have understood that. When our son died in 2000 my wife and I were so wrapped up in ourselves and our grief that I’m afraid we neglected the rest of our immediate family, our two daughters. Oh sure, we spent our time with them, and they were fully part of our family planning through the grieving and memorial process but we did not grieve WITH them.

This fact was brought painfully to my attention after watching a movie at the local theatre, a movie called Courageous, a show about family and the important, no, fundamental, role of a father in the family. Interestingly the movie got poor reviews from critics but was well liked by the majority of watchers, that in itself tells me it struck a chord with viewers, and that gives me hope.

The enlightening came during one particular chapter in the show where a family lost their daughter in an accident, and they too grieved, but without their only son. The father finally came to see his failing and both he and his wife grieved again, this time with their son. A powerful, emotion ridden scene. It was an epiphany for me, my eyes were opened, they wept, and I saw what should have been.

Since then I’ve apologized to one of my daughters.  Unfortunately our relationship with the other daughter prevents me from resolving it with her but perhaps in time that will come too.

After all that I feel no better about the whole situation really but my apology was accepted and we must move on. It will be one of those times when what should have been, wasn’t.  Regrets.

Grief is not our friend.

Thoughts of Shawn… Only if.

The snow is falling, or what could be loosely described as snow. Maybe dust, white powder dust would be more appropriate, almost like large flakes of flour. The kind of dust that you barely glimpse, but can see when the sunshine catches them as it’s rays filters through the window. This same white powder fell on the day Shawn died, a day I’d not soon want to re-live.  An ethereal day.

I wrote this as I sat waiting for my appt with Gloria, my counselor, but she approached me soon after and said “Come on in Dwayne, how are you doing?”  It’s funny, the thought of Shawn, or his passing, wasn’t forefront on my mind as she asked me that question, but was only moments before.  My thoughts of him come and go, depending on circumstances and mood.

It’s coming up on 11 years since his untimely death, January 18th of 2000 to be exact.  The closer we get to that date, or his birthday in October, the more his life (and death) surface in our minds.  Often it brings back some guilt on my part, none that I’ve mentioned to Gloria though, and even though I can rationalize my way through it the nagging thoughts of “only if” are still there and still pull at my heart.  Only if, 2 isolated words that when put together have more power over us than so many others.  Only if.

Happy! Thanksgiving

I feel better today, mind you it’s only just short of 10 am and I haven’t had any beer yet LOL.

I probably should be cautious about joking about alcohol consumption, I could give the wrong idea.  The wrong idea would be that I drink too much, and I know that is a relative thing.  If you have one drink and it causes you some negative reactions, through words, actions, or thought, then it probably is bad.  If that’s the case then likely nobody should drink.  Ultimately that’s a reaction I’d dare to say many people have had at one point or another.  Anyway I don’t think I drink too much, yesterday was only 2 beer after work and they were 2 of 4 beer all week.  Not sure why I need to explain or justify my actions, just did at this moment.  Nuf said.

Ay and her husband are coming home today for the weekend, the first we’ll have seen her for a few weeks and she’ll be showing more.  She’s about 18 weeks pregnant at this point and seems to be settling into it more.  She did have some challenges at first, both physically and emotionally, around the pregnancy but is feeling much better about it now I think.  I’m looking forward to seeing them, I hope the feelings are mutual.

We’ll be doing a family dinner at the Colander tonight and then big family dinner at our home tomorrow.  Tomorrow is also our son Shawn’s birthday, or would have been.  He would be 29 had he made it this far.  I’m not sure how his death will be dealt with today, that will be a question.  I miss you Shawn.

Dad’s condition, Stressed again

I’ve talked at some length to Dad’s hospital social worker about his condition and prognosis.  I won’t go into detail here, both because it’s not required and because it’s expensive doing it on my phone while using roaming.

Suffice to say he’s doing ok medically but the congestive heart failure has not been stabilized, yet.  We talked about his future and where his needs could best be met, at his home or elsewhere, ie an extended home facility somewhere, possibly here.

I feel a bit stressed by the whole thing and that was one reason I didn’t want to go there.  Am I a bad person then?  Am I abandoning him in his time of need?

We were never what I would call close, my father and I.  In fact I’d have to say my relationship with both my parents was somewhat distant.  That’s how I recall it anyway, and it may be fair to say my memory might be inaccurate, although the reality is that my whole life now and how I act, how I am, is based on that history and how I saw it going down.  All of that perception of my past was used in part to determine how I raised my kids and what I wanted my relationship with them to be.