I navigate through the highs and lows of grief and sadness and at every turn, I find myself lost.

My life was cut into two : first, the life we had with Sam. And then suddenly, life after Sam.

My first life journey began Jan 22, 1966. I was born; I grew up; I married; I had 4 beautiful children; they all grew up and started their own lives; and then on Aug 19, 2021 Sam died. That day feels like my life journey ended and since then, this new ” life”….this life without Sam, began.

I wanted my mom when he died. I wanted her words more than anything to comfort me : to assure me everything would be OK. But my mom is long gone. Dementia stole her from us many years ago, and where she used to have lucid days, now, the light in her eyes that was who my mom once was, has gone out completely. She lives in a home surrounded by many just like herself. I know that losing Sam would have ripped her heart to peices. There is kindness in dementia I suppose in that regard : being spared the cruel reality of having to know that someone that you have loved for all their life, has died in such an unthinkable way. Some days, I can’t help but to think it might be nice to have a little dementia myself.

I’m headed home in three days. I wanted a week to be able to go home and sit every day by Sam’s grave. By living 5000 kms away it means I couldnt visit the cemetary at Christmas; or on his birthday: it means I’ve not been able to spend any time at the place where I had to watch them bury my son, and then walk away leaving him behind in the final place he would lay for eternity. I have needed to sit with him there desperately.

I’m also going home to help my sisters start the process of emptying what used to be our family home. My father still lives there, but without my mother there, it doesn’t feel the same. God how I long to feel something ” familiar”again. But in this ” life after”….. everything feels different. The home that once was my safe haven from the outside world, is starting to be dismantled and it’s time for my sisters and I to steer our father towards assisted living. To that, of course he refuses. I can’t say I blame him. In some ways, I feel like this ” after” Sam life is just me staying behind, sweeping the stage and tidying up after a play. My life feels surreal these days. In a lot of ways I don’t think my life was set to resume after he died. I feel like I’ll walk in this purgatory until I finally take my last breath.

The past few days have been a real struggle. I just wish Sam was still alive.

The Many Faces of Grief

Every one is different. Everyone is allowed to grieve differently.

Some become angry. Some fall into a pit of despair and struggle to find their way out. Some accept and just keep moving forward.

There is no right or wrong way to deal with how you are feeling. And no one should tell another person how they should grieve. Life would be wonderful if somehow you could just wake up and decide you are going to be happy from now on. If only it was that easy. But the brain and the heart don’t work like that. Although our heart is just an organ like any other organ in our body, we tend to refer to it as our command post for emotions. The brain regulates everything else about us, but when it comes to the heart there is a disconnect. The brain may say, ” ok, it doesn’t make sense for you to still be hurting after all this time” but the heart has its own agenda and it will hurt as long as it will hurt. And to expect someone to just snap out of their grief is absurd.

Anger is one of the stages of grief. It is a normal response to facing a situation that you literally have no control over. Anger at the person who died may seem preposterous , but it is a natural reaction when one deals with the frustrations of a life and responsibilities once shared that now fall onto the survivor. This is especially true for the bereaved after a suicide. It feels like a slap in the face that the person who was so loved, could just leave like that without taking anyone else’s feelings into consideration. Of course, mental illness is not quite that simple but to the survivor left behind, it will feel like that from time to time. They might feel mad at others for any wrong doing that may have led to the decline in mental health. They might feel animosity at family; spouses ; the situation; the world. They may find themselves lashing out because someone didn’t offer condolences; or maybe they did but they didn’t like the words that were used. They will become angry because although they pushed family and friends away, they somehow feel abandoned. They may become angry because for others, the world continued to turn while they are left behind afraid to leave the moment their loved one left the world.

Falling into a pit of despair may lead to angry outbursts. It may also be the reason why family and friends start to stay away : it’s hard to be around someone who is depressed and down all the time. But it goes back to the inability to tell oneself to snap out of it: It just doesn’t work like that. It’s sad that friends and family stop coming around or calling, but that’s human nature.

Grief is complex. I remember back before we ever lost Sam, saying that I couldn’t imagine surviving the loss of a child. Just about any mother I know has said those exact words. But, when the unthinkable happens, we don’t ” just die”. Mind you, a big piece of me died that day but my body is still here : I’m still alive – or at least I still breath and I still have a heart beat. But the person who I was has gone away and I don’t know where to begin looking for her. I think she is buried with Sam to be honest. I’ve had friends tell me I’m so strong and courageous , and I’m really not sure what they mean. Strength and courage have nothing to do with survivability of losing someone you love. Either I live or I die : courage has little to do with either option. Courage comes with choosing to face something feirce: I certainly did not choose to face this. I had no choice.

I returned to work with reduced hours one month to the day that Sam died. And I’m glad I did because I think it is the only reason why I have” dealt with my grief” as well as I have. I was back to full time hours by Christmas time. I still have struggles at work occasionally and my co workers have been supportive. I talk about Sam at work sometimes: reminiscing on memories and they let me talk. It means alot. I need to talk about him. Just like I need to talk about my surviving children: they are all a part of me and i am proud of them just as i was of him. Being on self isolation because I’m sick with covid has been hard because I have too much time to sit in my thoughts. I’ll be happy to return to work on Friday.

I havnt worn the anger side of grief thus far, and I don’t think I will. At least – I don’t see me lashing out at anyone or anything in the way that I see others do. I could be wrong – maybe it is yet to come. Hell, maybe I need to but I just don’t think it’s in me. Instead, I’ll just simmer in the sadness that I try to hide away from most people. I’ve heard that many mothers never really get over the loss of their child. And I don’t think I ever will.

The officer in charge of the military inquiry into my son’s death reached out to me the other day. I’m not sure how i feel about that. It was nothing bad, nor was it anything good: he was just letting me know that he had reached out to the authorities in charge to find out why he hadn’t heard anything back and that he was deploying for several months within the next few days. He was told that he would hear the findings in early summer and that, because he will be out of country, he will meet with myself and Sams father towards the end of summer with the findings.

I think in my heart I know already that they are going to blame Sams mental illness and that the Dr who prescribed an anti psychotic drug like Pez candy will not be held responsible for what led up to our loss of Sam’s life. I can’t believe that the drug Latuda would be prescribed so non chalantly without proper observation. While I don’t want anyone dragged through the dirt, I do want to know that this kind of gross blunder will not be repeated in the future: that this Dr will be held accountable for his misjudgement.

Meanwhile, I sit here one day further away from ever hearing my son’s voice ; one day further away from ever hearing ” love ya ma”; one day further from ever seeing his eyes smiling back at me. At least, not in this lifetime.

Most days I am doing ok. But in the days that I’m not, my own thoughts concern me. I don’t want to hurt anyone else but the agony of my heart some days is just bigger than all of me. I have long struggled with my own mental health demons and I still don’t know how I’m supposed to survive this. They say the worst nightmare for any parent is the loss of their child. I am living every day in that nightmare now. I’m living in shock and a state of denial that this even happened. And because of that, my thoughts are returned to reality with the words ” he is gone” on almost a daily basis.

A huge part of me died with Sam. I feel like I have not truly lived since the day he died. I love my three other children with every breath that I have in me. I love my grandchildren the same. I love my pets: God knows its Abes soulful brown eyes that tether me to the ground in the darkest moments when I’ve lost the capacity to reach out. What kind of life is left for me?

It’s rough being me right now. Randy and I are home sick with Covid. We need medicine and groceries but until we get through the mandatory isolation we are shit out of luck until tomorrow when the store can deliver.

May it be noted: I’m just having one of those bad days today.

Acceptance

There are so many words and terms around suicide. I’m not really sure why; whether it’s trend, or avoidance and denial of reality.

I read a line where one woman referred to her loved one as having died by ” s”. I’ve heard people use the term ” completed” , or ” transitioned”. ” Committed” is an older term which I think goes back to the arcaic belief that suicide is somehow a sin or against the law.

I’ve read from other mothers who simply can’t use the word ” dead” or ” died” because it sounds so final.

The grim reality is this: it is final. Refusing to use a certain word doesn’t make it any less real that our loved one is no longer here.

Our society has taken on such an unhealthy approach to death and grief. It is a reality that we all face one day. It is imminant. No one gets out alive. I believe that how we grieve determines how we heal. Denial will neither bring our loved one back, nor will it allow us to move forward in our own lives.

When I refer to my son’s death, I say ” he died by suicide”. Because that is what happened. He didn’t ” commit” anything, nor did he ” complete” anything. And he died.

By sidestepping around the reality, we serve only to feed the stigma around mental health and suicide; or to never allow ourselves to move forward from their death.

Grief is multi- faceted. There are many stages and they don’t necessarily fall into any specific order. Grief is the human body’s way of dealing with such a tremendous impact on our heart, and on our body. Grief is healthy, but when someone becomes entangled within it by refusing to accept the reality of loss, it can lead to many years of mental challenge, and even mental illness. I see so many struggling for years with their loss. And it’s tragic. I wish they could find the beauty in grief rather than all the denial. Grief means we loved. And I believe those who are gone would rather that we linger and hold on to the good memories of them rather than remember the heartache of their death. But I know: it is hard and some days not coping is just easier than facing it.

I have good days. I have ok days, and I have bad days. I’m beyond the bargaining and begging stage for him to be alive and be OK. Reality set in a few months ago and I have accepted that there is no coming back. Occasionally now, I will still wake up and wonder in the moment between awake and asleep if I am dreaming but a quick glance at the tattoo I had done for him is a quick reference that pinches me into wakefulness and reality. I often wrap my hand around the dragonfly pendant i wear around my neck that contains his ashes, to feel close to him. I no longer wait for the phone call that won’t come, or the text. I’ve accepted that they aren’t coming. I am grieving, but it no longer debilitates me to the point of being a puddle on the floor.

While I still cry, alot, I have begun to function as well as I did before Sam died. In someways, I function better. I don’t have the fears or the hesitation that I did before we lost him. I’m not afraid to speak out. I’m not afraid to be assertive. I don’t care so much what others think of me: I have learned to believe in my self and that has made me more outspoken. Not in a bad way of course, but I’ve grown spiritually and I see life differently now. The things that seemed so important aren’t so much anymore. There is a much bigger picture.

I started to ride my motorcycle more now that the warmer weather is here. I was nearly sideswipped the other day. Literally, the woman just decided to change lanes at the last second: no indication, and probably no mirror or shoulder check. Her car came within mere inches of my front tire and my leg and I had no time to react. I was astounded at calm I was. Normally, I would have jerked the handlebars to avoid the collison and that probably would have put me on the ground itself. With a car behind me, it would have been messy. But I just carefully steered out of the mishap as she quickly ducked back into the lane she came from ( she too was lucky not to be hit from behind). The old me would have been heart pounding and yelling and possibly gesturing her obscenely, but instead, I accept that people make mistakes every day: no one is exempt. I hope she didn’t lose sleep over our near miss, but I hope it will make her more alert so that she is more careful the next time. But who knows : maybe the near mishap caused her to yell obscenities and gesture obscenely toward me as she drove to where ever she was headed. But my point is this : we are all on a journey and at some point , that journey ends and we transition to the next place. Staying angry and upset about daily tribulations serve us nothing in the big picture. Everything happens for a reason. Forgiveness, kindness and understanding serve us by far greater. That is the lesson I am taking from my grief: we are all sentient beings underneath all of who we have become throughout our lives, and how easily it was to lose site of this over time. But the empathy is in all of us : some have a harder time finding it, but it is there. It’s who and what we were before we were born. And we still are : it’s just buried deeper in some than others.

And The Sun Will Shine Again….

It’s been 8 months and 4 days since I lost my son. The gaping hole in my heart that was left behind will never heal. But, I do have moments of lucidity from my grief : moments that aren’t filled with an all consuming sense of doom and sadness.

I never thought I would get this far into this grief journey: I honestly thought I would die of my broken heart. And I still don’t know if I will survive this: God knows I don’t want to. But I feel blessed to have been given the 31 years of being Sam’s mom : nobody else was bestowed that honour and I feel lucky to have been picked to bring him into this world and share in his life story.

His story is over : at least his story amongst the earthbound anyway. I have no doubt that his life went on in the next world, where he will greet myself, his father, his siblings and his dear friends when it’s our turn to join him: one day we will all be together with Sam. But in the meantime my story continues as it has to because my lesson here isnt finished yet. I have more that I’m supposed to do.

I have grown so much in my spirituality from his death. I have learned even more compassion and empathy and I know that this is all a part of my journey. It is the most painful lesson I’ve ever had to learn. But I know our separation is only temporary and that he has just gone on ahead where he waits and helps me from the other side.


I do things to honour him here: to keep his name alive. And although I would so much rather have him here than just his name…it brings me happiness knowing that his name lives on in the happiness of those who I help in his memory.

We will all see our loved ones again one day: of that I’m sure. Until then, talk to them because they hear us. And they see us. Their love never died: they never died. They are very much alive and they wait for us just on the other side.

The Sun Will Shine Again One Day

I know how much it hurts, 
And that every day you cry.

I know that sleep brings peace,
But how tears return with the morning sky.

I know that grief surrounds you,
And suffocates your dreams.

How life’s gone on without you…
You were left behind, or so it seems.

But one day the sun will shine again,
And a smile will cross your face;

Memories will bring you back,
To a special time and place…

Where you can speak their name again
Without falling down in tears.

A time to reflect on the life they had
Without remembering your fears…

Of living life without them:
A path you feel you walk alone.

Except they’re always there beside you,
And they’ll be there, to take you home.

Our lives here are but a flash in time
So finish out your days,

In honour of their memory
For them, live it big in many ways.

They want you to be happy
They want your chalice full

Until that time when they come to you
To take that final walk home.

Some days are OK.

Alot of days are not OK.

But special holidays? They are hard.

It’ll never be the same. Nothing will ever be the same. The emptiness; the hollow. No, nothing will be the same again.

Time will bring healing . Time will realize a new normal. They say. What’s a new normal in not normal world? Who are they anyway?

Some day it won’t hurt as much. Wrong. It will hurt this much forever. For my forever. For those who love him…their hurt doesn’t go away.

For a brief moment in time, he was here. And then he was gone. And we that are left behind, try hard to go on….in a not normal world.

Some days are OK. Alot of days, are not ok.

Easter Weekend

It’s another special holiday weekend : one that holds memories of easter pastel colored baskets and my children’s father and i staying up late to hide chocolate eggs around the house. Each of our four children would have a special spot in the livingroom where there would be chocolate easter bunnies and treats, a toy, and usually a spring outfit brought by the Easter Bunny. There was usually a Laura Secord egg waiting for me that i would always eat throughout the day to the point of feeling sick. But the day was amazing for all of us. This tradition went on well into my childrens teen years. The chocolate egg hunt was always my daughter’s favorite thing.

We would have a ham or maybe a turkey. Even though they had gorged themselves on chocolate, the dinner was the highlight of the day. The house was filled with the aroma of the cooking and chocolate. Having a four day weekend was my favorite part : being able to spend that time with my children was better than all the chocolate any bunny could ever bring.

Randy and I have chosen to ignore the holiday this year. It’s just the two of us here anyway, but trying to celebrate it would be more than I would be able to cope with. God knows, most normal days i struggle to cope at all, but a holiday of memories of my four children laughing and racing around the livingroom trying to find the most eggs is just too much to think about right now. If we hadn’t lost Sammy, it would be a different story. But we did. And now memories just haunt me.

We are just days away from the eight month anniversary of his death and it is not getting easier. I try to show my best face forward around everyone but when I’m alone, I cry. Or I just sit around looking at walls thinking about how much I want to go back in time and bring Sam home with me.

I still go to bed every night and pray to the Universe to give me a glance of my boy… just a moment in time to see his smile and maybe hear his voice. But I don’t remember my dreams so if I do see Sam, I sure don’t remember it. I don’t think I dream of him.

While I remember the laughing of children as they filled their baskets, I try to fight off the sadness that such memories bring for me now.

I don’t think there is a new normal waiting around the bend for me. I don’t know how much more of this I can cope with. How many more birthdays, and special days to come will I struggle to try to enjoy: knowing that I can’t? How could this happen to my family? Every family who loses a younger member asks the same question. If there is something for me to learn from this other than heart ache, I’d love to know what it is.

Anxiety

I’m feeling on edge tonight. It started this morning actually: walking around at work doing DIs ( daily inspections) on our support equipment, and getting irritated with members of the other trade I work with because they always seem to be sitting in the canteen while the rest of us are getting things done. I’ve never actually spoken out loud but today I did. I’m not a very outspoken person. I think it caught others off guard.

When I came home the dogs were being dogs and it was really getting under my last nerve. When Randy came home from work, it was no better.

I feel very unconfortable today: mentally. I feel like I’m sitting in a dark place and it’s an awful place to be. It’s not depression: it’s just an uncomfortable, dark place and I can’t explain it more than that.

I feel like I might explode or implode: I’m not sure which. The messiness of the house is getting to me. The unkempt yard is getting to me. The weather; the laundry; my hair; my skin…. just about everything i could pick apart. And I don’t like the way this feels.

I came across a video of Sam yesterday. As I was driving home I was talking to him, as I often do when i drive and I told him I just needed to see his face and to hear his voice. Badly. When I opened my Facebook shortly after I got home, there he was: his brother had shared a memory that came up and that memory was a video of Sam playing his guitar and singing. I had looked up the song just two weeks ago because it was a song that Sam really felt…a song that we had talked about in the past. I broke down: I broke down hard. But at the same time, how beautiful it was to see his face and to hear his voice. It brought him back to me for a few precious moments. It was a gift. But it broke my heart all over again if that is even possible since my heart is already in tatters. There are a few videos that Sam gifted us over the past few years. But I’m not yet able to watch them. It just hurts too much. Yesterday caught me off guard: I wasn’t expecting to see him. Yet, I asked him to let me see his face and hear his voice, and that is what I got. And I am grateful. But it hurt.

It gets frustrating when I feel like I’m making progress in my grief but then I fall down. I thought I would be in a better place after a good night’s sleep but I only slept 4 hours: I had to get up at 0330 for work. I have to do the same tomorrow.

According to society, I’m supposed to be moving forward from the grief but I’m stuck. All the psychology appointments; all the outreach phonecalls; all the charities I support in Sam’s name: nothing is helping me to accept this reality. Sam is gone. My heart is not getting past that. My children are an extension of me: they are a part of me and with one missing I just can’t be whole again.

I need to feel a shift in the Universe. I need to feel alive inside my heart again.

An excerpt…..

I didn’t write this, but it is beautifully written. I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by love and support, but I have spoken to others not so lucky. Apparently a grief counselor wrote it and I applaud them. Read on.

🌹 💐 🏵 🥀 🌹 💐 🏵 🥀 🌹 💐 🏵 🥀 🌹 💐 🏵

A widower / grief counselor wrote this.
John Polo
🌹

Serious question: Is your child six feet under? Oh wait, are they a pile of ashes?
No?
They aren’t?
Wow.
Ok.
Cool.
Then, sit down.
And shut up.
Once a grieving parent. Always a grieving parent.
No, this isn’t a plea for sympathy.
No, this isn’t even an angry post.
This is an honest post.
This is a passionate post.
This is a real post.
Sit down.
And shut up.
Unless you watched your child die. Unless you buried your child.
Sit down.
And shut up.
Do not tell a grieving parent how they should be living.
Do not tell a grieving parent how they should be acting.
I am sick of seeing grieving parents bashed for trying to pick up the pieces of their lives.
I am sick of seeing grieving parents shamed for trying to find their way.
Hell, for trying to find ANYTHING again!
We are lost souls. On a journey to find our self again.
And YOU want to judge?
You?
Do you know the courage it takes to go back out there after your child has died?
After you watched them die of cancer. Or a massive heart attack. Or suicide, car accident etc….
After you watched them fall to their knees. And clutch their chest. And take their last breath.
After you walked in on their body. Dead. Because they took their own life.
You have no idea.
Do you have any idea how badly the loss of a child messes with your mind? With your heart? With your soul?
No. You don’t.
So sit down.
And shut up.
You are not allowed to judge.
You are not allowed to pass judgment as you drive home to your children.
You are not allowed to pass judgment as you eat dinner or have the ability to call your children.
You are not allowed to pass judgment as you cuddle up on the couch with your child.
You. Are. Not. Allowed. To. Pass. Judgment.
Sit down.
And shut up.
Stop judging.
Stop thinking that you know what the hell you are talking about.
Because you do not.
Your life wasn’t ripped from you.
Your future wasn’t destroyed.
Sit down.
And shut up.
This was not our choice.
This was not the loss of a dog. Stop comparing.
This was not their time to go.
This was loss of one of our babies no matter how old.
If that place is so much better, send yours there and send mine back.
Sit down.
And shut up.
The next time you see a grieving parent try to be a little kinder.
You have 2 choices.
You can either sit down and shut up.
Or,
You can give them a standing ovation.
For their heart. For their courage. For their bravery.
Those are your two options.
And your ONLY two options.
Because.
You. Do. Not. Know.

De-stress

How do you stop the thoughts from coming? I used to do yoga: it was my go to for everything. It was what I used to do when I was stressed; when I needed to quiet my thoughts. I’d do yoga and pilates to make myself tired at night, or to start my day with a burst of energy. It was how I destressed.

But now, when I do yoga, the thoughts of Sam come, and they come on hard. I never did yoga with him and I don’t know why this happens. I find myself just wanting to cry.

I used to do yoga at least five nights a week. Now, I’m lucky if I do it once a month. My motivation, in part is effected by the thoughts. I think about Sam most of my waking hours so I’m not sure why it has such a negative impact on what used to help me to deal with my stress. I don’t know how to get past this.

I also used to run, but I can’t now (at least not until the Dr and physiotherapist figure out my Achilles tendon tear). And I hurt my shoulder in January so most exercise exasperates that. I’m simply … falling apart. I hate how my clothes look and feel. My uniforms are too tight but I refuse to exchange them. My friends tell me not to worry and to go easy on myself. They tell me that self care is so important. But I just can’t stand anything about me or who I am right now.

I did yoga tonight. And I left everything out so that I will do it again tomorrow. But I know myself: I probably won’t do it.

I’m just so tired. I miss Sam. I miss my family. I miss what life was before Sam died. I want him back. I want life as it was back. I don’t know how this will ever be OK again.

Acts of Kindness

I bought flowers today when I shopped for my groceries. I felt that the colorful bouquet would bring some cheer into the home. As I was leaving the store I had a sudden urge to give them to some random person in the parking lot. I didn’t though: because I didn’t want anyone to think I was weird. I often hand out my change to the homeless: Randy once looked at me like I had two heads because I only had a $20 bill in my wallet so I gave it to a man begging in front of the grocery store. Even the man looked at me a little oddly. But I’ve never thought about how it would make someone feel to just receive a bouquet of flowers, just for the sake of making them feel good. I can’t help but to think that doing something kind like that could catch on. And maybe…. just maybe…. people would start feeling better about the world and each other. But, I brought the flowers home instead, because, like I said: I didn’t want anyone to think I was weird.

It’s a sad day when you think someone will think you’re weird because of a random act of kindness.

Can you imagine how nice a place this world would be if people did that? How being really kind could really brighten peoples days? I wish I had a greener thumb: I would buy little vases from the dollar store and pick the flowers from my garden and put them in a booth at the top of my driveway with a sign that read ” flowers for the cost of a smile”. But, my gardening skills are lacking and the best you will pick from my garden these days are dandelions. Not that dandelions are bad : they provide bees with early food in the spring to make honey.

Sam was kind. He befriended the people that others wouldn’t. He could see through the harsh or ” weird” facades that the lonely people hid behind. As a parent, I wished he would make friends with the more” normal” kids. But I understood later in life, that there was nothing abnormal about the friends that he chose. He could see people for who they really were. He didn’t want to see anyone left out, so he befriended those who needed it the most. Sam was a very empathetic person. Those who knew him, were very lucky.

I am trying to establish a legacy for my son: a legacy of kind acts, and paying it forward. I know that he made a difference in the world during the short time that he was here. I want to continue that for him.

Don’t get me wrong: I am kind. I don’t kill insects and I even save spiders although they terrify me. I once saved a black widow that was inside my dining room screen. I believe that all living creatures want nothing more than to survive and live in this world for the duration of their natural life. People think I’m strange for that, but that doesn’t bother me. We are all a part of something much bigger than we know. And we should be helping each other out as best as we can. That includes spiders.

It doesn’t bother me that people think I’m weird for saving insects, but it does bother me if they think I’m weird for trying to brighten someone’s day. 🤔 The next time, I am going to give the flowers away.

Healing and Meditation

I have a Spiritual Healer. She is also a Minister, and a Medium. She is wonderful.

She has told me things that she would have no way of knowing. These things resonate with me. They help me to go on. She tells me to meditate and I told her how I struggle to be able to keep my mind clear of thoughts. So she sent me a few binaural beats to help me.

Meditation is key to surviving a loss as tremendous as a child. But it is one of the hardest things to do. Silence is near impossible when your mind goes in a million directions at break neck speed all day and all night long. So trying to attain a state of meditation is near impossible. At least, in the earliest days it is.

I’ve started to listen to the Binaural Beats that she sent to me, as a means to clear my mind before sleep. It not only allows me to drift off; it feels like I’m drifting off somewhere outside my head. Somewhere silent. Somewhere pleasant. Somewhere good.

I’ve tried my hardest to abstain from alcohol since Sam died. Normally, that would be easy: I don’t drink. But there are times I’ve felt that the numbing quality of a tall glass of vodka might not be a bad thing. Out of frustration at a few particularily frustrating circumstances three nights ago, I gave in to the desire to ” numb out” and had a couple ” tall glasses” of the clear medicine and got completely out of my mind. I made an ass of myself and awoke to a pounding headache. I’ve decided that Binaural Beats is a much better way clear my head.

In the days since I started listening, I’ve felt the strong presence of my son. Being able to detach from my thoughts and blend into the universe, has been helping me immensely. For this week anyway. I never know what next week brings. But I know that he is around me : around all of us. And that brings me comfort. I have felt him since he left. But listening to these beats raises my own vibration and I feel him even more. I heard him speak to me once inside my head: I was in that space between sleep and awake and I asked him a question. The answer was not my own thought. It was his. I’m hoping that soon, I will hear him even more.

Binaural beats and meditation is important. Not alcohol. I still have a headache.

This is Grief

Grief is not a good bedfellow. I’m laying in my bed. It’s my day off. And it’s another write-off wasted day as I think about getting dressed and maybe walking the dogs, but I know I’ll probably sit in my pajamas until well into the afternoon. That seems to be my thing these days. Motivation seems to have walked out on me: I think we have separated from one another to be honest.

Grief peeks around the door and says: “Hey. What are we up to today? Feel like listening to some music over and over that we know is going to make us cry? “. I look over at Grief and say ” oh God no. Not today. Not the music! I’m sad enough as it is!” But Grief thinks it might be a good idea to listen to “just one song”. Music is good for our soul after all. So I turn on the music and choose a song that I think will make me feel good, knowing that certain songs just leave me feeling hollow. Of course, I didn’t pick a feel-good song.

But I’m a little bit on top of Grief today. I stuck to my guns and played ” just that one song” even though Grief goaded me to play more. The music kindled that strange nostalgia …. that eerie feeling that I can’t place: like being in a black and white dream where there’s an old song playing on a record player. But I didn’t cry. My dog is sick today so Grief has to contend with my feelings of Worry for him, and for my Frustration after having to keep cleaning up from his garbage can chicken wing bone adventure of yesterday. I need not elaborate on that last part. But suffice it to say it’s been a long night of being up to my elbows in shit.

Randy is at work and so I find myself home alone. I had such good intention to tidy: wash floors; clean windows; clean the yard; clean the bathrooms; do the laundry and all the other things that need doing. And I don’t know if I can blame Motivations absence or if it’s just a case of Laziness. Maybe the list was just too daunting and I should have shortened it. Maybe I’m just too tired and frustrated from cleaning dog poo for the last 7 hours. Whatever the case may be: it’s 11:20. And I’ve wasted most of the morning doing nothing.

My dog Abe has a reputation for being a bull in a china shop. Everything about that dog is calamity. Whether it’s knocking plates off the counter; standing on the new patio dining table and denting it; bowling anyone over as they walk down the stairs; knocking things over with his tail; or getting into the garbage can and eating things that he shouldn’t ( he has eaten two chicken carcasses in the past and half a dozen eggs – shell and all. And of course now 24 chicken wing bones. ) He has a particular lust for cat food. Or anyone else’s food that isn’t his. I have babied him since I got him because he was born deaf and has anxiety. That stacked with the fact that he is 70 lbs of Cattle Dog makes him a candidate for being one of those ” only a mother could love” kind of dogs. But this morning he is driving my nerves over a raw edge. It’s a nice day so I put him out and out he can stay because I’m tired of scrubbing carpets. But he is so needy that he is just standing at the back door barking to come in. I bought this house for him so that he could have a yard, but he hates being out of my sight and prefers to serve as a tripping stone. I just wish something in my life would give right now so that I could feel a sense of peace. But of course, Grief doesn’t give way to peace. It’s not her fault. Grief is love with nowhere to go. It’s her job to ward off depression that one could easily sink into which is much more dangerous.

Abe keeps me here. Despite all his shortcomings, I love that dog. I feel as if he was sent to me by the Universe 5 years ago to save me from myself. He has seen me through hard times and when he thought he could finally relax: Grief stepped in : Sam died. My life as we had come know it was gone. At my darkest moments on this journey of loss, there has been Abe: with his big brown eyes to pull me back from the brink. It’s his needs that I fear no one else would tolerate that often closes the door from me running out and fleeing from everyone and everything. When my family stopped checking to see if I was OK: Abe did not. When I realized I couldn’t share my pain with them – Abe sat at my feet or let me wrap my arms and cry into his fur. When I say my dog keeps me here… it is literally that. And of course, Buddy ( Sam’s dog) too. They need me. So for them I stay.

Anyway, Grief , Worry and Frustration today seem to be determined to keep me from getting things done. I think it’s time for me to stand up to them all and grab a mop and bucket. I think a clean home will make me feel better. 🏡

Reading

I just had the most beautiful reading. And Sam was with her before we even started. It was my second reading.

Sheila is a Spiritual Minister and a healer. She is blessed by Spirit with a gift that can bring peace, love, and closure to those who need it the most. I don’t feel that it was an accident that our paths crossed five months ago. Sam’s girlfriend Cait had read with her. And in the middle of her reading, Sheila had suddenly asked ” are you still friends with his mom?” and before Cait could reply she said ” tell her I love her” and ” tell her I am so sorry”. She then went on to describe to Cait the photo I have of the two of them with their arms around each other that looked like it was on a mantlepiece. ( it sits on my piano) And she spoke of the small table I had set up with a few things of Sam’s and how I would sit in front of this table at night before bed and talk to my son. It was as if she was looking through a window into my home. I reached out to her shortly after that.

When I first met Sheila, two months after Sam’s passing, I didn’t tell her of my connection to Cait or how I had come across her as a Medium. But about ten minutes into my reading, she said ” wait…I recognize your son. Did I talk with his girlfriend recently?”

Today’s reading brought me so much happiness. When I raised my ” Gumby and Pokey” mug to take a sip of water she said ” I love your Gumby mug” and before I could reply she started smiling and as I said ” it’s a very special mug, she said that Sam was beaming and telling her ” I gave her that mug”. And it’s true. He did.

The hour and fifteen minutes that we spent over video chat were full of so many affirmations and messages from Sammy. It leaves no doubt in my heart that we all go on. Death is not the end. Our loved ones are with us: we are all connected. I do not doubt that Sam will be there when I close my eyes and take my last breath. He will be there for my parents who I feel will be crossing over very soon: their parents will be there too. Just as a side note: both sets of my grandparents visited me with Sam today through Sheila. I know that my son is surrounded by all the love and light that is who we are beyond these earthly bodies.

We spoke of Buddy ( Sam’s dog), and we spoke of my father, and music, and dreams, and family. We spoke of healing, and the love and pride he has for me.

I cried when our chat ended. But not so much out of sadness as these past few days have been; but more from the awe I felt knowing that he is here beside me. And he always is.

I feel blessed in life to have been a mother to the four best children any parent could have ever asked for. I wish all four were still here on this side of the veil. But I do feel blessed that although Sam has gone from this life: he is still my son and he guides me, protects me and loves from the other side.

There is no bond quite like the bond between mother and child. It starts long before a newborn infant takes their first breath and goes well beyond the last breath and heartbeat. Although a mother should never have to bury her child… the love survives. ❤️

Stranger things

It’s been a strange few days. I think I already wrote about dreaming about Sam’s friend and reaching out to him after having an unsettling dream about his mental state. But, there have been some things today that made me sit up and take notice. Maybe they are mere coincidence, but maybe there is more to them.

A couple of days ago, as I was driving to work at the too early hour of 3am, I talked to Sam as I do on most of my solo early morning car rides. I told him I wanted a specific sign from him. For whatever reason, I chose a sunflower and i told him I wanted to start seeing sunflowers: that would be his sign to me.

Today, I drove to the next town over to visit my friend to help celebrate her son’s birthday. When I got there, she asked if I wanted a cup of tea. I said sure. And she pulled out a teacup with a beautiful sunflower on it. Now, that is just one instance but I’m going to be looking now for more.

I got home tonight and started watching a movie on Netflix. A lamp that sits on the table that I have several photos of Sam on suddenly started to flicker. No other lights were flickering: it was just the one. When I looked over at it, the flickering intensified and seemed to change between orange and white light. I smiled and said ” hello Sam”, and it stopped. I turned back to the movie and settled into watching it. Near the end, there was a scene that showed a suicide, and right as it was about to happen, the light flickered again, very intensely which made me look away from the TV and over to the light. For obvious reasons, scenes or discussions that center around suicide have an impact on me, so I was grateful for the distraction.

There’s been other little odditys happening that don’t have explanations: I was sitting in the cockpit of one of our planes at work the other morning while we were fuelling it. Someone has to watch the fuel gages from inside the plane so because I was tired and it meant I could sit in where it was warm, I opted to do it. One of the computers on the instrument panel started suddenly flashing on and off and on and off as I was sitting in the co-pilot seat. There was no one else on the airplane but me.

I know that there could be so many explanations for these events, and the so many other events that I feel are signs from my son, but I feel that I don’t need any other explanation. At my darkest moments, I feel Sam with me. And he shows me that he is here. And it helps. So I’m going to bed tonight in a much better state of mind than I was in this morning.

Grief, again

I’m laying in bed. My room is a mess. My house is a mess. My head is a mess. I can’t seem to take that first step towards cleaning or tidying any of it. I have Buddy wrapped up under the blankets with me. He is doing so much better than when he first got here, but I know that at 19, he is on borrowed time. I don’t know how I will be able to say goodbye when the time comes. He is Sam’s dog and I’m just taking care of him until they are together again. Will my heart be able to handle that day? It’s already completely broken so what will happen to me when that day comes? God only knows. I have no regrets for caring for Buddy but I wish my family might have considered how difficult it will be when that time does come, when they asked me to take him. Every morning I wake up and I look over at him to see if he is breathing. I want a peaceful death for him – in his sleep. Yet I watch for his chest rising every morning, dreading the day when it doesn’t.

I dreamt I was in an airplane last night, and that it crashed. I think I was flying it. I knew the dream with such clarity when I woke up, and I should have written it down but these last few days it’s been very difficult to even open my eyes when I wake up let alone find a pen and paper to write about it. I wish I could remember the dream but it is fleeting quickly out of the grasp of my memory as I try to recall it. It felt like it was important: there was an urgency to remember something about it. But it’s gone.

I had a good few days but, as it does….grief has clawed me back under the blankets where I just want to stay and never come out. Darkness is spilling out of me as it runs down my cheeks. My doctor prescribed some stronger painkillers to deal with what has become chronic pain and inflammation that is wreaking havoc on my physical body, yet I know that it’s linked to my mind, (and probably the excess grief-induced weight gain that is making me not want to put clothes on). I somehow need to will myself to get out of this bed: I need to be somewhere in a few hours. I made a promise to my body that we would do yoga this morning but, here I am….laying here in bed with Sam’s dog tucked in under the covers.

I wish I could be good again. But I wish my little family was intact: that Sam was alive. I wish for a lot of things but it all boils down to the emptiness that can not be filled. My usual go to’s: a bag of candy kisses; a trip to my favorite store; yoga; music; a walk along the ocean; ginger snaps – none of these bring me happiness aside from a momentary distraction that the tides quickly fill in again with debilitating sadness. I can’t close the portal to my imagination where I keep seeing his last moments. I wasn’t there when he took his last breath. No one was: Sam died alone. So my imagination keeps drawing a picture for me. And it’s brutal.

Life changes after suicide. We know that our loved ones were suffering. I’m happy for Sam that he is at peace. But my peace is gone. Joy is gone. What does my future hold now?

Seven Months

It’s been 7 months today.

I’m trying to will myself off of the couch to do yoga. But I havnt any motivation. I have a headache. I didn’t get dressed until 4: still not sure why I bothered at all.

I dreamt two nights ago that one of Sam’s friends was mentally struggling. Actually, I dreamt that he was going to take his life. So at the risk of sounding like a lunatic, I reached out to his friend today to ask if he was OK. It turns out, two nights ago he came across a photo of Sam and he reminisced and laughed and cried as he talked to him into the night. It was a tough night for him. I hadn’t spoken to this particular friend of his ever. So, I can’t help but wonder if there wasn’t some intervention on Sam’s part going on there. His friend didn’t think I was crazy. He was appreciative that I cared enough to check up on him. We all need to check up on one another. It’s been a tough few years on everyone

Seven months. I can’t believe we have gone through autumn, winter and now we are into spring. Five more months and it will be a year. It still feels like yesterday: It doesn’t get any easier regardless of what ” they” say. I don’t suspect it will.

I can make it through a week now without crying. But, usually, when I do break, it isn’t pretty. I’m disgusted with myself: I have eaten for comfort all of these months and now most of my wardrobe doesn’t fit. I can’t seem to control my bad eating habits . I almost don’t care: except it’s a real hassle to exchange my uniforms at work. I’ve been trying to intermittently fast to get in under control and shed the extra weight but, these last two days it just wasn’t possible. I’ll try again tomorrow.

It’s funny how all the things that seemed so important before the traumatic loss of a loved one don’t seem to matter much anymore. I just wake up day after day now, wishing I had a countdown to when I’d see him again.

I miss my other children. I really don’t hear much from them, and with the busy lives they all lead I always feel like I’m interrupting if I call them. Having Sam gone really exaggerates the echo I feel when I don’t get to talk to my family.

Seven months of life without Sam. I didn’t think I’d make it this far. I don’t know how I’ve made it this far.

Between here and there

Im floating. I’m between two worlds : I want to be in both places but that’s not possible. I’m neither here nor there. I’m torn between the living and the dead.

It’s been 7 months – well in two more days it will be anyway. Today is Thursday: It was the Thursday night that I said goodbye in that casual sort of way you do when you expect that you will be talking to that person again tomorrow. How could I have known that when I said ” bye for now” it would turn out to be the the last time. At least I said” I love you”.

Time has frozen over for me. 7 months has passed by in a moment but it has stood still from where I’m floating. As I watched the world and everyone move on from that day I have stayed there: waiting for some sign of life ; Some miracle: Any chance that I could slip through some door that was accidentally left open into yesterday and somehow change the turn of events that has left us here mourning our beautiful boy.

I feel that my children have begun to heal from this nightmare and that brings me hope for them. I want them to be able to find solid ground to move onto but I know that they hurt. How can they not? I feel guilty that I can’t seem to find my way back to being the mother to them that I once thought I was before all of this. I love them with every breath I inhale. But every breath I exhale is full of pain and loss for the one who chose to leave us. I’m broken. The kind of broken that can’t be fixed. I float here between their world, and the world that he went to: not fitting into either place. So I stay by his graveside and weep.

Floating should have weightlessness about it. But in reality, my bones hurt. My head hurts most of the time. And I’m tired. This place of purgatory is my personal hell. It leaves me watching life go on by the sidelines – wanting to join in but never quite being able to. I feel an alienation from those remaining who I love. I feel like I’m slowly evaporating. I’ve felt alone in this lifetime; but never as alone as I feel now.

How am I supposed to move forward? Can anyone help me? Can anyone take my hand and lead me back into life? Is that even possible?

Dragonfly

I was reading a post earlier today that discussed life after death and whether it is real or not. I choose to believe that there is so much more to our existence than just… here.

I am not religious by any exageration of the mind, but I am spiritual and I have faith that whatever you choose to believe in: whether it is God, Spirit, Allah or any other divinity: it all boils down to there being more than just here and now. I believe that we are so much more than we realize and these earthly bodies are just how we experience our time here on Mother Earth.

My son, Samuel James Hills, was 31.5 years old when he died last summer. He was my third born child of four. Not a breath goes by that he isn’t in my thoughts and not a day goes by that I don’t have a panic’d thought that he is gone. That I will never feel his hug or see his grin and hear his voice again, has left me in mere shreds of who I used to be. But, I know he is with me. And I have been so gifted to receive the signs he sends me to remind me often that he is not far. I believe that we all receive these gifts from our loved ones: but some folk are just more tuned in to receive them than others. This is so very sad because I hear so many moms who are desperate for a sign from their child but don’t receive them. Chances are, they just don’t understand them when they are gifted by their loved one.

The night of Sam’s funeral, we had a reception at the family cottage and invited those who attended as well as anyone who couldn’t attend ( Covid mandate only allowed a max of 60 at the funeral) to join us for refreshments, and a get together to remember such an incredible and missed young man.

Sam loved the cottage, and had said to scatter his ashes there. While we had most of his ashes interred at the National Military Cemetary in Ottawa ( he was a soldier and I felt it fitting that he be buried amongst other heros in a place of honour) I did hold back a small packet of ashes to scatter at the cottage as he had requested in his final note to us.

Most of our guests started to leave just as the sun was starting to go down. At dusk, I asked family to gather by the river side so that we could all remember Sam as I scattered his ashes to the gentle breeze. I asked my oldest son to play the song ” The Crow and the Butterfly” by Shinedown as I did this, on Sam’s Bluetooth speaker. ” (The Crow and the Butterfly” is a song about a mother’s loss and if you haven’t seen the video, you should watch it.). As the music played, we watched his ashes disappear into the air and when the music stopped, I wanted just a moment of silence. Except, Sam’s Bluetooth speaker had a different idea. It started to play a song by Creed called ” My Sacrifice” and the words to that song will give you goosebumps after I tell you the rest of my story. Seriously : listen to the song and read the lyrics as you do.

Anyway, just as that song started to play, this big dragonfly flew down right in front of us and started swooping and diving and hovering before our eyes: as if dancing to the music. It was beautiful. As I watched and listened I figured that when the music ended the dragonfly would still be there as it was probably just hunting…. but when the music faded away, the dragonfly hovered in front of us- facing us for the briefest moment, and then it flew off into the night sky.

What makes this story even more moving and beautiful, is that the day before his funeral, I started wearing a necklace with a dragonfly pendant which contains within, a small amount of Sam’s ashes.

While Sam has given me so many more signs since that night, the Dragonfly was such a beautiful gift at the end of one of the hardest days of my life. I have zero doubt, that it was my son coming to tell us that he was with us.

Now….go and listen to that song.