18 March 2011

Last night, before the sitter came over, Julia was having some supper and I explained that Bethany was coming over. "Are you going to a meeting tonight?" Julia asked. And later, "Are you going to talk there?" These may seem like easy questions but they thrill me because it means that Julia is thinking outside of herself and her immediate needs and wants. Gosh, it mean a whole lot of things!

I ask Julia about school every day and she is now used to rattling off a string of things that she does, some specific like the kind of math game that she played or the book that she read and some most like lunch, playing outside, or coming home to me. I love when she tells me that at the end of the day she gets on the bus and comes home to me. Yesterday, she told me that she went to social studies class. Social studies?!!! Well, I bet she has been going to that class, whether it is outside of her regular classroom or not, since the beginning of the year, but finally, yesterday, she could tell me that it was different than doing math or reading.

Another incredible leap!

I do wish that David could see this progress. Julia has made so many giant leaps this school year, and I know that we have been working towards these things since she came home, but now I am seeing them. I do hope that there is consciousness after death if only so that David can see how far is little girl has come.

Last week, Marilyn was filling out insurance forms and she asked Julia why she came to see her. Marilyn is our attachment therapist. Julia told her because "I love you." She added that she was "working on our family" (my explanation of what we do at Marilyn's) and "learning to be nice." This is the beginning of an awareness, a seeing herself from the outside -- reflection, for heaven's sake!

Last night, as I left from the grief group meeting, the air was decidedly spring -- damp, earthy smelling, fertile, and I remembered vividly walking the dog one March night last year, smelling that smell, thinking that David had gone into the hospital in winter and would come out in spring even though it was only a few weeks that has passed. We had talked about grief triggers at the meeting and there I had my example perfectly set before me. I could feel my own hope from last year, the promise of spring and a new heart. It was a punch in the gut but at the same time brought a smile to my face. I do remember hope. Physically, at least.

Last night's meeting was very small and so those of us there talked much more than usual. I found myself talking about my niece, Jennifer, who killed herself when she was 19. I realized how her death and my grieving her death is still so much a part of me. How long has it been? Almost 10 years? But there is still residual anger, frustration, and great sadness for a child who had not had the loved that she needed to survive. And great guilt for not insisting on giving that love to her. I do not mind the guilt -- it is my reminder that I can do something. That every child deserves an adult who is fully committed to them, who will love them no matter what, and who is their rock of stability in the world.

I had not connected grieving for David with grieving for Jennifer. (I did connect it with the old losses of Jon and Jim -- 20 years ago and I still talk to the both of them.) But the connection is there and easy to access.

A year ago today, David came home with his new heart. It felt so very good to have him home and all three of us under one roof. He talked to Cheshire when he got home, and seemed so happy sitting on the couch and having dinner.


Anonymous said...

Hi Suzanne,
Your post just got me thinking about what we were doing a year ago.This week (Wednesday) was the one year anniversary of Jon's father's death (Jay). I know that we should try to focus on other anniversaries, like that of his birth, but because it is such a trauma to lose someone so close, that we do remember the day. But what is striking to me is the special things that happen, little things that still happen that connect us to him, and make me think they are somehow purposeful or messages from him, which sound crazy but I know you get it because you have written about it. Ian, my oldest, and i went to a "Family Read In" for the book Alabama Moon on Wednesday. It's a book group for for parents and kids and there are events related to the book and it is a lot of fun. The book described a life of living off the land, and a boy who lost both his parents at very young age. So the question was asked, did the boy live a life very similar to ours (of course not) but despite that could we relate to him or to things that happened in the book. So Ian raises his hand and says that he can relate to the boy's feelings of lonliness especially when the father died because Ian's grandpa had died one year and two days ago. Later in the event, a man (actually a teacher at the school) brought his hunting dogs and talked about them and about how they were used to help people survive, more than sport, that these dogs are of a lineage where people used them to survive on what the land could provide. The dogs would keep varmints out of the garden, help them tree edible critters, and also be family companions. Later, wild game that had been prepared and served for anyone who wanted to try. One thing was BBQ squirrel that the man's dogs had helped the man catch (I know it sounds barbaric). But it was just such a timely event, because in thinking about the anniversary, and thinking about Jay's life. His family was very poor and they did have to hunt squirrel to put food on the table. They lived actually in this area, and hunted the land right where the school sits, when it was still wilderness 70 years or so ago. I don't know how to put it, the timing of these events was just so striking. And then another thing where the timing was just so poignant. Last year, we tried to put the boys in soccer at the Y but missed registration because of Jay's condition and death and they were going to charge us 20 extra dollars per kid even when we explained the situation. So we went with another league out of frustration. Jon decided to coach as a purposeful activity to keep him busy and doing something productive in this time of grief for him and something that would make his Dad proud. It turned out to be a positive experience, with good suport for the new coaches, and new friendships started. This year, Jon decided to do it again. So JOn's "Meet Your Team Night" was actually on the day of the anniversary. Another little timely event or message from the universe I guess. I am sure we try to impose meaning to things that really maybe isn't there but thats what people do, isn't it. Anyway, I wanted to share with you the things I started thinking about after I read your post. Tammi

Sharyn said...

"That every child deserves an adult who is fully committed to them, who will love them no matter what, and who is their rock of stability in the world."

How different our world would be --