Many of you have asked how we're doing. Many times it's sincere, but in passing, and I can't really elaborate, other than to say that we're "hanging in there." Sometimes it might be more appropriate to say "hanging in there by a thread."
So, here's what I would say to you if you meant it sincerely, if we both had time, and if I were being honest.
My girls are each going through their own grieving processes.
McKinley (7) has been my little comforter. She cried with me for the first few days. If I was ever alone, she would come right by me and stay with me. The minute I show my tears, she is right there by my side with hugs & rubbing my back & shushing me. When she watches Link's slideshow, she gets a little teary-eyed still, but mostly she just keeps checking my face for any signs of distress so she can be there for me. But she still doesn't talk about it much. Finally the other night, I encouraged her to write in her journal. Hopefully she doesn't mind, but I wanted to share it. She is so sweet.
Ireland (5) is finally "getting it," I think. At first I think she just thought that it was a temporary thing. When I tried to talk to her about it, she would say "I'm not worried about it." I was surprised at that because she was the one that was SO infatuated with him. She was ALWAYS in his face, wanting to touch him - wanting him to touch her. But now I think she's understanding that it's more permanent. She's showing a lot of anger right now - yelling, pushing things, being disobedient. She's been very naughty, too - getting into things. Having accidents (which is really strange). Making huge messes. Using baby talk a lot. She's also been constantly interrupting adult conversations, saying "I have to tell you something..."
Kezia (3) just thinks he's coming back - even when we try to tell her otherwise. Yesterday she saw the things we bought him for Easter & she said "we'll show these to Link when he comes back!" She's also been SUPER naughty - I can't even tell you all the things she's gotten into. And she has been SO particular about every little thing. She dropped her ice cream cone TWICE & had a complete meltdown because it wasn't "exactly like it was!" - same thing with a piece of cheese a couple days ago. She comforts me, too, though & tells me "don't worry, mom, I won't get dead!" And she is the one who reminds us to sing Link's song every night.
Both Kezia and Ireland are very open about it. Almost anyone who walks through the door, they will say "did you know my brother died?" They were both here when it happened. Kezia has talked quite a few times about "Link's blue face."
We have been trying to talk to the girls - and trying to get them to talk to us. I think it's going to take time. But we talk about Link every day - talking about what he'd be doing right at that moment if he were still here. We still sing his bedtime song. I don't want his memory to fade. I don't want them EVER to forget that they have a little brother.
Jason is still my rock. But he has crumbled a few times and that is good for me as well. Sometimes crying together is very healing. He misses his baby boy so very much. His work has been so awesome & supportive. So many of them came to the funeral. They donated money. They have given their love & support. They are so good about letting him work from home. This week he went back part-time & I know it was hard for him, but we are so thankful for the people he works with. So thankful. We have a box-full of books to read, but we started with the book my Grandma gave us, Gaze Into Heaven: Near-Death Experiences in Early Church History, by Marlene Bateman Sullivan. It's been interesting. Nothing short of amazing, really. We enjoy reading & knowing that our baby boy is happy on the other side.
Me? Well, I'm here. I'm still working through a lot of guilt, grief, and anger. Sometimes I will feel really functional & will go hours & hours without shedding a tear. Then I will see something or hear something & just fall apart. The other day I was so proud of myself for getting so much done, but as I was putting away the laundry, I found one of his tiny socks & just had a meltdown. How BADLY I wanted to put that sock on my son! Later that day, I went to give the girls a bath & as the tub filled with water, I just sobbed & sobbed. He should BE HERE to get a bath! He loves his bath! He should BE HERE! Sometimes I think my insides will explode from the missing of him. Many times I still have to remind myself to breathe.
Also - I have to keep telling myself that he's not here. It's still so instinctive for me to shush the girls if they're being to loud on that side of the house. It hurts so much to have that missing spot in our van as well. Going into his room is probably the hardest thing for me. The room where he died. Every particle of every one of my senses screams out for him. My eyes long to see his beautiful blues. My ears ache to hear his cries, his laughs, his “talking.” My nose longs to smell that sweet baby smell. My mouth longs to kiss those huge, precious cheeks of his. And my skin aches to touch his skin – to feel the weight of him in my arms, to hold his tiny hand, to touch those tiny toes.Oh... the hunger is still so strong. It still hurts so badly. I don't want the 2-D version in pictures or videos. I want HIM!
And at the same time the love letters from heaven keep coming. Both from my Heavenly Father - and from my son. Earth angels keep coming as well. They are amazing. They continue to grieve with me. They continue to love. They continue to serve and to listen. My friend, Robyn, who lost babies, drove all the way here & back to Salt Lake last Saturday just to hug me and bring me healing words and love. It has been a tender mercy to communicate with people who have lost children. And I've met at least three other angel moms since Link died. Two of them lost baby boys about the same age as Link - and in the same way. They are so good to provide me with comfort, love, and perspective. These two talks also have provided much comfort and love.
Speaking of tender mercies, I spoke of the rainbow that appeared on the day of his funeral. My cousin took a picture of it & sent it to me (thank you Toni!).
I LOVE this picture. I love that you can see the dark clouds of anger, the rain that reminds me of all the tears we have shed, and yet, through it all arches an amazingly beautiful rainbow - full of color! Full of love! Full of hope! And I love that you can't see the other side of it. We know it's there, but we just can't see it right now. Just like my baby boy.
I miss him every second of every day. My heart yearns for him every minute. And I know he is there. The waiting is hard, but I know he is there, watching us, loving us, waiting for us. I love you my duder-dude. I love you Link.