One recurring theme that I constantly come back to is time. There never seems to be enough of it, and that idea has never rang more true than when you’re talking about the loss of a child. We never know how much sand our hourglass holds until it runs out. Sometimes, after the hourglass runs out of sand, we can celebrate the time that we had with our loved ones. There’s no celebrating when a life as short as Brady John’s ends. We never imagined that Brady’s hourglass would have so little sand in it.
The first time I heard the term “secondary loss” was at a support group. I had no idea what it was, but quickly learned the term describes all the smaller losses we experience, beyond the actual death. It was hard for me to even think of secondary losses for a while, because it seemed awful to think of anything else beyond the horrible, insurmountable loss of our son. It was hard to think that other losses could even matter when compared to Brady’s death.
I’ve been really good about going to the gym and getting back into a good routine, and tonight I just don’t feel like going. To make myself feel less guilty about not going, I am going to do something productive and share something long overdue. Brady’s memorial stone arrived just after Brady’s half birthday, and since his 8 month just passed, it’s about time that I share a little more about it.
It’s hard to put into words why Faith’s Lodge is such a comforting and healing place. On the surface, it’s a beautiful, picturesque setting. It’s pretty much in the middle of nowhere, making it incredibly peaceful. But there’s so much more to it than that. Their mission is to provide a peaceful escape for families to refresh their minds and spirits while spending time with others who understand what they are experiencing. Their slogan – Faith’s Lodge: A Place Where Hope Grows.
Since Brady passed away, I’ve thought a lot more about my feelings and the feelings of others. I’ve realized that I feel emotions with an intensity that I haven’t experienced before, both happiness and sadness. My ability to feel is amplified. When I think of my ability to experience feelings pre-Brady, I think of a spectrum from 1 to 10. Before, I could only experience happiness to a 7 and sadness to a 3. Now, I experience a full spectrum.
Recently, my husband and I went on a wonderful vacation. I took 7 days of PTO and had 11 days off in a row. It was the definition of glorious. Upon my return, I heard the typical “we’re glad you’re back” sentiments from my coworkers. Hearing those words brought me back to that first day back to work after Brady died.
The answer ended up being 28, and it wasn’t even close. Because Brady’s due date and my birthday were so close together, we wondered how old I would be when I became a mom. Continue reading “28 or 29?”
Jeff and I are back from vacation, so you can expect to see lots more writing up on the blog shortly. I didn’t get as much writing done as I thought I would, but I have an “idea list” that is about a mile long. Okay, not quite, but it is long enough for me to have to scroll when looking at it on my phone.
While we were gone, a couple of posts that I wrote for other loss blogs were published. I thought I would share links here, so you all can see them too.
The first piece of clothing we bought Brady John was a onesie to help us announce his upcoming arrival. At the time that we ordered it, we didn’t know that Brady was a boy, so I ordered a cheery yellow-striped onesie and figured it would work whether we had a boy or a girl. We chose “Schmitz Just Got Real” as a funny play on words. When you have a child, shit does get real and we thought this was a fun way to share that things would never be the same as they were before.
We drove over to my mom’s house in order for her to take the picture that I would post on Facebook to announce my pregnancy. Jeff and I planned that I would look super excited in the photo, and he would put on his best nervous face. I think we did pretty well.
I used to be fairly extroverted. Social interactions never caused me much anxiety, and I looked forward to meeting new people, learning about others, and just conversing. Since losing Brady, that all has changed. I had never experienced social anxiety, and now I do.
My therapist has suggested that I might be more of an ambivert now – not an introvert or an extrovert, but an individual with a balance of both features. I certainly don’t always want to withdraw, but I don’t want to be around people all the time, either.