Friday, 29 June 2012

Unexpected Grief

    Today is the first day of summer vacation.  I have been eagerly anticipating it for a month now.  I have been counting down how many school lunches that I will need to pack.  I love summer vacation.  I love the easy beezey days of summer.  I was anticipationing great joy, but instead found myself sidelined by unexpected grief.
    December 24, 2004 my oldest son, Gabriel died because of a stroke.  He stroked because his spleen had been ruptured in a car accident, and due to an absurd amount of errors (the ambulance got lost.  The dispatcher could not decide what township the accident had occurred in and did not know where to send the ambulance to...) my son's spleen threw blood clots which caused a 9 year old boy to have several strokes.  He also had a severe brain brain injury, but it was the strokes which caused the brain damage that killed him.
    I know that from the second week of December until the end of February (Gabe's birthday is February 2) I am almost debilitated with depression.  It settles in like a heavy cloud.  I know this, and prepare for this, I put things into place so that I disrupt my living children, as minimally as I can.  There are the times that I know will be difficult (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, his birthday), and then out of the blue I am struck with the overwhelming grief.  It has been 7 and a half years since I lost my child.  The grief has become bearable, but it is always with me, waiting, but it usually drifts over me.  It might be a teen who makes me think about what Gabe would be like.  It might be something that one of the other kid's say that reminds me of something he would say.  It is usually momentary.  It does not usually last.  It is no longer that lead jacket pulling me under water feeling that it once was.
    When Gabe first died I was wracked with the unknown.  I always wondered what toys he would like.  Who would his friends be.  When his friends ( we have been so blessed that Gabe's friends still came to our house, still included us in their lives) got to grade 6 (Gabe was in grade 4) they would tell me the gossip about who was dating who.  I would wonder if Gabe would have had a girlfriend.  Would he have gone to the dances.  I looked to his friends to guess what he would be doing.  When his friends made it to grade 7, I stopped the wondering.  It was so outside of my field of knowledge to guess what a teen boy would be doing.  I resolved myself to the knowledge that I would never know, and I was o.k. not knowing, or so I thought.
    Over the past few weeks I have seen beautiful pictures of the older familiar faces of my niece and nephew, and some of Gabe's friends.  They are dressed for prom.  I did not expect prom to throw me into suffocating grief again.  I look at those young faces, they are so excited about their future.  Gabe would be going into grade 12 this year.  This year he would be applying to universities.  I would have had mixed emotions thinking about the pride in him, and the sadness of my first baby leaving the nest.  I don't get to experience this.  That experience was stolen from me!  Because two young men were in a big hurry to get home from work and were not paying attention to the road and were grossly speeding, because a deer ran out onto the road, and I braked, because unknown to me there was black ice on the roads, because my car spun onto the other side of the road, because the first car drove around us, only to be hit by those young men who were not paying attention to the road, because I wanted to treat my two oldest children to a special night that was just about them, because we chose to see that movie in Napanee and traveled the back road, I have been robbed of my son, my oldest son.  I will never see him graduate.  The only graduation that I got to witness was nursery school graduation.  I will never see him drive a car.  I will never see him with a girl (that I will know is not good enough for him).  I will never watch him get married.  I will never hold his child, my grandchild.  I was cheated, I was robbed!
    We live in country where the child mortality rate is something like one in every ten thousand children.  We have an amazing medical system.  We have a vaccine for chicken pox for heavens sake.  Our grandparents experienced the loss of children, third world parents experience the loss of children, Canadian parent's don't have children die, or so I thought.
    I know that this grief will pass.  I think it's more of the feeling of being ambushed by it.  I did not see it coming.  I did not expect prom pictures to throw me into dispair.  I guess that is the funny thing about loosing a child, no one prepares you for the unexpected triggers, no on for that matter prepares you to loose a child.  Tomorrow is a new day, I guess I will just have to wait and see what it brings, hopefully sunshine.

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