"Almost a year ago I posted about our new year in 2014 and how we were going to focus on Healing in our family. Click here to to read that post. I also posted about some Healing Boards that we had made for us and some other families we knew who has experienced child loss around the same time as us.
I recently had another angel mom ask me about Healing and what we have done over the last year to help our healing. It really had me thinking, and frankly it still does. I'm afraid in some ways we worked on healing and in other ways grief took over, shook me to the core and made me forget my focus. Not to mention life just doing the same.
But I've really been thinking about this and there are some things that have helped. Having Clara growing bigger sort of forced me to have to make more room in our tiny house in Utah. I had to clean out Miles' drawer of clothes. I suppose I didn't have to, but it was time and space was limited. It was so hard! I cried so much. I felt as though I was packing away all my memories of him, just putting them in a rubbermaid container just to be forgotten in a way. It really was hard. But I have to say there was also something freeing about doing that. Even though I rarely opened his drawer, it was as though keeping everything they way he left it for so long really held me back too.
Later in the year we moved due to a job change. Packing away more and more of Miles' things was so hard. HARD! Again I felt as though I was packing away my son and he would be forgotten in the mix. But as we moved to our new place I was sure to unpack some of the most important things of his. Little reminders of him in special areas of our home. Things that others might not see or recognize, but things that mean a lot to us and we know that he is here with us each day. I even hung up some of his clothes in the girls closets. His BYU hat, blue shoes, and his favorite stuffed animals are in my closet where I can see them each day. Once in awhile I still will sleep with one of his favorites, "giraffie". I hug it all night as though I was giving Miles a hug and snuggling him all night. It helps sometimes.
As a family we have really forced ourselves to get out. To get out of the house and go on adventures and make memories with the girls. Sometimes this is really hard and we really have to force it, plan it and stick to the plan. But each time we do we always come back feeling more bonded as a family. Sure it's hard sometimes because you think of how much Miles would have enjoyed the things we were doing, and we comment on that a lot to each other. But to see the joy and the life in the girls' eyes makes the forcing of making memories worth every second.
We continue to speak of Miles' as though he were and is here with us. Because he is often, even if we don't always feel him. Vivian talks about Miles so much I think it catches some people off guard. Sometimes I wonder if it makes people uncomfortable, and I'm sure sometimes it does. But that is us, and he is and will always be part of us, thus we speak of him.
We let the girls play with his things and even wear some of his old clothes and shoes. Vivian is always so proud and excited when she can. It's funny to watch her be so protective of his things when other kids come over. It's really sweet.
On a more serious note, Mark and I did go to some counseling this year for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). It's been amazing how much this has affecting each of us, our family and our marriage. Counseling isn't for everyone. We have done it twice now. The first time didn't help at all. But this second round really helped to give us some tools to help us cope in our daily lives better. To recognize, understand and work through triggers that affect us each day. We didn't go for long, but it really was helpful.
Now looking back at my post a year ago I think I may have been delusional. I think it was a good idea to focus on healing, but since then I have and am realizing that healing is a life long journey. Life will always interrupt, distract and redirect our focuses. But I suppose as long as we have goals and a desire to heal that it what is important. I think I will be healing until the day that I hold my son in my arms again. The day I hold him so tight and never let go and kiss those sweet cheeks over and over again I will never fully be healed. And that's okay, because although I may be broken in many ways I am whole, better and stronger for waiting and working on becoming better. Miles' is worth the wait and the journey. Each of our loved ones are!