My Grief Challenges

Ready To Wave ? April 5, 2014


To my kindergartner and elementary passengers, who have just boarded the bus, I say,”ready to wave”,” wave high in the sky so your hand can be seen”, “look out your window so they can see you.” To the one(s) waiting outside, I usually tell them,  I hope their day is nice. Here are some numbers I came up with:  33 (No Kidding !!!) (X a day. I say at least one of the phrases previously mentioned) X 177 (days of school for 2013-2014) = 5841 X 5 (years,, minimum, saying these phrases) =29,205.  The number surprised me, and it showed me what a big deal, for me, good-byes are. Another thing, over the years, it has been a blast to watch the antics of the outside wavers. Some of the Dads have come up with the funniest jigs.
Why I do the good-byes—none of us knows when that last good-bye might be.
I am one of those good-bye people, who waves until I can no longer see the leaving car or person. In January I wrote a post, titled: “Spending Time Together”. For me, ANYTIME, I have had to say good-bye to my children, has been difficult, at best. I, always wanted them to know, my endearing wave, was a sign of my love following them and at the ready to receive them back.
 I did have the privilege of spending several hours with Shawn, in his last days. Many have not been at the side of their loved one, as life left.                                                                                 For me, I had a list of to dos. I had to tell Shawn what was going to be happening, to him, in his last days. I was told to keep it simple. No CPR, then no dialysis, no blood transfusions, his feedings would be stopped. I had to tell Shawn that his body was too tired to live anymore, and his doctors, had nothing else to try. I told him how with every turn, or shifting of his body,there was a lot of bleeding. I know, because I cleaned up the many missed spots. I had to explain that his heart had stopped, several times, and it was getting tired. These are just a few of the talks I had to have with Shawn, before his end.                       I absolutely HATE liver and onions !!! But, that Monday, I would have eaten a medium pizza pan size, of them if it would have changed things.  I could no longer hold in  the mounting tidal wave of emotions, after I told Shawn he had only a few days left, as was indicated to me, by the doctors. He was in the cardio chair. I ,haltingly ,finished explaining about the next few days. Shawn was crying. We had been told he couldn’t make tears. He strained to look at me through the little un-stitched openings. We both had tears. I ever so gently, dabbed away Shawn’s droplets. Shawn was getting tired, sitting in the cardio chair was hard work, along with trying to hold his head up.  My body started shaking. I knew I was not going to be able to contain what needed to escape. ??? I knew what was going to be asked of me, the next day. I apologized, to Shawn, for being God’s biggest wimp. I apologized for not having enough faith, so he could have gotten better. I apologized for failing as a Mom.                              I told Shawn how much I loved him, and how much I was going to miss him. Shawn and I cried some more-the picture is very clear in my mind, today. After a few moments, a nurse came in to check on Shawn. I had to quickly say good-bye and rush out of the hospital. No longer could my cries of agony be stifled. The next day, I was told Shawn had had some peaceful moments, through the night.                                Again, I was getting talks about Shawn’s body shutting down. I was told, by medical staff, he was holding out because I wouldn’t let go. I was told to say good-bye, so he could go. So, did I add to my son’s agony ?  Why did God think I could handle this ? I was dreading the final doctor meeting, it was to be on Tuesday. It was canceled until Wednesday. You see, I (with Melissa’s support) was the only one holding out, not allowing the machines to be shut off. How could I say yes ??? What if Shawn had a sudden turn around ? How could I live with myself, knowing I gave permission for my son’s life to end ??? How, I ask HOW ???  I did not want Shawn mad at me because I couldn’t say yes to shutting the machines off. I told him I didn’t want him mad at me because I didn’t have enough faith to make him better. I told him I wanted to change places. I was tired, I have been sick most of my life, he was young, with very young children who needed him.          The meeting took place,  After about an hour, with help from my Mom, I told the doctor, the decision was theirs.  Word traveled quickly, regarding the doctor’s decision. Many of the various medical staff came to say their good-byes.    I called R, and told him to get Melissa on a plane, quickly, as per our previous plan. Just then, the eye doctor came in.  He asked if I would like Shawn’s eyes un-stitched, for his last days. He knew how much that meant to me. He assured me it would be easy, painless and quick. I was so thrilled. He issued the request for me. Neither of us were given an explanation as to why this wasn’t doable.  As the eye doctor told me the answer, he had tears in his eyes. He went to Shawn’s bedside, tearing while he told Shawn how thankful he was to have met us, and haltingly, said good-bye.                                 In Shawn’s last days, I just, so, wanted to hold him, take his pain away.  In any task I undertake, I never think I did good enough. I am so haunted. What more could I have done, for my Shawner ? Why didn’t God just write me a note of to dos, so I wouldn’t have to wrestle with this heavy load ? What does the scripture mean that says my yoke is easy, my burden light ? This has been neither easy nor light, and certainly not joy filled. My perspective must be wrong, or is this part of the grieving process ? Why does it appear I’m not doing Proverbs 3:5-6 or remembering Psalm 139, or Job 1:21, and what about Luke 14:25-35 ?                25afa6bb4331825b7b6ec58b829a8010
You see, I had a very difficult  pregnancy and birth process with Shawn-maybe this was just one of those times that just had to be pushed through. Yes, I felt bad for all those taking care of Shawn, I wasn’t trying to add to their load by having them care for a body that was not going to survive-as was told to me by a top person.        Saying good-bye, was so hard !!!       Please don’t read this as if I am saying I have had it worse than others, please, don’t read any of my posts that way-it is just not so. I am just explaining what happened, period. This is not a sympathy trail, just raw events, telling a bit of our story, as I grapple with what God is trying to show me.
Shawn’s death changed me.       I have a friend at work. Her son died 2 1/2 years ago. Yesterday, Friday, she told me she did not like how her son’s death changed her.    I used to be very negative about all my weaknesses, well that has magnified. I used to care about every cotton pickin’ thing, now I don’t have the care or the energy. I used to be able to look for the positives, in a situation, not anymore. I used to have hope in growing our (Shawn & my) relationship-we still felt like strangers~~~no more chances.    How disappointed was Shawn, of my actions, during his situation ? Did he know all the tears I cried, begging God to give me some idea of what to do-trusting strangers to decide when someone dies, how do we really know if they are right ???  Is  my issue over and I no longer have to deal with an ongoing negative situation ?  So, I should be moving forward ?
While driving bus the other day. I was stopped at a signal light. At the curb, to my right, I saw the usual garbage that rests on the pavement. Suddenly, a big gust of wind caused the debris, to whirl in the air. It looked like there were 3 whirlwinds happening, in the same spot. Each with its own debris. The 3 turned into 1. The whirling garbage, looked like a mass of chaos. This post is that way, because that is exactly how Shawn’s end felt, for me, and still does, on a look back.
As I endeavor to move forward, I hope God will make clear my way, I make it my task, on my route, to make good-byes a big deal. They are happy moments. These are the kind of good-byes that make me smile, on the outside.   KK



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