As I’ve learned to survive the past three years and am attempting to create a life without Betsy physically in it, I am becoming aware of limitations or adjustments I need to make so I’m not overwhelmed by sorrow. While I realize that sense will never leave me, I do have to discover ways to ease that pain for myself. I also recognize that I’ve made many large changes in my life as a result of Betsy’s passing which have made my life less stressful.
However, today I realized that I love and treasure the memories I have of baking holiday cookies with Betsy, decorating a tree with her, she just loved this time of year so much, but those memories are too painful for me to continue them on my own right now. It’s time for me to begin doing some other things to make new traditions so I have no sorrowful memories and could perhaps learn to create a holiday time that is at least more peaceful for me. I know that this isn’t feasible for all families who have lost a child, but perhaps it’s a solution for some of us because we’ve all been changed irrevocably and those old traditions may feel hollow and painful any way.
Late last night I received a phone call from my brother who lives in Virginia. He kindly reminded me that Betsy would be “kicking my ass” for falling to pieces and being sad all day like I was, and he is right.
Then another friend sent me a message on Skype telling me “You have good memories of her wonderful life and this is a life gift. Some people never felt a happiness of being a mother and you have it.” I was up most of the night thinking about this. While I miss Betsy with all my being, she is correct. I was granted a wonderful gift of being a mother which many people never do get to experience. She was a complete joy to me in every way. There was nothing about her that I would have changed, she was one of the best beings I’ve ever known. So, as I’ve been learning in my lessons in Kabbalah, I suppose if I look at her as a life gift, we had so many rich happy memories and such a strong bond with each other I have to change my heart to feel the joy of being able to experience that instead of just feeling her loss.
Today began as a very gloomy day for me. I spent most of my day enclosed in memories of my daughter that were very sweet, but created a longing to have her around me which is not possible. I find myself feeling grateful now, at the end of this day for the amazing people who grace my life. A number of people reached out to me in a variety of ways and I’m so grateful for their love and support. One of my friends pointed out, in a way that made sense to me finally, that many people are thinking of me often, but are not sure what to say nor how to approach the situation. So, like her, she calls me to see how I am, but always has a thought about Betsy during her day or by thinking of me, thinks of my daughter. For some reason, her talking to me made some sense. While I can read it from other parents in the same boat, hearing it from a friend who explained her struggle to know how to support me was more help than anything else I’ve read lately. I know my heart will hurt for Betsy all my life, but I also know I do have some good people out there thinking about me, that makes me feel some comfort that I’m not alone.
Love all of you who are quietly supporting me…Love you Betsy…forever…
Today Betsy would have been 25, she would have graduated from grad school, most likely be working for the FBI, living in DC; we would have traveled abroad together, gone on at least 1 beach vacation, talked numerous times about boys, friends, family, jobs, future goals, dissertations (mine), gone to both my graduation and hers, had many visits to DC, lots of Steeler fun and Pens game fun too. Spent time with her friends…who knows what else…
Like every parent who has experienced this horrid thing, days like this can open up the what ifs again…a painful list of a life unfinished, potential that hasn’t been realized, parental love that has been shattered, a wound so deep that it will never be healed. Although, I’ve learned to have fun with my friends again, there is a sadness in me, but also a sense of treasure in those who I love for I know any of us can be gone at any moment in time.
Just got home from work a bit ago, relieved that I took tomorrow off. Received a card from Compassionate Friends about Betsy’s birthday which is very nice. It’s not as if I want people to feel sorry for me, but I want to know that they remember her. I just want to know that they’ve not forgotten my brilliant, funny, lovely, kindhearted daughter. There was a post on FB today by another parent that expressed that beautifully, I realized that is what I really want as well. For my friends, her friends, my relatives to let me know they’ve not forgotten her. Because it seems as if they mostly have since she is not mentioned and they rarely mention her and these people have moved on, don’t get in touch with me that often. I guess I understand, I am a constant reminder of something that is very painful for them, something that could happen to their children or something that happened to their friend. I just don’t know how to make excuses for my family. The issues with trust I had before are now just magnified.
I miss Betsy so much. I’ll never stop missing her and I love her fiercely until the day I die.
In two days, Betsy would have been 25. Yesterday it was 3 years 5 months since she died, the first time I neglected to post that on facebook, i just didn’t think about the date, was totally unaware of it because of her birthday approaching.
Two of her good friends have gotten married, one just had her first baby. Another is engaged and has started her own business. A third is engaged. Others have bought homes, have significant others…and while I’m so happy to see the things they are doing with their lives and happy that I have glimpses into what they are doing each time I learn of one of those events my heart hurts a bit more because i know what I’m missing and what Betsy got to miss out on too.
This is Betsy with one of her best friends, Shayne on her last birthdays here on earth. Betsy’s on the left, with the beer. She turned 21 two days before this night out. I remember this night as if it were yesterday. As a matter of fact, I had a hard time realizing that she would have been turning 25 this year if she’d still be alive. But she isn’t turning 25. Shayne, is now engaged, getting married next year to a wonderful young man. Her other best friend Julie lives in San Francisco, moved there 2 days before Betsy died. Her third best friend, Charli, just got married. It was great to be there, but really tough. Betsy and Charli had some disagreement, I hope I was able to ease Charli’s mind a bit, I highly doubt Betsy would still be angry with her now.
On this birthday, my whole family could be together for Thanksgiving and Christmas. That’s no longer true anymore. While I don’t blame Betsy’s death for this, I think it’s been the catalyst for some family members not taking crap from other family members. That part I understand, but to see us all apart is devastating. I used to be the one who talked to everyone, but that isn’t true anymore. Something that I’ve done or said has angered my brother and sister-in-law so much that they won’t speak to me anymore. So I also have to grieve their loss too. Although I never thought that would happen, I thought he and I had the kind of relationship that we could talk about any issues, I just can’t figure out what I said or did. As sad and broken hearted as I feel right now, I’m done apologizing and trying to get him to respond to me though. I tried to reach out to my sister-in-law with no response and to my brother, but no more. I have to move forward. I can’t keep banging my head against a closed door, they obviously are telling me they want nothing to do with me. I do wish I knew what I did so I don’t do it again. It’s terrible to be shut out from people who you love so much. I guess I just need to keep examining myself and try to improve so I don’t make the same mistake again.
I’m tired of losing loved ones. Can we vote to cancel the holidays?