The Lies We Tell

When you’re young, your parents tend to spend the first few years of your life instilling in you that lying is wrong.

It didn’t matter if it was a great big fabrication of the truth, or a little white sentiment of it. It was just wrong. And you were not, under any circumstances, supposed to do it.

So then they told us that telling the truth would always produce a better outcome. And that even if the truth might possibly upset them, they’d be even more pissed if they caught us in the lie.

As we grew up we all learned the difference between our lies,  as well as the outcome of how we would incorporate them into our truths.

Sometimes we lied to save our own asses.

You know, avoid our inevitable punishment or God forbid having the car keys taken away again. Of course we knew that coming home 3 hours after curfew was wrong, but could our parents really blame us if it was because we were making sure one of our best friends wasn’t left somewhere, alone and drunk? Because in the story we told, that’s what happened. We of course were not drinking ourselves, because ya know, we “know better than that.” And in all reality, we were only being the good friend and responsible young adult that they had spent the last 16 years training us to be. So really, they couldn’t possibly be mad that we ignored a very clear expectation they set for us before heading out that Friday night.

And as we would so proudly tout our story, they would go along for the ride and pretend like they believed us just long enough to make us think that we actually had a chance. We never did.

Other times we’d learn to lie to protect someone else. To not hurt their feelings, or attempt to save what was left of them.

Of course he was an idiot for cheating on you with that slut from Organic Chemistry. Obviously he’d be back once he realized what a mistake he’s made.  And even though we knew that he probably wasn’t going to end up with big boobs McGee, we also knew that he was never gonna come riding back on that white horse to rescue our best friend either.

But that didn’t matter. Because there you were for her. You and your little untruths, perfectly packaged to cushion the fall of hers.

Then we finally grow up, and real life happens to us. So we find ourselves reverting to our lies again.

Except this time it’s different. This time it’s for our own protection.

We use it to save ourself, from ourself.

After I lost Kamren, I found myself lying a lot. And not in the sense that I was lying about anything that happened. But that despite what did happen, I was okay.

That was my standard response, to everyone.

When anyone would see me for the first time, with that look of sheer pity plastered across their face, it was the only thing that I had to save me.

To say it was okay. To say I was okay.

I remember when the doctors were still trying to save Kam, and we weren’t supposed to be back there with him, but honestly nothing in those moments could keep Kam’s daddy away from him. And for that I’m so grateful. I’m so grateful that he pushed past everyone that tried to stop us, to give us every possible second that we had left with our son.

But I remember when I began to really understand that my son, our son, was not going to be going home with us that night, so I just laid my head on his belly and I told him it was okay to go. I told him it was okay for him to give up. To stop fighting and just go be the angels. That I didn’t want him to hurt anymore.

But I didn’t mean it.

I never meant it. It wasn’t okay.

It’s still not okay. It’s not okay that he isn’t here with me. With us. It’s not okay that he should be turning 1 in 6 days, and he’s not. None of it is okay.

But in that moment, I didn’t want my son to think that I was ever disappointed in him. Because I never was. I never will be. I just wanted him to know how much I loved him and how proud I was of him. So I told him it was okay. And so it was.

Then when I was getting ready to go back to work, 5 weeks later, I had so much anxiety about it. I didn’t know how I was going to survive being around this group of people that I’d spent the last almost 3 years with, and be able to make it 8 hours with them when I knew everyone would have that same look.

Poor Melissa.

Look at her.

Her baby died.

I was so anxious about losing my identity as Melissa, and everything I’d worked my ass off for in my career, being nothing but the poor girl who’s baby died.

Luckily, I had the very best group of people supporting me everyday, and this was never the case. Thats the beauty of working with a very close-knit group of people, especially when you work for a billion dollar organization. But I couldn’t stay confined to my department forever. Or at least not deal with outsiders at some point.

I will never forget the day when one of our IT guys Calvin saw me for the first time, and welcomed me back from maternity leave. He asked how the baby was, because he didn’t know what happened. Or I should say, he had heard what happened, he just didn’t know it was me that it happened too.

So he asked. And before I knew it, the words just came spilling out.

He died.

That was it. That was my answer. Those two words were deafening. But they were my truth.

Watching his face drop, and his look change into the one that made me want to saw my own wrist off to escape the situation, I quickly followed that by saying, it’s okay.

In what realm of reality could that even make sense? For me to utter the words that my son died, and follow that by saying it was okay.

But that was my protection.

To be okay.

Even if  I wasn’t okay, because I absolutely wasn’t. I absolutely never will be.

He stopped me and told me that it wasn’t okay, and of course gave all of the standard condolences that one can typically think of in that awkward moment.

I took what was left of self amputated soul and excused myself from the conversation, blaming it on my need to get back to my work, but finding the closest empty conference room instead. I  sat there in that quiet darkness, and replayed the words that spewed out of me like projectile vomit.

I hated myself in that moment. In that cold, cushioned chair. I hated the way the words came out. The crassness of it all. The harsh reality of my truth for someone outside of my over protected circle of trust. And the fact that it was more than obvious that I absolutely was not okay.

10 months later, and I’ve gotten to a point where I can now easily explain that yes, I have a son. And yes, he has passed away. It took a really long time to get her. It took a really long time to be able to say that to someone in a way that actually self projects that I just might be okay. Or at least at peace.

Because even though the truth of my situation will never actually be okay, I have somehow managed to find myself living in a place of peace with it.

That hasn’t been easy. And it doesn’t mean that I still don’t have moments daily where I question if I  am actually okay. Or if I ever will be. I don’t know that it’ll ever be a question that I can answer truthfully.

And I’m okay with that.

That’s my truth.

 

 

Empty Nester?

I officially feel like an ’empty nester,’ as of yesterday afternoon.

Let me elaborate on that.

Since I’m going back to Florida at the end of this week for Kamren’s birthday, I took Lola down to my parents house since that’s the most comfortable solution for everyone involved. I could have kept her longer this week, but then I would have had to drive down and back up in one night after work, and I really didn’t want to do that.

Initially I thought maybe it might be a nice little break. Not having to worry about getting her out every morning, fed, etc.

But (comma, however) the second I walked into my house yesterday afternoon, I just felt so lonely.

Again, let me elaborate on that.

I’ve never really been away from Lola, at least outside of small vacations, etc. But definitely not in my everyday life. She has been the one constant for me for the past 2 years. She literally is the one living being that kept me alive after we lost Kamren. She allowed me to still have someone to care for. She needed me. She was the only one left that needed me to stay alive. And I needed her.

Ironically enough, the last time I was away from her for an extended amount of time like this was when I delivered Kam.

I’ve called my mother two times today just to ‘check’ on her. As if a dog with 80+ acres of land, 6 other dogs, and countless other farm animals available to her wouldn’t be doing okay. I’ve gotta admit I was a little sad when my mama told me she’s been just fine, and hasn’t cried at all.

Does that make me sound awful?

I mean, I haven’t cried either, not yet anyway. But seriously, I woke up multiple times last night, and that’s with me sleeping better than usual since I wasn’t fighting her for bed space, and was sad that she wasn’t there laying on top of me in some way, shape, form or fashion.

I’m one of those people who would rather see a person get hurt than an animal. Honestly. I just feel more towards them I suppose.

Maybe I’m gonna be one of those crazy dog ladies when I get older. You know, like the cat kinds. I just could never be the cat lady because I couldn’t deal with all the cat hair. Or those attitudes they have. I’m probably gonna be forever single with like 10 dogs. Yikes! (although, let’s be honest. I probably wouldn’t hate that either.)

I’ve only mildly contemplated driving back down to my parents to pick her back up, and then take her back again later this week.  Even now, as I sit here typing this, uninterrupted for the first time ever, I still kinda wish I had her giant paws hitting the back of my MacBook fighting for the attention I’m giving to this post.

Oy vey.

I guess it’s true what they say. Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.

Survival of the Fittest, or Not

I read a quote today, and immediately in my mind I thought, Fuck Yeah.

 “You never need to apologize for how you chose to survive.”

If this isn’t one of the most honest and real things I’ve ever read in my life, I don’t know what is.

You couldn’t imagine the things I’ve had to do to get myself through the 24th hour in the day. Or the incessant pep talks I’ve had to have within myself. To keep going. Pushing. Fight to live another day, etc.

So it’s infuriating to me when someone who has never come anywhere close to the excruciating pain that is found in burying your own child, has the nerve to give you what they believe are helpful suggestions about life. More specifically, your life.

How on God’s living earth would you have any idea of what is going to be helpful?

Please, enlighten me.

Tell me again why you think I (or any other parent in my position) should believe that everything happens for a reason. Or why the drinking of an entire bottle of wine by myself should be taken in stride?

What in all the actual fucks is a stride, when you’re in my position?

This is a serious question for me. Please, you literal ass hat you, help me answer this.

Oh wait, you can’t.

So please, stop trying. Stop doing. Stop thinking you know what’s best for someone when you have no idea what is actually working for them.

You couldn’t imagine what works for me. What has worked for me. And you don’t need to. Because it’s for me. Not you.

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. – Charles Darwin

2015 has changed me. It’s altered me. Both good and bad. I cannot change that. But please understand, that I will always respond in a way that will return my dividends tenfold.

And I’ve found more strength during my weakest moments than you could ever imagine.

Still

Hands
Put your empty hands in mine
And scars
Show me all the scars you hide
And hey, if your wings are broken
Please take mine so yours can open too
Cause I’m gonna stand by you

Oh, tears make kaleidoscopes in your eyes
And hurt, I know you’re hurting, but so am I
And love, if your wings are broken
Borrow mine so yours can open too
Cause I’m gonna stand by you
Even if we’re breaking down, we can find a way to break through
Even if we can’t find heaven, I’ll walk through hell with you

I don’t do well with excuses anymore. Not at work, not in my relationships, and really just not in life in general.

I’ve gotten to the point where I just won’t even accept them. But I will politely call you out on them. And when you try to push back and give me another excuse, I will graciously advise you of my own circumstances.

This will undoubtedly shut you up.

Or so I’ve found.

But I say that to say, I have every reason in the book to use every excuse under the sun as to why I’m not doing something. Or the flip side, why I am choosing to do something that would be completely self-destructive.

You’ll never hear any of those from me. I don’t have them.Not anymore.

I believe in full disclosure and complete ownership. Because I make the choice everyday to find something positive in my life. And t0 find something positive in every negative situation I experience. It’s not always easy. Some days I have to consciously do it, but yet and still, I do.

Growth doesn’t always come from success. In fact, it hardly ever does. Growth comes from failure. From falling. Rock bottom can sometimes be the only soft place left that we have to fall.

So even when it hurts to own who we are, what we’ve been through, and the pain that we’ve left in our wake of fury, I firmly believe that feeling the hangover of life the next morning, sure beats the hell out of feeling nothing at all.

#allthefeels

 

 

Relapse

It’s 4 am, and I’m officially up for about the 6th time tonight.

Awesome.

Being sick is the absolute worst, and I forgot just how much worse a cold feels when you’re back in a less than warm environment. So, instead of laying in bed wishing I could fall back asleep, and that the fire in my throat would dissipate just a little, I figured I’d make this additional time useful and write.

Writing seems to be happening so few and far between these days, as you’ve probably noticed.

I’m not sure if it’s because this new role at work is more demanding of me than my last. Or if I write less because I feel less. Either way, I’m trying to make a conscious effort to do better.

Odd right, that I could feel less. Or not really odd, I suppose it’s actually normal. Or so I’ve been told. And it’s not that I feel less. I think the intensity behind it all has just started to ease a bit. I’m not entirely sure how long that will last with the holidays right around the corner, and Kamren’s 1st birthday quickly approaching. I really don’t even wanna begin to anticipate that, so I honestly just try not to.

I think that’s where my job becomes handy. It allows me to consume myself for a good 55-60 hours each week, making it almost impossible to dwell. Dwelling is still such a bad idea at this stage in the game.

Ironically though, there are moments that I feel such extreme guilt for not dwelling. Most people won’t understand that. After all, why would I want to dwell on something that literally and physically causes my chest to tighten and cracks every remaining piece of my heart back open.

But I don’t look at it that way. I can’t.

I dwell because those 16 days that I physically had my son in my arms, have literally got to last me a life time. Think about that. An entire lifetime. In 16 short but amazing days.

I don’t have the opportunity to forget any moment, any smell, any feeling. Anything really. Because I do not have the luxury of recreating them with him.

And the idea that I might forgot something, scares the living shit out of me.

It seems like the more time that moves forward without him, the more distant these memories become. That in and of itself has the ability to bring me to my knees. If there is nothing else on earth I want to remember, I need to remember, it’s everything about that little boy.

Nothing will ever be as good as him to me.

He is literally my heroin fix when the methadone stops working.

The drug that both keeps me alive, and teeters on taking my life in the exact same moment.

Scary huh?

Yeah, that’s a good word for it. Scary.

But yet and still, I’m not scared.

Not anymore.

I don’t think I have anything to be scared of at this point in my life. Even with all the hate that is happening in the world today. And I don’t want to come across insensitive, because Lord knows I’m not. But when you’ve laid your heard on my child’s belly while doctors fought to get him breathing again, and watched in disbelief as his heart stopped and yours kept beating, there isn’t really much else that seems scary.

Even Paris honestly.

And again, I don’t want to seem insensitive. What happened there is horrendous and disgusting. But at the same time, I don’t know that I would be sad if that had been me there and I lost my life. I’m okay with that. I’m good with that.

And let me preface this with saying that I am in no way, shape, form or fashion suicidal. Trust me, that ship sailed a long time ago. That would’ve happened January 8th of this year, if it were going to happen at all. But…actually just but. There isn’t a lot to follow that up with.

Don’t get me wrong, I know there’s so much left for me to contribute to this world while i’m here, I really do. But on the flip side of things, what honestly would be so bad for me to finally go home? I mean literally, home. Back to the place of pure and infinite love. The place where my son resides without me.

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

I embrace that side of life now, because I fully and firmly believe that there is more than life there. I know without a doubt, that the only thing there is love.

And I don’t know about all of you personally, but for me, that is the end goal.

Love is the goal.

Love is just everything.

And I mean, everything.

Like You Prayed I’d be

Every day at noon like a chapel bell, find her Jesus keep her well
Help her do more right than wrong at the end of the day
I got 5 good years and a tank of gas, fifty watts and Johnny Cash
A guitar and a broken heart just full of things to say
You taught me how to stand those tests and trials
But you can’t see a desert sunrise in the bible

If I’d have done what you and daddy done, I would have never lost and never won
Or gotten myself kicked when I was down
I would not know how to travel well, A hundred bucks and cheap motels
I would not know how to fight for my own heart next time around

Now don’t you cry another night about me
In this city I’ve got angels all around me

She loves me more that anything
And she wants the world for me
Hey Mama I’m OK out here
I’ve seen how hard the world can be
My step is sure and I know my name, And I’m strong just like you prayed I’d be.

I felt it every time you prayed for me
I’m strong just like you prayed I’d be

So, it’s been a while since I’ve written on here. Not really a while since I’ve written in general, but definitely on here.

I could give you a multitude of reasons why, since the laundry list that has encompassed my life over the last month has been seriously mounting. But I won’t. I’ll just fill your ever inquiring minds with the latest updates now.

Here goes.

I am officially living back in Kansas (woot, woot!) and it is seriously the happiest I’ve been since the evening of January 7th.

My house is finally coming together, and I couldn’t be more pleased. I am literally unpacking my guest room as I type this. My new guest bed will be delivered on Saturday morning, so I can no longer keep shutting that door and pretending like the mess behind it doesn’t exist.

God, that’s such a good way to describe how my life in Florida was going this summer.  The messy shoved behind a slammed door, hidden away by a perfectly organized demeanor. Luckily, I can say that this phase is officially coming to an end, in all senses.

Work has been crazy hectic, and I spend more time there than anywhere else at this point. I also love it. The chaotic, confusing, messy world of training. It’s just such a good energy for me and my life right now. I feed off it. But I will say, running around all day, for 9+ hours, definitely leaves me exhausted at the end of the day. Both physically, mentally, and emotionally. That’s been a bit of an adjustment, but again, one I’ve been more than happy to make.

All the long hours have also been good for my pockets, which are more than hurting after picking up my life and moving it halfway across the country in a week’s time. It will probably take me another month or two to recover financially and rebuild my savings, but no matter what happens, I know I’ll be okay.

Somehow I always am.

Lola also seems to love everything about Kansas thus far. I’m pretty sure she’s soaking up all this amazing fall weather with me. I have a sinking suspicion that she will not be so pleased once winter comes and the snow begins falling. I’m literally gonna have to buy her a sweater since she’s so short haired. She’s probably gonna hate me. I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

Luckily, or maybe unluckily, I haven’t had to have the conversation too many times about my son with my new coworkers. I got lucky in the fact that I knew some of my current peers previously from the Kansas City office, and they were already up to date on everything. That made the transition easier.

Ironically my son has come up multiple times this week, specifically when helping to comfort two of my new hire reps that are dealing with similar situations. One miscarried her third child late last week, and the other lost his 4 year old nephew to a congenital heart defect on Sunday. Being able to really be the authentic and forever grieving mama that I am, was probably one of the biggest contributions I’ve been able to bring to my new office thus far. I’ve literally been the “expert” in more than just my standard work obligations. That feels good. That helps me. Probably more than it honestly helped them. But it let’s me know that doing this, making this move, picking up my life yet again, was not a mistake.

I still don’t know what the rest of my life will hold, or who will eventually be a part of it. But somehow, in the middle of all of the chaos of the past year, I think I’ve managed to find myself exactly where I’m supposed to be. Exactly where my Kamren would want me.

And as a mom, that’s all I really want. To be where my son needs me to be to continue to spread his legacy.

It’s so much bigger and greater than mine could’ve ever been alone.

Stitches

October.

This has always been one of my most favorite months of the year. The summer air fades, and the beginning of the fall crispness shows up. The leaves turn all shades of red, orange, and yellow, becoming a little crunchy under your feet.

Let’s also not forget about the fact that October also ushers in the most favorite season of all my basic white girls out there; Pumpkin Spice everything!

But, October this year has brought on an entirely different meaning for me.

It is the official month of pregnancy, stillbirth, and infant loss awareness. 1 in 4 women will experience one of these harrowing events. 1 in 4 will become a statistic. They will have to say goodbye entirely too soon, and somehow find a way to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

1 in 4 will become me.

I AM 1 in 4.

I am now, and forever will be, a statistic. Of the worst possible kind. I wish I could be a statistic of any other kind.

But I can’t.

Because I am already 1 in 4.

With that being said, I am 1 in 4 that will spend this month speaking my son’s name. Even more than usual. To the point of annoyance probably.

But guess what? I do not give a damn. Not one single, solitary damn.

Because I am 1 in 4.

My son, is 1 in 4.

Kamren Grey is 1 in 4.

So this month, if you know someone who is also 1 in 4, just hug them a little bit tighter. Love them a little bit harder. Speak their child’s name a little bit louder. A little more frequently. I promise they’ll squeeze back just as hard mid-hug.

And through the tears that will build in their eyes and fall down their cheeks, there will also be a smile. Of love. And gratitude. For you. For remembering that they are 1 in 4. For acknowledging that their child’s life, no matter how brief, was very real. And exceptionally important. Even more important than those PSL’s that will be around until Christmas.

A child that loses a parent, is called an orphan. A spouse that loses their partner, is a widow. There is not a name for a parent that loses a child. That’s how awful it is. 

“I have a son named Kamren”

There’s another blog that I follow & am absolutely obsessed with, Scribbles & Crumbs.

It’s obviously another loss mama. And her words just always resonate so much with me, and for me.

She posted a picture of her little boy tonight, with a caption that followed, “I have a son named Charlie….”

Even if I didn’t know Charlie’s story, and know how that caption would end, just reading that out loud caused an entire shift in me. And I immediately followed that by saying to myself, I have a son named Kamren. Then turning to Lola and saying, “you have a brother named Kamren.”

Tears followed.

They always do.

It’s amazing how six little words can do that. How they can mean so much, and hurt all at the same time.

Knowing that this is a statement that I’ve said at least a thousand times, and will have to continue to say a million more over the course of this lifetime seems daunting. It is daunting. Life in general, without him, is daunting.

Tonight has been especially so.

And not for any particular reason, other than it is.

It always catches me a little off guard when a night like this comes around though. Even though it shouldn’t I guess. It’s bound to happen, no matter how smooth the sailing seems to be going. These waves always find a way to come crashing in. Over the guard rails, and under the decks. Like a caged bird between the buildings and fences.

It comes, and I’m here to answer to it. For it.

I always will. I don’t think that I have much of a choice in the matter honestly. I don’t know that I’d say no if I did.

Answering this call is the price of my love for him. So I’ll pick up that receiver like I’m expecting a call from Donald Trump telling me he’s decided to move to Mexico and leave his money to me.

I know reading this, you won’t understand. Honestly, I hope you never do.

And can it be that in a world so full and busy, the loss of one small creature makes a void so wide and deep that nothing but the width and depth of eternity can fill it?” – Charles Dickens

Yes, yes it can be.

And yes, yes it is.

Congratulations

It must feel good digested to be so damn aggressive
But the pounding in my chest is, begging for protection
You think you’re innocent, pure gold and heaven sent
But, my tears are instruments, they sound like consequences

Help me find a sharper knife
I need to cut you out my life
I take it all, I let it slide
But hey, you went too far this time

Congratulations, got what you wanted, you’re winning now
Congratulations, you got your shot and you wore me down
But I really don’t think you get it now

I’ve gone back and forth all morning with how I’ve wanted to start this blog, and whether I wanted to be petty. But being petty is thankfully no longer part of my character, so I won’t. I will just say that it amazes me how the one person who should be going through this unbearable journey with me, has now stooped so low as to throw other women, more specifically their vaginas, in my face.

#IveMovedOn & #Inolongercarewhoyousleepwith.

The issue that I do have though, and the reason that I mention it at all, is that those things were said to intentionally hurt me. Which is low. And which baffles me. Which shows me what type of heart you actually have buried under that rock-solid wall you’ve build around it.

But comma however, for those comments to have worked, I would need to still be in love with you, which I’m not. Which I haven’t been. So close kiddo, but no cigar.

And even more than that, if I was to be petty, I would have hurt your soul with truth that you couldn’t handle. But Jesus is working in my life, so we’ll leave that be.

But moving on, literally.

Yesterday marked 8 months since the day I hate most in the entire history of this world. Sometimes I can’t believe I’ve made it 8 months from that day, since initially I didn’t want to take one breath past it. There’s still a multitude of days when I don’t want too. But I do. I’ve become quite good at it actually.

Sometimes that in and of itself hurts. It’s almost like I’m being unloyal to my son. To really live and breathe again. But then I see his smiling face in my dreams and I know it’s not. And I’m not. #totalmindfuck

Sunday I went to his grave as per usual, to take fresh flowers and clean everything up. That morning another little boy was buried in front of him. He was only 5 days old. Part of me is so happy that I decided to take Lola to the park first, that way I didn’t get there while his services were happening. Another part of me wishes I would have been there just to hug his Mama, and tell her that I really do understand. And that there is still life moving forward. Even is she doesn’t want it right now and spends her time wishing it away. That I’d wait for the sun with her. And that it would eventually come. Eventually.

And with that, I’m reminded that I have a bigger purpose in all of this. That this life is no longer my own, and belongs to all of these mothers like me. That my son redirected my steps. And maybe not in a direction that I like or that has been comfortable. But one that I needed. One that has helped put me back on the map to my own soul. One that is guaranteed to get me back to him one day.

So I’ll follow that yellow brick road from here to the end. Knowing that I’ve already found courage, truth, and love without Oz.

#theresnoplacelikehome