She’s Never Coming Home

After sixteen years of raising her, sometimes I get this jolt to my system reminding me that she’s never coming home.  It’s impossible to explain the gravity of that thought, aside from what it is.  I can watch Red Vs. Blue when it comes out for the next season, but she won’t be with me in life to watch me react to what’s going on.  She might be there in spirit, but what does that mean to me, exactly?  I can’t touch her, I can’t wrap my arms around her and know that she’s there and to feel the love flow through our connection.  There is just simply, emptiness.

Meanwhile, life continues for other people and they have babies… or go on with their lives with their children as normal.  And granted, I still have Ashleigh.  But it’s not the same.  She’s 20 years old and lives on her own.  Granted, I’m still her mother, but… we don’t have the same connection Darrian and I had.  I don’t think we ever will.  That could be short sidedness coming through there.

Ashleigh tries to say she’s acting like Darrian.  I am not sure if she’s trying to help me by saying it or what?  Or if she’s saying it to help herself.  You cannot replace a child like that.  By trying to act or say the same things that she once did.  It just doesn’t translate the same way.

Grief has its own language.  Unfortunately it’s an impossible one to grasp for many.  The words come out as a jumbled mess.  There is no fluidity to it, it’s just like jumping up and off of boulders as high as the eyes can see.

Her room is still somewhat the same.  The way her bed was remains the same.  I haven’t changed that.  The sign she had on her door is still there announcing “Darrian Seppanen” LMAO on it.  Her own handwriting.  I haven’t taken that down.  Does it make sense to leave it that way?  Probably not.  The bed will probably stay the same for quite a while.  Because I cannot conceive of it being any other way.  I know she’ll never sleep on it again.  Hell, she barely slept in it while she did.  (Yea, a good investment on our part, spending over $1000 on the sucker)  I digress….

The language of grief is weeping, speaking through the midst of all the tears.  Sometimes unintelligible, and eventually it becomes fluid… maybe.  Unfortunately I haven’t gotten to that part.  I miss her in ways I cannot express.  I miss her probably in unhealthy ways.  I am trying, nevertheless.  The burning sensation in my heart (not physically, so don’t worry) lingers.  The knowledge that she’ll never be what she once was.  She’s dust in the ground miles from where I live.  That doesn’t sit well with me.  She has an amazing headstone though.  One I think she should be proud of.  At least I hope so.  With both her last name and my husband’s last name on it.  He intended on having her take his last name when she turned 18 anyway.  Unfortunately we couldn’t do it since she wasn’t alive long enough for him to adopt her.  Either way, the love remains.  The grief and the sadness still.  Nothing is ever simple in grief.  Just pure unadulterated awful.  Filled with only memories from the past that only help in part.  Because the memories may live on, but she does not.  And there is no price to pay to get her back.  It just is.  And nothing is fair about that.  Nothing.

Rest in peace my dear sweet child.  I miss you like the sun misses the moon.

 

Grief Therapy – And Headstones

I’ve been taking part of the Unity Hospice grief therapy group.  I have to say it’s going well, albeit awkward.  I’m the only one who’s lost a child in the group.  The rest of the group are people who lost parents or spouses.  Not that grief still doesn’t coexist with them, it’s just that our grief is different in some ways, I suppose.  Plus, I wasn’t really sure how people would react to me.  I guess I’m still very afraid of being judged unfairly – or that people won’t “get me”.  That I will always be the black sheep of the group. My unhealthy fear of not being accepted, I suppose.

A lot of being a part of the group has helped me in some ways.  I’ve been able to communicate my feelings about Darrian’s passing, and what they say seems to ring true with me.  There is a lot of sadness that goes with anyone’s passing.  It’s nice to be around people who understand what I’m going through – because going through the grieving process is in no way, shape, or form the same.

I mentioned last night about how Eric isn’t grieving in the same way as I am.  He is staying strong and the group said that I should appreciate that he is taking care of things around the house while I am down and feeling weak.  That it’s okay to do that, and it’s okay to feel weak.  Because at this point, it’s understandable.  I know men communicate in different ways, and experience things differently.  I guess I just anticipated that I would have someone to cry with me.  And I don’t have that.  I’m not blaming him.  I think he’s being incredibly brave during all of this.

I was asked yesterday at grief therapy the meaning of Darrian’s name.  That there had to be a story behind it.  My memory wasn’t good, so I didn’t recall the whole thing.  However, in Greek, the name means “Gift”.  And Darrian was that.  I will have to remember it for next time when I go to group.  I feel bad that I forgot that Eric said that to me.  I remembered the meaning once I looked it up of course.  Duh!  But she truly was.  As much as I was irritated over things that she did or didn’t do in life, I miss her quirks, her goofy moments, her frustration and sadness, and everything else that went along with it.  I miss hearing her voice and wish that I had more things recorded of her… but i don’t.  Which makes me incredibly sad.  I have lots of pictures, but not a lot of video.

I wanted to go to the grave site yesterday, but Eric was asleep after I found out.  I didn’t want to go without him.  I wanted to be respectful and make sure he was with me.  By the time he did wake up, he was saying that he was concerned about the time and how much light we would have once we got there (we would have had plenty, by the way).  I also had to remind myself that I had grief therapy last night by the time he did wake up – it would have been close to conflicting.

Anyway, today around 10 am I am going to see (for the first time) Darrian’s headstone.  The company installed it yesterday.  I’m so excited to see it, yet extremely saddened at the same time.  I’m glad that there will be a name to the location, NOT just a empty plot by a tree.  Which, by the way, I’m glad she’s by a tree.  That makes me incredibly happy!  To me, it still symbolizes life.  Which she had a tremendous amount of while she was alive.

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Grief is Disorganized & Yucky

First of all I apologize.  The theme of my page seems to have changed due to the most recent life altering change, the death of my daughter.  I’m (I guess), in part trying to deal with it through words on a screen instead of just wandering through life wondering what the hell happened.  And granted, some of that I’ll do here anyway.  Just because it is part and parcel.

I’ve been going to a grief therapy group through the hospice organization “Unity” in our neck of the woods.  Granted, I’m the only one that has a daughter that passed on, but grief (in many ways) is very similar to losing a parent or husband.  They are still significant parts of your life and you miss them no matter what.  The first night I felt like an outcast, probably in part because that’s how I feel about myself anyway.  That no matter where I go, I won’t be accepted.  But I think my experiences are starting to seem valid as to why I’m there and I’m happy about that.

Losing my daughter has left me in a variety of different states of mind as of late.  And none of the thoughts have been pleasant, of course.  Who thinks of grief as pleasant.  If you do, I wonder what the hell kind of person you are.  Or maybe you’ve evolved to a different place in your grieving process than I have.  I’m not there yet.  It’s only been a little over 3 months since Darrian passed away.  Her gravestone isn’t even in the graveyard yet.  I can’t wait to see it thought, to be honest with you.  That way it’ll truly show where she lies.  I digress, however.  My mind, as I continue has been going through missing her at every turn.  Something triggers an emotion, or memory.  Either through food, or through pictures, or going into her room for one reason or another.  Honestly, I avoid her room most of the time.  I’m tired of going in there because of the fact that she’s not there and she’ll never be there again.  I’m angry for that too by the way.  There is nothing okay with me about losing her.  And again it puts me in a serious head butting position with this deity we call “God”.  I say it that way because I don’t know if he/she/it is called God, or if he is a collective of all the good deities that have been present and peaceful representations of love, life, and living.  So I’m not certain as to where my loyalties lie in that direction.  Either way, I have this tendency to feel like, I’ve worked hard in my life.  I’ve struggled more than anything.  With mental illness, with my children and husband, with monetary issues, etc… I have loved and lost, and I appreciate that I have loved – but the losing part sucks.  There is no delicate way to pose that.  AT ALL.

Five Stages of Death/Grief – Humor  – Adult Swim – adult content.  I try to find humor wherever I can so I can keep with the idea that I can still laugh, but it’s not easy.  Sometimes finding an in is hard when you’re going through this.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not making fun of or eluding to the idea that grief is just about laughing it off.  It’s not. Laughter is one of my coping mechanisms.  I’ve had to stay away from drama (which is what I normally have a tendency to drive towards) in the movie section.  I have to have humor right now, otherwise I’m likely to go a little bit more towards taking a vacation at the psych unit.  Maybe that’s not a bad thing.  Either way, it’s become something I’ve thought long and hard about.  Either through diversion or through the psych unit.  The only prerequisite that I have?  That Ashleigh not be there during the same period of time.  Otherwise things will go very badly.

One direction I tend to go in is why?  Why is this happening to me? Why not someone else?  And it’s not like I want malicious things to happen to other people.  If you know me, that’s one of the least likely things I am going to say.  But through this grief, I have asked it once because I feel like I am tired of hurting so much.  I can say through grieving for my mom and my sister, I have been incredibly angry that my time got cut short with them.  My mom didn’t die until I was an adult, but she was in a vegetative state and unable to communicate in a way you and I would do on a normal day.  So, essentially I lost my mom when I was 14 years old.  My sister, when I was 11 years old.  And with the similarities to my daughter and my mother intially – I experienced both my mother and my father’s pain (to some degree – especially the loss of a child part).  I never really felt like I had any commonality with my father – and granted, this was not me telling life – OKAY!  Time to pay attention!  It’s one of those challenge accepted moments!  NOT flippin hardly!  There are other ways I would have liked to relate to them.  Not this.  Not this kind of a hard lesson.  Since I was 15 years old, I thought that I was bad for some reason.  That I was the common ground for everything that happened.  And since then, I’ve gone through some brainspotting therapy and found that you know, maybe I’m not the problem.  Maybe it’s just certain events that I have to go through.  Why?  I’ll never know.  But if there is this higher power, deity, etc?  We’re gonna have a mega sit down meeting to discuss why in that crossing over period.  Because I’m pissed off!

Grief is ugly.  It makes you question your sanity, your ideology, your everything.  And depending on the relationship you have with the deceased, it changes your desire for life.  I can honestly say I have questioned mine.  Especially after that episode of Supernatural that I watched a few weeks back.  (I mentioned it in a previous post, if you don’t know and wish to look back.)  I don’t enjoy things anymore, not like I have for a long time.  I’ve always felt that me enjoying things was somehow wrong.  And it’s especially wrong without my kids (especially Darrian).  I know that is something I will have to go through.  Every once in a while, I find nuggets of things that belonged to her that I didn’t realize were in the place that I looked – just to go through things.  A sort of spring cleaning if you will.  And it brings me back to that moment of… yea, she was here.  Mind you, it’s not like I feel like Jodi Foster in Flightplan.  I know she was here – but everyone else says – lady, you’re nuts.  She was never here.  No, everyone knows she was here.  And I do also.  Whether it be a drawing, her handwriting in a book, or other belongings of hers that I know where they are.  They are her.  And it’s hard.  Because every time I gaze upon one of those treasured/not so treasured items, I feel myself pulling my grief into myself.  And I hurt, all over again.

I didn’t know when I’d be ready, but I think I’m ready to donate Darrian’s clothing to either the Golden House or The Freedom House, which – both are very worthwhile organizations.  I think it would be good to find somewhere that could donate clothing to a teenage girl in need.  I’ll probably check with the Golden House first, then ask The Freedom House.  We’ll see.  I just wish it was as easy to wish her back again and into those clothing.  But I know it’ll never be.  So I can only hope for the next best thing.  For Darrian’s spirit to live through my memories.  In and of itself, that frightens me.  Because my memory sucks.  So I just do the best I can with what is left.

I know I have to get rid of some of her stuff anyway.  Because when we do move out of this place eventually, I don’t really want to take it all with us.  It doesn’t change anything.  And as much as I know that she wore these items, it doesn’t bring her back.  And that kills me.  So I have to remember, it is just stuff.  It’ll never be more than that.

I love you Darrian and I miss you.  And some day, in your memory, I hope to start playing the violin again.  That is my one hope that I can do this again, in your memory and for my pleasure.  I know I deserve to have pleasure again – and not just through you.  It’s just going to be really hard for me to grasp.

I love you, Darrian.  And I miss you so entirely.  My heart aches for you, and I will always be your mom.  I just hope that you’re resting easy wherever you are.  That no matter what, you know how much I love you.

Darrian’s Last School Picture: Junior Year 2015-2016

This will be the last high school picture.  We’ll never have the opportunity to do Senior pictures, or see her graduation.  Or other growing up milestones.  But, at least we got these.  Lifetouch studios gave us our pictures for free, probably the largest package (including a disc – printed on it :  In Memory of Darrian Seppanen)  I am grateful for their company’s compassion and heartfelt sentiments for our family.  Companies like those really show that compassion is not dead.

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My Heart is in Pieces

Since Darrian died on December 15th, 2015 (my daughter, for anyone who doesn’t know), I feel like my heart has been obliterated on so many levels.  I really thought that I knew grief pretty well – especially having been through it with my mom and my sister. However, I guess I just got cocky.

I don’t know what it’s like for most parents who lose a child.  For me, it’s been awful because she was the only kid in the house.  And now, not only is it quiet – but so many adjustments are being made on a day to day basis.  I’m trying to figure out whether I can move on at all, forgive Ashleigh (that is hard), and trying to figure out how this all happened to begin with!  We have yet to receive a death certificate – at all.  And we’d already prepaid for 3 copies!

At times, my brain says, you can do this.  Other times, I just want to fall apart and not care anymore if I live or die.  Last night I kept thinking about how much I wanted to be with her.  But falling apart knowing that I can’t. One day I’ll see her again, just not as soon as I’d like.

There was an episode in season 5 of Supernatural where Ellen, Jo, Dean, and Sam are going to this abandoned town that had been hit hard by the end of times.  They all locked themselves in after hellhounds chased them and one basically near gutted Jo.  Long story short,  the Winchester boys built a bomb to go off and Ellen laid down her life to be with her daughter.  Because she just couldn’t see being without her in her life.  I’m sure many bereaved parents feel the same way.  If we could only be with our kids.  It’s still selfish, but not all being selfish is bad.

I’ve been more sad lately, trying to get back to a norm that I’m not used to.  I am still cleaning out Darrian’s room.  Regarding paperwork and things like that.  I still have her bed and clothing as well as a few other belongings of her.  We just got her school pictures back and I’ve been giving them out as I’ve seen fit.

Eric and I have been trying to move.  We got approved for housing and are looking into places.  I started making phone calls today.  It feels weird knowing that I may have to dispense of her stuff quicker than I’d like to, to make sure that we have room for whatever stuff we bring with us.  I don’t really want to downsize too much because I would like to make sure I can have the bed still in our possession and her clothing – until I am ready to let those go.  As much as I know she isn’t coming back, her room is still kind of a blast from the past.  Everything is still there, to a degree.  Her bed is still there, clothes are packed away.  We’ve cleaned and vacuumed and emptied out drawers and stuff… but still.

I wish I could say that things were going to be easier.  Nothing is easy.  Nothing at all. Regardless of whether it’s a tv show, or a food item, or just some triggering idea or game, whatever…. it’s all there right in front of my face like it’s mocking me. All I can do is go through the motions and try to stay sane.  I have even contemplated how to be with her, but of course I CAN’T.  I only say it that way because I won’t do it.  As much as I might be desperate, I am not that person.  I know I would hurt more people than help them.  So to me it just seems as though I would be creating a disservice.

I just hope that she’s okay, wherever she is and that she knows how much I love her.  I’m pretty sure I already know the answer to those questions, but still.  Life is just awful when you lose your child.  I know it wasn’t my fault, couldn’t have been my fault, but it still seems terribly unfair to lose a child.  EVER.

 

 

I’m Not Okay

There are no words to say to a grieving mother that can release the bonds from the mother of a child.  Everything seems empty.  The reality that I had from the moment I first held Darrian in my arms, that she would be in my life for as long as I would live – was it.  No one dreams that they’re going to lose their child.  Why should they?  So I did what a mother could.  Sure, I could have been better at it.  I battled profusely to keep her safe.  And yet, I couldn’t save her.  I watched her in the hospital and I HATED the fact that I couldn’t bandage her.  Not even close.  I couldn’t hold her and tell her that it would be okay.  No matter how promising I thought the prognosis would be, or convinced myself… she would never go home.  My daughter who hadn’t achieved her drivers license yet, hadn’t finished high school yet, would never see her next birthday, and on and on and on, laid there.  And just like the moment she was born, being so fragile, she was again.  This time though, I couldn’t feed her to keep her going.  I couldn’t change her to keep her safe from illness, pain, and discomfort.  My baby was gone, and is gone.

I have gone through plenty since December 15th, 2015.  The day Darrian Amber died.  Although in all honesty, she was probably gone in spirit before then.  It was just when her body permitted her to fully be gone.  I’ve had some comfort in knowing that pieces of her have been donated to living and functional people who have needed what she had to give.  It does not complete me.  Don’t get me wrong, I would do it again if I had to.  (God, don’t make me have to)  We can’t take our parts with us when we go, if we can give them to someone that can help them be who they deserved to be – then do so.  Don’t be selfish.

Life is different.  I was diagnosed with major depression when I was 13, I lost my mom when I was 14, got pregnant at 19.  Had two kids by 22 and married for the second time by 26.  Everything – in the “natural” order of things was done differently.  Now, later today, my eldest daughter will be moving to Tennessee with her fiance’ of a month for however long.  And she’s been homeless well before Darrian went into the hospital.  This offers promise… sort of.  And as much as a pain in the ass Ashleigh is, it will be hard knowing she’ll be so far gone.  (FYI, she’ll turn 20 in two days)

Many of my friends are raising young children.  They don’t know what I’m going through. I don’t want them to know how things are.  My dad was just recently hospitalized because of the lung disease he has had for at least a year and a half.  He has been struggling very hard to breathe even with the smallest efforts that we take for granted.  I know his life is not what he wants it to be, not in the quality of it.  And the news was especially tough since I’m still reeling after Darrian.  I know my dad will pass in the relatively near-ish future.  I don’t know how soon, but not like years from now.  Not the way we think of life lasting.

Around 4:14 am today, I took Mama Chili out to go potty.  I looked up and around me to see big flakes of snow landing on me, on her, and on the ground.  It wasn’t a lot, just enough to be beautiful.  And for a second I stood there and thought how much I wish Darrian were here to see this.   That she would love to see this.  As time goes on, I continue to struggle with firsts of various things.  The first time I looked at grocery items she liked, or clothes of hers, or laid out her snuggie for the dogs, or felt a touch that couldn’t be explained logically.  Everything has just felt so much stronger.  I think about her constantly.  I don’t look for her anymore, or think if I lock the door she’ll get pissed because she can’t get in.  I just know she’s not here anymore.  And the more time goes by, the tougher it is to try to not think that she’ll never come back again.

I’ve offered to give everything back, or even everything that we own.  Or even give up our apartment just to have her back.  I know that none of it makes any difference one way or another.  She was cremated and her ashes have been put into the ground.  We’re still waiting for her death certificate.  It still hasn’t come yet.  And I think that part missing, despite her absolutely dreadfully painful absence acknowledged, still makes me feel like she’ll be back.  And I know it’s wishful thinking.  But she won’t be.  And I know I have to make peace with that.  I don’t want to.  Not whatsoever.   She was supposed to be in my custody for longer.  She was supposed to be here for me to see, or irritate, or for her to yell at me, or to tell me about her fears, her hopes and dreams.  She wanted and I wanted to be and to do for her.  And now she’s gone.  What’s left for me?  I was a mother before I knew myself.  And now my husband and I are alone.  I’m on social security and am dealing with the death of my youngest daughter.  I just don’t know what to do with myself.

For the last two days, I have been obsessing over getting a tattoo.  I found the font that Red vs Blue uses to create the memorial words incorporated in the tattoo.  And I want Caboose to be looking up, like he was seeing heaven.  I told Eric what I wanted, and he came up with an idea that I think is awesome.  So maybe I’ll sacrifice a little because it’s pretty much more than I thought of, honestly.  It’s really quite self explanatory in my eyes.  I know having the tattoo won’t bring her closer to me.  It will just be more of her, with me.  On me.

I also am having more back pain.  It hurts like a son of a bitch.  I finally got my Naproxen refilled..  I finally realized I have prescription coverage despite not having medical insurance.  So I have been taking that to help with the pain.  Unfortunately it’s not enough.  And it’s not just in my back, my knees (arthritis) hurt too.  I have very little flexibility, or at least it  feels like there is something jarring my knee from bending all the way.  And when it does, it will just hurt like a son of a bitch.

I’m tired.  I know I have things I have to do.  Maybe I need more time to just lay in bed and cry.  But what purpose would that serve?  I suppose I am entitled to feel sorry for myself, but I don’t exactly feel like I’m doing anything when I’m just laying in bed.

I put out the request for the medical papers to be sent to GeneDx to evaluate my genetic testing.  Since Brian’s doctor was able to find a gene that causes CPVT, they want to check me too.  So I did send out the specimen they asked for.  Unfortunately I missed the paperwork and still have to send that out.  I feel like an absolute moron, but I will send it out once I know exactly what I need to do with it (aside from sending it).  Do the doctors need to fill it out (it looks that way) and do I send it to Brian’s doctors office in Marquette?  Or do I send it to GeneDx in Maryland?  What do I need to do?  And Brian’s wife, Meredith posted on facebook a few days ago that we should not be swimming by ourselves.  I know that’s probably good information to have.  The more things happen, the more I feel like I’m surrounded by pain, by trauma, by limitations.  I am just tired.  I’m sick and fucking tired of suffering, all the time.  There seems to be little hope.  I don’t know what the meds are supposed to do anymore.  Do I have situational, seasonal, every day depression?  How does any of this medication shit that seems to have impacted my memory – supposed to help me?  I don’t feel any better.  I don’t feel like I’m functioning better – unless you count getting out of bed and being at the computer… driving from point a to point b or other assorted runs for food, drink, laundry, other necessities that the phone cannot accomplish.  I’m tired!  I’m so fucking tired!

I want something good to happen right fucking NOW!  When is it my turn to relax?  When do I get to say, all this amounts to something.  Aside from me trying to fool myself.  Platitudes and shit.  I just want to feel like I’ll be okay.  Eric will be okay.  I don’t feel it.  I’m exhausted.  So I’ll probably stop.

Thank you

Through My Daughter’s Eyes

I have always thought donating any organs or tissue after we pass on to whatever is next for a living recipient is important.  I’m not saying you HAVE to be.  Obviously, it is what it is.  You either are for it or against it.

When my daughter Darrian was in the process of dying, I didn’t hesitate at the opportunity to donate whatever viable tissues/eye/bone, etc.  Darrian wasn’t applicable for donating organs per some medical reason that I don’t recall.  However, it was justified.

When I got this letter today, I was proud.  Truly.  To know that Darrian was able to give someone the gift of sight truly is astounding.  A miracle in and of itself.

It’s bittersweet to know that Darrian is gone.  I feel it more and more every day, and it hurts.  However, Darrian was the kind of person who wanted to help people. And I believe this is what she would have wanted.  I am an organ donor.  (Granted, they wouldn’t want my heart since I’ve had a sudden cardiac arrest) And I am proud to be one.  So one day, when I pass on (which hopefully that won’t be anytime soon), someone will be gifted whatever I have to offer.

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