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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My Two Sons

I have two sons.

Yes, I have Gabe and Christian. But that's not exactly what I'm talking about.

I have two sons named Christian. Pre-accident Christian and post-accident Christian.

I gave birth to both boys. They look the same, have the same blond hair, fair skin, and big, round eyes. But they are two very different boys.

After reading a blog post by Aviana's mom, which explained this phenomenon, I buried it for a little bit until I saw a picture of Christian last night. BAM! That phenomenon hit me right in between the eyes.

That's when it happens. I mean I can look back at every single picture I have of Christian since the day he was born and each and every one of them is memorized.

It's when I see pictures of him I've never seen before, usually those pictures that other people have taken. I'm drawn to it, searching it, trying to draw in every detail I remember from that day and when that picture was taken...trying to remember him.

It's a very hard thing to understand and explain the feeling of grief over loosing a child who is laying right next to you. I don't talk about it because, a) I don't like drumming up these type of deep, gut wrenching feeling in front of people for fear that I just might combust, and, b) I don't want to offend those who have had a child pass away. I feel like those parents might get angry for me even comparing my situation to theirs, because my son is right here with me.

But the son sitting next to me is only the same son in genetic makeup alone. I grieve that little baby that died that day and I've tried to stuff that grief way deep down where nobody can see it, including myself. See, I love the son I have now so much so that if love could "fix" him, he would have long been "cured" ten times over. And up until recently, I've felt that grieving the old Christian would be counterproductive and almost disrespectful to the new Christian.

I try not to think about that little boy. I don't put up too many pictures of him because I'm afraid I'm not fully accepting this Christian by doing so. And I also feel like I'm looking at a little boy in those pictures who has passed away.

It's a deep, breathless, heart bursting, paralyzing grief.

After seeing that picture, I let a little of that grief in. I'm not sure I can articulate it well, but that grief was so heavy I could hear my heart beat in my ears and I thought it just might beat out of my chest. It left me breathless and gasping and with the realization that I have not mourned that son properly. I have not mourned all of the things he could have and should have been. And I think it's a disservice to myself.

I didn't want to say it but I miss him. I can only admit that after reflecting on the fact that I've tried my hardest not to miss him. I've tried with all my might to emotionally check out whenever someone else mentions the old Christian. I nod and smile and listen, but only halfway. I've told myself move forward, this is Christian, focus on him, focus on Lola, focus on now.

But all alone, when nobody was looking, it finally happened...I missed him. I mourned him. And it was painful and for a second I thought I just might die. But it was good and it was freeing. Acknowledging the old Christian, my son who died that day, allowed for more truthful and whole acceptance. Not just the kind of acceptance I repeat over and over until I believe it.

Now, this Christian laying right here next to me, I love him deeply and if he learns comprehension of anything else in his life, it's that we love him because we tell him so about a hundred times a day. He has changed many lives, including mine and I'm grateful for every blessed day I'm given with him. But it's okay to miss him.


Jen said...


Anonymous said...

This is exactly what I have always said. My husband still after 20 1/2 years has not come out of the grieving process. But he is that way with everyone that has passed in his family. Us mothers who do they day to day care and have to deal with everything are forced to stuff it all down deep so we are capable of dealing. Once he said something to his sister about grieving her and she had lost her 4 year old son to cancer 7 mos before Justine's accident and she went off on him about how he still has her here and how he should feel lucky about that. She is right but unless you have been through this people do not understand the loss our families feel.

dominique said...

so beautifully said and so very true.

Meredith said...

Such a moving post from a beautiful mom with a heart of gold...sending you a big hug.

Anonymous said...

You have written many things that spoke to me, but this one especially. Even though our circumstances are quite different, I go through the same things. I have been counselled by many to sue the company that gave me the medication to stay pregnant without full disclosure of the risks of brain damage. Part of me says it's my fault, i should have checked, but i wanted so badly just for him to be born. But the other part is that if I did sue, I feel like I would be saying that my sweet adorable son was not good enough for me, but that is not the case. But I do mourn the "what if" scenerios and the normalcy (whatever that is) that could have been. Rachel

Anonymous said...

I've kept up with your story since the begining, heard about you on FF. I have always wondered about the grief you must have, having gone through this. I would definitely say that it was the death of a child, he will never be the same, you'll always adore this new baby though it's not the baby that was originally born to you. I have been very lucky to not have gone through anything like this, but I can completely understand how you must feel. It's a loss regardless of actual death. I applaud you for fighting for your son. You are a strong mother, even in those moments that you may not feel like it.

HesterFamily said...

You never cease to amaze me, Shauna!! (And I must stop reading your blog at work! Crying at my desk is hard to explain!)

Anonymous said...

I have two precious granddaughters named Madison. I love them both with all my heart and miss the first one terribly.......

ShaunaQ said...

Thank you all for understanding this post. It was a huge emotional leap for me to take to put in into words. I'm sad that so many share these feeling but I'm glad you can relate. It's like therapy to find something that validates your feelings and puts them into words. Love to all.

Reece said...

I had never thought about what you had just said until you posted about it. I have read every blog and followed every accomplishment and setback vicariously through your posts. This post was something so sad and hard to read yet at the same time I felt relief. It is sad that you have had to go through the grieving AND the caretaking as well. That is a double dose of difficulty both mentally, physically and spiritually. It was breathtaking to read your post. It was wonderful, it was sad, it was encouraging and it was real. Thank you.

Elaine said...

I hadn't ever thought of it that way before. You worded it beautifully. Christian is such a handsome little guy and is so lucky to have a Mom like you.
Elaine in MT

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