When Noah was nine weeks old we were told of his diagnosis and knew then that his life would be short. When you have a child with a life threatening illness, death is always on your mind. We chose to give Noah the best life that we could, but that didn't stop us thinking about the time when we would have to say goodbye to him.
The weeks following Noah's death were not what I imagined them to be. I thought that I would be constantly crying, not able to get out of bed and just overwhelmed with grief. But it wasn't like that at all. Instead we were just so busy making funeral arrangements, having visits from people, organising memorial services and gardens, and reading hundreds of beautiful cards and letters from so many people. Of course there were tears, but at the same time we were so busy that we were distracted enough from feeling the full force of grief.
When Aaron passed away it was the same. I didn't know he was going to pass away, and we were in so much shock. I was so busy just getting through every day. Of course I cried, but I tried to hold it together as much as possible because I was too scared that if I broke down then I wouldn't stop. I also knew I just had to hold it together for the boys. They were so scared and traumatised by what they had been through over the past three months, and I just had to get them through it, so I felt like I had to put my grief on hold for them.
I now think that the full force of my own grief hasn't been put on hold, but more like it was set to slow motion for the past two years. I was just so busy trying to hold things together that I couldn't let it overwhelm me. I kept busy by going back to work for the first time in fourteen years. I made huge decisions like selling our house. I planned trips and special things for us to look forward to as a family and it all helped. It got me through a very hard couple of years.
But then it all caught up with me. Looking back I can now see when anxiety and grief turned into depression. I wasn't aware of it at the time because I thought it was just grief, but I now know the difference between grief and severe depression.
Right now I'm feeling 'okay'. I'm not suffering from the severe depression that I was, but I'm just so, so sad. Things are easier in so many ways, but how I feel now is how I imagined it would be after Noah passed away. For the first time in two years I feel like I can really cry, without being scared that I won't ever be able to stop.
I have cried more in the past two months than I have in the past two years, and I think it's a good thing. I feel like my grief wasn't totally put on hold, but just came upon me as much as I could deal with at the time. I didn't feel like I could really cry for a very long time, but now that has changed.
I now cry whenever I hear a song that makes me think of Aaron or Noah (almost every day!). I cry when I see photos on Facebook of smiling families with Mums and Dads together. I cry as I'm walking Milly and feel like a crazy woman as I'm wiping away the tears, so that people driving past can't see. I cry when I see certain ads on TV. I cry when I leave Aaron's school, because I'm wishing he was on the microphone at his school's athletic carnival. I cry when I read about children getting wishes granted through Make a Wish. I cry when I get home from work because I just want Aaron to also walk in the door after work, and to tell me about his day. I cry because I want to tell Aaron about the things that have happened at school. I cry because I want to talk to him about the boys.
The boys don't like seeing me cry, but they don't get as anxious about it now. The other day I was very teary and Kobe asked me what was wrong. I told him I just felt really sad and he put his face right in my face and gave me the cheekiest smile ever, trying to get me to smile back at him. I smiled back and he said 'I 'wuv' you Mum' as he knew that would also make me feel happy and he just wanted me to stop crying.
Sometimes I feel frustrated because it's been two years since Noah passed and I feel like I should be feeling so much better. I have heard many times 'there's no timeline for grief' but when you're in the middle of it, you just wonder when it's ever going to get easier. I have wondered if having Noah and Aaron pass away so
close together has doubled my grief or whether it will take double the
amount of time to feel like I'm getting on top of my grief. Now I believe that it's just going to take a lot longer than it normally would to feel on top of it, but then I've never experienced grief just for one person at a time (that I can remember, as I was only six when my brother Daniel passed away). Maybe grief is the same no matter how many people you are grieving for at the same time?
For the first time in two years I feel like I can actually separate my grief for Noah and Aaron a little bit. When Aaron passed away that just took over all my thoughts for so long. I have found myself thinking about Noah more and more over the past few months and although it makes me so sad because I just miss him so much, it's nice to not have thoughts of Aaron taking over all the time.
I always wonder if people are getting sick of hearing about how hard it is without Noah and Aaron, but then remind myself that it's just how it is and writing is my therapy in a lot of ways. I wish I could just blog about happy things and we do have a lot of
happy things happen, but there are also many sad times and other things
which I don't share because there's a lot that I want to keep
private for my boys. But hopefully by keeping it real I'm not only recording family memories, but helping someone else somehow.
I look forward to getting out of bed and going to work, and
catching up with family and friends and doing things with the boys, but
it's so hard to shake the sadness and loneliness that overwhelms me
right now. People always tell me that I'm strong, and I do feel strong considering what we've been through, but grief always catches up with you, especially when it's doubled.