Monday, March 7, 2011

Kids say the Darndest Things

I ran across some old vhs tapes taken when Allison was anywhere between 3 and 15-16 years old, and I've been in the process of preserving them by converting them to digital format. In order to process them, I must watch the tapes as they are being converted. This is because we didn't always shoot an entire vhs (because of varying circumstances) and so I have to know when to cut off the recording process.

Today I converted a tape that was recorded by my wife when I was on deployment with the Navy. Allison was about 3 or 4 at the time. It shows scenes from when they went to the local zoo, a dance recital and Halloween of that year, and I had an absolute blast watching those again. Allison was so full of energy and life, as are most young children at that age.

One would think that watching those old videos of my daughter so soon after her passing that it might upset me...I know it would my wife. But I had the opposite reaction. I felt a reaffirmation of life, a sort of feeling that my daughter would want me to embrace life as a 3 year old does, with wonder and awe at the things that surround us and not dwell on the fact that she is gone from us forever.

But then again, watching the video took almost 3 hours and since it bouyed my spirits, I thought I'd post those positive thoughts here. But it's taken me almost a half hour to write these few words and I'm no closer to putting my feelings and thoughts into order than I was before watching the video.

I can take only so much. I've scanned photos of her and am now processing video of her. It must be done in order to preserve her memory. But I have to take it in little chunks, not like I have was a bit too much.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

All Over the Place

This morning, I feel relatively clearheaded and therefore wll try to address several different thoughts that have been floating about for a while...
A wife who loses a husband is called a widow. A husband who loses a wife is called a widower. A child who loses his parents is called an orphan. But...there is no word for a parent who loses a child, that's how awful the loss is!
We can never really recover from his loss. An amputee is changed physically by the loss of his limb. The way he interacts with the physical world must reflect that change. He can’t do the things he used to do. And he has a phantom limb sensation – he feels the limb, even though it’s gone. And each time he feels that lost limb he must acknowledge its loss. He does that over and over again. I have lost something too – a part of my heart and soul is gone. I have been changed psychically and emotionally by my loss, and will now always react to the world differently than I did. There is a phantom Steve, a ghost, like that phantom limb. I think of Steve, and then I am immediately hit by his loss, again and again. I talk to that ghost, play pool with that ghost, because I need to. I think I always will. In this and other ways I am different mentally than I was. I don’t choose to be different, I just am.
The first quote is from a white paper titled, "The Death of a Child - The Grief of the Parents - A Lifetime Journey". Just google those in quotes and you'll get it...a VERY interesting article and a must read for every grieving parent.

The second is from Mr. Bud Pazur, who lost his son to suicide. His website is .

The first demonstrates to me the fact that the loss of a child is so tragic that society has not made up a word for the survivors. This is extraordinary because society makes up words all the time for all kinds of things, but not the loss of a child? I've done crossword puzzles every single day for over 30 years and there are words for everything. Add to that the fact that there are many words to describe the same thing or circumstance. Don't ask for examples because I can't think of any right this second...look it up if you're interested... is a good place to start.

I know it's a stretch, but I tie the second quote to the first because of the tragedy of the loss. While the circumstances surrounding the loss of our children differ, the reality is the same...we've lost a child. The sheer magnitude of such a loss throughout history has prevented anyone from forming a word for it, and I doubt anyone will.

While my above statements may be thought provoking in some circles, it's really inconsequential to Bud's statement, which really hit me close to home. I am a changed man. My life priorities have changed. I am no longer interested in my job, I could care less about my coworkers, the projects I had planned at home have taken a back seat to getting all the pictures and videos saved (VERY time consuming), and I'm taking time out of the day to try and write down my feelings and thoughts here.

My daughter's death changed me. For the time being, I no longer control my emotions, after all, it's only been 63 days since my daughter passed.