Last night was our grief support group at CMH. This is always hard on me, physically and emotionally. For some reason I always become ill after these sessions and that just drains me physically. Emotionally, I end up spent and would just love to curl up right then and sleep, too bad it's 2 hours home. The support group is good for us despite the effects going has on me. We get to be with others who share the same pain and can understand even though each one of our situations are different. The common ground is there. We are all members of the same "club" that no one wants to be a member of. Sometimes I do feel a little jealous (for lack of a better word to describe my feelings) that everyone there had time with their child before they passed. They all had an "illness" of some sort and knew they were going to lose them. They talk about what they were able to do before their child left. We didn't have any of that. We had 16 hours of chaos from the time of the accident until the machines were turned off. We did not have any of that peacefulness, our situation did not allow for it. It was a whirlwind that sometimes I have to slow down in my mind in order to process everything from that day. I would have liked to have had the time to process and decide how I wanted the last days/hours with my little girl spent, but we didn't get to.
Last night's topic was handling the holidays. We were given resources to help us through this time of the year and were able to talk to each other about things to do or not do. I expressed that I seem to be having a really hard time this year too. I was relieved to hear that some people have a harder time the second year than they do the first. Society seems to think that once you have made it through the first year that you should be back to "normal." It doesn't work that way. This year it has been the fact that Abby should have started kindergarten. It has been seeing her preschool classmates at school learning and playing. It has been seeing them parade in their Halloween costumes. It has been carving a third pumpkin for our little girl in Heaven. It has been Elly learning to say Abby's name and knowing who she is. It has been digging through the clothes that Abby wore to find some for Elly. It has been reliving the nightmare even after the prison sentence. The list goes on. The whole first year (and even sometimes now) I felt like I was on auto pilot, not sure which end was up. The magic one year anniversary (Abby's Heavenly Birthday) did not make the pain any easier like so many people think. Yes, we've made it through most all the firsts, but we did our best to skip them, so really we didn't make it through them. We cheated I guess you could say. We were not even going to put up a tree last year and if it had not been for the ice storm and people staying at our house, we would not have had one out. Sad, but true. We did our best to skip any and every tradition we could. I think if we could have we would have left and went away until it was all over. So, the holidays this year are not going to be any easier I'm afraid. Maybe year 3, but I am not going to hold out hope. I did feel like I was able to help out another Mom for the first time though. I told her that we always include something of Abby's in pictures when we have them taken. Afterall, she is still a part of our family. Hopefully this will make their family pictures a little easier.