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What I’ve Learned

Excuse me if this post isn’t polished perfectly. I’m not myself and haven’t been since January 26th. That was the day my twelve year old daughter, Corra, passed away. People have been fantastic to me and my family. But, nothing on this planet could have ever prepared me for the nightmare I’ve lived through and continue to live through. This is the first time I’ve written anything more than a few words in a Facebook post or a scribble on a note or a text to my husband or one of my friends. But, today I realized that spring is coming. And, Corra’s birthday is April 11th. She would be getting ready to turn thirteen in just a few weeks.

So, naturally, I’m not looking forward to spring. It feels like the world is going too fast for me. Everything is spinning and moving and shifting without me, leaving me behind. I’m still stuck on January 26th.

But, I’ve managed to gather my thoughts enough to make a small list of things I’ve learned since that day. Here it is.

  1. Nothing in the world can prepare you for losing your reason to breathe. A mother’s children are her reason for doing everything and there is not one single force in the world that could convince her to just let them go, not even death–so why should I be able to just cry and breathe and force my way through life without her? I can’t. She is EVERYWHERE I am because I’m holding onto her with everything I’ve got.
  2. Shock is a thing and it happens. And, then rage and helplessness set in.
  3. Everywhere I go and everything I do, I see something that reminds me of Corra. If I’m at a store, I see pink things and immediately have to buy them. I have never worn a lot of pink before. I never wore a lot of color before, period. I’ve always been a navy blue, grey, and black kinda gal. And, now, I’m the proud owner of a pink purse, a pink hoodie, and a handful of pink lipsticks and glosses.
  4. I don’t like it when my other three kids go places now. I don’t even like it when they go to school in the mornings. I want to keep everybody right where I can see, hear, smell, and touch them.
  5. There are two graves at the family cemetery that belong to me. One is my son, Anthany’s. The other is Corra’s. They’re right next to each other. For the last year or so, I had JUST begun to be able to walk into the cemetery without an anxiety attack or a meltdown of some sort. Corra is buried in the place where I thought I’d be buried one day. In my family’s row, there are four graves. My granddad, a space for my grandmother, my uncle Brad, my son, and now my daughter. My sweet, sweet baby.
  6. I chose the Cadillac of caskets for Corra. It was white and lined in pink. On the inside of the lid was an embroidered spray of roses. I buried her in a pink lace dress and had her nails painted to match the dress exactly. All of the arrangements I had to make were horrifying. NOBODY should have to pick out a casket for their twelve year old! EVER! It doesn’t matter what it looks like. It’s a casket for a funeral and burial and even though I chose the very best one I could find for her, I will never forget the way I felt when the funeral director showed me all of the caskets on display at the funeral home. The ones he showed me in a book he had were nice, but they weren’t real to me and I didn’t like them for her. So, looking at the real ones, the display models I guess, well…it’s a feeling no mother should have to endure.
  7. My family feels unbalanced. There were six of us. Now, there is only five of us. I had two daughters and two sons. Now, I have a daughter and two sons. But, it feels like Corra is still here, so when someone asks me how many children I have, I still say four. And, I hate being asked that question.
  8. People say really stupid and insensitive things to grieving parents. Someone actually reminded me that I still have three living children to take care of. Like, what, did you think I forgot? Tell me, which one of your children could you do without? Because the next time someone thinks it’s a good idea to remind me of my three living children, I’m going to hit them as hard as I can.
  9. There is a scream within me that could shatter glass. I can’t let it out because I’m trying to show my other children that we’re all going to be okay. I can’t let my guard down around them because I want them to know that, beyond the shadow of a doubt, they’re going to be okay and that Corra would want everybody to be okay. She loved her brothers and sister. I can break down while the kids are in school and cry to my husband and be a mess. But, soon as the bus lets the kids off, I’m putting on my brave face because I don’t know what else to do with myself. I don’t know what to do at all.
  10. I hate thinking about holidays and birthdays now. My son’s birthday was on Valentine’s Day, so we took him shopping to buy himself a present and we took the kids to dinner because cooking isn’t something I’m good at anymore. My mom brought Valentine bags for all of us (my husband and I included) and it was nice, but it made me miss Corra so much I couldn’t stand it that day. And, now, apparently, Easter is coming, too? Do I really have to do this stuff? I won’t be making four Easter baskets this year. And, after that, more birthdays. And, then there will be the Fourth of July. And, a few more meaningless days. Halloween, but Corra won’t be on my computer looking at costumes this year. And, on Thanksgiving, Corra won’t be telling me my turkey needs more cowbell. And, Christmas? No. I’m cancelling Christmas. We’ll go to church and then straight home and I don’t want to even think about it this year. I just can’t with all these holidays.

This post has exhausted me and I’m going to attempt a shower because that’s one of those things normal human people do and I’ve been told I should do normal things, even when I don’t feel like it.

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3 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned

  1. It took great courage for you to write the blog. It moved me to tears and remember my reaction when my dear wife died. I wish I could be there to give you a big hug.

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  2. It is good to see you writing again. Of course you will write about what is closest to you and utmost in your mind. It’s all good … grieving is hard work – it’s exhausting. That’s why you’re so tired all the time. Just being able to write about these things is a step forward. Small steps, one day at a time, You’re doing great. We love you. ((hug))

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