Archive | May, 2014

Pushing Up Daisies

27 May

I have visited my son’s grave twice now in the last 24 hours.  Yesterday Brian, Esther and I decided to drive to Miramar for Memorial Day–it seemed fitting as Cole is buried in the National Cemetery there.  And then again today, by myself on my way home from work.  I was compelled to stop by mostly to see if the flowers we left graveside were still present, after all I pass by the exit twice daily so stopping by is an easy affair.  I can report to you they are, including the floral heart on the grass at the base of his stone, created by his sister from daisy petals she plucked from the bounty.

Yesterday, in honor of Memorial Day, the cemetery was bustling with activity.  They held a service at 1:00p.m. and families were gathered a plenty in all parts.  This evening, however, I was alone.  Alone with the wind and the rows of marble headstones, one of which bears the name and details of my son.

On Sunday I actually did what I had set out to do, according to my last post, which was to “get at it.”  I ventured out and met up with a couple of friends whom I had put off for over a year.  We had a nice visit and took a small walk together around the Newport Beach back bay.  It was a lovely time and I enjoyed it.  But upon my drive home, I caught the view off to the east side of the freeway, of the orange balloon of the Great Park in Irvine.  And memories of my time with our family of 4 came flooding back.  We went together, after Cole’s surgery and when he was well and able enough to manage a slight excursion, to the Great Park and together braved the heights of the hot-air orange balloon.  Seeing the ball suspended as is its custom, and feeling the loneliness which instantly was upon me due to the vacancy of the passenger seat to my right, my longing for my son returned anew and my previous resolve to get a move-on in life, away from my grief, flew out the window and more than likely landed-SPLAT-on the large orange sphere.

So today when alone, alongside the marker on the green, I couldn’t help but want this undeniable truth to go away.  All of me wants to dig him up and out of his silent grave.  Not because I wish him back to a place of continual and constant suffering, but because I miss him.  I miss my son.  And I’m not ready to let go of that just yet.  I still want to live out the fantasy that he will return.  Or the preposterous idea that the reality which I face does not, in fact, belong to me.

Do you know that it is more natural for me to drive in the carpool lane than it is not?  I had the honor of caring for my son the last two years of his life and as result I was always, “two or more.”  I find myself on auto-pilot, engaging my blinker and maneuvering toward the carpool lane entrance until I, at just the last minute, catch myself and pull out.

Yes, I pray daily for strength.  And yes, I have a goal to “get at it” for the sake of others and to honor, in my living, my Heavenly Father as well as my son.  But for right now I’m just not ready.  I am not assimilated to this new reality, more time is required apparently.  Now I can tell you that The Bent 3 are ever committed to living life without being ruled by fear.  And I can also tell you that this is no easy task.  Especially after a difficult loss.  For it is common place to want to cling tighter to those around you, fearful of loosing even more of that which you hold dear.  But we know too well, if we give fear even an inch, it will take over, and a paralyzed and ineffective life is what remains from its admittance.  So we press on, even as fear attempts to coerce our attentions, we press on.  And I assure you, I am pressing on.  But…

There is no timeline in grief.  Yes, I would like it to magically be one year.  And yes, the first year is most difficult because every celebration and/or significant date on the calendar reminds of memories past which previously were shared with the loved one lost.  And yes, as the second year comes around there are different memories to focus on.  But to think and to strive to adhere to the one year rule is not realistic.  Not today; though on Sunday a glimpse of progress shone through.

Blue dyed daisy petals, shaped into a heart, lie at the base of a headstone…there is no getting over it.


This Side of Crazy

20 May

I don’t mean to be a broken record, or beat a dead horse, or spin my wheels, or as all of the idioms suggest, repeat myself until my listener tires of the message; But–these past several years I have been much occupied with my familial affairs.  First caring for my son, assisting him in his recovery from surgery and all aspects of his militarily connected life, to wading through this past year of grief for myself, my husband and our daughter.  Thus my time, since about March 12, 2011, has been allocated to most things Bent!  As result, I have many friends who endearingly tell me, I am missed.

The problem is, I miss me too.

I feel as if I am in a quasi rendition of a “Where’s Waldo?” book.  Only my title reads, “Where’s Rivka?!”  I vacillate so frequently in my position on things, I hardly recognize my own opinion!  One day I’m aching to have a vacation away, then when the opportunity presents, I have no desire.  I know I love sushi, but when faced with pangs of hunger I cannot decide for what it is I crave.  I used to find a therapeutic remedy in my exploration of culinary arts, now I settle for a bowl of cereal.  I have many friends with whom I would often visit, and now I prefer solitude.  “Where’s Rivka??”  I honestly miss her!!

Not only do I want her back, I need her back.  She has work to do…she has an entire VA system to fight and reform– with veterans in need of compassionate advocacy.  She has friends she loves who were previously surviving on her sloppy seconds.  She has interests left waiting for her return.  “Where’s Rivka?”

Well folks, regardless of where she is (where I am) and whether we shall ever truly see her again, she must resume her place in life.  A year of mourning has, this past weekend, been fulfilled.  The time is upon her to gain ground and “get at it.”  I hope the next series of posts will be reflective of that attempt.  The attempt to find my place within a world that is different, and with a person who is altered–me.

**Note: This post is written with the sole purpose of exposing the melancholy within a grief stricken soul.  It is sometimes helpful for others to know that sentiments of grief manifest within the realm of crazy.  And within that state, a functioning being exists.  


The Fringes

11 May

Today is the day set aside to recognize motherhood.  Mother’s Day, as it is so named.  As a mother in mourning I think most of my loved ones expected this day to be a hard one for me.  As it turns out, it is no more difficult than the everyday I make it through my sorrow and move onto the next.  As it turns out this day is most difficult for my daughter, the sister to my fallen son.  This is the day the two of them, TOGETHER, would plan and execute the details of ensuring I was without doubt of their devotion and honor.  I must say, they were quite good at it…my daughter still is.

But if the sorrow has hit anyone more than the other, today is her day.  Her brother, her partner in all things familial is missing from her equation and, for her, there is no way to avoid his absence this day.

For me–no matter where my children are I am still a mother.  Whether I can be with them or not, on this particular day, I am still a mother.  And in being a mother, my society honors me–just look at all the store sales happening this weekend in honor of this day.  Granted, being showered with blessings from my own children is not comparable on the same scale as saving a few bucks–it trumps the monetary gain tremendously!  But point being, there are no guarantees of being with ones children on this particular day and yet as a mother I still have opportunity to be acknowledged.  Not so for the sister, left hanging out on the fringes because the obvious position of the mourning mother obfuscates the internal bleeding of the sibling.  Of course I am receiving text messages, emails and calls reflecting supportive thoughts for me on this day, but she is not.

And now she is left to navigate the sentimentality of maternal love while being barraged with sorrow.  Her quandary’s resemble something like this:  Does she show her mother her angst and risk causing burden to her on what she is accustomed to believing is a “special day for her mom?”  How is she to push through the vacancy left by her dearly departed when this day keeps shoving her loss in every step of her path?

To add insult to injury, the death of our beloved Cole will make it’s first anniversary mark this coming week.  May 17, 2013 we received the dreaded news.

Today my husband is somewhat on the fringes as well.  He has lost his mom a few years ago and his grandmother shortly afterward, both of whom were two of his biggest fans.  He is quite without a large portion of his extended family, and yet today he is supposed to do two things, honor his own mother and honor his wife, the mother of his children.  Now he, too, is stuck with a day that serves as a great reminder to the many losses he is suffering.

My sister, Auntie to my children, is also the overlooked mourner.  The sufferer on the fringe who sits in the shadow of her sisters pain.

This is a tough day, to be sure.  But today, as a mother, I honor those who are not privileged to have a day which recognizes them in the manner that Mother’s Day recognizes me–in my mothering and in my loss.  My heart goes out to you, the sister, the aunt, the grandmother, the friend, the husband–my soul loves you.

Today, with this post, I honor Esther Bent, Brian Bent and Leah Smith–

Happy Mother’s Day!

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