Friday, July 26, 2013

Worst Week Ever...

You've been warned.  Mama's about to blow...

This truly has been one of my worst weeks.  I am so, so miserable.  I miss Gavin.  I am tired.  The "I am growing a baby inside of me" kind of tired.

Brian has had gymnastics camp all week - every afternoon from 1-4.  I had a long list of things I planned to accomplish with that free time.  Spending two of those days on the couch in tears was not on my list.

Today was Brian's last day.  Miss Sara came with me to drop him off - and then we were invited back an hour before it ended so we could see all the things the kids have been learning and doing all week.  I was really looking forward to this as Brian offered up little to no details about what went on each day. Only that he was having a lot of fun.  Each day he was excited to go back.

As soon as we walked in at 3:00, Brian looked over and spotted us.  He started to cry.  And cry.  His face covered by his hands so he didn't see the 20 girls (he was one of only two boys) staring at him. Finally he walked over to me - a sobbing mess.

"I don't want to do it.  I want to go home.  I don't want to show you anything.  It's too scary."

Instructors tried to encourage him to return to the group - and he wasn't having any of it.  So we left. And he cried all the way home.  This was not a great end to my already miserable week.

I pulled my unused camera out of my purse and when Brian calmed down we sat down for a talk.

He kept repeating that he was scared.  I kept asking him why he didn't tell me each day that he was scared of something.  I couldn't tell in the moment if I was being manipulated... or if this was real.  This class was the first time, besides sending him to school, that I've ever dropped him off somewhere and had to leave.  I wasn't keen on it - but I left anyway.  

Now I'm beating myself up.  I really have no idea what went on each day - except for little tiny bits that he'd give up to me, usually at bedtime.  The instructors said he had fun.  I asked if he cried every day and one instructor told me, "He seemed to get frustrated when he'd lose, but would bounce right back."

And that's another thing.  I noticed that Brian seemed intimidated by the other kids' skills.  They ran faster than him - they knew how to do jumping jacks - and he noticed.

I tried to listen this afternoon and remove my feelings (which admittedly came with the baggage of this miserable week) as Brian explained why he didn't want to stay.  But now I worry that I pushed him into this too soon.  I have him signed up for T-Ball in the Fall and this has me second guessing that decision.

But I'm also miserable - in case I didn't mention that - so I won't make any decisions in this frame of mind.

It probably doesn't help that the BlogHer conference is happening right now in Chicago.  And tonight I would have been honored as one of their "Voices of the Year."  I chose not to go for a couple reasons - but in this moment, being anywhere but here sounds good to me.  And to feel appreciated would be an added bonus.  (Not a fish for compliments, so please don't go there.) I would have loved to have met fellow bloggers that I admire - and I even would have had the chance to meet Queen Latifah who is the keynote speaker for Voice of the Year tonight.  

I am hoping that being by the ocean tomorrow will bring me some comfort - and not drown me in painful memories.

This truly has been the worst week.  I need a vacation - from me.


  1. Oh dear....awww, what a little sweetheart Brian is! Very tenderhearted, isn't he? :) Don't be so hard on yourself about leaving. Honestly, he probably did fine while you were gone and just froze up when the 'performance' came up. Take care of yourself this are a great mama!

  2. Dawn(mommy101702)July 26, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    Don't beat yourself up...every kid develops at different rates. Fall T-ball sounds awesome!!!!

  3. I really do hate those kind of days when I'm sick and tired of myself (for really no good reason) and then being literally sick and tired is just too much. I hope your weekend brings you through the funk and next week is much better. {{hugs}}

  4. I second everything thing the person above stated!!! You are a great, amazing, and truly courage momma!! Whether or not you get shown or told on a daily basis you are loved and appreciated and every choice you make is helping your babies!! ((HUGS)) from cyber space!

  5. Kate, I was directed to your blog by a friend who read the letter you wrote to Gavin's kidney recipient. Our stories are in no way the same, not even a little bit, but she linked your blog to me because she said your words reminded her of me. I wasn't going to read it because, real reason. I just don't have a ton of follow through anymore. Sometimes yes, most times no. For whatever... reason, I clicked over just awhile ago and read enough to know that I wanted to write to you. Not sure if you'll read this but writing it just the same.

    I too lost my son but in a very different way. And at a very different age. 20 years old. By his own hand. A gun to his head. In front of us. After fighting with me.

    It was horrible. It is horrible. I miss him every single second of every single day.

    CJ took his life 3 years ago. April 14th he shot himself. April 15th he was wheeled away from us. Yes, I know that wheeling away moment you spoke of. And yes, the dates didn't go unnoticed. You share those dates. Different year but those dates equally mean something to us both. Maybe that's why I'm writing.

    We donated CJ's organs. All of them. Whatever they could use. We had to. My Dad lives today because 10 years ago, one New Hampshire family gave their 19 year old son's heart to him. My Dad lives because of another. Donating our son's organs was the only choice we could make.

    Some of his recipients died. One kidney recipient and his heart recipient. Very hard to hear but we gave them a chance. The rest are doing well. We met and hugged his other kidney recipient. He's an awesome man who gets to continue being a father and grandfather because of my CJ.

    We have one remaining child. Connor. 19 yrs old. Amazing. He misses his big brother tremendously. My heart breaks most for him - he's now an only child. He never asked to be.

    I miss my son so damn much. I would do anything to bring him back. I truly would.

    I speak out as often as possible to anyone that will listen. About the importance of organ donation. Groups of 3 or 300. Doesn't matter. Talking raises awareness. Sharing my story helps put a face to organ donation. Letting people KNOW ensures they won't make decisions based on fear or inaccuracies. Speaking out gives me a purpose. And maybe helps me heal.

    Have started the process to become an anonymous living kidney donor. I have two perfectly functioning kidneys but will do just fine with one. Someone, somewhere needs me to step up to the plate. I truly want to do this. I would be honored to help another. I KNOW it will make a difference. And I know this is the right thing to do.

    Your blog, your story touched me. Your boys were/are your everything as mine were/are.

    Wish we both had our beloved boys back.

    It's just that simple.

    1. That was beautiful. Honestly, I cry every time I visit this site and I am thankful that, although I have 2 children with special needs, they are alive and well, I have a friend whose son needs a kidney. It's a long shot, but here's the info. He had a heart transplant as a baby and the drugs have damaged his kidney to the point that he needs a transplant. He was denied a place on the transplant list because he has autism.

      If you or anyone can help, please do.

  6. I agree with Anonymous above. All my kids, my son especially, have "fled the stage" many times when it came to the final performance for something and gymnastics was one such time. It would happen particularly when they spied me in the audience. I know it seems terrible that seeing you set him off, but I just wanted to let you know that you don't need to beat yourself up about it. Enjoy the beach!

  7. So frustrating, and at so many levels. Here's a parallel story that may help. My kids have both been through ballet and ballet camp. During summer camp (which is a day camp), we can watch pretty much any time we want. Technically, we can't, but in reality, we're always welcome back there. And given that my son is a behavior nightmare (and not just because he's one of only three boys), there are absolutely weeks when I've been back there ready to swoop him out of the way (but without getting caught by him). Anyway, all the kids this year had a great time, and for once, my worries about Sam were unfounded (yay!). But when they got to their little performance at the end, one girl who had never performed before flipped out. She sobbed and screamed. The instructor invited her to do her part, but didn't force it and focused instead on getting her to a place where she could feel better (her mother's arms). Her poor Mom was so embarrassed. But honestly, that kind of performance anxiety isn't at all uncommon. Brian's end-of-class meltdown sounds similar to this little girl's. Sometimes, the feeling of all those eyes on you isn't a good one; it's a stressful one. T-Ball may be a whole different ball of wax for Brian, because it's not presented as a culminating experience. The whole game is much more like the "rehearsal" part of gymnastics, the part where he was comfortable and having fun. You did the right thing letting him pull back and hugging him and talking about it later. I hope next week isn't so exhausting!!

  8. I worked at a tutoring center for 14 years. I can't tell you the number of little ones who would have an absolute meltdown when they came in, but perk up as soon as Mommy left. They would laugh and play and joke with the teacher, but then freeze up again as soon as Mommy came back. And sometimes if you told them they had a great lesson and show Mommy what you learned today, they would burst into tears and say they didn't learn anything or couldn't remember. It's absolutely normal for a kid his age to get a little "stage fright" when put on the spot like that, especially if comparing themselves to a whole group. If he didn't demonstrate anxiety about going during the week, I'm sure that's all it was. Chin up, Mama. I wouldn't be surprised if he asked to go back next year.

  9. Oh Kate. I'm so sorry. I know a little of the frustration and I know a lot about the feelings. You are most definitely right. The ocean is very healing. I grew up the daughter of a professional surfer, so the ocean holds a lot of therapy on many levels. Let yourself feel frustrated and miserable and know that that's okay. Masking it and trying to put on a happy face all the time is not going to do you any good. Sending positive thoughts, prayers and hugs your way.
    I don't know if this is appropriate to say, but let me share a quote my grandma used to say to me when I was upset. She would say, "Susan, this too shall pass." I said that quote at her funeral and as much as I didn't believe it at the time, she was right. She is always right.

  10. I am so sorry. You know that I am. Sorry it is so darn hard.

  11. Isn't that just life....we try so hard to be upbeat and fun and on and on and sometimes we just end up miserable. Next week will be so much better!

  12. Kate! Huge hugs to you tonight and hope for zen weekend to offset the poop week. Also, I just finished a season of t-ball with my 4.5 year-old daughter. My advice? ( I know you didn't ask, so I apologize): Don't do it! It's too soon. The kids got so bored and frustrated waiting for their "turn". It was confusing for many rules and directions. My daughter told me repeatedly she doesn't like t-ball, and when is it over. I think it's just too soon. HUGS!

  13. I can totally relate, sometimes being a mommy can be overwhelming! Sometimes life in general is overwhelming, especially when you are missing someone so much. You are not alone in your feelings and I love that you speak about them freely with no shame or fear of judgement. Hang in there :)

  14. Hang in there. Don't beat yourself up too much about the gymnastics performance. It's ok to just feel ovrwhelmed with stage fright.

  15. Kate - A friend who reads my son's CarePage shared the link to your blog with me. Boy am I glad she did. I know your pain. I know your grief firsthand. Like you, I have lost a son. His name is Eric and he was 17. Like Gavin, he also had special needs. Our stories are different but the heartache is the same. My son suffered a massive ischemic stroke while undergoing epilepsy surgery. He died five days later after we made the horrific decision to withdraw his life support. May 14, 2011. It was the worst day of my life. I suspect it always will be.
    Like you I've made a choice to share our story and our journey through grief. You can read it at if you'd like. My son's CarePage name is EricSuzuki.

    While I no longer have any little ones, I do have two teenage girls. They are the real reason I go on.

    Kate, you are a wonderful woman, mother and wife. I can tell from your words. You are giving others a glimpse of what it's like to lose a child. It truly is a gift. I know how hard it is for you right now. Truthfully, I know how hard it will continue to be. Hang onto those memories. Hang onto Brian and Hope. There will be plenty of hard days but there will be good days too. Know that others who haven't met you but read your blog care. Know that you are helping those of us who have lost children too. Hugs.

    Kelli Suzuki

  16. My daughter (7) is THE most outgoing creative little girl who isn't scared of much. She LOVES performing and being in front of people. Yet the morning of her school graduation assembly she burst into tears and didn't want to go. She was bawling and was really upset. But I calmed her down and told her she would do fine. Told her I loved her. And she did do just fine and she remembered all of her lines. It's not the first time she's freaked. I once sat through a whole Kindergarten Christmas show she had been so excited to be in but then refused to go near once it started.
    I would say don't beat yourself up about Brian being left without you. It is so hard the first time but it doesn't mean he didn't have a good time .. especially if he said he had fun and wanted to go back. Just that he got stage fright.
    Many many hugs. xx

  17. Dear Kate,

    I hope you can show yourself some grace and love after a miserable week. Of course with all of the grief, hope, anxiety and (yes) joy that life has thrown at you in the past months you are bound to have weeks like this that just knock you flat. But you're a wonderful mother. Brian is so, so lucky that in the midst of your grief you are still able to find joy with him and be such a good, attentive parent.

    You're doing a great job. Bad weeks will happen. It's okay. I hope you can put that old to-do list behind you. Maybe write some other to-do's on it, like "Grieve. Feel. Breathe." And then go ahead and check off those tasks. Those things are important work for you some days right now. And it's okay. You are so clearly a loving, good person. Lots of us out in the real world are rooting for you, for Brian, for Hope and for your husband everyday, wishing that Hope is developing as she should, that she can stay put until she's full-term, and that each step on this hard path gets easier day by day, even if there are some rocky weeks that knock you down.


  18. Just a thought that maybe being watched by so many people upset him?
    I have been through this with my kids. I don't know what to say about Tball,my kids are all grown. We didn't start anything like this until 1st grade. A lot of sports classes around here start with the parent and child doing the sport on the field together. And don't beat yourself up for not doing what you planned on Brian's afternoons away. You are pregnant AND grieving!!!

  19. Hugs and Healing, Kate.

    Brian's fear offers each of you opportunity for comfort and growth and continues building on that beautiful bond between mother and son...

  20. Hate that feeling of just wanting to crawl out of yourself for a while! Go! Fight! Win! You can do this! So many prayers are out there going on in your behalf. You are not running alone.
    Sorry you have to be pregnant. I hate being pregnant. Miracles cost. Rats.

  21. I am sorry you are miserable. But as the mom of a 7 year old boy and a 5 year old daughter, Brian's behavior seems right on schedule to me. In fact my daughter just the other day tried to write a 3 and couldn't and after three tries collapsed in tears proclaiming "I'll never get it right! I'll never be smart!" Developmentally they must be going through some understanding where they are ranking themselves. They cry when they lose and when they perceive they are not the first or favorite. I think it's totally normal. Hang in there mama!

  22. I am really sorry the grief is overwhelming right now. Thinking of you and hoping for some relief...maybe with those waves.

  23. Brian sounds like an amazing and sensitive little boy. And he has just suffered an enormous loss. It seems normal that he would occasionally get extremely emotional and not really understand why -- and certainly not be able to explain it. So perhaps his sudden distress wasn't totally about the class or the performance. Perhaps he really did have a wonderful week at the class, and was looking forward to performing for you. Perhaps when you walked in and he looked and saw you, he was ready to smile... but just fell apart and didn't even understand why. He has a big heart and is missing his wonderful brother Gavin. So he has fun and laughs and smiles but occasionally his heart will overflow. Kathleen


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