Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Icicles of Grief...

Grief is a funny journey.  And so unpredictable.  I surprise myself daily with what I can handle - and have handled.  Yet there are simple, little things that keep me frozen in place.

I can talk about Gavin's journey to Heaven over the four days we spent at his bedside.  And I do - still - nearly every night with Brian.  He still requests that I tell him the story about Gavin dying every night.  And I do... regardless of how I feel.  I know it's what he needs in order to process what exactly happened on those April days.  The days his life - and ours - changed forever.
I can talk about the funeral.  And even found the strength somehow to talk AT the funeral.  Something I never - EVER - in a million years EVER thought I could do.  But I did - and I didn't even cry for some reason.
I can talk about Gavin's organ donation.  How, when and why we decided.  And I can say out loud that we had our sweet little boy cremated and keep his remains at home with us - the only place I want him to be.

But it's the simple things that wreck me.  I can't drive by a particular Barnes and Noble without getting a lump in my throat.  Gavin, Brian and I went on a little book store field trip together just days before he died.  We love books and just leisurely walked around - read books on the floor - hung out and had a snack - and played with their train table.  Last night was the first night I set foot in a book store since - and it wasn't that Barnes and Noble.  I'm not sure when I'll be able to walk in there again.
There was a day recently when I had to empty my 16GB memory card.  Well, I know I didn't HAVE to - I could have put it aside and never used it again - but I chose not to.  The photos are backed up three times on two different computers so I knew they were safe.  But there was something about emptying that card - knowing that I wasn't going to flip through and see a photo of him on my camera ever again - that took me a few days to get over.  If you hadn't noticed, I take an enormous amount of photos and that camera goes everywhere with me.  It was just a reminder that Gavin will never be in any more photos.  There won't be another family photo after this one...
...or another brother photo with matching or coordinating outfits like this one...
I hate that.  It completely, totally, 100% sucks.
Honest to God - once a day I get at least one comment or personal message (usually more) asking me when I'm going to change my blog header to include Hope.  Every time I think about it - I feel frozen.  Just the thought gets me choked up.  I know I need to include her - but adding her will change the landscape of photos that are so new - they were taken just a couple weeks before he died.  Changing those photos is just a brutal reminder that Gavin is gone.  He is the reason Chasing Rainbows even exists.  The name "Chasing Rainbows" is completely inspired by him.  He's a perfect reminder to never give up... and never let anyone tell you that you can't "chase rainbows."  That anything is possible.
I will be changing my header soon.  And I will obviously include Gavin in a huge way.  I just want you to know that the very idea of having two deceased children represented alongside my two living children - well, it's just not how I pictured our life.  But it is our life - and I'll find a way to represent our family in a way that makes me feel good... and in my own time.

It's those little things.
They keep me frozen.
But with time... the icicles of grief in my heart will melt little by little.  
Never really gone - but not as sharp.


  1. Wow - I wondered myself, too, but never would have actually asked. I always thought I would click on it one day and it would change, but now, the thought of it being different makes me sad, too...I know Hope needs her rightful place, but I agree with your feelings. Gavin is the reason for Chasing Rainbows - and I'm sure you will handle this as elegantly and as eloquently as you always do! <3

  2. I know it will be a beaytiful header! I knew it would chang when you were ready!

  3. Oh, Kate. All in your time. *Your* time. That anyone would question that in writing boggles my mind. You are dear to share your grief with us, we are honored to walk alongside you.

  4. The header never crossed my mind to be honest. It has been that way since I started following your blog. It's a lovely header. You do what's right for you not what someone else thinks is right or tells you is right - I know you will anyway which I think is great about you. I come on here to get inspiration and check on your wee family and I hope I never feel the desire to comment on the way you run your blog or your life, that's not my place. I will be sad too when one day you do change your header. xx

  5. My hands hovered over the keyboard trying to think of what to say and I am having trouble finding the right words, so I will borrow someone else's words. I read a wonderful line the other day. It said, "Grief can only exist where loved first lived". I kept thinking of this while I read your post. Your love and sorrow come through so clearly. I can only extend a virtual hug.

    I also want to say that I understand the "frozen" part. I was given some things after the death of one of my family. I would attack like a feral cat guarding its food if someone tried to take any of these things away from me. Yet, they have sat in my garage for two years. Some day I will be ready to bring them into my home, but not yet. Lots of memories are wrapped up in the items and I am not ready to look at them everyday. I don't question my decision and I don't feel the need to justify it. I hope you can feel that way about the website, memory cards, or ANYTHING ELSE that is linked to your grief and your love of Gavin. I am sorry that it has to hurt so much.

  6. Your header is beautiful. Change it at your own pace. No one is going through exactly what you're feeling, and we're all so blessed that you have shared your life, family, and story with us!

  7. I, too, never thought of the header & I would be so lost & sad not seeing it. Gavin's sweet, angelic face is something I look forward to seeing on your blog when I come here. Follow your heart and do what feels right and just keep sharing your family, your joys, and your sorrows...your virtual true friends will not forsake you and will support you. Sending love & hugs.

  8. I've never actually wondered about it. I know you don't love Hope any less whether she's included in the header or not. I know we'll hear about her and see pictures of her. I can't imagine what you go through on a daily basis and that header should be one of the last things on your mind. Take your time....

  9. That's why grief is so strange. I think, as a mom, sometimes we can do things that seem impossible because we know they must be done. Grief sometimes feels the strongest with the small things, the everyday things that we go through. I think that's why Barnes & Noble bothers you but not speaking at Gavin's service.

    A good friend of mine lost her mom a while back. She had a message from her on voicemail for months. This same friend sang and spoke at her mom's service. I never saw her cry there. But, when she accidentally deleted that voicemail she was a wreck and cried for days. We all have our strings that attach us to those that we've lost. It's excruciating when they get cut, whenever it happens.

  10. My son has been gone three years and I still refuse to delete the memory card with the last photos of him on it. Adding new pictures of my living children throughout my home without having new pictures of Jack to add continues to be one of my biggest challenges. This post spoke directly to my heart - I understand 100%. It's this strange dichotomy that only a grieving mother can understand. The challenge of honoring the child who is no longer here while still being present and living for the ones are are here, growing and changing every day. It's hard. It sucks. And I wish I could say it has gotten easier for me, but if I'm being honest it hasn't. The more time goes on, the harder it gets for me - to watch the living children grow and change while wondering what the one who is gone would be like now...it's an impossibly difficult thing and people just don't get it. They say things like, "Count your blessings" and "You have to be here for the kids you still have". Thank you, I know that. I don't need you to remind me. Thinking of you and praying for you, Kate.

  11. I cannot imagine how hard changing the header of this blog must be. It must simply feel insurmountable.
    Also, I never said it be have felt it so strongly reading you blog the past few months...the way you talk to Brian about Gavin's death every night is really one of the most selfless, loving, mothering things I have ever read. Obviously this routine means so much to Brian. And I must only imagine there are so many night where your brain really doesn't need to walk through that day again, but you do, for him. Really, I am just in awe. Wishing your heart peace.

  12. I often have the thought about the header, too - mostly just because I know you will include Hope. But then I don't even think about asking because my very next thought is that I don't know how you could bear to change it from the way it is. You'll do it if and when it feels like it's the right thing to do.

  13. Keep the header for a while. You'll know when it's time to change it. Hope is represented more than adequately now. All is fine until it's right for you to change things.

  14. This may sound strange, but what if you put a small picture of Hope right under Gavin's picture on the far left? The same size as the one of Darcy's feet but on the other side. It might look a little like Gavin was looking down on her like the angel he is! The header would be almost the same...with a little Hope added.

    I hope that doesn't come across as insensitive; it's just the image that came to my mind while reading this post. You have a lovely blog and a very special header, and of course it would be fine if it never changed! Thank you for showing up and sharing this very personal journey. I enjoy reading about it.

  15. I was so touched with your blog and all your Beautiful children. I thought the same idea about your blog title and your Lil ones pictures. You should capture all if them and title it Chasing Rainbows with a little Hope! They all deserve top Billing as they are the reason you write! Best Wishes!


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