Monday, April 12, 2010

This is one of those posts...

that maybe you shouldn't read because it's really messed up. This may even be one of those posts I shouldn't publish because it's just too dark and it should stay somewhere in the corners of my mind. I guess I'll just write it and see.

Lately that dichotomy I wrote about before is getting worse. I'm starting to feel like I have two completely separate personalities (that's probably not good - think I'll discuss it with my therapist). There's the me who goes to work, goes to school, spends time with my friends, smiles, laughs and sometimes even has fun. Then there's the me who is constantly tormented by the fact that my kids were killed.

And this is the part that's really bothering me lately: my kids didn't just die, they were killed. It's not like they got old and their bodies gave up and didn't want to live anymore. They were perfectly healthy little kids one minute and the next minute they were dead. I'm not trying to blame anyone, really I'm not, but I'm just saying...this idea of being killed is making me crazy. Honestly, I think part of the reason why this is bugging me is that I blame myself for allowing this to happen. A mother protects her kids. I have failed as a mother. In the biggest possible way.

Now I know you're all going to comment and say there's nothing I could have done, I was a good mom, etc. As much as I appreciate that and understand it rationally with my mind, I don't feel it. I feel...desperately sad, remorseful and like I would give ANYTHING to undo this.

Since my brain has been on the topic of being killed lately, I've been thinking about all the unbelievably shitty things that happen in the month of April and how weird it is. Peter's birthday is April 21st, however his due date was April 19th. Not long after I learned his due date people started saying, "what a horrible day...that's when the Waco, Texas thing happened...and the Oklahoma City bombing". I thought "Seriously?!! I don't want my child to be born on that day...hope he comes before or after". Then I learned that April 20th is Hitler's birthday and was the day of the shootings at Columbine High School. This is what I'm saying - what is up with April?!

Last year on April 4th, while my kids were playing, I remember watching the news about the 3 Pittsburgh police officers who were killed in the line of duty. I remember being horrified about the whole thing. Little did I know that two days later my own personal horror would happen.

Since the day of the accident I've spoken with one person who, I believe, truly understands what I'm going through. She's a friend of a friend who lost her only two children many years ago. She was separated from her husband at the time and her daughters were spending a weekend with him. They died in a house fire, not a car accident, but the situation is frighteningly similar. While I was talking with her she mentioned something about Easter so I asked her when her kids died: April 5th. WTF?

Now this year, on April 5th, 29 miners die in a West Virginia mine explosion?!! This is what I'm saying. I realize bad things happen at all times of the year and I'm probably just more cognizant of what happens in April, but really?

I'm not sure why I'm putting all this negative information out there, I normally try not to do that. Maybe if it's in cyberspace it'll stop bothering me so much. Maybe I just want to warn everyone to be extra careful this month. I don't know. And I'm sure lots of good things have happened in April - my mom's birthday is in April and so is Peter's. In fact, I know a lot of good people who have April birthdays. There - it's not all bad.

Sorry to bring everyone down, but this is where I'm at right now. Please be careful out there.


  1. Even though I don't know you very well, I think you are truly an inspiration as a mother. An example to follow. The love you have for your children is something that I personally admire. I sympathize with the feeling of KNOWING something and yet feeling something different even though rationally, you know it, "it" being that there is nothing you could have done, and that this is not your fault on ANY level. But I get what you say about no matter how much you say it, or how many times others say it, you don't feel that way. Speaking of April birthdays, today is my daughter's birthday. And my older brother's birthday is the same as Peter's.

    Stay strong. And I know there is nothing I can or anyone else can do, but just because I sincerely care, I hope you know that I am here if there is anything I could ever do to help in a small way.

  2. I can't imagine what you are going through (I can but I can't - I'm sure you know what I mean), but I do think it very normal to feel like you have the normal, functioning "you" and the other "you" who lives in that awful space - where you just know that this horrible thing has happened and you have to live with it. I remember feeling like two people at my Dad's funeral - one person who told everyone his cancer story and made sure they were all fed - the other who felt like sitting in a corner and crying. Of course, that experience is very different - my Dad lived a full life - he was supposed to go before me. What you have gone through is unbearable, but... you are brave and inspiring - truly - so many people live and think differently this last year because of you and your beauties. And, I know you feel guilty. Even when your kid gets picked on at school and you're not there, you feel bad. I'm sure you, in your situation, are haunted by so many things right now. Odd that you bring this up about April. I always feel melancholy during this month - near tears a lot - every year - and,for the past few weeks, have tried to squeeze every bit of good out of April that I can in my own blog. Stay positive; you have come so far and done so much - shown such strength - really. I'm so sorry for what you're going through...

  3. Amy, I don't know how you could not feel that darkness every day.You lost two vital parts of you. But it makes me smile to know that you do spend much of your days in the light. And about April . . . in the Wasteland, T.S. Eliot writes, "April is the cruelest month..." I think he was on to something, as I have also seen too many terrible things happen in April. Most recent: my co-worker's 55-year old uncle was killed in a car crash 10 days ago. Her cousin, his 17-year old son, was driving, and lived. It struck me immediately as eerie and sad that this was right around the time you lost your kids last year.

    I don't want to end on such a tragic note, so I'll close with a big hug and much love to you. And I hope you're enjoying school. I think of you every time I start experimenting on something new in the kitchen.

  4. I know I've said this before, but it's just very true--you are very brave for posting this and for sharing all your feelings, no matter how ugly or scary or whatever you think they are. And I think it makes total sense that you feel like you're living two different lives.. I would think it takes a long time to integrate something that just doesn't make any sense to the rational mind.....but thank god for your psyche that allows you to keep moving and experience some joy along the way. And you are soo STRONG for choosing those experiences for yourself.
    As far as April is an intense month...and I think the ascension energy of Easter has alot to do with it. I don't know how or why exactly, but I think the divine love vibration is sooo strong that it helps souls to be quickly at peace, which is maybe why there seems to be so much death in this month. At least, it's a thought that helps me get through it--that if people are going to die, at least their souls have moved on at a time that allows for them to be filled with and surrounded by very powerful divine love.
    And on a somewhat different note, Earth Day is in April. I don't think I would pay as much attention to it if it weren't for Kate and Peter and how much they cared about taking care of the world. Today I walked around a park and picked up garbage in their honor (it ended up being a whole large garbage bag full and it was a a relatively small park....c'mon people stop littering please, we need to "keep the earth healthy")
    Hang in there Amy. I love you and I think you are simply amazing for how you have been handling everything : )

  5. Hey, I am good friends with Tom and Evelyn. Evelyn told me your story last year, my heart broke. I could not stop thinking of it. Can't believe it has been a year. You are a brave brave mother. Keep being honest, that is all you can do. I will keep you in my prayes, that God may somehow heal your heart after all you have been through!

  6. Some advice that helped me most through a very tragic time in my life was what my pastor said...
    "When there is a horrific situation that you cannot control, you need to give up the desire to control the situation that is uncontrollable to you," and move forward."
    This really helped me, as I realized that, as much as I would have liked to be able to change the situation and the outcome, I could not go back and start time all over again, nor could I change the final outcome that had already come to fruition. Once I realized that it was futile for me to keep stressing and grieving about it, and realized it was the desire to change what had already passed that was driving me crazy, I was finally able to put the whole situation in God's hands, and move on with my life.
    I still think about what happened, and it still makes me sad, but it does not rule my every waking thought with its torment as it did for 17 years.
    I pray the same for you, Amy.

  7. I wonder if the dichotomy you feel is part of the grieving process. The part of you that goes to school and has fun is close to assimilating what has happened, and the part of you that feels guilty is still holding on to this horrible idea that you could have changed things.

    I hope the part of you that feels good every now and then comes through more often. I think that's who you are going to be someday.

    We were in Pittsburgh that weekend the police officers were shot, just visiting. We stayed in a hotel near the convention center, and it was Comic-con weekend. The people next door to us sang dirty pirate songs until 6 AM. Until we woke up to the news of the shootings, it was a lovely weekend. Well, that singing was annoying. Pittsburgh is great!

  8. Any mother would understand your feeling that you should have done *something* to save your kids, even though it is totally illogical. But your heart feels that, you can't help it. We all second guess ourselves, but like someone else said, we can't go back and change time. You don't have ESP, you didn't know what was going to happen. If you did know, of course you would have done soemthing different. It just feels unbelievable that something so major, so tragic could happen and you didn't have a warning or a way to stop it. I'm so sorry you didn't get that chance. It will never make sense, but I hope that someday you have more light and peace in your life than darkness. I'm so happy to hear of your friends who are helping you and taking care of you. They are a blessing.


  9. No need to apologize. Just keep writing. We're with you.

  10. Amy,
    You are not the only person who feels as though your children were killed. I feel like your children were killed and unlike you, I can think of someone who does deserve blame, fault, and who should have saved them and it isn't YOU.
    You are such a good person and I know that you are trying to be fair. But maybe just once, telling the person who took your life away from you how angry you are at him or how much he hurt you or how you can't forgive that wrong will help ease your guilt. You deserve to let that deserve to get angry and direct it. You deserve to tell the person that should have saved them that you blame him instead of just trying to be fair and understanding about it. You have taken all of this, every ounce of hurt and tried to make something positive out of it and you should be proud of yourself for that. But don't be sorry....don't be sorry for feeling lost sometimes, because during those times you are lost. The only solution is to be found and keep finding your way.

    You are loved and you have more support than you'll ever know.

  11. Amy, I read your blog for first time last week directed from That's Church, since then (I read all from the beggining) I have so much feelings about you, you are incredible person, strong woman, admirable woman, whatever you feel is the way it is, you have all the right to be happy, to be sad, just be yourself, we, ALL YOUR FRIENDS are here for you now and forever, with Love.

  12. Amy,
    I so understand. When Delenay passed I was so worried about my other child that I didn't think of me. It was all her. BUt when she was in bed or out with my mom I would think. I didn't do my job. What was I thinking letting her out of my sight. ( my daughter vomited& aspirated and died through a weird series of events) I thought how could I let me CPR certi lapse. Why didn't I take the first aid class that I had talked about for years. Did my hubby do this she was in his car? Why didnt' he do something? I was in the car behind them so stopped the same second he did. But still why did we both freeze? How could I let this happen? Who was now going to take care of my other child? I couldn't. I might hurt her also. I felt I needed to stay away from friends kids in case this happened again. I couldn't be to blame for someone else child dying in my care. I was so afraid to give meds to Samantha. What happened if I gave her the wrong does because i was so unsure of myself. I showered with her because I was afraid she would get hurt or drowned in shower (not the tub). I wouldn't sleep at night just to keep running in her room to check on her. I was only hearing one breath so that kept me awake anyway. But OMG how could I do this? Why was I trused with a child that I couldn't keep safe? AS the first anniversary approached I got worse. September is my bad month. First it has 10 birthday for family members. My father and Samantha and my neice included. Delaney's bday is Oct. But 9-11 happened , my uncle's cancer diagnoses, Hurricane Ivan (this hit while Delaney's funeral was going on), several friends have passed. So yes Sept is my worst month. Actually I am bad after the beginning of school till after D's bday. Samantha had just started Kindergarten when this all had happened. first week of school and Delaney passes. I always think what grade she would be in. So the start of school is a bad time.

    I could go on. But I am so sure you understand these things. I do feel your pain. I still have dark moments. And I am almost 6 years into my grief journey. So yes I understand. But let me tell you hope on the other side. It will change--it eases a bit. It NEVER leaves it just gets a bit less sharp. That doesn't mean that i couldn't sit right now and lose my marbles. I have done that. Many times.

    Please know that I am here if you need someone to talk to .

  13. never apologize for what you write on your blog. nothing you can say would shock us or make us think less of you. i've said it before: the fact that you continue to put one foot in front of the other in the face of such utter sadness proves how truly amazing you are. and if you curled up in a ball and stayed in bed all day you would still be amazing. sending virtual hugs and and real admiration,


  14. This is YOUR blog, so you write whatever you damn please here. We read to support you, not because it's a happy-go-lucky forum. We comment to let you know you're not alone. And you're not. And there is no way to sugar coat this but... What happened was horrific. The absolute worst thing that could ever happen to a mother. The second worst thing is that nothing can change what happened. We can't undo what's been done. We can't go back. And I'm so so so sorry that's the case. It fucking sucks. But, what's done is done. For some unknown reason - for some reason none of us can comprehend - this is the life you've been dealt. And as much as you want to undo it, you can't. If I could undo it for you, I would in a heartbeat. Hell, if I could trade places with Kate and Peter, I'd do it in a second. Those perfect, innocent, beautiful children DID NOT deserve this. And you don't deserve the aftermath of it. But life doesn't make sense. Just like this doesn't. And you can drive yourself completely crazy trying to make sense of an unreasonable thing. I urge you not to. Kate and Peter wouldn't have wanted it. It's not good for you. There is no making sense of this, so I feel like it's a waste of time to even try. All you can do is move forward. Keep trudging ahead as your children would have wanted you to. Not every day is going to be full of laughs and smiles, and I can guarantee that a day won't go by that you don't dwell on their deaths, but you need to try to let even a little light shine on you each and every day. It's the only way you're going to get through this. In the midst of all this shit, you need to look for the light. As the years go on, that light will get a little bit brighter, but I PROMISE YOU that Kate and Peter will never ever ever fade. Because you keep them alive. You keep them alive with every day that you live, with every breath that you take. Because, at one point, your breath was theirs.

    Keep going Amy. We all love and admire you and will get you through this hell as best we can. By listening.


  15. We are here for you. I think most people feel like they are two people at times. It is very understandable that YOU feel this way. How can you not? It is a blessing that you have moments when you smile, laugh and have a good time. Do not feel guilty in any way about that. (Kate and Peter are sending you those moments.)
    And then other times it just must be so unbearable. Just remember, always, that Kate and Peter love you.

  16. It didn't come across as depressing or dark at all. It came across as honest, and I think that no-holds-barred honesty is what will help you heal to the greatest extent you CAN heal after such a tragedy.

    Keep going.

  17. Let it out Amy. Keep writing, even on those darkest days. You have every right to think the way you're thinking, and I applaud you for writing it down and sharing it. Maybe it's the whole April showers saying. My fiance always reminds me that "All sunshine makes a desert." Days, and thoughts, like this happen. More often than sunny days. So keep talking, keep fighting, and know that it's okay to still hurt this much.

  18. April does suck. A LOT of really crappy things have happened in April. But you're right, a lot of really wonderful things happen in April too. I'm so sorry you're so down. Rightfully down. Totally entitled to it. Just know there are a lot of people out here who are reading what you're writing and praying for you.

  19. Every month can be bad. September is bad for me - mother's birthday (she's dead) , 9/11 anniversary, parent's wedding anniversary (both dead). On and on. It is what you make it, you know? If you are in a funk, you see bad. When you aren't in a funk all is OK.

    I struggle with the fact that my dad killed himself New Year's Eve. I knew it was coming. I failed. I let my mom down - I promised as she died to keep him safe. Some days I struggle mightily with that fact. Some days I just ignore it all and live. Needless so say in a sense I've been where you are. I think the best is to roll with it all - the dark, the light and the in-between.

  20. Amy,

    I don't know if this will help you but it helped me at one point when I felt similar to you right now. It makes no sense but it worked.
    I had enormous guilt about something that happened to my children. Logically I could see how it wasn't my fault. Logically I could even see how another person had the blame. But in my heart I knew my job as a Mom is to be all knowing, is to protect them from all harm. And I MISSED the signs. I played the past over and over and could see the signs I missed. It was awful.
    So I sat down one day and apologized to them. It made no sense. But I simply told them I was so so sorry that I had failed them.
    Now in all honesty I was not to blame just as you are not to blame.
    But in my reality I was to blame and I needed them to forgive me.
    So I asked for forgiveness and I got it and I suddenly felt free.
    Your children seem to find a way to communicate with you. Perhaps you can find a way to tell them you are sorry for letting them die. And then wait to see what they respond with.
    Your children love you and forgive you. They are so happy now. Their only sadness is that you feel guilty.
    Sending you all my love.

  21. I'm going to come at this from a slightly different perspective -- a little evolutionary biology. We are all not only humans, but also animals. Underneath all the complexity of being human, we have the simplicity of our instincts -- which are to survive and to reproduce and to take care of our young. Your inner animal is befuddled, because you are well-fed, sheltered, you gave birth to healthy children, you fed them and watched them grow.... and then suddenly, they aren't there anymore. The rational part of you understands what happened. The instinctual part of you feels it is all wrong. And it IS all wrong from a regular cycle of life perspective (hence the "killed" vs. "died".) What you describe yourself feeling seems absolutely natural to me. I think if you give yourself a break about it and don't apologize for sounding crazy it might be a little easier on you. When you start feeling guilty, think of it as your instincts are acting up. Lots of love.....Peter and Kate were and still are lucky to have such a ferociously loving mama.... just wish it weren't so incredibly hard on you!

  22. I can't understand what you're going through, but I do know what it is like to think irrational things. I have social anxiety disorder and it is a weird thing - you know that the things you worry about/fixate on are not true in your rational mind, but they're so real that they become overwhelming.

    I'm glad you're able to talk about all of this - too many people hod the ugly thoughts in their heads and they'll drive you batty.

    I can't say that this too will pass, but I can tell you that the more you discuss the irrational thoughts, it does become easier to deal with them...rationally. :)

  23. Don't worry about bringing anyone down - this is your blog and you should write whatever is on your mind.

    I know how people probably constantly say "It isn't your fault" and "It will all be okay". So I won't say that. I will just say that so many of us care about you, and God loves you, and things will get better one day... I can only imagine the horrible things that rush through your mind, and I would never try to minimize them by saying "It's not your fault" or "You couldn't have done anything". None of that will make you feel better.

    But I hope that knowing that we all love and care about you, helps a little bit! God bless!

  24. First few lines of The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot:

    April is the cruelest month, breeding
    Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
    Memory and desire, stirring
    Dull roots with spring rain.
    Winter kept us warm, covering
    Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
    A little life with dried tubers.