Sunday, March 20, 2011

A whole new level of sadness...

I've been quite busy lately so, unfortunately, I haven't had much time to blog. I'm nearing the end of my quarter in school which means that this is finals week and I've overscheduled myself as usual. It's good to be busy, but only to a point. I may have crossed that line.

I'm still working on finding my kids and I've had a few encouraging experiences, but I don't have much time to write so I'll save that for later. After my finals, I'll have a week's break from school so I should have time to fill you in then.

One of the tasks I've been trying to accomplish this weekend is to transfer my home movies from a Digital 8 format to DVD. I've looked for someone who does this professionally, but I gave up on that search so, with Ken's help, I've been loading the movies onto my computer and trying to burn them that way. Unfortunately, Windows XP doesn't include a DVD burner so I either need to buy some software or just buy a separate DVD burner. Either way, it's a real pain in the ass.

When I first started importing the movies onto my computer I was excited to watch them. I've only watched a few minutes here and there over the past two years and I always thought that, while it made me sad, it was nice to see my kids having fun at Christmas or birthday parties or in whatever they were doing. In the past few days, however, I've watched a couple of hours of video and it's had a much different effect on me.

Instead of making me smile or laugh remembering how beautiful and wonderful Kate and Peter were while they were here, these videos have launched me into a whole new level of sadness. When I watch them, they look and sound so real that when I realize they're gone it's almost like living through the trauma of the accident all over again. Except this time I'm not in shock. I'm all too aware of reality.

After living through the experience of losing my kids, I've learned that being in shock is truly a gift. I honestly believe it's the only way a person can go on living and breathing after that kid of experience. The more it wears off, the harder it gets.

This is one of those moments when I just don't feel like I can do this anymore. I think "How much longer do I have to be without them?!" But I don't have a choice, so I have to keep doing this. I hate that.

So for now I'm going to take some Tylenol PM (don't worry - only the recommended dose) and cry myself to sleep - which reminds me: I had another dream about Kate two nights ago. We were together doing something, I don't remember what, but it felt so real. I do remember thinking, in my dream, "Is this real or is this just a dream?" Finally I decided, "Who cares! Just enjoy it!!"

So I'm going to bed and hopefully when I wake up tomorrow I'll hurt a little less and be able to do the things I need to do and move forward in my journey. Goodnight.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Another dream...

Lately Kate has been on my mind all the time. It's weird how sometimes I think more about Peter, sometimes more about Kate. I guess I go through phases. Sometimes I feel that one of them is around me, sometimes I feel they're both around. But for the past few weeks, it's mostly been Kate.

I've been hearing songs that remind me of her almost constantly, especially songs that were on the radio when I was pregnant with her nine years ago. (It's hard to believe she would be turning 9 in a few months - she didn't even make it to 7.) Over the past two weeks I've heard the song "A Thousand Miles" by Vanessa Carlton just about everyday - both on the radio in my car and on Pandora. I distinctly remember hearing this song on my way to a prenatal appointment when I was very, very pregnant.

It's not like that song is climbing back up the charts, so why I hear it all the time I don't know. I do have to say that as I listen to that song again, the line "If I could fall into the sky, do you think time would pass me/us by?" strikes me. I think there's something to that - but I don't know what.

Anyway, I've been thinking about Kate a lot and last night she was in my dream. I'm almost reluctant to call it a dream because it felt so real. She came to visit me for a weekend. It turns out that she hadn't died, but had been living in Buffalo with her dad since the accident.

I was so confused because how could I not know she was alive?! She had grown - she looked older and acted way more mature. She was different too. She had lost some of her spunk. She had been in the accident that killed her brother and she was afraid to be in a car. She was also afraid to upset anyone, and went along with everything everyone else said.

For example, I took her to get ice cream and she had no flavor preference. Whatever I thought she should have was what she wanted. I asked her if she wanted to see her friends and she said, "if you think I should". It was like she was afraid to have an opinion or a need. It was like my little girl had lost her will to live.

Regardless of her state of mind, I was determined to get her back and to help her enjoy her life again. I was going to call her school and enroll her the following day - I knew she'd be excited about that. I talked to her dad and he agreed that she should be living with me since he worked a lot and I was able to be home. I was so sad that she hadn't been able to come to my wedding, but so excited that she was alive! It was just so real.

I kept thinking about my blog and how it says that "this is the story of my life and journey after the death of my kids" but only one of my kids had died. How could I have made such a mistake?!! And what about Peter? How did he die when Kate hadn't?

Right now I feel like I'm in a fog, like I don't know what is real. This dream has thrown me off a little.

I guess it was bittersweet. It was wonderful to feel like I got to spend some time with my "little worm", but sad when I woke up and realized it was a dream. And sad when I realized how sad she was.

It felt too real to just be a dream. Maybe I need to go back to bed.

And Kate, just so you know, I would absolutely walk a thousand miles to see you again. I'd walk a million.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Here's a little something I found...

Last year, when I was in Australia visiting my brother, I had an interesting experience; yet another non-coincidence.

My mom, my brother, Ken and I were taking a train from the Syndey Harbour to my brother's apartment, just outside the city. I happened to look out the window and for a split-second saw this:

Peter *hearts* Katie

I kinda thought I was hallucinating. No one else saw it, but I could have sworn I had just seen my kids names painted, with a heart, on the side of some building.

A few days later we took the same train and I made everyone else watch for it too. Indeed, there it was. I wasn't hallucinating. Unfortunately, we moved by so quickly there was no possible way to take a picture.

I'm not saying that finding this graffiti is any sort of special sign or anything. I just thought it was pretty cool. And, honestly, I think the chances of me coincidentally looking in that direction at that exact moment were pretty slim. I'm sure whoever painted it was referring to a different "Peter and Katie", but it still made me smile.

You've probably never heard me refer to Kate as "Katie" because I never called her Katie. She didn't really like that nickname, although there were two people she allowed to call her that: her paternal grandfather, Dziadziu, and her Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. S. She loved when they called her Katie.

I have been wanting a picture of this graffiti since I was in Sydney, but I had no way of getting one. Last night I was randomly googling my kids - I mean, when you're looking for someone, isn't the internet the first place to start?! - when I decided to try "peter katie sydney graffiti pic". It worked! Thankfully, this person took a picture and uploaded it to Flickr. I don't you, but whoever you are, thank you!

So, while I haven't exactly found my kids, I have found a little something. Maybe that means I'm on the right track. Thank you all for your encouragement and advice about my journey to find them. I appreciate it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

a quick qualifier...

Sometimes it's difficult to share my true feelings without worrying what people will think when they read them. I know I've said I don't want to censor myself and that I want to keep it real, but I feel this strange responsibility to hide the really dark stuff because it might scare people.

My last post was actually written as something positive and hopeful, but I realize that some of the language seems very negative. I also realize that stating that I feel like I'm "waiting to die" might hurt some of the people that I love. I don't want to hurt anyone.

I'd like to take a moment to try to explain.

At times things are bad - really, really bad. Sometimes I do fantasize about "being done" and being with my kids again, though, as I've said before, I will not kill myself. Despite these dark and desperate feelings, I'm still very grateful for all of the good in my life. I have an amazing husband and wonderful friends and family who love and support me through all of the ups and downs. I don't want anyone to think that I take any of these important people for granted.

I also realize that I'm very lucky to have the abilities and opportunities that I do, and that not everyone is as fortunate. It's hard to explain, but I am in a constant state of simultaneous joy and pain. It's just the way it is. While on the one hand I'm experiencing happiness and love, on the other hand I feel that part of my heart has been torn from my body. Both are true.

Now that I've cleared that up, or at least attempted to, I'm gonna go to bed. Thank you all for your understanding.

I have to find them.

This is one of those posts which, after reading, you will surely think I've crossed the crazy line or lost my mind. Both may be true. So be it.

Here's the thing: every day I wake up and think "I can't do this another day. I cannot continue to go on without them. I have no real purpose or identity anymore and I just wanna be done." Then I get out of bed and try to find a way to pass the time (it's not like I don't have plenty of things I should be doing, I just don't feel like doing any of them). Inevitably I start feeling like my life is one big game of "waiting to die", which could take a long time since I'm only 36.

So today I decided I'm going try something else. I'm gonna try to find them. (hint: this is where the crazy comes in) But seriously, if Thich Nhat Hanh was right and, as quoted in my last post, "you have never been born and you can never die" then they have to be somewhere, right? I mean, if all of the non-coincidences that have occurred in my life since they died are real, then they are somewhere, trying to communicate, and reaching out to me.

I need to explain that on most days I do believe that all of the non-coincidences are real, and that people don't die, they just move on to a different reality. However, sometimes I'm a true skeptic and I worry that when you're dead you're just dead - which means I may never see them again. Those are the days I want to jump off a bridge.

In order to prevent any bridge jumping, I'm going to embark on a journey. I'm going to read and study and meditate and do whatever it is I need to do to find out where they are and how I can communicate regularly. I have to.

I mean, any mother who "lost" her children - like in the mall or the grocery store - would search until she found them, right? She wouldn't just say, "Oh well, I guess I'll never see them again." Well, I'm a mom and I'm going to find my kids. For me it'll be a little harder because as much as I'd like to periodically pretend that they're just "lost" or sleeping or at school, I know that in reality they suffered fatal injuries in a car accident. (I'm trying not to say they died - because if you can't be born and you can't die, then they didn't actually die. See where I'm going with that?)

I have to imagine this journey won't be easy and that sometimes I'll want to give up, but I've never been one to shy away from a challenge. And really, what other choice do I have? Bridge jumping. I'm just sayin.

As soon as I figure out what my first step will be, I'll let you know. I've read a few interesting books since April of 2009, so I'll probably go back and reread them. The one that sticks out is called "Love Never Dies" by Sandy Goodman. Ken gave me that book at a time when I wanted to throw any book about grief through the window or at the person who gave it to me. But that book was different.

From what I remember, Sandy started a similar journey and did whatever she could to find a way to communicate with her son who had passed on. I need to reread to remember the details; I'm one of those people who simply cannot retain information I've read, or remember movies for that matter. I could watch the same movie 5 times and be surprised, every time, by the ending. I'm kinda like a goldfish. But I digress.

I will be sure to keep you posted about what I learn and where this journey takes me. I'm a little excited. And I feel hopeful, which in and of itself, feels good.