Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Too Young To Be So Cynical - Dealing With Death Part Three

Yesterday, I was all excited when I posted about the change in our plans from not going away to going away, then last night it hit me like a ton of bricks - Clint won't be with us. This time of the year is extremely difficult for me and for all of us and I am starting to fear that Chad has become far too cynical for his age. Every happy event or fun outing and birthday and special occasion is entrenched in guilt and sadness and tears.

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The first two years we did not celebrate Christmas at all, except to buy Chad presents. The first year we went to the Valley of the Waves for the day and it breaks my heart that not only was Clint not with us, but Chad was a little 10 year old and the fun and excitement of Christmas was no more. The year before he was still halfheartedly believing in Santa - I always used to say if you don't believe you don't get, so he "believed". A few months later all his childlike beliefs and innocence ended - just like that. No warning,  no nothing - life ended for Chad - life as he knew it.

It is extremely difficult to be happy and excited and full of fun and laughter with Clinty no longer with us. It is torture and fills me with guilt and at the same time it fills me with guilt that I cannot be totally happy and excited for Chad. The saddest part is Chad is filled with the same guilt, but rarely voices that guilt and sadness.

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Although he had presents to open those first couple of years, there was no excitement and no fun and laughter, whatever laughter there was, amounted to barely a smile and then into tears and then full blown sobs. It is now our 8th year without Clint and on the average day, we get through OK, the tears are at the surface, but not quite bubbling over. Then comes the holidays and Christmas and the closer those days get, the closer those tears start to bubble to the top and then start dropping over the edge, until there is a flood of tears. That is how I handle it. Chad and Mark don't talk about it and out of respect for the way Chad has learned to deal with his brother's death, I try and not show my emotions and try and not talk about how Clint, not being with us, is just so awful. Chad knows it is terrible I can see it in his eyes or the far away look he gets sometimes.

This year not only do I feel as though I slept through the whole year, I haven't put up our Christmas tree, which is not even a proper artificial tree, but a Fibre Optic Tree. The last couple of Christmases, I have tried and decorated, but this year nothing. Chad doesn't want me to put up the tree and it really worries me that he has become as cynical as I am. He thinks it is totally uncool to put up the tree, because he is 17. When Clint was 17, Chad was 9, so the tree and decorations was there for Chad. When we were teenagers, we had a tree up. How cynical have I made Chad. My 22 year old nephew and his girlfriend are looking after our house and I am not sure what they are going to think of staying in a house with no tree and not a single decoration. Chad seems to believe that his cousin would think it more weird that there is only a 17 year old in a house covered in decorations.

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What is supposed to be a fun relaxed time, is just so marred by guilt and sadness. I end up making myself ill, thinking about all the what if's and if only's and then the day comes, be it Christmas; birthday; holidays and nothing has changed. It is exactly the same as the days leading up to the "big" day. It is the same sadness; the same tears and the same emotions. Day in and day out. This year again Chad has his Christmas present already. His TV that he wanted then this other motorbike to take on holiday. His one bike is getting sold but that is besides the point. It is going to be like our Christmas in Mozambique, when he got all caught up in our not buying presents, because we bought so much stuff to take on holiday.

I think deep down Chad prefers to not open presents on Christmas day, because it hurts too much. The whole idea of opening presents and being happy and the fun times and holiday spirit everyone else has, it just too painful.

A child died - a future - what fun and happiness is there in that. The sting of Merry Christmas; Happy New Year or Happy Birthday is unbearably painful - a pain worse than any physical pain you could experience.

Time does not heal - you just learn to hide your tears and emotions. You learn how to laugh, whilst tears are waiting to spill over behind closed doors and loud sobs are buried in your pillow or muffled into your clenched fist, shoved deep into your mouth. Holidays become days that we don't look forward to, as parents living through the death of their child. The guilt of not being with your child that has died and the guilt of not living for your child that is alive, becomes very hard to cope with.

You can find more posts on dealing with death over here


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