Blog #2: Why a Blog?

14 Jul

I feel like I should answer the question that maybe no one has been brave enough to ask. Yes, I’ve been rambling on Facebook for a month now. A blog too? Why?

I want Alex’s memory to live on through the people that love him, and even the people who never got to meet him.

I want people to know how our family is doing. I have heard so much that people “don’t know what to say,” or “how to talk to us.” This way, I can talk to them.

I want to help other people- I feel like if I keep writing, and I make it through all this heartache, I could print this all out for someone as a “how-to” guide. Like, Grieving for Dummies or something. I could give it to parents who just lost a child and they would know that they weren’t alone.

I want people to know how I’m doing. Is that selfish? We’ve gotten letters and cards and hugs… people say they want to help- I don’t know if that’s just being polite. This way I can get everything out there for people to see in a risk-free way. People don’t have to read it. They don’t have to comment on it. If I try to tell someone in person, it might be uncomfortable; they might not want to hear all the sadness. This way, people are invited to be involved- if they join us great. If not, I don’t actually see the rejection.

More than anything, writing is the only thing I can do that makes me feel like all this grief is productive. I can sit and cry all night, and all I have left to show for it is a runny nose and a pile of used tissues. (Gross, I know.) I can scream about how mad I am, and I just get a sore throat. Writing produces something tangible. Something positive.

My grief counselor (sounds less crazy than therapist) isn’t on Facebook, but has read some of my posts. He thinks that all this writing could help other families that are hurting out there. He also thinks that these writings will be important for Benjamin to read when he is older- that it will help him understand who his brother was, and how his life enriched our family.

I love Alex. Nothing changes that- writing about him makes it feel like he’s more in the present than the past. That he contributes more than sadness to our family, and that his legacy lives on through those who read about him.

It will take me a little bit until my blog is caught up with my Facebook posts. So, here is something from the archives. I posted this about Alex one week after he died.

Remembering Alex: Part Two. Before I start, I should clarify why I’m doing this.  I have received so many heartfelt letters and notes about my first note Remembering Alex that I am genuinely touched that so many people have taken the time to read something that I thought were just the ramblings of a mom struck by grief.  The notes that have really inspired me are from other parents who have gone through similar loss… these notes talk about how my words have actually made them feel better.

I don’t pretend to be an author, but if I can share with others how this experience is affecting our family and if it helps others in a situation that is similar, it feels like Alex’s legacy will continue.  I love my little boy and it makes me feel better to think that his memory will extend beyond his two short months on earth.

So, I’ll keep putting thoughts out here.  I’m not trying to bum anybody out- but at least it answers that question, ‘How are you doing?’

The nights are the hardest.  It’s easy to get caught in the hustle and bustle of the day and for brief moments forget that you’re not holding your little baby.  Around 5pm is when I really notice that he’s gone.  I think it’s because the house is all of a sudden calmer than it used to be.  There was a certain cacophony in our house each night around dinner time as I had two boys (three if you count dad) all trying to get my attention to fill their tummies.  As you try to nurse, preheat the oven and cut vegetables at the same time, you feel very busy.

Things are quiet now.  Benjamin quietly picks out his favorite cup and plate, the microwave dings and no one cries from the swing in the living room to ensure he hasn’t been forgotten.  As we get through dinner, Benjamin hunkers down to watch his one show before bedtime.  Ben and I smile across the room as we “get ready to wiggle!” with the show we’ve heard a thousand times before.  There are no bottles to wash.

As I lead Benjamin upstairs for his bath and bedtime, I don’t run out of hands trying to carry up a baby, burp cloth and monitor as I hold Benjamin’s hand up the stairs.  Suddenly, two hands are enough again.  I don’t worry about a hungry Alex fussing from his room, as I try to bathe Benjamin at lightning speed to nurse Alex before he melts down.  Benjamin takes a leisurely bath and I go through the motions of playing with him in the tub.  The monitor is silent.

The truth is, my heart isn’t in it.  Not anymore.  Not the way it was before Alex died.  It’s only been one week and I still feel his presence in the house and I can smell him when I open the door to his room.  As Benjamin goes on with his life and laughs and cries at the same times he always has, I don’t have it in me to laugh and comfort him the way I used to.

No one said this was fair, but it’s not fair to Benjamin.  He deserves to have his mommy the way he always had, not this imposter mommy shell that looks the same, but doesn’t have the heart she used to.

I worry that not only have I lost Alex, but that I will lose Benjamin too.  Not in a literal way.  I worry that I will lose my relationship with Benjamin because I can’t get over the sadness that consumes me long enough to experience the sheer joy he used to bring.

Benjamin knows things are different.  It’s the way he has stopped asking about baby Alex.  It’s the way he starts to cry the minute something goes wrong.  It’s the ten minutes he spent in time out today for an infraction that wouldn’t have happened before.  He needs my attention and he senses that I’m not completely present with him.

I know we need to give it time.  As a family we are still healing and trying to make our way as a family of four, knowing that one of us is missing.  I thought that if I made sense of things rationally, it wouldn’t hurt as much.  It still hurts.  It’s not the same shocking pain I had last Thursday morning.  It’s a different kind of pain.  The dull ache that squeezes your chest, leaving you gasping for air, but too tired to breathe any deeper…

I don’t know what to do these days.  Stay busy?  Take time to grieve?  Look at pictures?  Put away the pictures?  No matter what I do, his memory follows me around.  Enough memories to bring me joy, but so many memories I can’t put them aside.”


Posted by on July 14, 2011 in Uncategorized


5 responses to “Blog #2: Why a Blog?

  1. Shelly

    July 14, 2011 at 2:19 am

  2. Thindulge

    July 14, 2011 at 2:35 am

    You are doing a great thing – not only for yourself, but for all the other mothers out there who have lost a child. You’re also letting us feel like we’re helping you by reading this. I know there is very little I can physically do here in TX besides pray to help, but reading your blog lets me feel like I am in some way helping ease your pain.

  3. marilynne

    July 14, 2011 at 2:43 am

    hi iam the grandma of our beautiful alex …i went to bed last night thinking about our little alex …i was so fortunate to spend some time with my grandchild …i fed him clothed him and changed his diapers….i held ooooooooooooooh so close to my heart..he was like holding a little dolly…i have not held may babys in my lifetime…he was so precious to me….i know he is surrounded by angels and my mom (alexs great grandmother) and her children 3 siblings to me and his loving granfather (bens dad) are there to be with him until our Lord calls us all home together in the arms of our Lord Jesus Christ…I love you Alex Love Grandma Marilynne and Grandpa Dwight

  4. Jessica Bologna Westberg

    July 14, 2011 at 4:22 am

    It doesn’t sound crazy to say “therapist”. Tammy, you have been expiriencing so many different emotions; grief, anger, frustration, sadness… Having a professional to help you isn’t crazy at all- it’s got to be one of the smartest decisions one can make in a situation such as yours. You are incredibly strong. And I agree that these blogs, posts and writings will be such an amazing thing for Benjamin to read when he is older too. I am still thinking about you and praying for you and your family.

  5. Chantal

    July 14, 2011 at 11:36 am

    I think what you are doing is inspiring and honest. And yes, it does help us get a glimpse of what you’re going through as well as helps us understand as to what to say. I think of you guys all the time.


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