Friday, December 7, 2012


Dawson is having a harder time, he seems to have hit a denial phase. He was watching Tyler's videos and told me that is Tyler's home. Then he asked me if Tyler can come live with us in our home. I told him Tyler is in the sky, remember? He got upset and yelled "No! He's not in the sky, he's down here on the ground!" So we again went over how he was sick and died and is up in the sky now. His ears were closed though, he told me no, and started yelling about it. It was obvious he was not listening and just needed some time to be angry, so I left him alone. He calmed down and eventually accepted an invite for a hug before going back to playing. He has re-visited this conversation everyday for the last several days. I'm hoping this phase will pass soon, but it's a normal part of grieving for everyone. I was pleased by his acceptance of being sad. I have asked a few times if he is sad and he says "yes, Dawson is sad", with no correction or insistance on being happy. That is huge progress, and a huge step in the grieving process. So for now he is sad, angry and in denial, and that is ok. His daily school reports have showed this as well, they say his days have been a bit rough, though he has gotten up and out the door the same as usual. He comes home and tells me, "mom, I had a not great day", it was just a fact. I told him that's ok to have a bad day and he nodded his head, accepting that he was just sad that day and it happens. He has woken up at night crying and screaming, he has gotten up shortly after going to bed in a panic. It's been a rough couple of weeks for him. I'm hoping it will pass soon.

Today we did some shopping, Dawson had no school today. He ended up having a moment and was screaming at the top of his lungs in protest to something so simple. It was obviously not anything about what I had said no to. Grief will amplify things. Something sad will make you so angry. Something that is normally not a big deal will suddenly be a big deal. So as he is screaming, to the point of tensing up tight and nearly shaking, I just had to continue on, head to the back corner of the store until he got it all out. We got so many looks. It's hard enough having a tantruming 1 year old, but with a 5 year old, people look at me like I have failed to teach the child something, or like he's just that spoiled. They have no clue what he is going through. When we pulled into the parking lot, he was excited to go shopping. It changes so fast, lots of ups and downs. He was so excited to pick out a present for his uncle's birthday and to learn he gets to have birthday cake on Sunday. Yet a few aisles later he was throwing a huge fit over something tiny. He was better by the food section, when I reminded him he gets to pick out a treat for this week. He earns tokens during his home therapy and when he earns enough, he gets to do something fun, or have a special snack if it's that time. It really motivates him.

On the other hand, I have had a much better week. Those internal clouds seem to have lifted and I'm feeling more motivated and I have more energy. It's amazing how grief can affect you physically. For a while I was getting anxiety attacks, only I didn't realize what it was and was rather worried. My chest hurt, I couldn't breathe and my left arm was tingling. It happened several times, and everyone knows that's not a good sign. Thanks to my grief group, I discovered those are also common symptoms of a panic attack, and sure enough, it only got bad when I was feeling more emotional. They have not lasted very long and it was only for a short span of a week or 2 when it happened and I haven't had that issue since. Seems like just the phase I was going through at the time. Dawson's problems this week have dragged me down a bit, but in general I have been much better than I was before. It's hard when everyone is in a different place in their grieving. Seems like someone at any given point is in a bad mood, it makes things difficult.

Yesterday I ventured out a bit more. I hadn't really left town while Dawson is in school until then. I went to my cousin's house in Becker, which was fun. Gabriel loved seeing the animals. He's my little animal lover, horses especially. They have 2 and he was so excited! We went up to them and he made his "neigh" noise, which is rather long, exaggerated and high-pitched for a horse! It's really funny. I tried to get it on video, but of course once I started, he wouldn't do it again. He also got to see some cows and ducks. Also his 2 cousins, who are Dawson and Tyler's age. We had our babies 2 months apart both times, which was neat.

 "oooh!"  Everytime he says that, it sounds so much like Tyler. It's crazy, the same tone, voice, everything. Sometimes it's really cute, other times it just hurts.
 He looks so little walking up to the fence. They can be so fearless at this age. He walked up to the fence and knocked, as if they were going to open it up and let him in!

 After we got home, Dawson was asking me about the couch. We had moved it the night before to where it used to be. Needed to make room for the tree. He got excited and I asked him if he wanted to put together the tree now, and of course he said yes. We aren't allowed a real tree in our apartment, so we've always done fake. I gave him the top part and he carried it to the living room. Since nothing ever fits back into the original box, we had to keep it seperate. He happily walked to the window, stood it up there, looked at it and then back at me. He finally said " It's really small". He was even crouching down to help tell me how small it was. He was not impressed!
 Then I showed him what was in the box. :)
 So he got to put it together, and he figured it out himself. Thankfully they are easier than they used to be. We bought a new one a couple years ago after Christmas, since everything is so much better priced after the holiday. We got a good deal on it.
 Admiring his work so far. Much more impressed.
 Putting the little tree up on the big tree. He approves. :)
 Tyler's handprint, still on our window from August 2011. It's getting smudgey in that area, since Gabriel's smudges are joining Tyler's and starting to make it less obvious. It used to be a perfect handprint, and now it's mostly fingers left. Just one of those little things, a sign that he was really here. He only lived in our new apartment for 2 weeks, so we don't have many memories of him being here, it was a stressful couple of weeks, waiting for transplant, dealing with an infection and living among packed boxes in our half moved in apartment. It was still so nice to have him here though, and I'm glad we did have those 2 weeks.
 Gabriel playing on the ipad. I've been asked by a few to take pictures of this, because it's so adorable. It started out as "oh cute, he's trying to play the ipad". Then it moved to "wow, he's actually doing something with it!". Now it's more "let me play ipad or I will scream". Gotta love those almost 2 year old moments. He is still my easiest child, behavior wise. He has his moments, but is so mellow usually. I do take it with sometimes when I have a lot of errands to run. I got to a point where I just didn't care what people think. Yes, my 1 year old is playing an ipad. It's not his, it's for his brother's therapy and they happen to make awesome toddler apps too. It is sanity while shopping, and I will take some of that!
 So focused! He spelled "xray", mostly by process of elimination, of course. He's good at matching animals, doing little puzzles and things. He's a smart little guy. It's exciting seeing his little mind at work.
 Gabriel was thrilled when we moved the couch. We reunited him with 3 of his toy horses, all which he hasn't let far out of his sight since we found them.
We have an exciting several days ahead. Going to visit Tasha and Rilee, the little guy we met in the ICU. Also my brother's birthday party, and the Children's Museum through HopeKids. I'm also on the parent counsel for the school now and have a meeting on monday. They asked me to be a parent voice, so I thought I would try it. Dawson and Tyler both did home visits and ECSE there, as well as ECFE, and now Gabriel is in ECFE also. I'm hoping for some Christmas shopping motivation to hit as well! I don't even have a clue what I'm going to get Dawson yet. I'm hoping this 6 inches of snow we're supposed to get will help that Christmas mood to hit!

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