Monday, September 24, 2012

September 19th

I know I've been going on and on about how crazy life is right now.............but it really is honestly insane what has been thrown at us these past few weeks.  Between a flooded house, volleyball season kicking off, the regular beginning of school rush, Natalie and pink eye and now Craig sick with everything's been a zoo. 

And then to add to the mix - last Wednesday was the toughest day of the year for my husband.

I don't talk much about Craig's family because it's his family, his business and he is a much more private person than I.  His mom, grandmother and sister all live close by so we see them at least once a week and they are crucial to us being able to decide on a whim to see a movie on a Sunday night - they're always willing and happy to baby-sit Natalie.

But there's a piece missing.

Craig's father passed away ten years ago last Wednesday which was September 19th. 

Craig was 28 years old.

It was sudden, tragic and life altering.

I cannot comprehend the kind of pain that Craig and his family went through in the aftermath of his father's death.

But you know, grief is a funny thing.  I think Craig has spent the last ten years of his life working through the stages of grief and, to whatever extent one can after such a tragedy.....he has moved on in his life.  He had built a life and career for himself in the wake of an unspeakable horror.

But Natalie came along and tore apart his neatly stitched heart - the one that was ripped into pieces when his father died.

Now the seven stages of grief take on more meaning.  He is no longer mourning the loss of his father for himself and his family but for the years ahead and for his daughter.  Every year there's a day to remind us all of the relationship Natalie will never have.  The grandfather she will never know.

It makes us angry. 

Angry.  Ha.  What a small word for such a grand concept.  Is there a word greater than anger?  Furious?  Infuriated?  Rageful?  Those words don't give our feelings justice.  It makes my husband's heart scream and beat on the walls of his body because his father is gone and missing out on one of the world's greatest little girls. 

No. Anger is not the right word. There is no word for how this feels.

And I sit there helpless and sad.  Sad because I know how it feels to miss out on that relationship.  My granddaddy passed away one month before I was born. 

I want to scream for him.  I want to lash out at God and yell at him all my questions.  WHY did you let this happen?  WHY did you cause my husband such pain?  WHY is my daughter being punished for something she had absolutely no part in?

But I don't tell Craig all this.  I try not to add to the grief.  So I listen and comfort.  Console and pray.

There's another funny thing about these life altering events....the silver lining is always there, even in the darkest of nights.  Craig's father's death derailed his plans.  Made him change jobs and forced him to move in with his mom.  He took a job to be closer to her home so he could help her out.  That job he took was a the school where we met. 

And if we had never met there would be no Natalie.

It's a strange thought to me....Craig's life before his father's death.  What was Craig like?  Was he so fiercely independent and did he brush things off his shoulder so easily?  I don't know who Craig was before all this happened.  Another strange thought?  Although his father's life ended, there is a new little person out in this world walking around with 1/4 his DNA.

As it was in the beginning and ever will moves on.  We pick up the pieces and carry on.

We dread September 19th and then we get through the day with a few more meaningful glances and a sad smile here or there; then we go to bed at night with our hearts heavy and the stillness is suffocating.

Life with Natalie is tinged with a bit of sorrow for Craig.  Christmases....birthdays....and all the important milestones that come along with raising a child.  I can catch a glimpse of Craig here and there and see the distant look in his face or the heartache stitched across his smile.  It's always there.  The little reminders of who ISN'T there even when the room is crowded with family and friends all gathered for a joyous occasion.

So it's been a heavy week in addition to all the other insanity that has been thrown our way recently.

But I'm good.

I'm solid and stable.

I'm focused and not foggy.

I'm present in my family's life and able to carry as much of the weight as I can.

This is something for which I am immensely thankful.

Life isn't pretty.  It's messy and complicated and full of beauty and brutality.

But we move forward.

1 comment:

Craig Nelson said...

This could possible be the most anticipated response to "Life in La La's Land" in the history of her blog. I have always discussed her entries with her in person, not wanting to respond on a blog. After reading her last blog, which mostly pertained to me, I figured I at least owed her a response.

September 19th is one of those days that will live with me like September 11th will with all of those lost on that awful day. It is just something that you never forget, you constantly think about, wonder why it happened, ask if it could of it be avoided, could I of done something different to change the outcome of that day.

For many years I had always thought that I could of changed the course of history in the Nelson Family. That I could of made a difference in my father's life to change what would of happened so that he would still be here with us. But then I realized that my father had an illness that he could not overcome and it eventually took his life. Suicide is like cancer, it slowly pulls at you and pulls at you until it finally beats you down that you can not take it anymore and you are gone. That is what happened with my father.

So for all of those who have always wondered, would of liked to known, yes, my father did kill himself.

There is nothing worse than getting that call from your mother and sister saying that your father is dead and he has killed himself. No matter what anyone tells you, there are NO thoughts or feelings that can describe that moment. You are just in complete shock and horror. There is not a day that I do not think about that night, the hospital, identifying the body, being with family, watching the horror unravel in front of our faces. It is easily the longest day of my life and it is something that I would never want to relive or wish onto anyone else.

With all of that being said, I have begun to come to grips with everything and began to move on with that situation and live my life. Two big things happened in my life that really caused me to really see my life coming back into shape. One was marrying Laura and the other was having our first child, Natalie. Both of them being huge positives in my life and really showing me how great life can be.

All of that gets us to Laura's post! She is right. I have began to see what all both Natalie and my father is missing by them not being able to be a part of each other lives. He would think that she is the most precious, smart, beautiful little child he has ever seen and I know that Natalie would love to play with my father. They would play forever and he would spoiled her rotten.

How do you replace that?

What a question that really does not have a response. You can tell Natalie about my father, what he did, show her pictures of him, explain things about him. But does that really let her have the full experience of knowing him.

Do you tell her about the suicide eventually? Do you be honest with your children eventually and tell them the truth or do you hide all the negatives and tell them only the positivies?

I guess that will be up to Laura and I to decide and how we want Natalie to remember my father and the consequences of how he died.

I can tell you this, she will get to know my father as if he loved her with so much love and he was actually here on earth with her. How you ask? Because she will be getting it through me.

Not sure how this blog will rate on the bloggers rating system, but I did the best I could.

I Love You Laura and Natalie.