217 days

The effects of loss  don’t get cremated with the body.

It has been 217 days since I felt loss.

Loss on a profound level.

In 217 days I have lost more sleep than I care to admit.

217 days. It just knocks me down writing and realizing it has been so long.

With the loss of my mom a lot changed emotionally for me. If you are new to my blog or me you can take the time to get to know a little about my past by simply reading through my other posts. I think I mix it up decent enough, every third post or so should be personal information that is probably better suited for a counseling session. Or several. Okay,  I need a lot of therapy.

Long story short, (The official PRP season one, two and three recap if you will) at eight I moved from CA to CT. I spent my adolescent years angry and feeling orphaned. I spent my teen years angry, angsty and disconnected. Around sixteen(give or take?) I forgave my mom for her decision to move me across the country, without her, to live with my brother, his wife (who didn’t exactly like me) and their brand new family. By nineteen I had convinced myself it was me against the world. My relationship with my mom was strained, at best. I largely considered the friends who let me crash on their couches as my family. At twenty I began to slowly clean myself up. I got a job and started slowly pulling out of my the gutter life of drugs and alcohol. I met an amazing (and patient) woman who would expedite the process of becoming an adult. She gave me three beautiful children.

In the two and a half years since my wife gave me beautiful twin boys I have grown more than I did the first twenty one years of my life. Finally, I had a feeling I lost at eight years old. I had a family. The abundance of love that now filled my life pushed out the anger and angst. I couldn’t hold onto so much love and anger at the same time so I let go.

My mother and I worked through some of our problems, I still didn’t speak to other family, and I watched my family grow. I was, healthy (getting Dad Bod) and growing as a human being.

I was happier than I had been in a long time. Maybe ever. My mother would nag me to reach out and talk to other family members, which I curtly replied, “This is the only family I have or care to have. I don’t need anyone else”

One of my biggest failures as a son was refusing to extend an olive branch to my siblings even though it was begged of me every phone call. It is something I regret daily. It shouldn’t take death to stop people from being so stubborn.

My aunt says my mother died of a broken heart. I can believe it. 217 days ago my mother was having medical conditions, was a few months removed from losing a daughter and in the midst of her two remaining children refusing to so much as have small talk. For all my mother’s shortcomings you could never question her enormous heart. She wanted her family to get over their issues and be a family again. Maybe the pressure of that not happening was too much.

On January 28th a heart attack took my mom suddenly from this world. Only weeks prior we had planned her first visit to meet her grandchildren. She was going to meet her newborn grandson and his twin brothers during the summer for the very first time. Instead, we flew to Colorado with a month old child and two boys who had no clue what was going on.

217 days and I begin to think about what is left of my family. A sad eight year old boy grieves on inside me, still trying to wrap his head around the loss. A sixteen year old comforts him with words of understanding and empathy as a nineteen year old sips harsh liquors trying to just forget, forget, forget. The father puts on a brave face for children too young to understand the sorrows of loss. He…I lie awake losing sleep to the beast of burden. With my pain compartmentalized enough to make it through the day I put a smile on my face as somedays I sadly just go through the motions.

My biggest failure as a son was not forgiving. My biggest failure as a father is not being able to let go of what haunts me.

Along with the general grief is a new monster I wrestle with. As I said, I think of my family. My wife and my kids. I try my hardest to add to that list a brother, a sister in law, a nephew, an aunt and two cousins. The coping mechanism of an abandoned child has trained me to only love those who are constants in your life. So I sit up at night worrying.

I worry about the four constants in my life. Diana, Killian, Nicolas, and Ezra. I worry about losing them. The same imagination able to create words from nothing shows me vicious images of having them torn from my life without warning. Just as sudden and surprising as my mother was taken.

Anxiety attacks overwhelm me when I can’t get in contact with my wife to see how the kids are or if she is on her way back from the store. I know how crazy and ridiculous it is.

I just don’t know how to get over it.

The thought of losing someone I love again terrifies me.

217 days.

I don’t miss my mother anymore.

After 217 days, I miss myself.

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15 comments on “217 days
  1. I couldn’t be more impressed with how you’re working through this and even more so with the poignancy you display with expressing it.

  2. Nobody can tell you how to move forward with your family. But I can tell you this: worrying about what MIGHT happen will never keep it from happening. You may as well enjoy living in every moment, and always hope for the best. And THIS…letting it out is how the healing begins. And therapy is not a bad idea either:)

  3. Briton, this post makes me wish I could give you a huge hug. I’m no expert but I think this is part of the process of grieving. I went through something very similar when my biological father died. I didn’t know for years and found out quite by accident. It’s not an easy thing when the life situation was so strained. You are a brave and brilliant man. Diana and the boys are blessed to have you and you them. Keep getting up and breathing in and out and one of these days things will come together in your heart and your head. I have faith.
    Sandy recently posted…I Truly Do Not Know How To Do ThisMy Profile

  4. I know this Briton. I know so much of this and it breaks my heart for you. It’s hard to un-do the things that helped us survive and cope when we were young. They helped us then but inhibit us now. The fact that you know that is such a huge part of getting past it. It probably doesn’t feel like that now, but it is, I promise.

    And the writing here… you opened yourself up and every single time you do that it is magic on the page.
    Gretchen Kelly recently posted…You Know You Want To…My Profile

  5. May 7, 1997 I lost my mother too…For me it was sudden….She had cancer but that is not what killed her, they did an exploratory surgery on her and something happened and she developed sepsis. ….which is basically your body turning toxic. … 4 years 6 months and 1 day before she died …My brother died in a car accident . … he was only 23…. while to me her death was sudden I truly believe she died of a broken heart… I have suffered many deaths in my life they all changed me atleast a little..That’s what loving and losing someone does to you….. 4 years 7 months and 12 days ago…that was the day I was changed so profoundly that I still don’t recognize the person in the mirror …..she is a stranger and I don’t want to know her …. That was the day 2 of my children went to Heaven…. I too suffer from panic attacks …I live in constant fear of losing my only surviving child …while simultaneously grieving the loss of her brother and sister…. Death changes us forever ….I miss the old me but she is gone and will never return …. Just breathe and live each day as it is …. cherish every person..because we never know when they will be gone and you will have left is memories

  6. Just absolutely beautiful Briton. I feel so much of this in my bones. The details of our stories are slightly different, but so much of the experience is very similar. This raw pain is where healing truly does begin. You’re on a good path my friend. Xoxo
    Rachael Boley recently posted…Silence the LiesMy Profile

  7. Oh Briton, what an incredible post. So glad you were able to express your feelings so truthfully as this is part of the healing process. That eight year old you is still so very scared but I believe that the now you will be able to help heal him and love him as much as you love your own boys. Once you forgive and understand that boy, you will hurt less. I lost my father way too early and as I’ve written about, I have been able to forgive him and to forgive myself as well. xoxoxo Paz y amor.
    brickhousechick recently posted…52, It’s Not Nice To Meet YouMy Profile

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