We used to nickname her pumpkin when she was younger

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The viewings and Alysia's miracle workings from beyond.

My fear of the visitation day was all consuming. Alysia was "resting" as of early in the morning so the family could go see her first. I drove there by myself after I put up major barriers around my heart and mind. I "steeled" myself, I put myself in automatic pilot but underneath that shut down person, was a soul crying to God for help to get through this. My body drove the car dry eyed and strong, my soul screamed and cried and protested what I was about to do.

I walked in the funeral home, the smell of flowers overwhelming me. My body dragged my soul into the room and I could see her from a distance. Some part of me screamed internally. I made it 3/4 of the way and I had to sit down. I could just see her laying there and her floppy bear hanging over the edge of the casket. I cried while Tom held me. I eventually had to make my way to her. When I finally did, she looked like she was sleeping. The sight of floppy bear made me cry for so many of us left behind, but especially Josh at that moment.

In life she always had this little smirk on her face (when she wasn't pissed off). Like she always knew something we didn't. Somehow the funeral home captured that smirk without us ever mentioning that about her and only seeing one picture. It was ever so slight but it was there. I looked at her and said to her "You never wanted to grow up. I guess you got what you wanted. That's why you're smirking." That little smirk gave me strength to get through that day.

It took me a while to be able to actually touch my daughter in that casket. It went in stages, I touched her hair first, then her forehead and was struck by how smooth her skin was, and how cold she was. By the end of my morning visit I could kiss her forehead and hold her hands. Sometimes I thought I could see her smirk get bigger or her chest move as if she were breathing and my brain would say...Trish they took out her lungs, she is not breathing. She is dead." My brain had to be brutal to me.

At the scheduled viewings I was overwhelmed by the amount of people there. I didn't realize so many cared about our little family. I was so touched by everyone that was there. There were so many people that it seemed to be a social gathering at times. I would glance at Alysia and she was by herself, my heart breaking, I would have to go over to her and keep her company.

Two miracles though came of the viewings both of the same sort but different people. I had a childhood friend, she was practically my sister, my best friend ever, who I had lost contact with for over 23 years. She never left my heart. She was always my sister. Her family took care of me when I was young and her family always had a special place in my heart. Luckily one of the sisters in the family always kept semi contact with me. Alysia never met her but heard me talk about her so much. I believe Alysia entered both of our hearts and "softened" them to the point where my long lost friend came to the viewing. I was so happy to see her! My soul, my inner child leaped with joy! I knew Alysia had something to do with this. I thank her everyday for doing this.

Alysia used to joke about my "ex-friends"...she just found it funny that I had ex-friends for some reason. Don't most people? Another ex-friend of our family found out about Alysia's death through a set of completely weird circumstances that could not be explained... being delayed at a garage waiting for a part for his car, glancing down at a sprawled out newspaper that happened to be open to the obituaries and seeing Alysia's obituary! He knew he had to come to the viewings. His wife however was away at an unreachable place so she wasn't there. I knew that Alysia wanted him to be there, she always really liked him but knew that having his wife there wouldn't be good for me, at least not at this point in my life. I haven't heard from either of them since but that's ok. As I am learning to trust in the timing of things. Even in the timing of my only daughter's death at the age of 20.

My fear of having the image of Alysia in a casket overshadow all other memories and images of her were unfounded but very real to me at the time. Although I can remember her in the casket, I actually have to pull it out of my memory bank. My thoughts of her for the most part, are of when she was alive... laughing, playing WoW in her bedroom, burning her food because she was impatient and set the burner to "inferno"...etc.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"Your library will shake itself apart"

I have what seems like a contradictory collection of books. I have books on Christianity (Catholicism in particular), paganism (wicca and druidry and shamanism), books on New Age, herbalism, natural healing and other subjects. When someone looks at my shelf they will see "Witch's Kitchen" next to one of many versions of the bible I own. Tom used to say the book cases were going to shake themselves apart from some sort of spiritual warfare on the shelves. Most of the world wants you to make a choice on a specific "religion" or "spiritual path", most of the world can not see the truths in all of them. I felt many times forced in one direction or another until I gave up on all of it and buried my spiritual side for a few years. It wasn't until recently I began to allow that to come back. Was that for a reason? I think so.

I believe religions complement each other. I don't believe they are exclusive. Alysia was also recently taking interest in the spiritual world and took a course at Dal in Witchcraft I believe. Even though she had a scientific mind and wanted to study chemistry, she also was starting to think it impossible for this planet, this universe to be an accident. There had to be some sort of intelligent design behind it all. She wasn't clear, she wasn't sure but she was beginning to question. I was happy to see this unfolding.

However someone during the days of getting ready for the viewings was in our apartment and spied my books on the shelf and proceeded to preach that those who dabble with the occult bring misfortune to themselves and others around them. My heart sank, fear set in. I didn't hear much after this. This person was supposed to be there to comfort us but instead left me in a state of paralyzing fear.

I joke a lot about my other cat Cido as being really stunned. Well he is. He gets by on his looks I say. But that day, he watched this person intensely from a distance. Cido wouldn't come out when normally he is a friendly cat. I would glance at him and he was staring down this person. I felt Cido was my little guardian at that time.

When it was just me and Katie and the cats in the apartment that evening, I was in such a state of fear. I was believing I had caused my daughter to pass away due to my reading and practicing non-Christian things. I really felt that I was being punished for my lifestyle. As if God Himself saw my books and knew my beliefs in my heart and punished me by taking my only child. I was a complete mess. I was convinced it was all my fault. I was convinced I was evil.

Katie would say to me "no evil can come out of such a beautiful soul. How can you be evil when you see such beauty in the world?" I was so scared I wanted to burn my books, throw out my stones, be rid of anything that wasn't remotely Christian.

I cried and cried for a very long time that evening. It was one of my worst evenings. Later that night I woke up and sensed Alysia lying next to me. I "heard" in my heart. "He is just afraid mom. He was taught to be afraid of such things because they were afraid of female power. Do not give up on your beliefs. They are not wrong, they are beautiful. I love you." and that was it. I no longer had a sense of her.

I had fleeting moments of fear off and on for a week or so afterward but I quickly felt sure in knowing that what I believe spiritually is not wrong. I see no boundaries in spirituality and sexuality. So how could this be wrong? Of course Alysia would know there is no one path to God, there is no gender, race, social class where she was that night she came to me. Today I wear an amethyst stone for spiritual protection and awareness on top of my gold crucifix necklace. I don't care that it seems contradictory, because I see them as complimentary.

That was one of my first forays down the road of blaming myself for her death. There were others.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Terra and the days before the viewings

I should start off by saying that the other night I was up for most of it after having bad dreams.I wondered if this blog was a good idea, was it too soon to write about Alysia's death and my journey through grieving? However, I came to the conclusion I am to continue on with the blog, no matter how hard it is at times.

I've been journaling since the day after we buried Alysia which has been a great help in processing the grief. However leading up to then will have to be from memory and it is quite wonky. The days are a blur, time stands still yet goes at the speed of light all at the same time. I've realized since her passing that life is full of irreconcilable opposites or I guess that would be called dichotomies. Divine dichotomies even.

The few days leading up to the "viewings" were awful. Between picking out a casket, the plot, the flowers, pictures for the picture boards, digital pictures for the screen,doing the obituary and on and on it went were at once horrible and therapeutic. It kept my ex husband (Tom) and I busy. We were able to numb ourselves to get through this process. We had spent a night together reminiscing and sharing our pain. We were always friends after the separation but this brought us much closer as friends. Two people who have lost their only child. The child for who we stuck out our marriage for 20 years. That child now brought us back together in circumstances so difficult that we could either have hated each other or allowed ourselves to bond closer as friends. Luckily we were both on the same page. We needed each other to be on the same page for who else can understand our loss like each other does?

My fear of the viewings were so intense I almost asked that it be closed casket because I did not want the image of her in a casket be so engraved in my memory that it overwhelmed 20 years of other memories. Logically this does not make sense but at the time logic makes not a lick of difference. I was scared to death.

My cat Terra was our little family's buddy. When we were together, Tom, Alysia and I, Terra didn't have a favorite. She loved us all equally. She is an amazing cat with lots of character. However when Alysia was home we could always find Terra hanging with her in her bedroom. Terra was Alysia's buddy and vice versa. Of course Alysia moved out to be with her boyfriend, Tom and I separated and so I kept the cats.

During the days leading up to the viewings in my paralyzing fear moments I would cry so hard I could hardly breath, I would feel as though my heart would simply stop from the sheer heart break I was feeling. I did not know how my body could endure such horrid fear and heartbreak. Terra would always come up to me as soon as she knew I was crying and comfort me. Yes animals do this but sometimes before I would start crying she would seem disoriented, confused.It was like she was watching something in the room move around. I think she sensed Alysia, maybe even saw her. She would comfort me in ways that were not her usual behavior. She wasn't scared or upset, just different. She would then seem like her normal Terra self when I was done my breakdown. As if she accomplished what she needed to accomplish.

Some people may not believe in these things but I believed that Alysia was using Terra to comfort me. Katie noticed a difference in her behavior as well...especially the confused behavior. I often asked Katie (and still do) am I crazy? Am I just a desperate grieving mother holding onto signs that aren't really there? But she always assures me that she could tell I knew the difference between real signs and not making things into signs when they really weren't. This conversation comes up over and over again.

Knowing that Alysia was using Terra some how to comfort me gave me hope that Alysia was ok, that she was in a place that allowed her more freedom to be where she needed to be. It gave me confirmation of an after life. Sometimes I still have doubts and question signs but I suppose that is a good thing so I don't go crazy looking for her everywhere.

I finally want to say a thank you from the bottom of my heart to Tom (Tomi) for not being bitter towards our relationship situation and especially for being another source of support and comfort. You are an amazing man and friend. Hang in there Tomi, there is hope.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Just when life was getting easier.

The weather in Halifax, NS is not the best for most of the year... It is too complicated to get into but suffice it to say that my life had, more often than not, been an uphill battle that left me wondering if I had the strength to continue the fight for a life of happiness. Like the weather in Halifax, the sun does eventually appear and my life was finally starting to feel like it was on the right track. In early July I was loving/trusting life. I felt that I had a consistent year of good things in my life. I was truly feeling blessed.

Then on July 25th, 2011 my doorbell rang at 6am and my partner Katie got up and answered the door. She came back in to tell me two policemen were at the door and needed to talk to me. (As I type this my heart squeezes into a semi state of anxiety) I went to the living room and they told me to sit down. I thought something had happened to my mother, or my exhusband Tom or anyone else but Alysia but I looked deep into the officer's eyes and I knew right then what he was going to tell me. "I am sorry to say your daughter passed away of cardiac arrest in her sleep in the early morning."

Did I hear him right? Did time stop? Am I dreaming? Where am I? Who are these men? What are they asking me?

-Drugs? No, no real drugs. Maybe a little weed once in a while but no.

Did he say there was no physical trauma? Ok that's good. Did he say it wasn't intentional? That's good too. Did he say she just passed away in her sleep? I guess that's a good way to go.

Later that day I went to Point Pleasant Park with Katie. I don't know why. I felt like I was suffocating in the apartment. I got in the car and thought..."this isn't too bad. I can handle this." In hindsight I realize that I was in shock. We went to the park and I cried but I still didn't feel the brunt of it...that was to come, still is to come in so many different ways. It's been almost 8 weeks since she passed away, and so much has happened. I will try to post short blogs so not to overwhelm myself or you. For if you are reading this you have also either lost Alysia (Lia, pikachu, pumpkin, kitten) yourself or have found this randomly on the net because you searched for someone else who lost their only child. May God bless your beautiful hurting souls. Maybe you are just here because you know me and are wanting to understand what I am going through, how I am coping and to you I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I know you do this not out of curiosity but because you care.

I want to thank from every particle of my being, Katie, who has been an incredible rock in my life. You are beautiful my love.

Finally I want to say that this will not all be sad as I want to assure you that I have had some amazing moments of peace and connectivity to Alysia and God in the past 8 weeks. There is hope...there is hope.