Tuesday, April 28, 2009
A Mom and A Dad.
We are all different. People are unique. We each use life experiences and lessons differently. Beyond that, we all experience them differently. We all fill different roles and bring different strengths and weaknesses to the table. It's what makes life interesting and rich and complete. I'm thankful for our differences...no matter how hard it is at times.
As the mom of Hadley, Keegan and Liam my job was/has been to tend to their needs and see to their general well being 24/7/365. I have not worked outside the home. These children, my husband and my home have been my job, my life, my entire world for nearly 9 1/2 years. Since 4/22/04 my job has been to care for a chronically and life threateningly ill child and to keep her and her brothers lives as 'normal' as possible. Sometimes this was nearly impossible. At times it meant sacrificing carrying on Liam's diaper bag so that Hadley's small suitcase of meds and chemo could come along on vacation. Sometimes it meant spending an hour taping up and protecting Hadley's central line so she could run in the sprinklers with her brothers. A lot of the time it was putting my own fears aside and just allowing my children to be children...and one step beyond that...encouraging them to be happy and adventurous and...themselves. I was trained to care for a child who had a rare disease. A child who statistics no longer applied to. I was trained to remain vigilant and alert to any and all signs of danger to her. She was in a fragile state for nearly 5 years...no matter how 'normal' I tried to make things feel/seem. I had to stay alert or...or she could die. It was my job around the clock...for nearly 5 years. It was my life.
As the dad of Hadley, Keegan and Liam, Brandon's job was to go to 'work'. To present our family, to the Coast Guard, as typical and average, and himself as an asset to them. He put food on the table, a roof over our head and provided insurance for our family but, most importantly, Hadley. When he was home he loved on our kids and tried to make sure that I was doing ok. For Hadley's last 2 years, though, he was rarely home (until her last few months). His life, for the most part, was wrapped up in the Coast Guard. I can't and won't fault him that. It was necessary and in the best interest of our family. It is what it is.
These roles however, have led us to very different places in our grief. I am having a hard time switching roles from 'mom of chronically ill child' to 'mom of two healthy children'. Brandon is still dad. I will never undermine his grief or say my grief is greater. It's not the case at all. Our grief is what it is. Our roles as parents are a separate issue. His role has stayed much the same. Mine has changed drastically. Because of this we are in different places. He has a hard time understanding why I worry the way I do...why I still act like I have a sick kid. I have a hard time understanding how he can act like everything is 'normal'.
For the first time since Hadley died I was truly angry at my husband over her journey and death. I feel like I was abandoned to deal with and handle most of it on my own...and now he wonders why I'm not doing better and putting it behind me (the cancer journey...NOT Hadley). I feel angry that the one person who should be in a similar place as me...that should have many of the same experiences as me doesn't. I have to keep convincing myself that it's nobody's fault. He had to be gone for 3/4's of the year because it's his job. He doesn't fear the things I fear because he wasn't here through all of it. Most importantly, that he payed a different price. He missed so much time...
I am trying...nobody ever said this would be easy...but, nobody ever said it'd be this damned hard.