Will it ever end?

This morning at breakfast, Patrick (6), who was only two when his sister was killed, reminded me, in the most innocent of ways, that he is still hurting and that his sister is at the forefront of his thoughts much of the time.

A couple of years ago, I might have described our collective family feelings as those of fear, hurt, and sadness.  Today I consider our home to be a place of love, safety, happiness and yes, at times, insanity.  But every once in a while I’m reminded that the hurt still lives under the surface and we must face it head on if we’re to continue the journey forward.

Patrick loves to make word search puzzles. Last night, we made one with all the names of the people in his family.  Mummy, Daddy,  Ian, Eric, Patrick, Grace, Elena and most importantly (in his words) Stefanie –  his face always beaming with pride.  It’s touching to see how he remembers her without prompting, and this is one of his ways of including her in his world.

This morning, during breakfast, he decided to draw a picture of all the people in the word search.  He proudly told me who was who and noted everyone was holding hands and smiling, all happy to be part of his family.   I knew that Stefanie was the last and I knew that the arrows meant she was in heaven, as he always points up when talking about her, but I wasn’t prepared for his reaction.

When it came time to tell me about Stefanie in the drawing, he burst into tears and clutched my neck in a death grip.

We were already running late, the school bus was coming, Elena needed a diaper change, the girls had to be dressed in their winter coats and I still needed to brush my teeth and my hair before walking out the door.  But Patrick needed me to be there without rushing his feelings, reassuring him everything was okay now, that Stefanie was fine too.

Our morning was now thrown into a tailspin and I could barely contain my rage at those bastards for their role in our lives.    My only option, to weep silently while I held him, all the while worrying as I watched Ian’s face, full of concern and hurt, surely thinking the same things I was.

As gently as I could, I reminded him that we would see her again to which he cried deeper because it would be longer for him than for me -lets hope so.

He asked again about how she died, details of their relationship before she was killed, all the things he couldn’t remember and expressed how angry he was at himself for forgetting what it was like when she hugged him.

So today, I am heavy laden with sadness and the anger has resurfaced.  The elephant that lived on my chest for so long is back, and once again the process of getting through the day begins.

For Patrick, I can only be glad that he’s expressing his emotions, not hiding his pain and coming to us in his sadness.  As far as his mental health, I’m not worried because otherwise he’s a ball of pure love and joy and is able to express himself in many ways.

But as he ran into school, now reassured and excited about music class, I was left with a heavy heart, wishing more than anything I could change the circumstances of our life and not always have that dark shadow lurking in the background.

Tomorrow will be a better day.

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14 Responses to Will it ever end?

  1. Krista says:

    Patricia…the chills that I feel when I read this…I can’t describe them. Your words, so full of hurt and so well written are an opportunity for those of us who wonder and worry for you, to see only a tiny bit of what your world holds. To take that time to slow down and listen. To take that time to build and cement his feelings of safety and love. You’re a good Mom. You’re a good person. I think of you often and smile. Thank you for letting me be a part of your world, even if only in a small way.

    • patriciahung says:

      Thank you! I’m also glad that we’re friends and our kids are friends! Makes life a whole lot better when surrounded by great people!

  2. Sandi Ellis says:

    I could barely see through my tears to finish reading your post. I still have the chills I was feeling. It is so sweet & sad at the same time how Patrick remembers Stefanie or tries to. It sounds like you have a very smart & caring little boy. The part about him forgetting what he felt like when she hugged him just hit me like a dagger. I could almost feel his pain. He is lucky to have a mom as wonderful as you are. Give him a big hug for me & one for you as well!
    Take care!

    • patriciahung says:

      Thanks, he’s a special kid (at least for us!). I scanned his drawing on the computer and told him I’m going to get it blown up and put on the wall, he was very pleased! Guess I need to figure out where to do that now!
      Thanks for your kindness!

  3. Paul McFadden says:

    Patricia, I was in tears also reading your post. Lately I’ve been reliving what happened when Nathaniel was murdered I lost a big part of what or who I was …. he was my baby even though he was 20! There is no bandaid that can fix what happened to us……..I have grandchildren coming for a visit in June. The oldest Kalianna 14 hasn’t really dealt with Nate’s death. We will try when she comes………..Tomorrow will be a better day but we will always have times like this. I am sending you hugs!

    • patriciahung says:

      Yes Paul tomorrow will be much better. But it’s okay to acknowledge that we have bad days, and we shouldn’t beat ourselves up when we feel cheated. As a friend of mine reminded me last night – what we resist, persists.
      For me, it’s when the other children are negatively affected that it hurts so much as I’m sure it is with you and your grandchildren! All we can do is give them a safe place and they will heal!
      Thanks for the hugs!

  4. Sue says:

    This post just broke my heart.
    I cried as I read it.
    What a smart and bright young man that you have.
    A testament to his parenting.
    As for the picture I am sure that there is somewhere on the Danforth that can do it.
    I can do some research if you like.
    Hugs to you all but especially to Patrick today.

    • patriciahung says:

      Thanks. I actually found a place and already ordered it. I know he’s going to be so happy when it arrives. Thanks for the support Sue!

  5. Debbie Boyce says:

    Aw, Patricia….as always my thoughts and prayers are with you!! I am so happy that we have seen so much of each other lately…and we have to continue to do so!!!!

    Love Deb

  6. Dave Saunders says:

    Hi Patricia: Cathy and I just read this posting and are very moved. You are an inspiration and we are proud to call you friend. Take care of that crew.

  7. Patricia, what a wonderful picture Patrick drew!! And what a wonderful idea to frame it and put it on your wall. Bless your heart…sometimes things come up at inconvenient times, don’t they? You handled it so well…great admiration from me! For me, it seemed (and, when things come up with a direct connection to Jason’s death, sometimes still seems) that the elephant that sat on my chest was a whole lot heavier when it was something that affected our daughter. I so many times wished I could have taken her pain so she didn’t have to suffer so.

    • patriciahung says:

      Absolutely, the pain we feel for our remaining children is ten fold that what we feel for ourselves. Thank you for your kind words. The canvas arrived yesterday and when Patrick came home, he was so excited to see his work on the wall and rubbed his little finger over Stefanie, smiled and gave me a big hug.

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