This blog is my record of my journey with my son who had a rare, and eventually fatal metabolic illness. It is the story of the last year and a half of his life, his death, and after. I have shared this journey this in the hopes that is will not only help me come to terms with the realities, but also that someone along the way may find it helpful, as they face a similar journey.

This is my place to comment on events, blow off steam, encourage myself (and maybe you), share frustrations, show my love, grieve my losses, express my hopes, and if I am lucky, maybe figure out some of this crazy place we call life on earth.

The content might sometimes get a little heavy. As an understatement..


People who are grieving may write sad or difficult things and bring you down. This blog may not be for the faint of stomach or of heart. Read with caution and at your own risk.

If you are new to this blog, I suggest reading it from oldest to newest. It isn't necessary, as what I write is complete in itself. But this blog is sort of the result of the "journey" I'm going on, and I think it sort of "flows" better from oldest to newest.

I do hope that in the end you will find, in spite of all the difficult and heartbreaking things, things that are worth contemplating.

Welcome along!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Show & Tell

A friend and I have been having a talk/discussion recently. And I wanted to explore/share some of the thoughts and feelings I have had about it here, in my blog. We were talking about our struggles with two things: 1. when other people seem to be trying to place their pain "above" ours and 2. when we are tempted to "lessen" someone else's troubles by pointing out our own.

It's an awkward way to explain it, but it's the best I can do.

You see, we women have a finely honed social system worked out.

(No offense men, if you have one too, but I never have to navigate yours and I honestly haven't a clue about how yours works. Other than the assurance of my husband that you are really not that complicated. Which, being a woman, I am immediately suspicious that it is complicated and you are all just clueless about the complications. But I digress)

Our system has balances built in and we are to be equitable and supportive of each other. We've grown up a lot since kindergarten, and there is no teacher anymore. We just have silent rules about taking turns sharing problems. After we share our grief/troubles/woes, we are to sit down and let someone else have a turn. No one should hog the "limelight" or be too self-absorbed. Sympathy and kindnesses, caring and compassion should all be meted out appropriately, with generosity, but also with out any undue "hogging." Does any of this make sense? Or sound sort of familiar with how your internal monitor feels about it all?

It is a good system. Very supportive. Trouble is, though I'm all grown up on the outside, there still resides inside me an immature little girl.

And there are times when it is just so hard for me to sit and wait my turn. Show and Tell is difficult for me. It's hard for me to truly listen about your new sweater when I got a new puppy sort of thing. You know? I'm sitting on my hands over here, squirming in my seat and wondering when you are going to realize that my news is BIGGER than your news. Shouldn't I get a longer turn at sharing, since what's happening in my life is so much more traumatic?

For what has changed here now, is that what I'm talking about isn't the happy sort of show and tell stuff. Which we women share, but in a different way. No one wants to be seen as bragging about how good we've got it. So we are careful about sharing good stuff, there are different "rules" for that. Pregnancy can always be shared and rejoiced in, unless the other woman has lost a baby or can't get pregnant. A new house can be greatly rejoiced in with a friend who has already got a nice house, more reserved feelings shared with someone who is still renting. Etc, etc, etc.

Sharing our heartaches is different, but somewhat similar. More listening and empathy for someone who has lost their job, then for someone who has broken a favorite dish. After too much weeping on anyone's part, we tend to "bright side" things. Sort of an unwritten rule. Some weeping is necessary. Too much is an indulgence which is not good for you. And if you are just wallowing in self-pity, a note of annoyance might enter our voices and we might attempt measures of bracing you up, or at least dream about doing it.

Please don't think I'm saying anyone has done this to me! I'm just talking about that unspoken system, one that I take part it. The place I'm a member: the woman's sharing circle.

And some times I sit in that sharing circle and I'm barely holding my hand back while others share their hurts. It's not that I don't think they are important. I'm just that immature little girl. One at every show and tell, eh? I just feel like I should get more venting time, more crying time, more shoulders to support me and ears to listen.

And at times it is hard for me not to cut off someone else. And to do a little "bright siding" or "bracing up" myself, by pointing to my own life and how much worse YOURS could be if it were like mine. I'm not proud of that. I don't think it's that great.

And sometimes I even give in, like when my brother says how hard it was to have to give up his vacation cause my dad was so sick, and I point out that I don't get vacations anymore, and that the condition of my getting them again is that my son has to DIE. I don't know why I bother to do that. I mean, it does really suck to lose your vacation because your Dad has cancer. Regardless of the other miseries in the world, or who else is missing their own vacation.

It's just me, standing on my seat, waving my hand in the air "Is it my turn yet? Can I tell you about how bad it is FOR ME??? When's MY turn to talk?"

Sorry if I've done it to you. It's not only selfishness, I hope you realize. It is also pain speaking here. So I hope you will forgive my hand-waving-chair-standing self. Forgive me cause I am both selfish and sad. Really sad. THAT'S not a good combo.

And I will forgive you if you ever have done/do it to me. I mean "bright side" me, or "brace me up." Or even just forget that I hurt every single day and that sometimes makes it hard for me to give your pain both my ears, though I try.

That is one way that this blog is therapy for me. It's my own private "Show & Tell," though in this case it would be more appropriate to call it "Pain & Yell." I ALWAYS get to stand in the center and share here. I never have to wait my turn. I suppose that is one way that it is nice to have readers. Show and Tell (or Pain & Yell) really wouldn't be any fun if there was no one sitting in the circle and listening. Thank you! My own private therapy group, my own personal "Pain & Yell" and it is free!

I hope you can all hear my undercurrent of humour in this whole thing. Yeah, it is a bit dark, this humour of mine. But it is there. I don't always take myself, or my problems, completely seriously. Though the pain is real, and serious. So, I'm saying thank you, once again, to those of you who care enough to give me lots of time sharing my pain and struggles. I appreciate it, specially as I understand it might be hard to stand by with your own sets of problems and sorrows while I share mine. Sometimes over and over again. And I'm going to try my best to listen to you, and not denigrate your pain by pointing to mine as worse. Because hurting hurts. Period.


  1. The part about men's social systems cracked me up! My husband insists the same thing--that they really aren't that complicated, yet I, too, "am immediately suspicious that it is complicated and you are all just clueless about the complications". HA!

    I had a day of my own "hand-waving" yesterday with the 5-year anniversary of Makenzie's death. I guess sometimes you just need that--and at certain times more than others.

    This just happens to be your time when you need it more. I'm okay with it! ;)

  2. Hmm ya Steve is right. Men are pretty much "Food good - fire bad". Unless fire with food. Then good. Good good good. - Zac

  3. Christina,

    I hope your day of "hand-waving" had a full circle of support. Anytime, my friend. ;)

    Hmmmm - Zac.
    How about "fire burn food bad. Food broccoli, fire burn food good. Food broccoli girl like, uh... bad?? Fire burn girl burn broccoli, bad! Fire burn broccoli, fire pretty, girl like, good?? Uh girl like other guy fire, me fire burn broccoli bad??? Uh..... fire? broccoli? girl? ??!??!?!??"

    Could be you are just oversimplifying? ;) I'm still suspicious.

  4. I'll just say it again...LOVE the way you put it. "Hand waving" sounds much more polite than "You-Me". Thanks for the conversation.

    'Angel' Graham's Momma