Lose a child and tell me that your outlook on your kids that are still on this earth does not change and I will call you a liar! I’m saying that before I buried my child deep into the ground I missed a lot of his school activities because of conflicts with either mine or Scott’s job. That’s a huge REGRET for the both of us. We sacrificed precious memories and time with Kiah and Emma both because of jobs that would ultimately replace us within days if we left. Our kids are not REPLACEABLE and therefore we will never ever miss another school function again. I know my daughter is only a cheerleader on that field to some but to us she is our entire world, including Athan and Alex,and we will be there. Oh sweet child you have to cheer in a game that starts at 7 and it’s an hour and a half away or more…. no problem WE will be there. NEVER again will we miss things that any of our kids are doing when it comes to school functions. If we want to take that quick family trip to rejuvenate then we WILL do so. I’m tired of seeing our boys be upset because we don’t have enough hours in the afternoons or even the weekend to do what they want to do. I’m tired of seeing my husband torn between his family and his job!!! Wake up people…..do not work your life away and miss precious time with your babies. I know that we will NEVER again let anything come before Emma, Athan, and Alex. My husband and I both have careers but that does not mean we will allow it to dictate our family time any longer. I hope no one ever goes through what we’ve been through, but if you ever have to bury a child your outlook on all your other children will change.
I’ve sat and thought about today and took a moment of silence for those that lost their lives 18 years ago on September 11th. I know where I was the moment we received the news…in psychology class at Northwest Shoals Community College. I remember getting in my car and rushing home in panic as to what we would face next. I was in tears and heartbroken over it all.
Several years ago we took a trip with the kids to visit NYC and see where the towers once set and the monument that was built. It was just as sad then, but I’m glad my kids were able to see and here what happened that day from some of the locals. I’m glad they were able to understand what those fountains and the now one new tower represents.
Then today I was sitting there thinking that on that day a lot of people lost their son or their daughter. I became overwhelmed with sadness at how they must have felt and how it was being thrown all over television. I wondered how they have been able to move through this journey of child loss over the last 18 years when I am barely sane after only 1 month, 2 weeks, and 6 days? Yes I understand that people also lost their wives, husbands, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, moms, dads, cousins, and so forth; however, for my blog and process of trying to heal from the loss of a child I’m focusing on just those that lost a child no matter the age.
As the day went about I reflected back on the fact that these parents had something tangible to be angry at. They had people that they could actually be angry at for taking their son or daughter. This made me feel almost jealous of that little fact. Why in the world would I be jealous?? Well let me just tell you why. My son died in a car accident that, in the accident report, states it was his own fault. It shows he was two feet over the center line at the time of the head on collision with a cement truck. It was 5:15 in the freaking morning and my baby was going to work, just like most of those other people on 9/11. My son was not on his phone as it was found in his front pocket without a scratch on it. There was no indicators pointing to speeding.
So I have no answers and no one to be angry at for the death of my son. I will never have answers as to why. The last 18 years they have had a tangible person and or persons that organized the attacks to be angry at. They have some answers as to way their son or daughter is gone. I however replay in my mind over and over as to what possibly could have happened for Kiah to cross over that line. I ask myself questions and go through all the scenarios. Was he reaching for something on the passenger side? Did he fall asleep…he literally had just left his dad’s house five minutes prior to this? Did someone pull out or look like they were going to pull out in front of him and was he serving to keep from hitting them? Was there some animal he swerved to miss? None of these questions will ever have answers and even if I did have the answers and it was question 1, 2, or 4 then I still have no one I can be angry at.
So while I grieve right along side those moms and dads that lost their child on this day 18 years ago, I am jealous that they have someone to be angry with. As bad as I did not want to know and understand their pain, I now do. I’m air hugging all of them right now and saying to them that losing a child sucks and I hate that you have been going through this for 18 years.
May we always remember….9/11
There is a thief that comes at various times throughout my day. This thief wakes me up in the middle of the night. This thief stops me dead in my tracks at a moments notice. This thief lurks around every corner waiting on me. His name is grief. He steals my sleep, he steals my joy, he steals my everyday thought process. He just lurks around waiting to attack. I can’t hide from him or shake him, he’s always there. He’s told me he’s here to stay. He’s told me that this is my new normal.
So every day I look around waiting for him to sneak up on me. At night I sleep with one eye open waiting for him to turn my dreams into nightmares, never getting more than two hours of sleep. Every where I go I am expecting him to jump out and catch me off guard. It’s like he will see that I am having a better day than the day before and he will rush over me and I will sob uncontrollably.
Grief I did not ask you to be here, but I guess if you are my new normal I should get to know more about you.
In an earlier post I spoke of a thing I would later regret. The truth is there’s a lot of things I have come to regret or have guilt about. I had my babies when I was 16, 19, and 21. So I was still young myself. I have a lot of guilt and regret about the time I spent with Kiah while he was alive. Had I known that my I was only going to get 16 years with my son I’d of done a lot differently.
I went back to work when he was three months old and that’s something that I regret. I feel guilty for wanting weekends here and there without my kids to go do what I wanted. I wouldn’t have taken trips without them. I would have spent every minute with them and they’d of never left my sight not for one second.
The last three years of his life I regret working three jobs just to make ends meet. I was so busy working that I forgot to have a life and spend it with my kids. I hate myself for missing out on things that were important because of a job that would and did replace me as soon as I left. I regret not letting more of his friends come over just because my house was dirty. I hate that I was more worried about getting in a workout instead of sitting on the couch eating a bowl of ice cream with him.
This last year of his life is one that I think I have the most guilt about. His dad and I split up and he wanted to stay with him and I didn’t fight it because he was a teenager and we lived in the same town. I regret that I didn’t beg him or fight for him to move in with me. I feel guilt about moving to Madison and Kiah and Emma staying behind. I wished I would have begged them to come live with us. I wished I would have fought tooth and nail for them to have been in the same house as me. I didn’t because they were 14 and 16 and I didn’t want them to resent me.
I missed so much this last year of his life. I missed Halloween, football games, basketball games, spending his birthday with him, Thanksgiving, Christmas morning, New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day, baseball games, Easter, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and almost and entire summer. This is something I feel deep guilt over. Why did I allow myself to miss so much? Why didn’t I choose my child’s functions or happiness over a few extra hours of sleep? Because if I’m being honest some of the things I missed were because I lived far away and didn’t want to get home so late. Other things were missed because they chose to spend them with their dad. I’m not sore what that even says about me as a mother. That I’m terrible and only thought of myself maybe?!?
Everyday for the rest of my life I will always regret and have guilt over not spending more time with you Kiah. If only I was able to turn back time to day you were born and do it differently I would.
1 month today you were taken from me….that’s 30 days of missing your sweet face….that’s 720 hours of my heart aching…that’s 43,200 minutes of longing to just hear your voice or watch your goofy dancing….that’s 2,592,000 seconds of having you on my mind. Everything is different and though the world keeps moving my life stoped when you were 16 years 8 months and 19 days old. Every second that tics by that I’ve outlived you hurts. I love you all the way to Heaven and back down to the dirt my sweet boy.
I wrote this on August 25, 2019. Every millisecond is hard without you my sweet precious boy.
I saw you today sweet boy everywhere I turned. I saw you at Cassie’s on the slide while the girls were chasing you. I saw you leaned against the pool having a conversation with Nolan. I saw you playing with Walker. I saw you getting in trouble with the rest of them for having the water guns out trying to wet the adults. I saw you doing tricks off the diving board. I saw you dancing when certain songs came on. I saw you sitting there talking about the football games played Saturday. I saw you eating two big plates of food and standing in line for homemade ice cream.I saw you sitting with us smiling and laughing. I fought back tears several times today as I saw a glimpse of you and wanted to run over and hug you tight. This brokenness that I feel from not having you here is almost more than I can take at times. Although I enjoyed being with family and laughing and watching everything and everyone around, I couldn’t help but remember the last time you were there. I love you so much and you are deeply missed.
I wrote this on Labor Day. If that day was really hard for me, then I know without a doubt that your birthday and all holidays that follow are going to be unbearably painful.
Everywhere I go people ask, “How are you?”. To the majority of the people I respond with l, “I’m ok”. Would they want to hear the truth? Here’s the truth….I am barely functioning. As I sit here at this ballgame that my son should be playing in and that my daughter is cheering at, I am hurting. I am searching for my #22 and he is nowhere to be found. So I sit here and stare at what I can only assume is a creepy stare at my cheerleader.
The truth is that I am far from ok. I’m struggling almost every second of everyday just to catch my breath and gather my thoughts. I have meltdowns on an every other day basis. I no longer have control of the thoughts in my head because Kiah consumes my entire brain. I’m not resting but a few hours a night and in the little over a month that my son has been gone I feel as though I’ve aged twenty years. My anxiety seems to be in full force as well. I find that I am easily angered and the stupidest things set me off.
I don’t think most people want to know how I am REALLY doing. People keep inviting us to go to church and I think it’s only because they don’t know what else to say or do. Maybe it’s because the grief that’s etched permanently into my face or maybe because they think I will find my answers there at their church. Well just incase anyone is wondering I grew up in church and for most of my kids lives we attended church every time the doors were open. I believe in God and have been baptized as were my kids. I have always prayed and felt that I had a good relationship with God. When I moved to Madison the thoughts of having to find a church to attend made my anxiety over flow and so I do not currently attend a church. Also I am not sure anyone would want me at their church at this moment.
Why? Well because I am angry with God and He knows it. I’ve yelled and screamed at Him and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I have questions that I want the answers to and He’s yet to whisper in my ear and give me those answers. What are those questions you ask….well let me just lay it all out there. Why God did you take my 16 year old son from me? Was I that terrible of a mother that You needed to teach me a lesson by ripping my son from me? Who are You going to take from me next? How can You possible think that I want to go to church right now and worship You when You have done the this most unspeakable act?
Oh do you feel uncomfortable now? Well probably nowhere near as uncomfortable as I feel in my own skin. I am by no means suicidal, but I’d of rather it been me than my son. God knows that I am so far from happy with Him at this moment and it will take time for me to not be angry with Him for this. So when I’m ready to go to church I will go, but for now I will continue to have my afternoon shouting, crying matches with God in my car on the way home from school. Also when you ask, “How are you?”, I will continue to say that “I’m ok.”….
I look at this sweet boy of mine and I think of the 16 years I had with him. I hear his laugh as the waves were crashing around him. I see that smile on his face and it overwhelms me. Then my emotions take over and I realize that those are things that I will only ever see in pictures ever again. My heart feels like it has been ripped from my chest and stabbed and torn into pieces and pushed back into my chest all broke . I will never understand why this happened. I keep saying but he was just going to work. He was always helping out and loved to work. My heart aches because he’s gone and there are so many things I will never get to see him do. I will never hear him say I love you or momma I’m hungry. I will never feel his arms wrapped around me giving me one of his big hugs. I will never hear his laugh again or see him just break out into a dance. Then there are milestones that I won’t get to see him reach…..I won’t get to see him play another sport (oh how he loved his sports), I won’t get to see him off to prom looking all dapper (even though he was mostly a T-shirt and gym shorts kind of guy he did love to get all dressed up sometimes), I won’t get to see him walk across that field and graduate, I won’t get to see him choose a career path, I won’t see him get married to his best friend, I won’t get to see him have babies of his own (which he already had names for his son and daughter) and be just the best father. There are so many things I will never get to see my sweet boy accomplish and for that I am angry and heartbroken. I did not have enough time with him. I know that people say it will get better and that I will be okay, but I will never get better and this will never be okay. Thanks everyone for all the calls, texts, messages, food, and prayers. Since that Thursday everyday after has been a blur and each day harder to deal with than the day before, but the day I watched them close your casket and put in into the ground was one of the hardest so please remember our family, his sweet girlfriend and their family, and his friends in the days, weeks, months, years ahead. As we say goodbye and remember such a sweet soul. I love you so much son and I will cherish every memory I have of you. As Athan said you are playing basketball on the big court in the sky now and my response was yes with all the legends.
The day started like any other day. Up early drinking coffee with Scott before he left for work and I was putting boxes of school stuff in my car so I could go work on my new classroom. I get ready and head out a little after 9. I pull out of the driveway and I’m barely down the road and my sister Tiffany calls me. So I answer with a happy hello. Tiffany asked me what I was doing and I told her I was headed to my new school. She then asked if I had heard from Kiah and I told her that I hadn’t in a few days and then asked why. I at this point I just found it odd that she was asking about Kiah. She then got a quiver in her voice and started saying how she didn’t want to tell me this but that she had received a phone call that Kiah had been in a car wreck earlier that morning and that he was killed in this wreck. I’m in complete disbelief. One because Tiffany lives in Indiana and why would she be notified before me. Also because if it was my kid, Jonathan and other family members would be blowing up my phone. I tell her she’s lying and that she doesn’t have a clue what she’s talking about and I hang up on her. I call Jonathan and he’s unaware of anything as he’s all the way in Jasper with Emma but that people keep calling and texting her asking and he’s not been notified. He tells me to wait and he’s going to find out what’s all going on and he will call me right back. Within a minute he calls back. He says in a shaky voice, “Melissa, call Scott and get to my house as quickly as you can it’s bad!”. I said Jonathan is our baby ok please tell me he’s still alive. He said he was in an accident this morning and he didn’t survive. I’m here to tell you that’s the moment that my life changed that’s the moment my heart was ripped out of my chest. Texts and calls and messages flooded my phone. I was numb and at that moment I was also still in disbelief. Scott came home scooped me up out of my car and then off the ground because I was hysterically crying…no whaling out. We spent the rest of the day in Bear Creek with family, friends, and teachers pouring into the yard and house. I just remember being numb and people asking me questions about the funeral and this and that and I’m thinking I’ve not even seen my son yet…..I just lost him and I don’t know which way is up right now and you’re asking me about clothes and flowers. The more hugs and I’m so sorry’s that I got the angrier I became. Scott and I drove back to Madison late that night to prepare for viewing Kiah’s body the next morning.
I didn’t sleep well that night and when I woke up I wanted this to all be some nightmare. It wasn’t. I remember waking up in tears and going to the shower and I was crying so hard and I was so angry that I was hitting the tile showers wall and Scott was trying his best to wash my hair and my body. I was broken and would never be the same again. I finally compose myself enough to dry my hair and get clothes on to head out. We get to Jonathan’s house to fill out a paper the funeral home left for us. We did our best to fill it out we were both just exhausted and this was not something that we wanted to do.
We all go to the funeral home…even his sweet girlfriend autumn and his best friend Brandon were there to see Kiah. They let Jonathan and I go back first. I walk in to a cold room that smelled like it had been cleaned with a bleaching agent and my son laying on a silver slab of a table with a white sheet draped over him from just below his shoulder all the way down over his feet. He had no color to his face and he was ice cold. I touched my baby’s hair and it was so…so soft. I lost it yet again and was consumed with anger, sadness, and pain. It’s a day I’d like to forget but plays over and over in my head. My son was gone and there was nothing I could do to get him back to this earth. Everything else about that day was a blur. Funeral arrangements began and we had to make decisions I was never prepared to make for my then 16 year old son.
The viewing and funeral was in the same day. I dressed my baby in a long sleeve version of the blue shirt he as bought the weekend prior, his comfy gym shorts, and his lucky charm socks. We all said our goodbyes with leaving something in his casket. I kissed my son on the forehead and touch his soft hair for the last time before we closed the casket to receive friends and loved ones. His funeral was all about him….the songs we played were not for the hundreds of people packed into that funeral home but for Kiah. I laughed and I cried and I was numb. If I could have laid in that casket and went with him I would have. If you’ve never buried a child then you will never understand the amount of pain I feel and honestly I hope you never do. Thursday my life was forever changed and then the day I watched them lower my baby into the ground and throw mounds of dirt on top of his casket that held his body was the day my heart stopped beating…..
Now what am I supposed to do? A question I’m still asking everyday…..
That date with Scott changed me forever. We decided to begin a journey as a couple. I would drive the hour and a half two every Wednesday and every other weekend to see him. Then after almost a month we met each other’s kids and they met each other. I will never forget going home after that first time of our kids meeting and Kiah was sitting up front in the passenger seat. He had tears in his eyes and I asked him what was wrong. He said, “Mom, I can’t wait for Alex and Athan to be my little brothers. I want to teach them all sorts of things!” It made my heart melt and I knew I had found the right one to rebuild my family with.
By mid October we decided to go ahead and move in together. I talked with both Kiah and Emma and they both wanted to stay in our small hometown with their dad to finish school. So, while everyone thinks I abandoned my children I didn’t. We discussed it and we all did what was best for them at that moment. A decision that I will later regret, but not because of Scott. I was perfectly fine leaving that town. I needed away from toxic people in my life. The kids came back and forth as much as they possibly could being that they played every sport imaginable. In late December Scott asked me to marry him and of course I said yes.
The wedding planning began and everything just flowed so well with Scott. He is always my constant and my anchor and definitely is helping me with my anxiety. Wedding planning was fun with him…anything we do together is fun as long as we are together. When the kids were here all together we’d go skating and have nerf gun wars and it felt amazing to have everyone under one roof. We were completely happy and I was loving this life and so very thankful for each and every second.
We got married on June 01,2019. Most everyone I wanted to be there was there. It was a very laid back intimate and fun wedding. My sister CK and my daughter Emma were bridesmaids. Scott’s best friend Matty came down from up North to be in his wedding. Then he had Athan and Alex by his side. My son Kiah walked me down the aisle. I remember looking at at him, so handsome and he was all smiles. In that moment he and I connected and I was so glad he was the one do be my side and hand me off to Scott. I was almost ugly girl crying because I was so happy to be marrying my best friend. The ceremony was very intimate and we said our own wedding vows. The reception was so laid back. We had pizza and cheesecake and music from almost every decade. I slow danced with Scott for a few songs and then we transitioned over to some hip hop. My favorite was getting to attempt to dance to The Git Up song with Kiah. I didn’t even realize he and I were the only ones out there. Then watching my son go around the dance floor just being his fun self is something that sticks in my mind.
We moved into a bigger house the next week so all of our kids could have a room. Kiah had been sleeping on the couch for 9 months and never once complained. Then I was offered a teaching position in Huntsville so that I could quit commuting one hour each way. I accepted the job, again one I would later regret. We went on our first family vacation minus Emma mid June. Almost twenty people in one house and not one argument. We all had an amazing time. The memories I have of that week with my new family and with Kiah just make me smile. I want to thank my husband for being the amazing photographer during that vacation.
After vacation we started actually unpacking in our new house. We spent two more spraying weekends with Kiah and Emma. Kiah was so determined to drive here that the last two times he drove to Decatur and I met him there. I was so worried about him driving especially on 565. I was nervous but he was doing so good those times he drove here and then he’d follow us back to Decatur on Sundays and he’d do just great.
The weekend of July 19th Kiah and Emma came up and we also had Alex and Athan. We went school clothes shopping and they all wanted this or needed that. Kiah looked all over the mall for a particular pair of basketball shoes that he just had to have and was so proud to buy those nearly $250 pair of shoes with his hard earned money from his new job at BK. Then we went to Old Navy where Emma picked out some things and Kiah came over with this short sleeve blue button up and was like “Mom, do you think this will look good one me?” And my response was well yes if you want it then get it. He did along with some lucky charm socks from another store and jeans. Emma needed up with some nice clothes and some shoes. Both Athan and Alex got new shoes. Athan wanted some just like his big brother Kiah and we did finally find some that were like Kiah’s. Other than the fighting in target between Kiah and Emma that night ended well. Probably $1000 plus in school clothes but they had what they needed. Then Sunday we went to Applebee’s for lunch with all the kids before Kiah and Emma left to go back to their dads. Kiah decided to dress all dapper. I remember he was wearing his new blue shirt, khaki shorts, lucky charm socks, news shoes, and had a fresh hair cut with his lines on right side. He even was told by an L.A. native that he looked like he was from there because he had that L.A. swag going on. We all laughed. As we got home I hugged and kissed my two babies and they then followed us to Decatur and I watched them drive past us and my heart sank. I hated and worried about them. They got home safely and all was well. Then just four days later….my entire life changed again.