We used to nickname her pumpkin when she was younger

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.


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