Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Mental Health Checkup... via Blogger

I haven't blogged about anything that matters in a while. Well, not that my stories don't matter. They do. A lot. But not necessarily in the face of what is otherwise known as "real life," and especially anything to do with Tyler.

Almost eight months ago I had a baby boy named Tyler. He lived five days before he went to Heaven. He had a bad heart. (Well, actually he had a huge heart. It was too big for his body so he couldn't live with it. Which is kind of awesome, in a way.) Most of you know the story. If you don't, I blogged about it here. And the aftermath here. I haven't brought it up again since then for several reasons. Mainly, I'm not talking about it every five seconds in RL so I'm not going to do that here. I'm moving forward and I'm focused on the good stuff. *Update since that last post: I took the crib down a few months ago. It was liberating.

I haven't brought it up because I want this blog to be mainly the good stuff. Also, its the place where I snark and spew sarcasm--which is really hard to do when you're talking about death and grief. Although, Whisper manages it quite nicely in places. (if you're new here and you haven't read it, Whisper is my tribute to Tyler and the grief. It's what healed me in a lot of ways--and it's an awesome story with a hot Cherokee warrior. #TeamDylan)

But today, I thought I'd do a mental health check-in because I had many, many emails and messages when I first went through this from moms and readers and all kinds of people who said how encouraged they were by my story and loved the honesty and felt less alone and all sorts of things I couldn't really believe people took away from my heartbreaking story. I want all of YOU to know I haven't forgotten you. To the moms whose children have incurable defects/illnesses and you struggle to care for them every day and remember how to smile in spite of it all--I think of/pray for you DAILY. YOU inspire ME. Do not forget that. You are not forgotten.

How am I today? It's complicated.

Right this very moment, and most other days, I am content. I've learned to focus on what makes me happy, what makes me feel lucky, what gets me excited. Those are the things I give my attention to. If it brings me down, makes me feel negative, or hurts me even in a small way, I've let it go. That includes several people in my life, hobbies, routine stuff. I took stock, figured out what should stay/go, and made it happen. That was freeing. I also feel adventurous. "You only live once" and "Life is Short" echo through my mind daily. As proof, my family and I are going to the Dominican Republic for a week-long vacay in a couple of weeks. I've never been anywhere that required a passport before, so this is HUGE for me.

My new goal is to EXPERIENCE things. 

I do think about Tyler and it makes me so sad that my heart feels weighted and heavy and like my ribs might crack or be crushed under the pressure. Then, I squeeze my eyes shut against the images of his face and I put one foot in front of the other and I keep going. It's not always pretty. I mess up. I'm angry a lot lately. I don't even know why or at whom. I am short on patience and long on irritability. I know it's part of the cycle but I really wish this part would hurry up. So does my family.

Also, babies are hard for me right now. They're like the sun. I can't look directly at them. My heart lurches a little to the left and my breath catches and I can almost feel the weight of him in my arms again and then its gone and I have to turn away. I think its important to say that I'm not jealous. Jealousy means I wish it was me and not you. That's not what I feel. I am so happy it's you. I just wish it was me, too.

These days, my kids and I talk a lot about Heaven. What it will be like, what sort of things there are to do there, and all of the people who'll be waiting to greet us. Tyler is mentioned a lot in present tense. He is still a very real part of our family, even for my kids. He is still their brother, and I love them for that. We've decided that, in Heaven, you can ride bikes whenever you want and eat whatever you like. McDonald's won't make you fat. You can play long past dark. Actually, it's never dark. Even better. And Tyler's going to know all of the best places to go by the time we're there.

So, to sum up the mental health checkup, like I said before, it's complicated. Up and down. Good and bad. A cycle.

I'm really glad I have my family who loves me, my writing which purges me, and you guys ... because at the risk of sounding all Dr. Evil-ish... you complete me.
X's & O's.
Later 'Taters.


  1. Very nice. Eloquent as always. Thank you for sharing your heart with the world. <3

  2. Thank you for sharing Heather.

  3. I love you fellow potater.<3 we need a girls day soon. I foresee many coffee dates after school starts!

  4. I love you fellow potater.<3 we need a girls day soon. I foresee many coffee dates after school starts!

  5. I love you fellow potater.<3 we need a girls day soon. I foresee many coffee dates after school starts!

  6. I love you fellow potater.<3 we need a girls day soon. I foresee many coffee dates after school starts!

  7. Wow! This was such a beautiful post! Not only what you said, but the way it was written. Your gift with words shines through just as much as your pain, compassion, and strength. You are a light in this world, a shining beacon of courage and love. Thank you for sharing this with us, hun. I am continually amazed with how strong and honest you are. Thank you. I am a better person for knowing you. The world is a better place having known Tyler. ♥

  8. Thanks for writing this deeply honest, incredibly well written post, Heather. I will admit that I cried at the end of it, because for a moment you gave me that insight into how this feels for you and I really wish that you didn't have to feel this tried and pain, and that things could have been different for you and your family and Tyler.

    But despite that, you seem to have the right attitude about it, in that you're not trying to pretend and you are being honest and remembering the best you can while still live your life and be with your family. My thoughts are with you and I hope that you continue to write and give hope and courage to others who are going through difficult times.

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  10. I, too, love you fellow potater! You are amazing, and strong, and beautiful. Thank you for sharing your struggle, your heart, and your triumph with us. While I may not know what you suffer...I celebrate your joys!!
    Stay strong!! XO!!

  11. Thanks for posting about your heartbreaking experience, and the healing process, Heather. I have never experienced the loss of a child, but through your eyes, felt a tiny portion of your pain. It sounds like you have a wonderful family who will keep your Tyler alive. God bless you.

  12. I love you. This post made me cry--but in a hopeful way. You are amazing.