Aug 13

Missing Erin

5thGradeChandelierI don’t know if I ever posted this. It was the tile Erin’s classmates did in her memory for their 5th grade legacy project, which I understand was a chandelier. It is Fawn I believe, who is the animal fairy. Erin loved Fawn and animals in general.

Many of you remember that tomorrow, August 14 2015, is the one year anniversary of Erin’s death. Some call it an Angelversary. Anyway, it has weighed heavily upon both Shaun and I for the entire month of August. She went into the hospital in late July and never came out. I still wonder how we did not know she was dying, but we didn’t, even after she went in ICU. There are so many things left unsaid, undone, and while I have let a lot of it go I will never get over some of that.

Regardless of what my beliefs are, until the day I see her again I will miss her miserably. It does not get better, time does not heal, she is not in a better place, no one’s god is healing my emotional wounds, etc. etc. etc. Don’t judge unless you have been here. There is no remedy or replacement or anything else. It is what it is, and what it is, is misery. If you want to get on a high horse with me about any of that, I might just unleash a fury on you. Because you seriously do not know, and I seriously hope that you never do know.

I regularly have people ask about Shaun. He is miserable too. He and I both deal with it differently, with a different tool box and different methods, but we are both miserable. If you are worried about him you should tell him. If you don’t know what to say, just say hey I am thinking of you, and I worry about you being ok. Saying nothing is much worse than saying something.

On that note, I want to thank everyone who donated to our bills and kept us in the black instead of the red. I want to thank every single person who has written us, checked on us, called, texted, Facebook tagged or messaged, etc. etc. etc. We have not forgotten one single person who reached out or attended her service. Those of you who still reach out, you are appreciated more than you can possibly know. Many times your message comes just when we need it most, even though you have no way of knowing that beyond your intuition. So thank you ALL, thank you again and again.

I am sorry to the friends, and family, that I no longer keep in touch with regularly. Sometimes just thinking of you is a miserable reminder of who is no longer here with us. And so it hurts, and so I avoid it. But I still think of you, and fondly, and wish it was different. And I think to myself that maybe one day soon I will be able to have lunch, to visit, to see your kids who I also miss, without sheer and utter misery. I still love to hear from you, but can’t bring myself to be the one who keeps in touch. I wish that I could explain it better, but I can’t. It’s a daily struggle.

I have made new friends this year, and old friends have become nearer and dearer. I have stood by as some of you have lost your own children or grandchildren, and I have monitored from the background as an old friend’s child, a year or so younger than Erin, suffers from a blood disease. I feel awful because I can’t even go there. I wanted to help and I wondered why two children in the same geographical area, same school, both got a blood disease, but I can’t go there. I wish that our families did not share this horror. I understand that this child is recovering, but I still know the worry and the horror that her parents face every minute of the day. It is unthinkable and awful. Nearly as much as those of us who have lost ours.

I also do not know if I ever mentioned this, but the autopsy results showed that Erin most likely died from a rare Lymphoma. They still could not diagnose even with the autopsy. It was one of those things that just wasn’t meant to be figured out. I get it, from a higher perspective. As her mother, I do not want to talk about it and I did not read the autopsy. What’s done is done, and I don’t need to know anymore. I don’t want to hear about lymphoma, childhood cancer, cancer in general, don’t want to see TV commercials for the anti-inflammatory drugs that the rheumatologists kept trying to give her, can barely watch anything having to do with sickness and/or hospitals, and the list goes on. But I thought I should mention that is what they think she had, probably for over a year. We had no idea.

I tried to say the other day that I was angry, but honestly, I don’t have that sort of energy to be angry. So I thought, maybe I am bitter. Nope, that’s a strong word and my feelings and energy level aren’t that. I am disillusioned, and defeated, though. What little I have left I have put into my spiritual path and the steps my “team” tells me to take on a daily basis. I try to focus on being in service to others, and to completing my spiritual journey enough this time around that I don’t have to repeat these lessons in another lifetime. I have repaid my karmic debts and I have learned harsh lessons over a lifetime, and yes culminating with Erin’s death. Do you notice I say death instead of passing? Passing is just sugar coating it. Her body died. It’s dead. I suppose she did pass into another phase of existence, but she’s not here. So anyway, here I stand before all of creation wiser and more humbled, and feeling damn sorry for myself.

I will not post tomorrow, and so wanted to get it out of the way today. If you are grieving, feel free to contact me. I am here for you whoever you are. Sometimes you just need to talk – or blog – to get it out.

Namaste, blessings, and #missingerin



    • Jennifer Mathews Land on August 13, 2015 at 6:03 pm
    • Reply

    I visited Erin’s Caringbridge page today through a coincidental bit of luck, although “luck” seems like the wrong concept. My brother is back in the hospital and I was checking his Caringbridge journal to read his wife’s update, and I saw Erin’s page and clicked it. I didn’t remember the exact date but knew it was close to now.

    Our family’s painful journey continues, with my (adult) little brother entering a clinical trial on the eve of yet another cancer surgery. This time last year we were gearing up for a similar surgery, and following the last days of Erin’s time in Birmingham helped me keep perspective. In December a friend lost a baby to SIDS, and I thought of you, Shaun, and Erin then as well. Your words have helped me process some difficult emotions, and I thank you for that.

    I think of you often, although we have never met, and your ability to convey your experience in words is a gift to be treasured. Your openness is helping others in many ways — others who’ve experienced similar loss, I’m sure, but especially those of us who are on the outside looking in, wondering how to help, what to say, how to cope.

    Peace be with you through this difficult anniversary. #missingerin

    1. Hello Jennifer,

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I am so sorry for your pain and that of your family, and I will be thinking of you. There is too much pain in this world. Some days it is overwhelming. I’m sure I will forget to ask, but keep us updated on your brother.

    • Marianne Campbell on August 14, 2015 at 9:26 am
    • Reply

    Nicole, You are a gifted communicator. Than k you for the advice about Shaun. I’m so afraid I will smother him with my concern. I woke up at 2:17 this morning and thought about Erin. I am graving about Erin also. I will get myself together before lunch today. I promise. #missingerin

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