July 2000The month of July is here and it has taken me a long time to complete this page. This month was once again a sports month. The tennis season from "Wimbledon" starting. Gary had great organizational skills , although by some kids this was seen as being bossy or loud mouthed . But they still enjoyed how he set up the tournaments on the street. He would spend time drawing up a list of players , each would be given a name of a great player and naturally would have a ranking on the world stage of tennis. All the kids would have a time to play . The court was the road marked off with sticky tape. Gary refereed the games and made sure the rules were followed very closely. If you didn't show for your game the other player received a pass to the next round, all done as on the television. How we miss looking out to see all the kids especially Gary playing and enjoying life as it is a right for them to do.
This month also brought his Mom's family down from Belfast on their visit to escape the troubled times in Belfast and it was a chance for Gary to spend time with his "Belfast Granny and Granddad ", he was so proud of his Belfast connection and often asked his Mom to tell of her own childhood and how life was really like during the "Troubles " in Belfast. Gary spent a lot of his time walking and talking with his Mom and it was during these walks that they talked about the day each had and for Gary a chance to become stronger to face life's cruel ways. They had planned to do more walking and to take up tennis in our local club.
For us this July it has been a difficult one. But Gary has inspired his Mom to set up a "self help group " for bereaved parents. After speaking on local radio to promote the group we had a successful meeting in a local hotel and without Gary to guide us we feel we could not do this. To any parents who may be reading this and are plunged into the darkest time of their life what choice do we have. We can always live in the shadow of our child's passing or we can try to make something positive happen. Either choice is difficult but for us trying to help others gives us a chance to continue the memory of a great person and share our most precious son with others. Without knowing it it gives Gary's passing a good reason . It goes without saying if only if only we could turn back the clock but we can't . The group's name is "Forever Parents" and the e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org we shall answer all e-mails we receive.
July 2001This month its over two years now since Gary passed. I try to tell in the poem of the pain we feel and how we the miss and long to see Gary. Also how time although its helps so much it never can give you what you wish for most of all. I use words like my and I but they mean all of us who know and loved Gary. Yes I know I am no poet but it doesn't stop me trying Gary will understand. Life is still difficult for our little family. Yet those who have lost children know that time does not stop you from missing the child you brought into the world . Your hopes and dreams for the future in the twinkling of an eye is taken from you. You go about the routine of life but deep down the pain and the hurt is never too far away. I once read its like a " roller coaster ", the highs and lows but without the fun.
July 2002 I sit here on a dark Saturday afternoon in Gary's room it has rained on and off so much this summer that it is said to be the worst summer weather since 1985. That's the year Gary was born we remembered things about that summer although not the weather. I depend on Christine for those extra memories I think a mother focus's on the important things that us men overlook. They notice the small details the finer points which has meant so much to us after Gary's passing. Having shared such short years every moment of that time means so much more, we are lucky to have had fourteen years and yet we know it was not enough.
Last month we spent quite a time highlighting how Gary died. It was through SUDEP ( Sudden Unexpected Death In Epilepsy) you can find more in our link to SUDEP. I know it took its toll on us but it had to be told, Gary did not die for nothing any more than any child. But the reasons we tell ourselves is not enough to keep us living happily ever after.
Today it is Stephen's birthday, he is fifteen. Gary lived until he was fourteen even this time brings it's own pain and it also is a happy day. The day Gary got a brother and us another son. We are so proud of our children and we believe we are so lucky to have them. Without them the pain of loosing Gary would be unbearable I know that to be true.
What is my thought for this month? If I can appreciate my family more fully and know that I am the luckiest person in the world that's all I would ask.
The pain of loosing Gary shall stay with me forever. Time does not heal that is a very simplistic statement as far as I am concerned. Time allows you to learn to live with the scars of grief the best you can. It is not always the easiest thing in the world to live with. I know I attribute a lot of what happens in life to loosing Gary and I suppose it is.
But for now when I look out the window I think to myself the dark summer weather is not so bad there are worst things in life.
The Poetry I sometimes write
Words just written to ease my plight
I sit to remember your smiling face
The world I know so hard to embrace
I hear those words " You'll heal with time "
But its not them that leaves you behind.
I know to survive I must let go
But not just yet I shall be slow
I can see the race I must win
But yes that training never did begin
The baby books so full of advice
It never did say you could die
There's that word which causes me to stumble
Rarely spoken always mumbled.
Another day over, I did not cry
Except silent tears I could not dry
So goodnight my love till tomorrow again
I take up that fight that I must win.