No happy ending

I wake up and realize that Max isn't there.  Where is he?  Oh, ya, he is sleeping at my mother's house.  I call her house, nobody picks up.  I call her cell.  No answer.  I call and I call and I call.  Then I remember that we all have an event we are going to, so maybe they have already left for the stadium.  I get in my car.  It won't turn on.  I try over and over.  It won't ignite.  I call again.  No answer.  I get my bike.  I ride and I ride.  I call at a stoplight.  Ringing and ringing.  My bike gets a flat tire.  I throw it on the sidewalk....I'll come back for it.  I call again.  Nothing.  I am running and running and running.  Finally, I get there.  I see my mother.  She is sitting with Max.  I yell, "Maxie!".  He sees me.  He smiles.  I run to him.  I take him in my arms.  I cry and kiss him and hug him.  What was I so worried about?  He is just fine.  He is just fine.  And then I wake up for real.  It is dark in the house.  Max is not here.  I remember he is dead.

In the movies, people don't grieve much past the funeral.  We watched the Descendants this past weekend.  Some people warned us not to watch was too sad.  Too sad?  Not by a long shot.  Each family member had their one touching moment, their one medium sized cry or plea, and then done.  They were on the couch eating ice cream in the next scene.  No wonder nobody gets it.  Is that what you think grieving is?  You say a tearful goodbye and then go eat ice cream? No. Uh Uh.  Grieving is SO much more than that.  Ted says nobody would want to go watch a movie where the people continue to be sad after the funeral.  I would!  I bet other grieving people would.  Sad has only started at the funeral.  Horror only begins at the ER and when the life support gets pulled.  Then the questions REALLY start to swirl in your head.  What really happened?  Is there something someone isn't telling us?  Could we have left him on life support?  Would anything have changed?  Was I a bad parent?  Did I do something to deserve this?  How will I live without my baby?  Why would I even want to live without my baby?

The nightmares come and go but the ongoing real-life nightmare continues.  Haven't you learned yet that life is not a movie?  Sometimes there is no happy ending!


Yael said...

Abby - YOU were and will be again an amazing mommy! You did nothing wrong and you don't deserve this -- Maxie didn't deserve this. You loved Maxie with all your heart and soul and you still do. I am sorry that you don't get your happy ending.

Meg said...

Have you seen the movie "Rabbit Hole"? It is supposedly a realistic portrayal of the grief that follows losing a child. In fact, it was a box office bomb because nobody wanted to go see something so "dark." I think that's the reason so many movies portray grief SO shallowly--people are so afraid to go to that mental place. The place you're living in every day. Maybe people would be more understanding to grieving parents if they would let themselves even consider what it would be like to be in your shoes, but most people refuse to do that.

I am, again and always, so so so sorry your perfect, incredibly beautiful son is not here.

Rebecca Patrick-Howard said...

RABBIT HOLE is probably the most accurate portrayal of childloss I have seen.

I firmly believe that many people are so callous in what they say and do because the only experience they have with grief is the compacted for time constraints and entertainment purposes kind of grief they see on TV and in the movies. Why shouldn't we get over it quickly? After all, the story lines were neatly wrapped up in 1 hour and 38 minutes. That's long enough, right?

Kate said...

Oh Abby--my Dad called me the other day because he went to see The Descendants alone in the middle of the day. Said he sat there bawling through the entire film, (managed to mention Clooney's brilliant performance) but said it just brought all his own loss to the surface and he had also been warned. Oh how we wish it was all just a movie, since they are just actors who probably have children and spouses and siblings that are still living. If this life was "just a movie" we'd have Maxie here, we'd still have all the other children lost to parents too early which is the most unfair--and others like my Mom, Jess's step-father David, Eowyn's Dad Art Greeno and many others that have been taken from us too early for words to explain the confusion, frustration and pain. I just hope they are all together somewhere. (looking for signs of this every day)
Nothing you did caused Max's death--those secure and happy smiles he gave us all were because he was loved so deeply and by you and Ted along with your family and friends.