Saturday, March 22, 2014

The not 12th birthday

He had the longest fingers. I remember those fingers. I remember them splayed out against my hand when I would hold onto him. I used to think in a different life he would have been a piano player. They seemed almost unnaturally long, slender....sometimes lethal as well. When we picked him up, his foster mother had his hair in a high and tight military cut. It was horrid. The child had a misshapen head, looked like he had at least a small amount of microcephaly and ears that were too low, too far back and too odd. He looked like an "FLK;" funny looking kid, a medical slang for a kid who looks like something is very off genetically but you can't put your finger on what. So, I kept his hair longer, in a pixie cut. The longer hair hid the FLK look, and it bought him much grace for his struggles from others because he looked much younger and more innocent than when you cut his hair short instead.[p] Last night, I though I heard him holler for me. II tells me that one of the children threw up at 1:30 am, and thus he heralded in this not birthday with full blown Micah issues. It reminded me that when Micah died, a dear friend came for his funeral and her special needs son began displaying behaviors that were completely abnormal for her, including vomiting all over my house several times. But, they were so eerily normal for Micah. Sometimes, when L opens her mouth, Micah comes out in full force. When J opens his mouth, Micah comes out a lot. It reminds me that they will carry him in their very souls forever.[p] They told us the second year was the hardest. I heard them, but I couldn't comprehend it. For me, the tears came in this second year. Since the first of the year, the tears that only came in short periods of time, and only far away from the children have become an ever present reminder that my heart will forever be broken. It feels like a relief to be able to cry now. When we hit March, they started building. And as the other children have fall apart and faced struggles that felt insurmountable, often in direct relation to their own grieving, it has become a heavy burden on this entire family. I know that we are in a safe place to heal, to rebuild our lives. I also know we have to go through these struggles and pain to get to a better place.[p] Thursday night, we did intake for a local grief support organization. They were incredible, geared towards children who have lost someone they love and their caregivers, all of their services are free. Several children have been set up in group grief therapy sessions and several will be receiving individual grief counseling. They have no male therapists, so A has been referred to a male therapist who works with teens and does grief support therapy. I want a therapist to check in with him and determine does he need some more intense grief therapy work, or does he just need a check-in. For E, who has made it clear that she continues to drown and nearly lose herself in her grief, we have a referral to a therapist who not only does grief support but works with children on the spectrum. In some ways, it feels like we're starting over at the very beginning of our grief. Losing II's job, the farm and their community they had built in New England has been so very hard for all of them. But, we'll make it through this.[p] I imagine that I would have bought him an adaptive three wheeler this birthday. By this point, we would have accepted he was never going to be capable of a two wheeler and would have gotten him something for a big kid that would allow him to continue to keep pace and interact with "his kids." I imagine we would have had balloons and laughed today. He liked keeping up with "his kids" so very much. He had no idea what to do with them, but he definitely wanted to keep up with them anyway.[p] Happy Birthday, Micah-man. I wish so dearly that you could be here to celebrate. We'll send red balloons to you in heaven instead. I hope you see them and I hope you love them. It's all we really have left now.