Wednesday, July 8, 2015



I need to talk to you about something. Something serious, something dear, something so sensitive, something that may not have a ready answer, something that needs to be discussed, mulled over, said out loud. Mourning you and living with so much grief feels as though my motherhood balance has been thrown off kilter. What about the living siblings? What about Jason? How is he coping with the loss of a younger brother and best friend? A double whammy for sure. How does he feel about losing his sounding board, his other Gemini, his pal, his opposite, his I-never-thought-I’d-have-to-live-without-you person. Thoughts that keep running through my mind, looking for answers that are deep seated in my soul that need to find a resting place in my heart. The sadness and sorrow over losing you has colored my world gray. When I can wipe away the tears and the reality of life comes into better focus, my thoughts turn to Jason and his struggles with grief. Struggles—thank goodness for Beth. She can help him. Struggles that I know nothing about. Initially our journeys through grief are isolating until our own path is illuminated a bit. I have all of my siblings. I have never experienced the loss of a brother or sister or a best friend. I can have empathy, an ear for the ready, arms that comfort yet I can’t fix this one for him just as I could not fix you when you suffered the loss of your half-brother Andrew. At times I wonder if I am even there for him. So caught up in my own grief, my loss and how it is affecting my life—I go through days thinking of you, concentrating on you and your family and then I am jolted by the thought that Jason is alive, ALIVE with a family of his own and I can’t get beyond you. He has been so gracious in his understanding. We have had this conversation and I want to assure him that he had my heart first as my eldest child. Just feel like some of my feelings and emotions are freeze-dried at the moment. Feeling so inadequate. This is the first time in my mother’s life that I am experiencing an unequal division in my being present in your lives. My thinking time, my feeling time is divided unfairly. Unfairly in his life, really. Your life is no longer here and I guess I don’t quite know what to do with that yet. I hate this. I need to reboot his half of my heart, feel the beats, the pumping blood, and the organ that is life. Awareness then action. How do other parents deal with the act of temporarily leaving behind those that have already been left behind? Help me please, I need to know. 

The weather is warmer. I’ve been enjoying the quietness of the backyard; soaking in the colors in nature. The browns and greens of the trees, the blue and white of the sky, the oranges, purples, pinks and whites of the flowers, the grays of the stone wall, the rustiness of the earth and dried leaf cover. I gaze at the pool—the rippling of the water. I see the diving board and memories of your growing up years flood my consciousness. I feel peaceful, pensive and out of nowhere, while listening to the sounds of nature, looking at a butterfly flutter it's wings; this internal (I don't know what to call it) starts from the pit of my stomach—rumble I guess it is—and I can feel it move up to my throat. Internal thunder, and suddenly like the roar and clap you'd hear from a stormy sky, my mouth opens, my lips quiver and I release the rumble, a powerful burst of instant sorrow. Sometimes it's a sound, a cry, other times a silent scream; it makes my eyes tear up. The birds stop singing yet continue to fly casting shadows my way. Eerie. My natural world joins me in a moment of silence, a moment of remembrance. This is the physical-ness of missing you. One of my moments, and then life starts up again.

With Jason at the forefront of my thoughts these days, I discover that if I stay present and in the moment when saying hello, the exact opposite reaction of what I have just described is created within me. Upon seeing him, I inhale forcefully for a second. My heart skips a beat. I feel a flutter in my chest. There is an expansion not a contraction that happens to my entire being. My shoulders rise up. My face glows. My mouth breaks into a wide smile. My eyes light up as I am greeted by this beautiful man radiating love. He throws his arms around me in the warmest embrace. We share an I-love-you-I-am-so-grateful-for-you kind of hug. My love for him is powerful, protective; a complete heart encompassing love and a hello or goodbye becomes an I-am-so-happy-you-are-alive moment. A moment of silence follows where life is put on pause and we mindfully engage in the hug. Hugs that we know can be permanently altered by a Force more powerful than the two of us. A moment of pure joy that is helping us rebuild our house of happiness. A moment between a mother and a son that needs no words as the language of familial love is expressing itself. . . yet words are spoken. “I am so happy you are alive” I say to him and “I am so happy you are alive” he says to me. Our greetings go beyond the I Love You’s nowadays. Life starts up again. This is the beginning of our healing together and not separately. I may have missed that moment had I not said it aloud!

Your death has changed our hugs, the way we look at life, jump its hurdles, embrace it, live it, love it—while holding on to the essence of you, the other half of my heart. Two halves make a whole. The rhythm is just off. 

What I have learned this week is that opposites in personality complement each other by enriching each other’s lives. Jason’s rational and logical mind taught you structure and your creative, live life fully in the moment attitude allowed him to risk a little. One of many enrichments that made you as close as you are/were. Your personalities are/were gregarious, charming, warm and inviting. You both made people laugh in your own ways. You educated us to the fact that dingoes will steal your babies! Combined, you were a force to be reckoned with—the Allard boys. Crowd pleasers. Competitive. Athletic. Handsome. Hard workers. As much as you were alike you also have/had characteristics that make/made you unique. One social director always planning, one biggest fan of the party always appreciative and enjoying. Amazing fathers, loving husbands and boys that made/make their parents very proud. It is so important to appreciate the differences and recognize that your lives would never have been the same without each other. Finding a way to move forward when you feel like you’ve lost a half of yourself—difficult, overwhelming, confusing. Together you were great. Walking alone, just as great. Perhaps a bit taller with a longer stride as the journey through grief teaches us how to combine rather than leave behind and discover wholeness once again. 

Watch over your brother, watch over me—please?
Love you so much – forever.



Friday, July 3, 2015



What happens in six months? Seasons come and seasons go; we move our clocks ahead or we let time fall back; a child dies; grief takes hold.

GRIEF–I’ve been thinking about its hold all week long. Six months, our half marathon. I’ve never gone this long without seeing you. I’ve relived the day of the accident like it was Groundhog Day, forcing myself to try and remember. Not the actual impact–there is no reason to go there; the aftermath, when I met Grief. Didn’t actually meet Grief. It came as an uninvited guest, a squatter that slithered into my body; entered through my ear actually when Jason had to make that fateful call. “Mom there’s been an accident. Matty is dead.” NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!!!! I felt my body crumble to the floor. A foreign body entered my system at that moment. Slowly with determination it flowed through my veins and spread out to my tendons, muscles and bones. It travelled to every organ leaving its imprint and settled in my heart. It broke my heart. A Mother’s heart cannot contain that much grief. Grief is like a virus that remains dormant, latency is what it is called. At any moment it can rear its ugly head. It enjoys cold, rainy, gray days. When it arises, it covers me like a cloak and stalks my every waking minute.  It makes a pronounced appearance at your monthly anniversary dates and all of the special FIRSTS that make up the celebration of you.

I’ve learned that there is no good that comes from battling with Grief. I stand firm, I hold my ground. I take a deep breath. Grief no longer frightens me. I have met the enemy and have looked into its eyes. It is stealthy in its approach, yearning to feed on my pain. My strength comes not from fighting but in my faith and patience knowing that it will retreat. So Grief, wash over me–I will not surrender. I’ll wait you out in silent reflection, mindless television and a good read. Six months, 182.62 days and I am studying Grief. I’m learning how to live with the squatter. I’m learning to sit with the uncomfortableness.

I’ve also learned to identify the physical symptoms of trauma.  My mind is like Teflon some days, my legs go in different directions and my feet trip each other. I’ve stopped sticking out my tongue checking to see if it is straight assuring myself that I am not having a stroke.

I’ve learned that I can have moments of joy that will fill the space that Happiness held when you were on this physical plane. It’s not the same but for now I have my memories of Happiness.

I’ve learned that the amount of love and support we’ve received from family, friends, acquaintances and our online community is humbling. . . and they have not all been properly thanked. Caroline was simply amazing in helping to organize your Viewing and Memorial Service along with an assist from Kristen. Friends and neighbors that delivered food, flowers, and donations to the Education and Memorial Fund established in your name were aplenty. Hugs when you need them, phone calls when you least expect them.  Gifts from the heart to help heal our broken hearts. Nicki from daycare gave me the most beautiful picture of Bear Bear in remembrance of Father’s Day. She is a connected stranger, someone I did not formally meet till I went to thank her. She was thinking of how difficult the day would be and gave me a treasure. Inspirational words appear as comments and private messages of hope and encouragement. Gifts from the heart!

I’ve learned that a friend that sits through tears in a public place is like a blanket of comfort. I was having breakfast this week with two gals that are dear to my heart. Ed Sheeran’s ‘Thinking Out Loud’ song started to play in the dining room of a local eatery and you know I melt down like butter over an open flame when I hear yours and Nikki’s song. She left her side of the booth, came and sat with me and held my hand throughout the song. I’ve learned that I will probably always have moments but I do not have to hide these moments. I am supported in however long it takes in this process of grieving.

I’ve learned how to be a better friend. I’ve learned that I can provide comfort with words and actions to those Mothers in the same position as myself or for those grieving in general.

I’ve learned that you have to breathe fully when dancing with Grief. Andrew Weil’s 4-7-8 breath exercise is a true healer.

I’ve learned that Moms and Dads grieve differently but how to comfort and console when needed.

I’ve learned that I will always have two sons. One alive, living locally and the other who has moved to Heaven.

I’ve learned that Signs from you keep us connected. I’ve overcome the fear that I will miss your Signs. I’ve learned to open my heart and wait . . . wait . . . wait.

I have learned that the question “How are you doing” drives me flipshitty crazy. I want to scream “my son died; how do you think I’m doing?” I remember that the words are nothing more than a greeting from the grocery store cashier or words of concern from those connected with our tragedy. There has to be another opener . . . Good day to you (from the cashier). I’ve been thinking of you; I’m so happy I ran into you, I remembered a special story about Matt (from family and friends). I’ve learned that some folks are just uncomfortable with death and don’t understand that a hug, a smile and silence serves as a fine greeting.

I’ve learned that I love hearing your name–constantly! I love when people remember you and talk about you. Words keep your flame alive.

I’ve learned that I will always love you . . . present tense, not past as love never dies.

It may be raining on the inside for me as I reflect on your six month anniversary day. Yet, I feel so close to you when I write you letters. That’s a ray of sunshine, isn’t it?

Remembering you . . .

Six months today
You went away
Embarked on a journey
Like no other.

Your Spirit soared
To your new Home
Life’s mission
For you here is over.

Left behind
With your love and memories
Finding our way
Through the
Grief and sorrow.

Tears flow
Laughter prevails
Gratefulness fills our hearts
You are never far away.

Rest in Peace my Love.

Love you so much – forever.