Friday, March 13, 2009

Now the work begins...

Yesterday the kids went back to school. My relatives left on their own journeys to points all over the country. My daughter Corie leaves for Guam today to continue her tour of duty in the Navy away from her husband and kids. Unfortunately my sons Mickey Jr. and Joshua didn't make it but they both had a chance to see Cody before he passed. It was great to have all my brothers and sisters here along with my mother. I am one of seven kids so the craziness was something I remember as a child. When you throw in some of the children and grand children it can get pretty wild. I love them all very much and I'm glad they could make it.

We had been warned by the funeral director and many others who have been in similar situations that the hard part comes after everyone leaves and we are home by ourselves. Well it didn't take long to see that come to pass. Diane had gotten a little better everyday since Cody's passing but yesterday seemed to be a setback. In no way do I love Cody any less than Diane but I seem to be handling this much differently. She seems to be consumed by it most of her waking hours. Still crying at the thought of her baby being gone. Me, I just can't explain it. I did most of my crying the morning of his death, before the viewing and during the funeral. The kids, although they mention him many times a day they seem to be handling it pretty well. My company offers free counseling for such situations and I'm going to look into it today. I pray that Diane can find peace. I know that being a father who has lost his young son is extremely hard but as a mother it is much harder.

The funeral was wonderful. The unbelievable turnout of people was heart warming. We saw so many of our friends, family and people we didn't know. There were so many people from Georgetown Hospital that they must have shut down the Pediatric Clinic and PICU. So many people showed up from my office as did Diane's. The words that were spoken by Father Bob warmed our hearts and had Diane and I both in tears. She and I wrote the eulogy that was given by my friend Tom Ousley and to hear it put to words made everyone laugh and cry. It is truly amazing to see how a 6 year old child had touched so many people, many of whom he never met.

Besides the monumental task of healing we must somehow start to get our house together. For years now we have been stacking bags of papers, toys and games from each hospital visit. Every time Cody would go for a treatment, inpatient or not he would get a prize for his great behavior. We have toys in every room of our house. Boxes, bags or just piles. They must be gone through and Diane would not let anyone else do that. She will pick out the toys and keepsakes that have great memories and meant a lot to Cody. The rest I hope will go to children less fortunate than ours. We have leftover medical supplies that we will donate to charities that take such items. A little red wheel chair that was on lone from the clinic for Cody's final trip home must be returned.

As we try to get our lives back together we walk a fine line. One where we try to hang onto memories and good thoughts of Cody without somehow not living in the past. There is a part of you that somehow feels like you betray your son for even trying to move on. You feel like you must remain miserable for the rest of you days as a tribute to your lost child. You feel that you will be less of a parent for letting go. I know that is what my wife feels, on top of the gut wrenching feeling that she just misses her little baby. I love you Diane!


Anonymous said...

It is indeed "the hard part" if what has already gone wasn't hard enough. Be confident though that it will get better--it will just take longer than you ever imagined. and just about the time you think you are feeling better, the grief will slam you again. Remember when that happens that it is normal to feel that way--and that with each slam, the grief loses a bit of its power over you. Grief will have its day--, but it will not forever be in the forefront of your days. God bless you all.

Anonymous said...

Mickey your post just made me cry. I have three boys and Cody was in between the younger two in age. I look at all the photos of Diane and Cody and I can see that very special bond that is between a mom and "the baby" in the family. It is not that you love your older kids any less, it is just that you know that one is your baby and you just look at them differently. When I saw Diane at the funeral, I could see that that bond was still there of course but that the pain was breathtaking and that her arms just ached for him. Although I am not in those shoes, I know how very hard this must be for her. I will be thinking of you all in the days to come, but particularly Diane, and hoping that on some level, for some moment of the day, she can come to some sort of peace, knowing that she did all she could for her baby and that he knew that and loves her.


mommaof4wife2r said...

you are being such a loving husband...and father. your words just continue to show of your faith. the harder days are to follow...everyone else gets to move forward and you are doing what you spoke about...i will pray for your strength and peace to be mulitplied.

as for diane, i can't imagine her pain. my mother was much the same with my brother, matthew. i remember that even at 5 years old. you all are facing what is unfathomable...and we will pray for strength for you all.

i'm so glad there were so many people at the funeral for support. you can visibly see the affet of cody on people...and that's amazing!

i told my friend, tabitha of cody...she would love to do a donation in his honor next week...but we would love to check with you first. here's link to what tabitha does:

Anonymous said...

Yes, now that those early day of "running on automatic" are over, reality of your loss can hit you like it just happened all over again.

You are also right that there just is no pain like a mother's pain and yet, that difference in pain and suffering is, in no way, an indication of love. It just is (different).

There will be times you understand and times you don't. Acceptance of it is key; continue to accept, love and support Diane, even though she will not move through the stages of grief the same as you do. To do that can be easier in the begining but harder as time goes on.

Counseling and support are helpful, even if only to listen and feel.

My heart goes out to you all. You remain in my prayers and thoughts.

elizabethnyc said...

There's a fine line, as you try to set your grief down and take a step forward - remembering every wonderful thing about Cody, and I know there were millions of them, and being able to move forward.

Not really the same situation, but when my Dad died (it was 18 years ago, last month, I was just a year or two out of college), there were days I had to pretend it hadn't happened, just so I could get through the day. Over time, those days came less frequently, and it got to a point where I felt a lot more joy from the memories of my Dad than grief at his passing.

A different situation with the loss of your baby boy, of course, but I hope the days of pleasure at memories of Cody come soon for you and Diane.

Anonymous said...

Mickey, Diane - you are not letting go - you are just moving forward. I ask that you just get up every day and do something - even if it just moving one of those piles to another part of the house. Diane you asked me if it gets better and I said "no" - the physical pain will leave but the emotional pain will remain - it will get less but it will always be there. You will always be Cody’s Mom and you will always miss him. Every day will be different - you will never ever forget - but, one day, I promise, you will wake up and Cody will not be the first thing you think of. That is not "forgetting" Cody it is just moving forward. Not moving on or getting over it - it is just moving forward in a very healthy way - with Cody’s love in your memory.

It is okay to cry - in fact you are teaching your two beautiful kids that it is okay to show emotion - that it is okay to be sad. And it is okay to laugh - Justin and Abby need to know that you will be happy again. You are not dishonoring Cody - you are honoring him by continuing - continuing to live.

Mickey, don't feel like you have to make everything okay for Diane - no one grieves on the same time schedule - you said it so well - you both loved Cody so much but the "history" is different for each of you - you each had your own relationship with Cody and that's where the difference in grief comes from - and that is okay.

I’ve often said over the last few weeks - be kind to yourselves - if you feel like crying - cry - the shower is a great place for that; if you feel like screaming - scream - the car is a great place for that. The emotional roller-coaster ride that you are embarking on will sometimes feel like you will never reach the end of the ride - it won’t end in a week, a month, a year. It is like having your arm amputated - you learn to live without the arm but every once in awhile the nerves start to tingle and you remember - oh, I used to have an arm - this is the same - you are going to learn to live without Cody - but there will be times that something will trigger a memory (a song, a smell, a little boy in a story) and you remember - oh, I used to have a little boy like that. Smile when you hear a “Cody” song, embrace the smell that reminds you of him, and rejoice seeing another little boy’s smiling face. Don’t bottle it up - neither of you need to be strong for Cody any more - you need to be strong just to get through this - and letting the emotions go will help.

Please don’t let this destroy you, your kids or your relationship with each other. You went into your marriage without kids; Justin and Abby will grow up and move away and you need to be able to look at each other at that time and remember what brought you together in the first place - it wasn’t Cody - it was the love you had for each other at that moment. Hold onto the spark and you’ll survive this.

And yes, many years from now you will be sharing with someone that you befriend that has lost a child - and you will say, “you will survive this - I promise.”

Hugs, Pat (ACCA-NCC)

Glorybelle said...

Oh Diane, my heart is reaching for you, across the country. I have lost a loved one, my older brother. Obviously not my own child (I was only 9 at the time)... but he was young, and I remember what my parents (and my mom) went through.

It was so difficult to watch my mom fall deeper and deeper into sadness, but we all just prayed together. Literally. Got down on our knees and prayed the Rosary as a family. Talked about Joe (my brother) all the time. Eventually she cried less and talked more, and then time just... passed... and she replaced her heart break with something happier.

It has been 31 years since my brother died and my parents are so happy as grandparents. I know Joe still looks over us and prays for us. I know he must be happy knowing that we all held on to his memory, and moved forward with him in our hearts and thoughts. I see his face and mannerisms sometimes in my kids and in my nieces and nephews. It's such a wonderful thing to know he lives on in all of us.

I know there is no description at all, none, for the pain you are feeling. Just know that your family loves you and needs you and wants you to smile again. They will rejoice on the day that they see you smile with all your heart. We are all pulling for you, that your pain lessens a little bit each day. Have faith. Remember, your family is with you and so is the Lord. Always!

Super B's Mom said...

Please know that you will continue to be in the thoughts and prayers of you try to move forward with your lives. Although, I don't know the pain of losing a son, I serve a God who does - and I pray that you are filled with his peace and comfort.

The Burk Family said...

I can not describe how much my heart aches for you. My mind can not fathom what you are going through. I can only offer prayers...prayers for a peace that surpasses ALL understanding.

I have not lost a child, but I lost my big brother to a tragic car accident. He was taken very suddenly and the shock devestated me. He was my HERO at the time and I missed him terribly. I know this doesn't even compare to your loss, but I wanted you to know how my parents and I have made it over the years.

God brought me peace. For every time I would start to miss him, I would dream of him at night. I would catch just a small glimpse. of him in heaven, running, laughing, playing football, surrounded my the most beautiful scenery. I would see him happier than I ever remembered him being while in this world. In the morning when I would awake, the hurt would just vanish. Those images continue to carry me through. God gave my parents those same images and I know they carry them through as well.

I can only pray that when you close your eyes tonight, God gives you a glimpse of Cody NOW...Running, playing, laughing with other children, full of life and energy...completely pain free...happier than he has ever been before...more ALIVE than he has ever been before. Cody has never experienced on earth the kind of joy and life he's experiencing at this very moment. Our minds can not even comprehend the sheer bliss that fills him.

I pray your heart sees the "Now" Cody! I pray you can put aside the things he's missing on this earth and grasp ahold of what he's experiencing in the presence of our Heavenly Father. I pray that God fills with you with a supernatural joy and peace, only He can give!

There will be a day when I will see my brother again. There will be a day when I will no longer miss him. But for now I must continue on, trying my best to accomplish God's reasoning for me being on this earth. There are those who need me here. So I strive to fulfill my purpose, while knowing that my big brother waits for me in a much.. much better place!

"For this cause we also since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding: Strenghtened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness:" Colossians 1:9,11

"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Phillipians 4:7

Please know that, although we have never met, God has given us such a love for your family. Many nights I have laid in bed weeping with you and praying on your behalf. We think of you often and as time goes by we will continue to pray!

Love in Christ,
Dana Burk

elaine said...

I know as a grandmother that lost a granddaughter that was very much like my own child, the grieving takes a long time. there is no timeframe on it. there will be good days and bad but the bad do start to deminish as time goes on. love each other and support each other. The grief counseling is a wonderful idea for you both or the entire family. my prayers are with you all during this very rough time and will continue. March 11 was the 13th anniversary of my granddaughters passing and that day it hit me like ton of bricks. maybe because I thought of your little guy all day that day. please take care of yourselves.

d + r = haye jude fantastico said...

oh man. :(
i don't even know what to say.
holding you guys up in prayer daily.

Anonymous said...

And as I knelt before God, in His house, on March 11th; I wished Cody a "Happy 6 and 1/2 Birthday".

Anonymous said...

Your posters say it best, nothing I can say to ring more true. I will say that your friends at work are your other family - for each of you. We will continue to support you Diane as we have been, in friendship, in conversation and in small cries in your office! Don't ever think you have to hold back from your grief - you live this day to day and that's the only way to get through it. Mickey - thank you for sharing all of this with us!

Kim M.

Cap'n Ron said...

All I can say is that I am so sorry for all of you and my heart just aches. I have lost both of my parents and many dear friends but I have raised three of my children to adulthood and it kills me just to try to imagine how it would feel to have lost any one of them. In comparison to your loss all of my words feel so shallow. I'm sorry.
Take care of yourself buddy.

209Mike said...

All I can do is continue to pray for you and let you know how much your family and Cody have meant to me in my life. Who the hell knows what's right or wrong for you next. I have no clue how you should feel or what you should do. Just remember you have friends all over the place when you need a hand. Keep the faith.

Anonymous said...

Mickey,My Prayers go out to all of you during this time. Although you are hurting your strength and courage comes through in your writing and it inspires me. God Bless You!

One thing I would like to recomend when you feel up to it and that is that both you and Diane read the book "The Shack" by William Young. I truly believe that it will help.

Just an ordinary woman said...

I think of Cody daily - Last Saturday there was a rally all over South Africa to raise funds for Cancer. I took my family to one of the gathering points and we made donations and participated in the day in honour of Cody.

Your baby has really touched something in so many peoples lives and he will be sorely missed.

I cannot imagine how difficult this must be for you.. I pray for all of you, but I pray especially for peace for Diane.

South Africa

Michelle said...

please email me if there's anything at all i can do - i live about half an hour from where Cody's service was so i'm close enough to go wherever you live.


Samantha said...

Each child you have holds a piece of your heart, literally... and when that is gone, it seems that it would be hard to find "normal"

I think my husband would be much like you in this situation... Men are fixers... It doesn't mean you are not affected any less than your wife, but I can see how you would want to try and fix the hurt and pain and keep your family together...

I can not begin to understand Diana's pain and anguish...or how it feels to not be able to hold your baby and feel them and smell them... I have 3 children and just the thought of loosing them leaves me teary eyed and utterly breathless. I wish that you and Diana didn't loose your baby. I wish I could carry some of Diana's pain as a mother to give her a moments comfort and peace...

My prayers continue to be with your family. Please know that your family is so very loved...

Anonymous said...

My heart breaks for you and Diane. I will continue to pray for you and your family.

Cameron said...

I continue to pray every day and every night for all of you. It is very true that after everyone is gone, that is when it is hardest. I agree with the one bloggers comments that men are "fixers" and when it can't be fixed, it can be overwhelming. Just be there for one another. You need to lean on those who love you and your blogger friends. I think looking into your works program for counseling is a good idea. It is helpful to just talk about things and let them get released. And if you can't talk, sometimes it is best to just take in what the therapist has to say. Maybe it is something your wife could attend too. But no matter what, it is a process and one you never get over but I do know from how much you all loved Cody and how much he loved you, that not for a minute would he want you to be miserable for the rest of your life. He would want you to move forward AS a tribute to him. I pray for your strength, guidance, comfort, and peace. You are an amazing husband and an amazing dad.

Anonymous said...

Your family will continue to be in many prayers. May God continue to help you during this part of the healing process. With 2 children of my own, I can not begin to imagine what you & your wife are having to deal with. May God continue to keep his arms wrapped around your family.
LTS--Faison NC

Monica Cassier said...

Mick and Diane,
You've got a lot of wonderful information from people here. I hope you both draw on any/all available resources to help you cope with this harshest of tragedies. Yes, everyone does grieve differently. And I'm sure Mickey that you'll have recesses of grief well up when you least expect it. Diane: you were so strong for so so long for that little boy and you loved him with ever fiber of your being. I can't even begin to understand your loss, let alone tell you how to cope with it...please take advantage of any resources to help, and stick with those that gives you hope, strength, comfort. You must be in a very very dark place right now and I will pray so very hard that you can find a shard of light and hang on tight. You are an amazing mother, you are one of the most courageous people I have seen. You took care of Cody for so so long. I know Cody loved you so much... take it a moment at a time, Diane. Please focus on yourself, give yourself time to get your legs under you. There are a world of people out there praying for you and sending you strength, love, and hope.

MangoAK said...


My thoughts and prayers continue to be with you and Diane and your children. There are wonderful comments here- I hope you find comfort in knowing how much Cody touched so many people.

Prayers for healing.

nicole s said...

Hi there. I have been tuning in to you blog for months now, but up until now haven't commented. My apologies for having the nerve to say anything, considering I don't really know you from a hole in the ground! I just felt the need to say this, hopefully to encourage you. Firstly, the loss of a child is the hardest thing on a marriage. 90% of marriages where a child has been lost don't make it, because men and women grieve so differently, and they just can't understand each other. It sounds like you have a wonderful marriage, and that you are an amazing husband and father, but I just want to encourage you to never stop communicating about your feelings about losing Cody with each other. Sometimes a husband will act strong because he thinks it will make his wife/kids even more sad to see him sad,(meanwhile he cries in the shower where he can't be seen). But I'm sure you know it doesn't really work like that. The wife just get upset because she doesn't understand why she is the only one crying! Just be real with each other - the other person will cope and appreciate your real-ness. There is no right way to grieve, it's different for everyone, and of course you don't love Cody less, just because you are grieving differently. This blog of yours, this journaling is actually incredibly therapeudic - it is your way of 'venting' and releasing what's going on for you. Obviously, Dianes way of releasing that grief is emotionally right now. And that is good and okay! Be encouraged, you are doing amazing by the sounds of it. And never stop talking about Cody. You are not living in the past - you are validating the fact that this wonderful kid was here. Focus on the great memories and he will bring you joy always. Allow your kids to do this too. None of you will ever 'get over it' but I promise it will eventually get easier with time. Thinking of you. Nicole.

Gregory said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gregory said...

Sorry I deleted my post above as I didn't put my name at the bottom, This was my post:

DeckApe & Family,

What a heartbreaking post and sending more prayers your way! Can't really add much more than what has been said above but I hope you family finds the strength to get through this time.

Gregory (Pudov)

Raymond said...

Mickey, I somewhat know the feeling. When my late wife died in '98, I was left to care for a daughter 15 and a son 11. We got through it, as you and yours will as well. It's not pleasant but it's life.

Stay strong and never forget we're here.

Trish said...

My heart is with all of you. Donating to needy kids is a great idea - I would also be willing to do another yard sale for you.

Anonymous said...

For a mother, there is no greater grief. It will never disappear, but as one of the prior posters said, it may one day not overwhelm each waking minute. Diane, there are so many mothers who read Mickey's blog. We are all praying and trying our best to will strength in your direction. We share a small portion of your pain. Please have some comfort that you and Cody taught us to hug our kids more whenever they are near. Tears unexpectedly well up when I look at mine now. They are such gifts to us. Thank you for sharing your special gift of Cody with all of us. G2G

Anonymous said...

Mickey, you have gotten so much good information here. Not much to add. Like others have said men and women deal with grief so much differently. Men tend to find other things to do to not feel the emotions even though they are still there. Women tend to feel emotions to the depth of their hearts. it becomes hard for men to be around their wife because it draws them back to the place they don't want to be or is at the very least uncomfortable. The best advice I can give you is be their for Dianne. Let her talk and cry. hug her, hold her close and let her know that you love her. Let the kids be involved as well. Talk about Cody and the memories that you all have. Be careful of everyone going their seperate ways. Stay united as a family. One thing someone told me after my mother died is to not pack up things to quickly. Wait at least one year. My first thought was clean it up and pack it up asap. I'm glad I listened. There were times over the next year that I just wanted to go to her room and smell her clothes, read her bible and read thru her letters. As time went on and we finally began to clean out all everything we could do so while discussing the memories. We ended up keeping one small drawer with some special momentos that I still go through from time to time.

Anyway, prayers continue for you and your family. And you are right the hard part now begins.....
teresa (tcoplen)

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you today and sending you hugs!!


Anonymous said...

Praying for you and your family. Big HUGs from
us to you.


Anonymous said...

Teresa said well what I have been trying to put into words for several days now. She has excellent advice, too.

Take care, thoughts and prayers continue...

Anonymous said...

Diane, my thoughts and prayers are with you as you grieve your loss. But I truly believe that as much as Cody loved life, he would be sad if you loved it less because of him. You honor him and his battle by continuing with your lives and continuing to contribute toward the fight for a cure for what took him away. God bless you!!!

Dottie O said...

I remember when my brother died we all handled it so differently. There is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to grieve and no minimum or maximum time. You will find your best way to keep him in your hearts and go on.
On Saturday I ran a trail marathon in Cody's memory. I wore the orange ribbon from his visitation. It was sloppy, muddy trail with a lot of downed trees and I thought how much fun a little boy would have out there.
I even got to talk about him for a little while. Take care of each other.

Hugs to all of you,


Anonymous said...

Just want you, Daine, and the kids to know we are here for you... Even if it is just that you know we are thinking of you each and every day... Just let us know what we can do....Contiue prayers from WV..

John and Cheryl

elaine said...

I had you guys on my mind and just wondered how you all are doing? I pray that God bring you peace in this most difficult of times. Try not to rush yourselves and take care.

momto4kids said...

Your post has me in tears. I have a 6 year old son and I can not imagine the pain you are feeling right now. Not a day goes by that I don't think of Cody and your family. I will be walking a 5K in April to raise money for children's cancer research in honor of Cody. I just wanted to let you know how much Cody has touched my life. Hugs and prayers to your family.

The Eadle Family said...

I am so sorry for this road you all must face now. The more and more I see families losing their babies to cancer, the more I want to help. I am praying for you all.

Anonymous said...

Just know that even when your grief seems to get in the way of your prayers... God still hears your hearts.

Laughing again, loving again and living again are all part of God's plan for your lives. In doing these things, you will be honoring the life of Cody.

My heart and prayers are with all of you.

Ann STegall
Wake Forest, NC

Major Mom said...

God my God--my heart is with you. I am so sorry for your loss and I pray peace over your family. Cody is dancing in his healed body with his eternal Father. Bless you.

Gettin Older said...

I'm clearing a house of 72 years of memories. And, yeah, you're right we all handle things differently.

I am an optimist by nature. For my part, I choose to celebrate the life and what he meant to us. I am "trying" to spend less time thinking about my personal loss and the fact that I can't hang out with my Dad anymore. My Dad did a great job with us in that we could remember and celebrate and begin to heal.

You and Diane did a great job as well. You supported each other and your kids through a worse time than anyone can imagine, and you came out stronger because of it.