How Are The Kids?

Many of you have asked how the kids are in this.

Many of you have asked how the kids are in this.
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“This” being, how are the kids, after sitting around in an ICU waiting room with me, my mom and my nieces for 3 weeks? How are they knowing that their beloved (and only) Uncle, Dana, died from a senseless act of violence? A robbery in which nothing was actually stolen because there was nothing on him to be stolen?

How are they, waiting all that while and unable to say goodbye to him, as they were not allowed in his room?

meriah-nichols-21How are they, seeing me lose my shit?

How are they, knowing that their uncle’s body was in that box that we buried? How are they, with the trauma and grief surrounding them?

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meriah-nichols-4The honest answer is: I don’t know.

I don’t know how they are, how they really are.

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I know they seem okay. Especially Mack – he was crazy-attached to Dana but he seems to handle this the best. I’m not sure how much Moxie understands. Micah, I don’t know. He tends to play with this legos and go inwards.

He’ll be getting some counseling soon.

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I’d like him to have the opportunity to be able to talk to someone not me, not Mikey, not family.

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As for me, if I had my choice, I’d be just walking all day and sleeping when not walking. I’d like to go to a big city and just walk from one end of it to the other, and back again. And again, and again. I’d like to just walk through forests and hike and get out of breath and gradually flow into that lovely semi-consciousness that you get when you walk all day.

I sure wouldn’t be doing anything like berry picking or gathering the shreds of my self into a whole and endeavoring to be there for anyone.

But I don’t want my kids to grow into people who ditch responsibility and who become so consumed with their own selves that they can’t reserve some of their mojo for the people who are depending on them. I’m leading by example, because that’s just what parents do, right? Even when it fucking sucks.

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meriah-nichols-10I’m trying to be as explicit and transparent with the grief process as is reasonable.

I’m telling them that I hurt. I tell them when I’m trying to meditate, or when I need to go for a walk. When my tears flow as I drive and they notice, I just say, “I’m sad about Uncle Dana, ” or that I miss him. I’m not trying to hide it or cover it up, but I also don’t want them to see the full extent of my grief. When I need to scream and ugly-cry, I go up to the old oak tree, away from the yurt.

meriah-nichols-11I’m thinking about the adults that my kids will grow into – my Future Kids. I’m thinking of what I can do now that might help them in the future, might give them some better skills, greater compassion.

I’m trying to let them in on this part of my process in ways that make sense to me, because this is PART OF LIFE. This, they need to know. Grief is an expression of love and there is no one that I have loved, if not Dana.

meriah-nichols-12I’m thinking of my Future Kids in trying to do things with them, for them.

Even if I don’t really have the spoons to do much, I might just zone out and be physically with them, holding their hands as they watch Shimmer and Shine.

I’m thinking of my Future Kids as I try and save energy and my spoons for times when they are around, so I can be present to an extent.

meriah-nichols-3I’m thinking of them and praying for them too.

Thinking of them and hoping that they really are okay; that this horrific experience will build on some component in their lives in a positive and meaningful way.

Dana would like that.

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Meriah
Meriah Nichols is teacher and artist who lives in a yurt off the grid. She is deaf, has 3 kids (one with Down syndrome) and a lot of chickens. She writes about travel, disability, and getting dishes done. She likes her tea Earl Grey and hot.
Meriah

@meriahnichols

#deaf mom, teacher & #disability activist, living in a yurt #offthegrid. 3 kids (1 with #downsyndrome), a camera and a lot of chickens. Never a dull moment
5 Things You Should Know About Saying “Angel” with “Down syndrome” https://t.co/ZWIYFlLxAN https://t.co/elUKKrmVZ9 - 14 hours ago
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