Jeffery Part 3

On January 15th we laid Jeffery to rest, it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.  I do not wish this on my worst enemy.

They say if one loses a spouse they are a widow or widower, and if one loses their parents they are an orphan, but there is no such word for one that loses their child because it is the most unnatural things in this world that some have to live through.

His funeral was held at the funeral home, it was nice, there were so many flowers, and so many friends and family filled all the pews.

I had decided that it should be open casket, Jack’s parents were against that, but I didn’t care, I needed to see him look better than he did the morning I found him in his cradle.

He was so gorgeous, looked like an angle sleeping on a cloud, and I have no regrets, in fact, Jack’s parents thanked me later, they liked that it was open casket after all.

Through the viewing which was held for 2 hours right before the funeral, I would hold his little hand, and Jack’s mom would also hold his little hand if I wasn’t with him, and Jack’s dad came up to us a little later and said we might want to stop holding his hand because he is getting warm, and if someone were to touch him, they might think something.  It makes me smile.

As the funeral was about to start, they started closing the curtains, and asked just the immediate family to come behind the curtain, so it was Jack and I, I was holding Jessica, and my dad, Jack’s parents and my grandmother.  My mother didn’t come.

Rewind a couple of days, my aunt sent a telegram to Israel to track down my mother, and she phoned me, said how sorry she was, and that she had a dream that Jeffery was in God’s arms, I said when are you coming?  (She, at the time had an open-ended ticket to come home) And she says, Oh, I’m not coming, I don’t like funerals much…I was dumbfounded, it wasn’t often that I needed my mother, but at this time, I thought, I did, I really needed my mother.  And as per usual, she wasn’t there, it took me years, actually, I’m not over this yet.  I was so mad, I said, you know what, Mother, I don’t either, maybe I won’t go, and she said – That’s the spirit.  Yup.  Speechless.  We didn’t talk for years.

So, back to the funeral, we are all standing behind the curtain, with Jeffery and the pastor is saying a prayer.  Everyone is quiet, people are all seated in pews outside of the curtain, and they are all quiet.  I am holding Jessica, and I swear to you, I am not wearing anything revealing at all, but my baby girl, in a loud voice says, I see Mommy’s boobies.  None of us knew what to do so we just laughed.  From the mouth of babes, right?  Sometimes we need that release during the really tough times.

The funeral was beautiful, people read poems, he was well loved and touch so many people is his short time with us.  We were so lucky to have met him, held him, and loved him.

We drove to the cemetery, and one of the funeral director people gave me a rose to place on his coffin, and they nodded when I could go and do so, so I took the 3 steps up, knelt down, put the rose down and sobbed, I lost it, I could not get back up, Jack had Jessica and had started for me, but it was my dad, he bent down next to me and helped me back up.  I can’t say it enough, this was the hardest day of my life. Ever.

We went back to Jack’s parents house for the reception, and once people left Jessica and I crashed on the couch, it was such a hard deep, dreamless sleep, just her and I.

Jack and I didn’t last long after this, we were closer than we had ever been right after, he was the only other person on the face of this earth that knew what I was going through.  The first night back at the house, someone had brought KFC, and we sat on our cold kitchen floor in the dark with the fridge door open eating cold chicken.  We cried, we sat huddled there on that kitchen floor, and I loved him more at that moment then any other.  But it didn’t last.

By August, Jessica and I were on our own, they say that it takes a strong couple to withstand the death of a child, and we were not that strong.

Rest in peace Jeffery, you are forever my guardian angel, I love you and miss you everyday.

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Jeffery Part 2

Losing Jeffery was the hardest thing that I ever had to deal with in my lifetime, it is something that never goes away, the way I explain it is, the pain is always there, but you learn to just live with it.  But time does not heal it, you just get used to it.

I screamed for Jack to wake up, I had Jeffery in my arms, he was stiff and he was cold, I was trying desperately to open his mouth, but couldn’t so I would just hug him tightly to my body.  Jack got up ran to the phone and called 911.  They asked where the baby was now, and he said my girlfriend has him, and they said that we should put him back in his bed.  I refused, Jack came over and said, Jenn, he needs to go back, and I refused, and finally I gave in, and Jack took him back to his cradle.  By this time, Jessica had gotten up and she was crying, and I went in there, grabbed her and fell to the floor with her, holding her, rocking her and crying.

The fire fighters were the first to arrive, Jack told me this part later, but when they came to the door, they could hear Jessica making noise (she was crying asking if I was ok) and he said you should have seen the look of relief on their faces, but Jack looked at them and shook his head and said he’s in the last room on the right.

The police were the next to arrive, and one young cop strutted down the hall, and quickly came back up the hall and left the apartment, he looked green, I think it was the first time he had seen something like that.

The police detective came in and wanted to talk to us, we felt like criminals, our house was a bit messy, not gross, but messy – we were young with two young kids, dishes didn’t get done the night before, and well, it was just a general untidyness, and so Jack was actually starting to clean up when the police told him to stop because they needed to take pictures of the “scene” again, we felt like criminals, we didn’t do anything to our beautiful baby boy, I didn’t know what happened at the time, but I knew it wasn’t anything we had done, we loved our family and we loved that little boy.

The police told me to give my consent for Jeffery to have an autopsy and at the time, I thought this was a horrible thing, hadn’t he already been through enough, now they are going to tear him apart?  Then apparently it is mandatory for children under 16 to have an autopsy, so then why did I have to give my consent, if it was mandatory, they would be able to do it anyway.  I finally signed.  The coroner came and basically put him in a tackle box, and took him to the funeral home.

Then we had to call our parents, I called my dad, and told him, and he came over right away, he only lived about 5 minutes away.  Then I told Jack to call his parents and he couldn’t so I did, but I just didn’t want to say the words anymore, so I kept just asking Jack’s mom if she would come over, please come over, we need you and Jack’s dad.  And she kept saying, I can’t leave work, what’s wrong, so I finally had to say the words again.  Jeffery died, please come over, we need you.  They were there within the hour.

Then many people many faces many calls came in, one of my best friends called and as soon as I got on the phone, she said, I know, I know, you don’t have to say it, she was a God-send, she called all my friends and family for me, so that I wouldn’t have to repeat those words over and over again.

Now let’s rewind a little, my aunt who was always a little critical of me, my weight, my teenage pregnancy, called and asked if she could come and see Jessica when she was little in another basement apartment that I lived in.  I know how she is, so I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned, the apartment was old, the carpet was a bit dirty and wouldn’t come clean, our furniture was old, but our apartment was spotless, and she made the comment, you’re not as clean as your mother are you?  So then, once we moved to the apartment, she called and said we want to come see the new baby, because there were boxes everywhere, and I was busy with the 2 babies, Jessica’s birthday was going to be on January 13, which was about a week away, I told her just to come then, because we aren’t settled and I know how she is.

So, the first thing she  says when she comes to my house, see, we didn’t get to see him before he died because you wouldn’t let us come over.

It’s not like I expected him to die!  What the hell, it still makes me mad to this day.

Then later on, my grandmother, goes to the bathroom, and apparently there is no toilet paper, my dad lost it on me, how can you have no toilet paper??  Again, my son died today, had he not died, we would have done our groceries, because toilet paper was on the list.  I let go, cried and cried, and Jack’s dad just held me.  He asked what happened?  More because of what set me off this time, because I had been crying pretty consistently, and I bawled, we have no toilet paper, and he gave the best dad laugh and said, don’t worry, we’ll get some, it will be fine.  Why couldn’t my family be like that?

The next few days were a blur, Jeffery passed 2 days before Jessica’s 2nd birthday, and I had presents put away for her, so she got them, my best friend got her a cake, and she had a small family party.

The morning of her birthday, I was sitting at our diningroom table and she came over and said, you get Jeffery up, you get him dressed and you bring him out her.  I figured this was a good time to tell her.

On January 9th, I had been feeding Jeffery in our room, came out and noticed Jessica had tears streaming down her face, while she watched Lion King, she had watched this movie over and over again, and that day, she got it.  I said what’s wrong, and she said, Simba crying.  Mufasa fall, and Simba crying, and Jessica crying.  What a sweetie.

I took her into my bedroom, and told her remember Mufasa fall down, and she didn’t want to hear me, she started picking up things on my dresser saying what’s this? She didn’t want to hear what I was going to tell her.  I said Mufasa go to heaven, Jeffery go to heaven too.

The coroner had the results of the autopsy and said that Jeffery passed away from SIDS, they said there were no fibres in his lungs, and everything was clear, it is an unexplained death and they were sorry for our loss.

Jeffery Part 1

It’s been a while since I have been here, and I think that I am anxious about writing this post, I have continued binge eating from time to time, I have great weeks, and not so great weeks, so continuing on with letting go, I’m going to share a story that is…not so much hard to share, but, I fear for some, hard to take.jeffery

Jeffery was born at 1:03am on November 4th, 1995.  He was a healthy baby boy, and weighed in at 6lbs 12oz.  We brought him home to Jack’s uncle’s house where we lived at that time and settled back in to our new normal, I was 21 with an almost 2 year old and a newborn.  The first day we had Jeffery at home, I was changing him in the living room when he started crying, actually, wailing, and Jessica who was 21 months old, would not come near me, instead, she stood at the other end of the room yelling “what are you doing to him??” I tried to get her to come to me, and she kept saying, “stop hurting him, what are you doing to him?”  until I had his clean diaper on and he finally stopped crying, she was so protective even at that age.  I can just imagine what the neighbours thought as we had thin walls at that time!

Jeffery was a great sleeper, the only problem was that he had his nights and days mixed up, so he would sleep about 12 hours throughout the day, and be up all night long.  The really funny part was Jessica’s schedule had been 11am – 11pm, and she would sleep 12 hours overnight, she started that on her own at 2 weeks old, and people said, you should get her into a better routine, and switch her to 9am – 9pm sleeping 12 hours at night from 9pm to 9am, and not knowing any better, I thought, I would do that, it took a few months, of gradually getting her to bed earlier and earlier, and getting her up a little earlier and earlier, but I did it, I had her sleeping at 9pm to 9am by the time Jeffery arrived.  Unfortunately for me, he slept from 9am – 9pm and was up from 9pm to 9am.  He decided to be completely opposite her schedule.

We tried getting him up more throughout the day, I would give him a bath, poor little guy, he would cry and cry, and once he was dry and changed he was right back to sleep, I would try to feed him, and if he did feed, he was asleep, and well…you guessed it, he would sleep longer, because now he was fed.  It was starting to get cold, and the house we lived in was old and drafty, we had the two back bedrooms and ran an electric heater, to keep us warm, but it was to the point that I couldn’t take Jeffery out of the back unless he was in his snow suit because it was just too cold in the house, so from about early to mid-December we decided to live with Jack’s aunt, the one I lived with before, she welcomed us with open arms, and was happy to have Jeffery, she would even wake up early and snuggle him so I could get some rest before Jessica got up.

We were between Jack’s aunts place and Jack’s parents place during Christmas, it was a wonderful time, because we didn’t have much, Jeffery slept in a drawer – very well lined with blankets, he was a comfy little guy.  He was showered with gifts at Christmas, and Santa was very good to him.

We found an apartment and were able to move in on Boxing Day – this is December 26th the day after Christmas for my US friends.

When we moved into the apartment, Jeffery started getting better with his days and nights, he was still sleeping in a cradle in our room, we were getting ready to move him into the crib.  Jessica was still in the crib, but for her second birthday, my father bought her a big girl bed, so our plan was to move her to her bed, and then the crib would be free for Jeffery and they could share Jessica’s room, it was big enough for both beds.

Jeffery still cried a lot, a lot of the time, he was quite the miserable baby, I used to say the difference between Jessica and Jeffery was as follows:

Jessica:  Would wake up chattering (goo-ing and ga-ing), I would have a peek at her, then go to the bathroom, go to the kitchen grab her bottle, warm it and then come back and feed her, everything was calm and serene, you could hear angels.

Jeffery:  Would wake up screaming, I would take him with me to the kitchen, bouncing around hoping he would calm, warm his bottle while trying to soothe him, and make sure it was a good temperature, and then start feeding.  While feeding I would walk to the bathroom, prop the bottle under my chin while he’s still feeding from it, drop my drawers and pee.  Not serene, no angels…

But day by day he was getting better.  He did start to have a bit of an upset stomach, and so I had him in to see my family doctor, he thought that Jeffery might be lactose intolerant, and suggested we switch his formula.  So we did.  He’d only had one can of the new formula, when we saw a change in him.  On January 10th both the kids were in the living room, and I could hear a little giggle, so I came out to see what was happening.  I had Jeffery on a blanket on his back, with one of those play things over top of him, so it had a Cookie Monster and Big Bird that would swing back and forth over him.  So, I’m seeing Cookie Monster flying to and fro and Jeffery is giggling and Jessica is sitting with him laughing too.  I sit down, and I ask Jessica, did you move that for him?  And she says no, Jeffery did it.  I waited, the Cookie Monster slows, and almost stops swinging when Jeffery, rolls over to his side and raises his little arm and wacks Cookie Monster, falls back on to his back and starts laughing, big belly laughs, we all laughed, I tried to get Jack up to see this, but he stayed sleeping and missed it.  That is one happy moment that I have kept to myself for many, many years.

So that day, was like any normal day, I had started back at school, and was taking post secondary courses at a Business School, and things seemed to be going well.  Jack and I were doing ok, learning to be in a committed relationship, learning to be parents of two kids in diapers and just taking each day one day at a time.

That night I gave Jessica and Jeffery their baths, put them both to bed, and then went to bed myself.  Because Jeffery was just getting good at sleeping through the night, he would still get up relatively early anywhere between 4 and 6, so on January 11th, when I opened my eyes and it was 8:30, I was surprised.

I peeked into his crib, and never in a million years, did I expect to find what I had found.

Jeffery had passed away during the night, he was only 2 months and 1 week, just 69 days old.

Pregnancy # 2

So after having Jessica, I settled into motherhood quite nicely for a teenage mother.  She was such a good baby, she slept 12 hours through the night at 2 1/2 weeks, she was walking by the time she was 9 months old, and talking full sentences by a year.  She was exactly text book, every doctors appointment we had, she was exactly in the 50th percentile, for height and weight, in the first year.  She very rarely ever cried and even when she woke up, she would just talk, which is funny, because 22 years later, she’s still like that…Sleep for hours and wake up talking!  🙂

Shortly after Jessica turned one, I found out that I was pregnant again.   Actually, I tried to deny for quite sometime that I was pregnant again.  I had a missed period in March, but ignored it for a bit, and then April came and went and still no period, so in May I finally went to see my doctor.  I said I think I’m pregnant, and he said we’ll do a blood test to confirm, when was your last period?  I said February, and he said, ok, so urine test it is…

I was going to be in trouble, again.  What were we going to do?  Jack had been cheating on me and still partying and pretty much leaving every weekend to stay at his parents place.  We still had some good times, but he was still so young and I took to being a parent rather well, but he didn’t so much, never changed a diaper, gave a bath, or even fed Jessica.  He would hold her, and play with her, and he loved her, he was sweet to her, but he was more of a big brother than a father.  So, we were growing a little further apart each day.

However, with the news of this pregnancy, I knew I couldn’t be a single mom with 2 kids, so I decided to make it work, we talked and he was 100% in too, we were determined to pull it together and have this second baby.

My second pregnancy was relatively normal, I didn’t have morning sickness, I felt good, but my issue was, I wasn’t gaining any weight.  (Funnily enough, this is currently not my issue, but, I’m writing to be able to let go of things to lose weight)  I was 9 months pregnant and still just wearing loose track pants and sweatshirts or large T-shirts (Clothes that I don’t fit into right now, and I’m currently not pregnant).  I believe that I actually lost weight being pregnant with Jeffery.

We decided on Jeffery’s name very early on, I didn’t gain a lot of weight, but I still had a baby belly, and Jessica called it Jeffery, she would talk to my tummy and tell her brother stories, and once we were out front a restaurant having a drink waiting for Jack, and a pregnant woman walked by and Jessica said “Look, Mommy, that lady has a Jeffery too!”  I laughed so hard, I had to tell her that her baby was probably not a Jeffery, but ours was.

So, while I was pregnant with Jeffery, Jack and I moved in with his Uncle because our landlord was moving his daughter back in so he was kicking us out, and we didn’t have anywhere else to go.  His uncle was a good man, he has since passed away, but Jessica just adored him, and I miss him a lot.  The house however, was a very drafty, one story no basement, we had two connecting rooms in the back of the house, Jessica had one with her crib and we had a pull out couch in the other.  We shared the kitchen and bathroom.

At this time, Jack’s other uncle was starting to build a cottage out close to Algonquin, so Jack was going out – essentially drinking and partying all weekend long at the trailer, and I stayed at the house with Jack’s uncle.  This was most of the summer and into the fall.  On the weekend that Jeffery was due, Jack wanted to go with his cousin and uncle to help (help drink his beer) and I said no, that isn’t a good idea because I’m due very soon.  He fought with me about it, and how it usually went was like this:

Jack:  Yelling – Fine, if you want me to stay, I’ll stay

Me:  Yelling – If you’re going to be like that, just go

Jack: Leaves slamming something

Me:  Not seeing Jack the rest of the weekend

It was his M.O.  this way, he could do what he wanted.  So on this particular day, it went like this instead:

Jack:  Yelling – Fine, if you want me to stay, I’ll stay.

Me: Not Yelling – actually being very sweet – Thank You

He didn’t slam anything, and on Friday night he waved goodbye to the boys as his uncle left for the weekend.  But he was mad at me, he didn’t talk to me much, he did stay in the same room, but I knew he was fuming because I made him stay.

So Saturday morning, I feel something, I tell Jack, Jack says no you don’t.  We drive out to his friends shop out in the country, and every now and then I feel a twinge, and he basically tells me I’m lying.  After lunch we take Jessica to the lake to feed the birds, and every now and then, I’m still feeling something, but at this point he has Jessica at the lake feeding the birds and I was a little ways back, so I didn’t complain, and I figure he doesn’t believe me anyway, he thinks I’m just saying it because I made him stay.

So that night, Jack is watching Pulp Fiction, and I say, ok, I think we need to go to the hospital, and he says wait till the movie is over, the worst part is we had a black box, remember them?  They would play the latest movies – maybe 5 of them, over and over again, so he had already seen Pulp Fiction several times.  Then a couple of our other friends come in to the house and ask if we want to go to the bar, I say no, I’m having a baby and friend says, you don’t have to drink…I’m now getting frustrated, and my contractions are getting much closer together.

I finally get Jessica ready to go to his Aunt’s house who lives in the same town as Jack’s parents, and Jack finally decides to drive me, the drive to the town is 20 minutes, and then back to the hospital another 20-25 minutes, so we get to Jack’s aunts place and I have a big contraction and she is so excited and says how far apart are your contractions.  I say 5 minutes, and double over in 2 minutes with another one.  Then Jack says lets stop at my mom and dad’s and I’m like really??  So we stop in and I have contraction, (also had many in the car) and Jack’s Mom says, how far apart are your contractions and I double over have another one and say 5 minutes – I have to believe it is 5 minutes, because this baby is coming now, if I don’t!

So we get to the hospital, at about midnight, and I have the nurse from hell again, mind you, this was probably me this time, after being checked and coming out of the bathroom, the nurse says your husband has gone down the hall to admit you, and me being the idiot I am says, he’s not my husband, so then the nurse got snippy, well whoever you came with then, and then I said I want an epidural, and she says how do you know you need that, and I say because I don’t want it to hurt like last time, she lightened up when she found out it was my second.  By 12:45 I call my dad and let him know I am here, and at 1:03am I gave birth to a healthy baby boy, 6 lbs 12 oz.  Jeffery is here!