I remember sitting in my first support group with a bunch of parents whose children had died at Children's, and played the little game in my head. Maddy was still fresh in my mind, it was maybe only two months out. I listened to each of these parents say a bit about their children and how they died and I began a slow burn.
"Here's a picture of her junior prom. I'll never see her senior prom." At least you got to see a prom at all!
"She was really weak, but she called over everyone in the room and told us something, just a sentence each." My god, your child SPOKE?
"He turned two in the hospital. We had a party in his room." You had a BIRTHDAY PARTY?!
Within 10 minutes I thought I was the lowest of the low, the saddest of the sad. Scrape me up and put me out why don't you, y'all have no idea.
But I went back again, and again, and listened. And my mindset, after a few months, had changed considerably.
No way would I have been able to handle a year or two or more at Children's. No. Way.
I know my child felt no pain, I have no idea on earth how you could stand and watch your child feel that way.
Funny, I know your child died at 19, but I really related to what you just said.
It was in one of these meetings, in fact, where I first uttered the name of this blog. A number of conversations and a lapse of silence later and a quiet mom whose thirteen-year-old had died of cancer turned to me and said, "What was that you said again? "Awful but functioning?" Can I borrow that?"
I know you've compared yourself to others before, it's human nature. It's ok. It's what you do with it and how the information changes with time that's important. I've got a post up today over on Glow in the Woods.