Time moved so slow in the weeks to follow. It felt like I was standing still and everything was just moving around me. The days were so long, but before we knew it 9pm was here. Everything was a mess. As I said we were sleeping on an air mattress in the living room. I guess we were more afraid to go upstairs because it would just be a reminder of what was coupled with what happened. Sometimes I’d be at the bottom of the stairs and swear i could hear her crying in our room. For me it wasn’t exactly what happened in there but more or less what would never be there again. It took me a while to even go up there. Maybe a full week I think. Maybe closer to 10 days. My mother stayed here for 10 nights. The kitchen would be the room we would gather in after 10pm after laying the kids down in the living room with a movie in hopes they would go to sleep. Veronica did alright and most nights she would sleep in her bed with her grandma so she was good. Vinnie Jr also did ok since he still nurses to sleep most of the time and most definitely during this time. Remington on the other hand…. He wasn’t so easy and he in fact to this day still has a little trouble. He was always my child that I could lay down and put on a movie and he would just watch the movie until he fell asleep. After this… That drastically changed. I think I remember writing about how our sons were in the bedroom on that morning and witnessed some of the things going on that morning. All this plays into it.
For Remington… He’s only four so that’s not a real long time to be around for a lot of the things he has woken up to. Lets see. Two times he went to bed and woke up with a new sibling…. One time he went to bed and woke to one sibling dying. For a four-year old, that’s a lot of change in a short period of time. He already had 3 life changing events in 4 years. I can understand how his head may be spinning just a little bit. For a while he would fight so hard to stay awake. My baby was literally afraid to go to sleep. He was afraid he would wake up and someone else would be gone. His words actually. He would start to get tired and he would immediately do something to wake himself up just enough. There were many times that I would watch him from the kitchen and just observe. So many times I would catch him accidentally disturbing his sleeping little brother by making sure he was still breathing and when little Vinnie would move I would hear Remmie mutter to himself “ok he’s breathing”. Broke my heart every night. I did end up speaking to his doctor about this because it got to the point where the kid wouldn’t fall asleep until 2am and he would wake up at 8 or 9am. For a kid his age that is not adequate sleep. So now my technically not even four year old is going to be sleep deprived..? Nope. His doctor recommended Benadryl. As uncomfortable as I was I decided to try it. It didn’t work. He fought Benadryl like a heavy weight. Next was melatonin. That seems to work just fine. Still I hate it but I am cutting him down. So instead of a whole pill I went to a half and then down to a quarter. What could I really say though? I can’t sleep without an Ativan. If I don’t the flash backs and nightmares are just too much. He still sometimes has bad nights. I mean I can only think that he also may suffer from some kind of flash backs. I talk to Veronicas counselor about it though and she sees no reason to bring him in and that everything else we are doing are all things we should be doing. So there’s one decent thing anyways.
I remember one day I was briefly left alone with the kids. I’m not sure now where all the adults went (lol) but I figured and I’m not sure why but I decided to try to go upstairs. I went one flight at a time. I reached the top. I did it. I made it this far. Now breath and go into the boy’s room. I did it. Ok I had to get out of there. I walked out went to our bedroom door that we kept locked. I stood by the door a minute until I decided, just open it. I made it that far. I opened it. I looked around. Walked in. I made it this far. I did it. I’m doing it. I walked in and closed the door behind me. I saw her little diapers on my dresser. The room looked so empty without the pack n play. The bedding was different. The police took our bedding as “evidence”. I looked at the laundry basket and found a red shirt. It’s my husbands shirt but I just had a baby so my once big t-shirts weren’t very big anymore. Anyways on this t-shirt was a perfect representation of MY motherhood at that time in my life. It consisted of… Food. Like someone wiped their hands or face on me or maybe even I wiped my own hands off on the shirt. Snot. Yea I know. I’m going to assume little Vinnies though. Lastly.. Spit up on the left shoulder. This shirt is a precious gem I will always cling to. This shirt was my life in December of 2016. Another little time capsule if you will. I laid on the bed. Exactly where I laid every night. At the end of the bed so I could be close to her pack n play so I would hear her cry. She didn’t have a very loud cry. I laid there for a good 10 minutes. Now a little background information…. I was dead set on getting a new mattress. I didn’t really want to throw that one out, I just wasn’t sure I could sleep on it anymore. When I laid on it I remembered what made that bed OUR bed. The memories on that bed. Little Vinnie when he was just an infant. The one night he was going through the 6 week growth spurt and had me up almost a full 24 hours. Laughing with my babies on that bed. Watching my baby boys bond on that bed. Big sleep overs with mom and the kids while Daddy went fishing or camping. That bed was the last place my Stella was ALIVE. How can I throw that away? I couldn’t and I wasn’t going to.
Something went off in me. I woke up. Mama bear came out. It was like I just…. woke up. I remember saying out loud “oh hell the fuck no”. My family is sleeping downstairs on an air mattress. My 3-year-old is terrified to go to sleep . My 2-year-old has no idea what the hell is going on and we aren’t helping by continuing to do this. My 8-year-old. So confused but has a perfect understanding of life and death can’t stop crying because her mother is hurting so bad and she just wants her baby sister back. THIS was not going to continue. They are children. They needed their structure back. Where does that come from? Their parents. I got a load of laundry together and started doing laundry. I asked Remmie when I was done folding the first load if he wanted to come up and help me put it away. He was my helper boy. He got half way up the first flight of stairs and said “Nope”. Ok. I wasn’t going to force him. I got him half way up one flight. Progress. After I went in there to put my laundry away, I looked around and decided the walls needed to be painted. The room NEEDED to look different. I text my oldest brother ” I need paint and I need to go to the store for new bedding can you take me?”. Of course he did. This was also the same day that we got her social security card. Oh we also got her ambulance bill with it. Talk about a big “A-HA” from the universe. I asked Remington if he wanted to help me start painting. The kid loves to paint. Sure enough that got him upstairs. HE DID IT. Once he got up there he was ok. Now I had to explain to veronica when she threw a fit that I wouldn’t let her help why it was so important that HE does this. I had to explain to her how lucky she was that she didn’t have to witness what he did and that what he saw could potentially change the path of his life if not handled correctly. That was tough. I would have let her help under normal circumstances but there was nothing normal about any of this. It still took us a while to get it fully done. Once we got one color on the wall my husband decided on a grey color for the other walls. I gotta give credit where it’s due… He made a good choice. I love it. We took our time. Big Vinnie and I still had to make peace with that room. It was sad to be in there at times but at other times we felt so close to her. I would say it took a good few weeks before it was done DONE. Of course we also had to hype it up a little bit to make going back in there exciting.
I gotta say, the switch went great. It was so nice to be back in our bed. In our room. Here’s what didn’t help me though. I think it may have been the second or third night all I heard was a ton of sirens. Police. Firetrucks. I tried to just ignore it but they flew right down my street right by my house and then I saw lights in front my house. That about did me in. But from that I started finding my “triggers”. Some of them are the dumbest things but yet cause a huge commotion on my nerves.
What are my triggers? How do I cope with them? Well… That’s for a different post… A little further in the week….