It’s year 3 and there are still no Christmas decorations. Robbie didnt take issue with it until last weekend. He announced that next year we will decorate. When I consider the idea of it I’m not sure which is more gut wrenching – seeing, experiencing, feeling memories that I haven’t faced yet or living with the guilt of celebrating any resemblance of a “normal” Christmas.
There are parts of my life that have continued forward. Actually I can say at this point most aspects have continued forward. Yes, with pain learning to coexist with joy, but still forward movement. But there are some things I am just not ready for – like Christmas decorations in my home. It wouldn’t even matter if they were all brand new. And fixing my car mirror hasn’t been an option either…
The day you died I drove like a maniac to get to you. I didn’t know you were already gone. When I “parked” my car I hit the neighbors mailbox with my passenger side mirror. I’m not sure you can call what I did “parking.” I’m pretty sure my feet hit the pavement before the car had stopped moving. That first winter Robbie would scrape the ice from the window for me so I wouldn’t have to be reminded of that day. I scrape it myself now but my breathing is heavy and self-talk is a necessity to get the task done. But I’m not ready to get it fixed. How could I? How could I just drop it off for a few hours, pay someone a few hundred bucks, then get back a new mirror – like nothing ever happened? That seems so wrong. I have no choice but to leave the mirror as it is. Why the hell do I feel that way? Because it connects me to you? Because I don’t deserve to have it repaired? It feels like my own personal scarlet letter. I’m not ashamed of you baby. I’ve not felt that way at all. I’m still prickly when someone even hints that they might be angry with you. I’m still mom and I’ll always protect you. My shame is my own. Why didn’t I know you were depressed? How could I have missed it? What kind of mom was I? I’m not God. I wasn’t a perfect mom. My human attempt at parenting was riddled with screw ups. But I didn’t have to be perfect. Christ paid the price for every single imperfection. I am living with this pain by the grace of God. And you are living in His presence by the grace of God. I miss you. I love you.
Lord Father God empower me to keep my eyes on You. I love You Lord.
Wow… this is the 3rd Halloween without you baby. That just doesn’t seem possible.
I have dozens of Halloween memories…
Last year was nice – Robbie & I sitting out on the front porch passing out candy. I was more prepared than I had been the previous year…
2012 Robbie came home from work and found me on the kitchen floor holding a large bowl of candy. I was crying. The doorbell was ringing. I wanted to die. How silly of me to think less than 3 months after your death I could look at cute little trick or treaters.
I don’t remember which Halloween was what. But I remember you smashed pumpkins and when I found out I made you go back, clean it up and apologize to the home owners. Do you remember the woman with the arm in a sling? After you apologized we got back in the car and I asked how you were. You said you felt bad because you didn’t know she’d be “elderly.” It was very sweet. I remember you being the grim reaper, the Scream dude, a ninja – 2 years, right? A kangaroo (okay – you were just 2 then), an Indian (aka Native American), a knight, a firefighter, what else was there baby? Surely you were a Mario brother at some point weren’t you? Or Pikachu? I hate that I can’t remember. It makes me feel like a shitty Mom. Some memories are supposed to be locked in… and since you died I HAVE to lock them all in. They have to be safe and secure and immediately available when needed because there won’t be anymore. I have to replay the same ones over and over. Just 19 years worth. I’ll be 80 and you’ll still be 19. I’ll still just have the same stupid memories. I want new ones but you’re gone. I want new ones but I’m not ready to look at pictures and remember.
Does Jesus tell you I love you? I miss you? Sometimes I ask Him to tell you that. Sometimes it’s peaceful knowing you and I can both talk to Him. We still have that. We always will. But sometimes even that doesn’t help the pain. So I cry it out until I get that sickening headache to match the heartache while I ask all the “why” questions over and over. I replay our last lunch, our last conversation, the last back rub I gave you, the last pair of shoes you talked me into helping you pay for. What didn’t I see? What didn’t I say? How could you have been in so much pain and I didn’t know? What the hell Drey? I put you ahead of everything – Robbie and even God. How could you not have known that? I flippin delighted in you. Maybe you did know that but it didn’t matter. There are no answers. But sometimes I still have to ask all the questions till I exhaust myself and fall asleep.
Lord I pray for all my grieving friends tonight. Lord help us rest in You.
It’s the dreaded week again already. The first week of August. Honestly time has flown by. The last day I saw my son was August 3rd 2012. The last day I spoke to my son was August 7th 2012. My son, my love, died on August 8th 2012. I can’t get my mind around the fact that it’s been two years. How have I lived? How have I continued to put one foot in front of the other? If I think about it too deeply I feel like puking. It’s my worst nightmare. It’s the rest of my life.
Truly God has given me strength. No one can deny Gods presence in my life, least of all me. How else is it possible that I am alive? That I am – dare I say – a contributing part of society? It is not by my own strength. It is not because “time heals all wounds.” Some “wounds” never heal. Your only child’s suicide is not something you get past or get over. Only God can take such a horrific, broken, fucked up level of pain and teach you dependence, teach you He is still a good and trustworthy God. Teach you that even in – especially in – those dark days of despair He’s holding you. Holding me.
I hate this week. I hate it. I hate that I remember what Drey ate the last time we were together. Our last words. His last text. I hate that I somehow didn’t see my boy was hurting. I hate that I remember the detective’s words. Those fucking words. How hot it was that day, the look on Jeritt’s face, the shape of David’s mouth as Robbie told him, all of it. Mostly I hate that my love was not enough for my baby to choose life. God how I hate this week.
Thank You God for hating this week – this pain – even more than I do. Thank you for sitting with me in the depths of sorrow.
As I reflect on past journals and blogs I see a woman who is shattered but is clinging on to hope – the hope she has in Christ. I wonder where she went? I don’t feel hopeful. I haven’t in weeks. Maybe months? I’ve lost track.
I miss my son. I don’t understand why he killed himself. I want God to sit right here next to me and audibly tell me Drey is with Him. I hate my unbelief. I hate it I hate it I hate it. Yes, my son told me he accepted Christ as his savior. But that’s not enough for my broken heart. I’m so sick of reading books about the basics in search of a glimmer of rock solid, beyond a shadow of a doubt proof that my baby is in heaven. The knowledge I’ve acquired is nothing compared to the faith I wish I had. The faith I wish I FELT.
My heart is broken. I don’t know who I am. I’m supposed to be making plans for my boy’s 21st birthday. Instead I’m sleeping for 10 hours straight then waking up exhausted. This is new ground for me. And I hate it. How can I still be confronting new emotions, new levels of apathy and despair after almost 2 years? Isn’t 2 years enough time to wring out every last drop of emotion possible?
I visited a youth grief counseling camp last month and saw the art therapy they were doing. Masks. Painted on the outside and the inside. The outside displaying what they wanted others to see. The inside telling the rest of the story.
That’s how I feel. The one who is confident beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man. He never sinned. He died for us. He rose! He overcame death! I can reference clear, factual proof for these things. Rejoice! Be glad! But the interior of the mask tells more of the story. It shows how little I care about the resurrection. The loss of my son is too heavy. It doesn’t feel like a “light and momentary affliction.” And I am so ashamed of my ungratefulness. God forgive me.
Do you miss him?
Do you think of him?
Yes. Probably once a day.
Once a day? Wow. I wonder what that would be like.
My son remains very much part of me. Every song, smell, movie, car, roller coaster, commercial, meal, joke, click of our thermostat, race, graduation sign, and every reference to suicide and it bubbles to the surface. In other words it’s always at the surface. Mostly the shock of it, the confusion of it. His life is present too – but still not as much as his death, his absence. I’m told in time it’ll be his life and sweet memories that are front and center and not his death. “Its been nearly two years??” “That’s okay. A lot of people I know who suddenly lost a child take five years before they’re able to think more about their child’s life instead of their death.”
Sometimes it’s lonely. Being divorced and not being able to grieve with Drey’s Dad can be hard. But I also know “what might have been” is just an illusion. Drey’s Dad and I are very different and we would probably be in frequent conflict if we were grieving “together.” We do keep in touch (which sounds superficial but what we share is anything but). We had lunch just before Mothers Day. In spite of our differences the pain is the same. We share stories of our grief experiences and of the responsibility we continue to carry. And we share what we’re doing to try to cope. We’ve both learned skills we never imagined we’d have to. Learning to live without our son is indescribable.
Am I ever happy? Joyful? Sure. I am even capable of having fun. But it’s never instead of the pain. It’s always in addition to the pain. I don’t think it’s possible to understand what I mean by this without experiencing it. Again… learning to live without Drey is indescribable.
There are some days that can’t go by without doing something in your memory. Christmas is one of those days. People talk about lighting a candle and having it burning all day or throughout dinner at a spot reserved for you. Maybe a charitable donation in your memory. I’ve considered looking at pictures of previous Christmas’s and maybe doing something special with them.
But here it is dec 23 and I haven’t been able to do anything. No tree – can’t look at ornaments you made or picked out during vacations. No pictures. I just can’t see them yet. This Christmas hasn’t been as gut-wrenching as last year. I’m grateful for that. But I’m still not “right.” “Normal.” “Clear thinking.” Whatever you want to call it. And I didn’t realize the importance of doing something to honor you – of planning something – for Christmas Day until this last weekend. I’ll be thinking of you all day. And I plan to re-read the cards people sent with memories and thoughts of you from last year. And I’d like to do something more. Something visible.
Your Dad seems to have found his footing more comfortably than me in this arena. Does that make you laugh baby? I bet it does! Your Dad being tender hearted and emotional – deliberately planning something special in your memory. And me – the sappy Mom who overflowed with emotions and plans while you were with me couldn’t be more clumsy and ill-prepared now that you’re not here. We made our plans for my first Mother’s Day without you the day of Mother’s Day. That’s hardly planning! And how we’d celebrate your birthday was decided on the day of, too. And we decided on dinner plans after your birthday! For August 8th I got ahead of the game – there was a plan a few days in advance. I know you’d be cracking up right now! You always made fun of me for being uptight. You never used that word but it’s what you meant. Remember on our last vaca I was worked up about something stupid that wasn’t going just the way I wanted it to? We were at Islands of Adventure, remember? You were walking with me. We were behind Robbie and David. You looked at me and said, “Mom it’s okay. Just relax.” And you demonstrated this thought for me by taking a deep breath when you said it. You loved me. I always knew that but I knew it in a different way at that moment. To have my child pointing out one of my flaws in a non-accusing way but rather out of concern. Wow. I reflected on that a lot afterwards. I felt blessed. Blessed by your love and blessed by your maturity.
So this Christmas Robbie – the organized one in the family (are you laughing again?!) – will decide what we can do to honor your memory.