Here I am at Panera Bread. Again. God how I’m missing you baby. If I weren’t in public I’d cry. I have that choice this morning but sometimes the tears flow without waiting for my permission.
The change in weather triggers different memories. Soccer. Parent-teacher conferences. Field trips from elementary school. Halloween. School pictures. Warmer clothes. I can remember your clothes from elementary school. I see them hanging in your closet. I wish I would’ve saved some of them. But I didn’t know.
I didn’t know. I just didn’t know. Crap… Here come the tears without my permission.
Nothing can make it okay. I just have to live with it every day. I am grateful for the healing that’s come. Truly I am. It is God’s mercy. I don’t feel like I will die of a broken heart anymore. Or die from the heaviness. Or die from withering away.
There are three 60ish year old women studying the bible near by. I hear them… I hear the one who seems to be leading the discussion. Listen to her… all confident and full of advice. I remember thinking I knew a thing or two too. I knew God’s word. I knew suffering. I knew perseverance. Then 8.8.12 hit and I realized I didn’t know dick.
Lord how I wish this woman would shut up. Did I sound like that? Of course I did. And probably much worse. And I bet I still do at times. It’s amazing to me that You love us Lord.
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.