Monday has come again. It was a busy Monday for me with errands and business to do. A good friend met me and helped me with the transport of some paintings from one gallery to another. The company of others is good therapy.
The coming home to an empty house is hard.
At the end of October our daughter is getting married. Her brother was supposed to be in the wedding and help her with the music choices. I know her struggle is different from ours, though equally as difficult. The fact that she misses him is undeniable. He was her only sibling. I don’t know what it feels like to loose a brother or sister.
Her ability to work through the sorrow and continue to function has been inspiring. There are different triggers for her, than for me. I worry that she feels neglected or that this horrible grief overshadows the joy that her upcoming marriage brings. The feeling I have is that everything seems muffled. Intense color and sound and light startle me a little and I want to withdraw. Perhaps that accounts for my reluctance to participate in situations where there are a lot of people involved.
How do I make sure to be totally present for my daughter? After all, she is still here, still a vital, loving, beautiful part of my life. At the age of 14 she was diagnosed with Leukemia. Her brother was 18 at the time, having just turned 18 and heading to his graduation from high school. We were plunged into darkness that April. We began two and a half years of chemotherapy with our daughter. Our son opted to stay at the local university to be close by while she was in treatment. During those years I don’t know what he did. I have tried to remember but there are only bits and pieces. I never got the chance to ask him what he thought during those years, though I did find out later that he suffered from panic attacks. Maybe I should heap some guilt on myself for not being able to divide myself more evenly between my two children or guiltier still among my children and husband. We were in survival mode.
Our daughter did survive. Our son graduated from the local university and headed out west to Colorado. Our daughter graduated with two degrees from our local university. In getting past those years, we breathed a sigh of relief thinking the worst was behind us.
I cannot compare and contrast the times very well. I am still too deep in grief to figure out how I feel much of the time. Part of my grief is for my daughter, and I don’t want to pull her along where she does not want or need to go. Given that , at times, I avoid expressing my grief.
I try to picture what my son would say if he could comment on this situation. I know he did not want or expect to leave so abruptly. He was getting on with his life. He would be traveling out west right now. He would be encouraging me to make plans, to reach out for my dreams, to travel and experience the life that was left to me. I also know he would come and wrap his arms around me and let me cry, but I’m wondering for how many years?
There are no clues or answers, no messages left, no famous last words. He loved his sister. I know that. He would want her special time to be very beautiful and happy. Maybe that is enough for now. That will have to be enough for now.
….hold up on the heapin’ o’ the guilt..geez…there are some things that can’t be divided evenly…your children loved each other….that should settle that ponderance for you. Sweetie, it’s bad enough without piling on the BS…I mean exactly that if you’re gonna beat yourself up, at least be realistic.
The upcoming wedding should be just what you’d think Josh wanted for his sister..for her wedding to be beautiful and happy. And by the time the wedding gets here…you all will be ready and things will fall into place…and if a little something falls short…big deal…family and friends will be coming together to celebrate a union. I think it’s great that your daughter chose to go on with her plans…it shows hope in continuance…I hope someone else special helped her choose her music..Every person in this congregation will think of Josh…alot… and his sister will think alot about him that day and I think this will draw all of you together and give all of you the courage to actually force this day into being beautiful and happy if need be. It will be all about the wedding. I know you’re apprehensive about crowds…but you’ll be fine…you’ll be with family and friends….it ain’t like you’re gonna be with 1,000 strangers…goh, that’s a horrible thought…You’ve been in crowds several times already…you did just fine. Please look forward to this wedding..put the joy into it that you would’ve anyway…have fun putting your ideas together…the chatter…the time hasn’t been right for you and Deiah to fall apart together yet…there will be plenty of time for it to unfold as it is felt and the circumstances are right. You are protecting each other. Again, Sweetie…don’t borrow trouble…it’s bad enough as it is…A beautiful and happy wedding is on the agenda…all of you will be just fine..no apprehension, no panic attacks…those things don’t help neither…it’s just wasted energy. I’m thinkin’ panic attacks are in the genepool…I’m thinkin’ they are in my family….I’ve tried to make sure all the kids in my family are aware of a possibility of a panic attack..with the grownups in my family trying to hide panic attacks…well Denial is not a river in Egypt…let’s just make setting ducks..nevermind.. The wedding….there will be plenty of time to think about all the other stuff..real stuff…put this next month aside for nothing but wedding, wedding, wedding, wedding, wedding…Josh would want this for his sister…he’d want you and his dad to make the best of it for her, for no other reason but for his sister..I’d say she knows that, she knew how much he loved her, it’s probably part of what makes her able to move forward..that’s beyond precious…there has been a lot of precious in your family..call a spade a spade. In our society, our environment, our years of growing ….and a lot of people say our government..hahah..but sometimes I think we feel guilty because we really don’t have anything to feel guilty about…and for some reason…maybe because our parents taught us????..that if you’re not feeling guilty, somethings bad wrong…like arrogance or something else just as stupid. You didn’t do that guilt trip thing with your own children, did you? So, you sorta made that right again…You’ve always been pleased with your children…well, you and Earl taught them…otherwise they would not have floursihed and prospered.and thrived…they’d be sleeping in the broom closet of some laundry mat down in Miami, okay??? …off to the wedding we go…Decorum says you’ll do it and you’ll do it well. Get as many photos as you can…Didn’t mean to go on and on…yes I did…hahahaha..later