So, the first word that I keep hearing is escape. I want to escape. I want to run away from all the grief for a while. I just don’t want to think about it. I’ve been successful every now and then. It doesn’t last long.
I have to figure out how to remove my son’s name from my car’s phone list. He is the first one listed in quick dial. So, I took his name off my cell phone, because I would inadvertently hit it. At first the message said “the number you have dialed is no longer available.” Then it rang and I panicked. I thought, oh no, if that person calls me back to find out who dialed their number, what will I do? It’s a phone number for pete’s sake.
So, my daughter called last night. I panic when I hear her in distress, and I have to keep myself together so as to not distress her more. I want to go up to that house where both she and her brother lived and bring her home. I want her and her husband to find a job and come home. She is there where she lived with her brother, in the house he and I found together. I like the house. I really do. It”s not the house. All his philosophy books are there and the things he chose to surround himself with to make his nest. His bed and chair. His dishes. It’s just stuff. It’s just a house. She has taken more interest in its history and upkeep than he ever did. She and her husband can make something of it. In December it will be a year since I even visited that house, when I moved her there. I’m ready to move her here. I want her close. I hate hearing her voice sad and aching to far for me to get to her and hug her.
We have his car. So, my husband has had it tuned up and repaired. I took my son to Georgia to buy it new. A Volkswagon Jetta Deisel. He has put a lot of miles on that car. I’ve ridden quite a few miles in it with him. My husband plans to start driving it. I’m not sure when. It smells like him, and his dogs. The sound of it coming up the drive way makes my heart contract. Silver VW station wagons have done that to me for a while.
Since he left home to work on his Masters and PhD he was not able to make it home every Thanksgiving and he often traveled after the Christmas Holiday. So he has been here the past few years for Thanksgiving, complaining about our disrespect for his vegetarianism but eating the free-range turkey anyway. There are many things I do that I still wait to hear him pick on me about. Mindless television shows I watch gullibly – fluffy books I read. I use them as that escape I mentioned earlier, but his voice still nags me.
My husband goes to work. He fills his day up with escape as best he can. At night we sit together and the blanket of grief seems to weigh us down. He goes to sleep early. He has a list of things he needs to do. He has always had a list. He is amazing with the things he can do. Some days he just comes in and changes into his sweats and sits, defeated by the list, that suddenly seems meaningless. It is just a list. It is when I find him in the bed, mid day, curled on his side that I fight off the panic. So, I want to start a fight or something. I try to keep the times I give in to my grief from him. I wade through the tears during the day to spare him in the evening.
My daughter and my husband and I are trying so hard not to add to each other’s grief, as if that were possible.
So, I don’t have any advice for anyone. I don’t know how to tell anyone how to love any less, how to hold back in an attempt to spare yourself the pain of loss when it comes. I was in head first when they handed me these babies beginning over 29 years ago. I was hopeless. They were like fascinating puzzles that were coming together before my eyes. I would not change that part if I could. And there is nothing I can change, now. Nothing.
So it seems we all (who have lost a child) keep waiting to wake up, to find out there has been a mistake somehow. In our minds they are still alive and we face the disappointment of each day dawning without them. We sincerely hope they are in a better place, because to our way of thinking this world sucks. We don’t want them to be forgotten, but our grief is off-putting to some who were our best friends and we are hard for them to be with. Death is not as frightening to us as it has been in the past, but we have other children and husbands and grandchildren so we know we will stay. And if there is a fear of death it is that when we are gone, who will remember our child?
No one can remember him like I can, because my memories are uniquely my own. So, I’m gonna hug myself with that today, selfishly. He was mine while he was here and everything we shared, is still mine. “So.” as he would say to punctuate the silence. So.