I can’t find the right words to describe this process. Sometimes it is like being in a vehicle going 150 mph, the world seems to be flashing past and I can’t focus on it anymore. I wake up and it has been five months since your death and I can’t figure out where the time has gone. I know my perception of time has changed with time, my mother used to comment on the way everything speeds up as you get older.
There is evidence of things I have done. The forest of coffee mugs I made in the pottery class has dwindled as I have given them away one by one. I have knitted hats and scarves and now I’m working on a sweater. I painted some early on, but now have hit a lull for no particular reason.
I have been to a conference with a group of women from church, and to a friends lake house and to visit a show opening near the state capital. Old friends from college have visited, a nephew his wife and children have visited. We celebrated Thanksgiving and had a wonderful huge wedding. How is that all possible without you being here?
I feel emotionally sandpapered. I participated in these things. I laughed. I even danced. I can’t seem to figure out how the joy felt, or dredge it back up again.
The pictures from the wedding help. That was so much fun. I tried to picture your reaction and imagined you would be hovering at my shoulder whispering silly things in my ear or sitting with your cousins and arguing over politics. I didn’t try to imagine it much at the time because I could not have been present as I wanted so much to be for your sister and her guests.
See it just isn’t fair to require of your sister to fill in all the empty space. It isn’t fair to her husband to begin to be compared to you. I haven’t been able to even glimpse anything like you anywhere. Yes, I admit when I see tall thin young males, I stare at them. Sometimes I think it is like trying to see shapes in the clouds – I want to see you so badly.
That video that your sister had taken that Christmas in 2007 – you laughing and playing with your dog! I can’t watch it much, but I love hearing your voice again. I miss your voice and your face and the way you smile closing your eyes. Your dad and I struggled through this weekend. He is trying so hard to tough it out.
The old fixer upper comes out in me and I want to make everyone else happy. But there is nothing to be done. There is nothing to fix.
Maybe this sounds crazy. You could probably point out the flaws in my thinking, but I’ve got to tell you – as hard as it is – as painful as the days may be at times – I would rather have this pain – because I had you, and knew you well, than to never have had it at all.
I suffer less at this point from the grief of what might have been, and more from the grief of what I had that is gone. I probably keep saying that, but that is what I think. But then, you are used to me repeating myself. I am feeling sorry for myself and everyone else who misses you.
I talk with other parents who have lost children and there is such a mix of feelings. Now granted this is the group of parents who have lost children and are willing to talk about it, so that statistically could be analyzed and you would probably say – it is just the crazy ones like you mom. I accept that. Craziness aside, they express a lot of guilt and numbness and inability to move forward, loss of memory, painful triggers, frustration over the lack of details concerning their child’s death, regret, frustration over the reaction of others towards them, obsessing over unchangeable events. I resemble some of those things sometimes.
I have had guilt in the past, and thankfully apologized to you concerning some things to which you reacted with surprise. I suppose I should have asked what I needed to apologize for – since the things I mentioned you didn’t seem to remember. I didn’t have any guilt concerning you at the time of your death. I regret that I didn’t hug you more that morning, totally selfish in that. I am moving very slowly forward, wherever that may be. Time is ticking on and I am still here. I listed some things earlier in an attempt to remember what had happened since your death. Triggers are everywhere, don’t think those will go away ever. Details concerning your death . . .I don’t think knowing anything more would help me. Maybe your dad would be helped by that, maybe I say – but I don’t know. Other’s reaction towards me – I just put you right there beside me in their presence and dare them to be out of line.
I try not to obsess, period.
Lot’s of little things piled up this weekend on our heart and head to make us miserable with ourselves.
Your sister was flying back and forth from home to be with her husband – so you know how I do obsess about that. I have to stop myself from trying to make her check in every five minutes. We are overly over protective – don’t know if that will ever fade. Like my worry is some sort of talisman against accidents – I know – crazy.
I’m going to try and get on with my day. Some days take more effort than others. I would rather be spending it with you, or with your sister or better yet both of you. I miss you so much.
I happened on your writings (and your sons) while researching support for a friend who’s son ended his life at 18. It is obvious that he “inherited” his talent in writing from his mother. Your writing is beautiful and I cried reading it. Though I haven’t lost a child, I “went through it” with my friend and continue to do so. It is such a nightmare for me that I can’t imagine what it is like for her. I also wept often while my own son was serving in Iraq, imagining what it would be like to get that knock on the door. I will leave you now…it is not my intent to add to your burden. I will be praying for you and your family…and thank you for your beautiful words and sharing your son with others.
The compassionate friends are a great group for support. I don’t know if your friend has found them or not. I am so sorry for her loss and appreciate your strength while your son was serving in Iraq. There is an online suicide support group with the compassionate friends. Please give her a hug for me.