January 16, 2012

Dear Son,

Your sister was home this weekend.  She came alone.  She left the dogs and your brother-in-law back at the house.  She has a renter for your apartment.  She has stamped all your books and readied them for the graduate school to pick up.  I am sending your files of papers too.  After talking to one of your friends we decided if those items were of any use to anyone it would be the department where you studied.

I downloaded all the text messages from your phone and your music.  Your sister will be using your phone.

I have to tell you this all feels very invasive.   I am reminded of working with you downstairs cleaning out the store room.  I wanted to throw out that ceramic Darth Vader countertop lamp and you pitched a fit.  I pitch an emotional fit over everything you have ever touched or written.  I cannot bear to part with these things.

Your sister became very attached to the books while she was sorting and stamping them.  She said she would come across a note you had made in a margin and wanted to put the book aside to keep.   The problem is we don’t even understand the titles let alone what is written on the pages.

It was so good to have your sister home.  I find it hard to part with her when she has to leave.   I’ve always had difficulty with that.  You both would drive away and I would have to shed a few tears.   I take after my grandmother.

Your sister and I talked about you a lot.  We agree that it is easy to glorify you.  Don’t let that go to your head.  You were not without your quirks.   She misses you so much, but handles it in a different way.  I think she is a bit annoyed at having to be the only child dealing with your dad and I, which is not always easy.

As time goes by she will connect more fully with her husband.  They will become a unit.  As we learn more about him and he about us, we will face our own problems and communication difficulties.  It is another process.

Having your sister home was wonderful.  I enjoyed her company and being with her.  She and I have had those times in the past, times before you died and it felt quite normal.  Unfortunately it makes me remember those private times with you and I miss them.  I am so selfish.  I love having each one of you to myself.

I feel rather foolish sometimes.  I was so proud of myself as an empty-nester.  I did not mind you and your sister living out and away from us.  I counted on the fact you would return and it gave me comfort that you were independent.  You were still living somewhere, and could be contacted.

I still segue too much,  to the confusion of others.  Random.  I know.  It occurred to me that all the genes that combined to form you and your sister still exist, but that the same combination that formed you will not reoccur.  You were a perfect bone marrow match for your sister.  I know I told you.   That continues to astound me.

We went to lunch with some of our friends on Sunday.  We talked about how their two daughters overlap the parents personality with their particular quirks.   I had to stop myself from thinking too much.   I am sure it should bring me laughter to think about it with you and me, but I end up in tears.

It feels like the grief is wrenching itself out of me.   I am a viscous volcano of grief.  I know you get my meaning.

It is the daily processing, and reprocessing and error messages that get wearisome.  I think I’ve gotten something figured out and it resurfaces in another form.   Nothing stays tucked in the file.   It looks like my parrots cage after she has shredded all her papers.  I know.  You hate that parrot.

You hate the parrot.  My dog’s head is too big for his body.   Television is stupid  for the most part unless there is a soccer game, but only if it one you want to watch.  I should be reading more.  I should be hiking.  I need to get over my fear of flying. I should be painting more.  Why haven’t I brewed any more beer? Why haven’t daddy and I chucked it all and started traveling?   What are waiting for?

I don’ know babe.  I am stuck here.   I am rooted to the spot.  Sometimes I can’t get out of the den.

I’m gonna try to get unstuck.  Part of the problem is I’m not sure I want to be.  I don’t know what that means and I  I am afraid to let go.  The passing time is freaking me out.

I am making plans and I will  see them through.  It takes all the strength I can muster.   There are little things that spark my interest and I can become totally involved for a short time.   As I said before, I’m not sure I want the distraction to last longer.  I have come to realize however,  that I do have to give my thoughts a rest sometimes.

With your birthday coming up I am in dread mode.  I have planned a trip for your dad and I.  Some of the college kids will stay at the house and keep the dogs.  I have no idea what this will be like, but we have all intentions of figuring it out.   I can hear you say, over the top of  a cup of tea, “you should.”

Today I have to confess, I am missing your sister pretty badly too.  I wish she were here.  I miss her not living closer by. It is a big circle of missing each other.

I’ve got to stop now, or I will not make it through the morning and I have things I need to do.   Sometimes if I just give myself a few minutes  allowing myself to totally feel the yearning I feel for you, it settles down for the day.

I know you know, and try to make sure your sister knows how much I love the two of you.  I love you both so much.



About pathfinder

Artist, Writer, Walking wounded.
This entry was posted in Coping with the Death of a Child, Death, Dogs, Family, Friends, Marraige and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to January 16, 2012

  1. pixieforpapa says:

    I lost my 21 year old daugter on July 2, 2011 after a nearly seven year battle with Leukemia. I am completely lost and find it hard to focus on anything other than the giant, gaping, oozing aching hole in my chest where my heart used to be. Someone at Hospice mentioned that I might want to seek out “The Compassionate Friends,” and I was fortunate enough to find them on Facebook; it was there I discovered your story and the link to your blog. I find your writing eloquent and hauntingly familiar. I find comfort in knowing I am not alone in the vast sea of parents who have lost a child. I thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings so openly with the rest of us.

    • pathfinder says:

      I am so sorry for loss. If you have read my posts then you know that my daughter was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 14. Our son was then 18. He stayed home and went to college while she went through 2 1/2 years of chemotherapy. She went into rapid early remission and has stayed in remission to this day but the chemo had to be finished. I thought that was the worst that could ever happen. I just didn’t know. Those awful years when your child is sick take a toll on you, and then to loose them after such a battle seems unbelievably unfair. You and I share a terrible day – July 2nd -the day our son and your daughter died. Our son’s death was an accident. He was healthy and happy and then suddenly gone. As a care giver for a young person who is battling leukemia you have a huge relationship to grieve along with your child. You have invested time that many parents of children who are healthy do not invest and you now don’t have the one thing you wanted to have at the end of that investment – your daughter. When our daughter was finished with chemo I sought out a counselor to help me deal with the years we had lost to that horrible disease. She and I both went because she had a lot to deal with too. She is 26 now and a newlywed. She is missing her brother terribly. I feel like I neglected him during those years while she was sick and now at times fear I neglect her in in my grief. The problem is that both you and I have not only the grief but some post traumatic stress. You might find some help looking at post traumatic stress syndrome and strategies to deal with it as you learn to cope. You have not only your daughter to grieve, but 7 years of your own life. Let me know how things are going with you. ((((Hugs)))) I can listen.

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