I need to say something but I don’t know what. I am living this life in various dimensions. There are days I do, I smile, I relate and interact. There are days that I don’t. I sit, I cry, I look at pictures and I am in absolute disbelief that this beautiful boy that grew inside of me, that infuriated me like no one ever has and that made me laugh harder than I have ever laughed is no longer on this earth.
Guess what kind of day I’m having…..right!
His face, so so powerful which is why when I see a picture I have to shake myself to believe the reality. Sometimes I see photos that his friends had posted, photos that I haven’t seen or photos from a long time ago, and I still have to remind myself of the unthinkable truth, he is gone.
You see in life this kid was bold, loud, obnoxious, funny. He’d be talking in our kitchen, his six foot body towering over all of us, and we’d have to say “shh”, he didn’t realize the power of his voice. He didn’t realize the power of his words, he didn’t realize his power.
He didn’t realize the power he had over his sister. For years he would tease and taunt her and squish her little self-esteem. And, then, just last year at her freshman homecoming dance he told her how beautiful she was. I think it was the best thing that she had ever heard. He didn’t realize the power of his words and how good he had made her feel.
This weekend I hugged her as she went off to another homecoming dance, looking as beautiful and happy as a girl can be; I drove away in a fit of tears. Her brother wasn’t able to see this beauty. He wasn’t able to give her another glowing compliment and she wasn’t able to receive his power, his power that was good, often so much good.
His power was infectious. He worked with pre-schoolers and babysat many of them. These little people that had only been on this earth for 2-3 years were sucked into the vortex of his power. He could laugh and dance and create with these little souls. They revered him, and he them. And yet, he could appreciate their humor and sassy and would report back to me all of the hilarious and wonderful observations they were making about their worlds “come look at my poop, it’s the shape of a light saber”, “when I rub lotion on my arms, it makes me have big muscles like my dad”. He brought out the best in these kids and they in him.
His power could come out negatively too. He could be very angry, critical and intolerant. I do believe that much of his criticism of others came from self-criticism. It was easier to point fingers at each and every person that crossed his path than to feel the doubts he had about himself. It is here that I suffer so. How could I have eased those doubts? How could I have given him a stronger and more positive sense of self? Would it had made a difference? Would it have changed his untimely death?
I continue to think I could have been better, more patient, more loving, more positive. I could have built him up instead of been frustrated and critical. I could have shown more unconditional love….I could have I could have I could have…
Why do I think it would have mattered? I wonder if he had felt more confident would he have been pulled to the life that he lead? Would have have been less of a risk taker? a thrill seeker? Had less of a need to be the life of the party, the seeker of BEST and craziest of all things?
Sure, he was the funniest person I have EVER met, but that came with a price. To be the funniest and most outrageous, he stepped out of every box, said things that no one would ever dream of saying out loud, the fact that he thought some of these things, as hilarious as they were, was often disturbing. But, by stepping out of that box time and time again, he put himself at risk.
Sure, we knew it, we told him, we punished him and warned him. Did we think it would lead to this? No, I really didn’t. I didn’t. When he went abroad, as a joke I said “don’t get arrested and don’t die”. Really, it was a joke, because his stupid, risky choices could lead a mom to say such things, but did I really really think we’d end up here?
And, he, with his power and his twenty-one year old sense of invincibility thought nothing could happen to him. This kid called me time and time again telling me about many people that he had heard had died; suicide, drug overdoses, car accidents. He had a big circle and knew several friends or friends of friends that had died. Every single time he called me in tears, his grief, his sadness, his disbelief, and you know what he said? He said “I’m so sad for their families”. One of my biggest worries is that he is aware of his family, what his risky stupid powerful decision did to his family.
I ache, I grieve, I despair…..to think that I have a lifetime of missing him and carrying only twenty-one years of memory with me. His power, so so strong, both good and not-so-good. My heart breaks as I think of the lost potential of his wonderful power.
Stirring the matzah ball soup. Picking up the challah. Setting the table. Baking the chicken.
That is what I do, that is what I always do on erev Yom Kippur. Then I clean up, put on some decent clothes and attend the Kol Nidrei service at my synagogue. There has never been a time when I didn’t do this. As a kid, I ate the meal my mother made and then we went to services.
Okay, one time, September 1991. We were on our honeymoon. I felt so guilty that I was missing Yom Kippur. I called a synagogue to see if we could attend in Hawaii. They were going to charge $100/ticket to attend services ( a common occurrence for most synagogues to charge non-members to attend High Holiday services. It’s a huge debate, one for another post). I decided that the $200 my brand new husband and I would have spent at synagogue would be better spent on the catamaran trip we were eyeing. Off we went, sailing on the beautiful Hawaiian shores; I rationalized that I was closer to G-d on that boat than I would have been sitting at some random synagogue I found in the Yellow Pages (there was no Google in 1991) .
Should I have gone to services? Would that have spared me the nightmare which I live every hour of every day? Am I being punished? I don’t think so, but I can’t help to doubt every move I have made to deserve this life that I am now living without my kid.
So, tonight, I sit on my couch eating a regular dinner with my dog begging for a bite. #3 is at dance, #2 at college probably oblivious to significance of the day and hub is working late. There is no holiday meal, there is no holiday acknowledgement and, for me, there is no holiday.
Last week for Rosh Hashanah we did the same thing; the same thing being nothing. It was odd to cruise around our town like a regular person. I love Rosh Hashanah; the weather is often that perfect new Fall feel. I see everyone that I know at services and schmooze with them, laughing, wishing everyone a Happy New Year and often having some meal or another with friends. I always notice the regular people in the neighborhood doing every day things while we observe the holiday. I see kids walking home from the bus and moms shlepping to the grocery store and I realize how the world keeps going even while the Jews stop to pray.
Last week, and now, I keep going. I can’t stop. I can’t read the prayers. I can’t praise this G-d that allowed my son to die. I can’t atone for my sins, for tho’ I have many, I have not hurt anyone as much as I have been hurt. I can not ask this G-d for forgiveness when this G-d allowed my son to be taken.
No! it isn’t right. It isn’t fair. I weep, I ache, I shake myself in those moments when I STILL can’t believe it is real.
How can he not be here? How????? and therefore, how could I possibly do this holiday tonight?
Here I am crying again. I guess it’s a good thing.
We had a hell of a shit storm last night- and I mean that literally. I was prepping for my big day at Wanderlust (a 5k, yoga, meditation festival with three friends all under the team name: Zen Yentas). I ran downstairs to grab something and my foot sunk into a soaked carpet. As I progressed through the basement I squished along into the bathroom where there was, truly, a shit storm in the shower. A septic mess beyond belief.
By this time it’s 11:30 p.m. Hub is calling whoever-the-hell to fix it, I’m literally sopping up the shit in the shower only to have someone flush from upstairs and more vile excrement spews out onto the less-disgusting-than-it-was-disgusting shower (oh dear, I hope you aren’t having your morning oatmeal while reading this nauseating post). (Addendum: I am having my inappropriate evening snack of ice cream while proof reading this and it is truly repulsive)
I made the executive decision to skip Wanderlust; we didn’t get to bed until very late and I was supposed to leave my house about 6:30 a.m. I knew that I would be stressed about not sleeping and also thought it would be hard for hub, who had reached his boiling point, to manage all the shit without me. (The week included an $1000 car repair, an $800 new humidifier and a $350 vet bill).
The long and short of it is, since we had this exact nightmare four years ago and had the bottom of the basement walls replaced and the carpet replaced, we got some special insurance for this kind of event. We therefore have to use a designated plumber who won’t be here until Monday morning. Oh shit!
Meanwhile it is Erev Rosh Hashanah (the night before Rosh Hashanah which is the beginning of the celebration of the Jewish New Year). In my old world I would have made a holiday dinner including chicken soup and matzah balls, would have insisted we all sit down to dinner and then I would attend synagogue with various combinations and permutations of my family.
Tonight we had leftovers from our dinner out last night. We were invited to three homes for a holiday dinner, but I just couldn’t do it. My plan was to go to synagogue tonight, but as I cried every time I thought about it, I decided that I would be better off not going. #3 wants to go and really wants me to go with her, but I just can’t. I do a lot for her, but this I have to do for me. I am going to take her and our friends are saving her a seat.
She asked why I wasn’t going. Through tears I said that I’m just too sad. This is a joyful holiday and a reflective one. I’ve been reflecting every moment for the last six months, I’m so reflected-out. I also am struggling with the idea of thanking and praising G-d. Whatever I believe, and I’m never sure what that is, is certainly in the toilet having its own shit storm about now.
I miss #1 so much. Judaism was important to him as it is to me and #3. It hurts so much; I had this worrisome thought today that maybe he knew what was going on with me, how sad I am, how I am feeling terribly depressed, doing less and eating more. It breaks my heart to think he is watching me and knowing this and knowing that he caused it. I think it would devastate him; and yet, he did and it is one big f-ing shit storm.
It’s a rainy Saturday in October.
Kid #2 came home last night (as opposed to my previous meltdown) and did spend a lot of time talking about school. He was disturbed over how we had spoiled the dog and confused by how much we had missed him “it’s been 5 weeks, I was at camp longer”. (May you NEVER know this grief, but some day you may have to launch a kid as well).
This morning has been blissful. The rain gave me an excuse to do nothing (not like I would have done much anyhow). #3 went to her dance classes and hub, #2 and I started watching Stranger Things (definitely not my Downton Abbey cup of tea, but cozy time on the couch with #2 could get me to watch anything).
I just fetched #3 from the dance studio only to replace hub, who ran out to do errands, with her on the couch.
I am sitting in this warm living room with my two kids. It’s cozy and calm and nice and I text my sister “rainy day on the couch in pj’s with 2 kids- will I always be 2/3’s full?”
In one breath I can feel the joy of their presence and by the next exhale, I tear up and feel the hole in my heart. I think it feels extra intense because it’s the first time #2 has returned to our new normal.
We had years with #1 away at school, operated as a foursome and looked forward to his visits home (which believe me, were not always peaceful). #1 would not be here now anyhow, he should be away at school. But the knowledge that this is now our reality; that on Thanksgiving, when they should all be home will be this, 2/3’s full. And Winter Break and always going forward, 2/3’s full.
It sucks. It hurts and it’s not fair. It robs me of fully enjoying this moment of having my two beautiful kids here with me.
F***! Angry angry and sad sad sad.
small release as some gets let out and then oh so much pain
pain in the depths of my heart
aching feeling hurting pain
will it stop, do i want it to
missing him, wanting him, needing him
anger anger anger at him
stupid stupid kid
one stupid thing and our lives are forever ruined. yours is forever ended
What the fuck does this G-d thing mean? Seriously, what the fuck?
How could any being instill so much pain? Why Why Why must we suffer?
so much good and so much stupid in this one kid- i wanted to say bad, but he’s wasn’t bad. he was selfish and reckless and thought he was invincible, but he wasn’t bad.
there are bad people out there- they steal and hit children and beat wives, they blow up cities and kill innocent people – he was not bad.
why do bad people get to keep living.
why do so many addicts get to keep living. he wasn’t an addict. he was stupid, he thought he was above it all, but he wasn’t like the people you hear about that will do anything for the high, he worked, he served and he died.
if only my tears served a purpose- like for each tear i could save a life, help someone or even lose a pound, but no, i just cry and cry and cry and ache and ache….and then get damn headaches, as if i didn’t have enough fucking headaches in my life, i now get to get them from all the fucking crying.
and, #3 asked what was for dinner tonight. i shrugged. she said something like when #2 was home i made sure there was dinner. I told her that wasn’t true, she wasn’t here all summer and with all this grief it is really hard to get dinner. she said “there are still people here”.
Guilt on top of guilt. doesn’t she understand how hard it is to get out of bed? doesn’t she deserve a mother to make her some fucking dinner?
I was running a little smoother today after yesterday’s disaster of a day and then the dinner question triggered me all over again. I threw some dinner together that she probably won’t even eat and now I just marinate in my tears.
Every day is a new twist of grief.
Yesterday I started catching a cold- first time I’d had that shitty lethargic feeling in my new life. add scratchy throat drippy nose and added fatigue to my grieving. note to self: tears flow easier when I feel crappy.
Funny thing I noticed is that when I’m really tired I can’t get to the tears. I think it’s because I get foggy and fuzzy and can’t access the feeling button. I’m not complaining there, but sometimes it feels really weird to NOT be able to get there.
Today I’ve just been lying around; using not feeling well as an excuse, but probably just grief, laziness and depression. I work at 3, so need to pull myself together. mornings are hard, i need to get some work going in the mornings.
The Jewish High Holidays are coming and I’ve been dreading them since the day he died. It’s such a powerful time and there is a lot about mourning included anyhow; there is a whole mourning service on the afternoon of Yom Kippur. Every year a Memorial Book is created to honor, is that even the right word?, those who have died. There is a small donation requested and you fill out a form. I’ve never done it, my dad died 19 years ago, and I should have, but I have been lazy and cheap and knew my mom was doing it at her synagogue, so why double up.
I just filled out the form and wrote the check for my son. Heart fucking breaking….again and again……what the hell is this about ? why am I having to do this? each new twist and turn rips me up a little more.
(here we see the rawness that is within. no edits, no grammar, just pure and raw pain)
will the tears ever stop, will the pain ever stop. will stupid things that happen, small, little inconsequential things ever not rock me?
i never thought I was strong, but man, do I feel weak. the worst is the little things that i would normally not even notice that set me off
did i mention that #2 went to college for the first time a month ago? 5 months after #1 died, #2 left. one of my friend’s said it best “launching your second while grieving your first”.
the past month has been the worst for me. it’s like when #2 left I popped open a can of soda- that pop, fizz noise and everything just poured out. Sometimes it pours, sometimes it leaks and sometimes it dribbles, but we all know, you can’t cork those f-ing cans….I’ve tried putting a piece of tin foil in the slot to hold the liquid in, well, you know the soda loses all it’s fizz and tastes like shit afterwards?, so no, there is no un-cracking the cracked open soda can…..
#2 has a fall break next week. we thought we’d get him Friday night, and he’s off until Tuesday. I even scheduled a fun thing for myself on Sunday with some girlfriends because I knew I’d be driving him crazy by lurking by him every moment. Hub and I just discussed going to get him at school Friday; hub got a new car and is so excited to take it for a two hour road trip and get the boy.
the boy just texted me, I think, very innocently that he’s going to run in a cross country meet the Saturday of break, so “like if you or dad are gonna pick me up from school, it’d be like either in the evening that Saturday or Sunday morning”. Are you F-ing kidding me? First of all, why the hell would you put “like” twice in a stupid text? and second of all, what??? We get you for a few short days and you want to slash that in half???
I just started balling, my poor friend happened to be calling me and heard the whole slobbery mess. Does this kid not know how much we miss him? that his absence is just magnifying his brother’s death? that he is one of the funniest, smartest, cutest and most wonderful people I know on this planet and all I want to do is immerse myself in his vivacity?
Of course not. This kid is 18. He wants to run in a meet because all he does is study at school. He finally has a little break and he wants to have fun with his running club, blow off some steam and be a college kid.
It’s not his fault that his brother was such a FUCKED up idiot who took drugs and died. It’s not his fault that even though his mother was going to be sad when he went to college, she is now a wreck with grief and loss. It’s not his fault that he wants to be a normal kid and get the hell away from the mess that is his home.
and so I weep….