A year ago on this day it was a beautiful sunny March day. The daughter was home from school having a mental health day and the #1 kid was home from college for his spring break. On a whim the three of us went to a park with waterfalls. We walked and took pictures and it was really nice day. The last picture I have of #1 son is from that day. He left here on Sunday to go back to school and then died early the next Saturday morning.
We are coming on a year. The Hebrew calendar’s year anniversary is this week (I don’t know why, nor do I understand the different calendar things, but it’s neither here nor there) and on the Shabbat (Sabbath) of the anniversary of anyone’s death we observe yahrzeit. Our family will attend our synagogue and when it gets to the part for the mourner’s prayer they will recite his name before we say that prayer.
YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO DO THIS SHIT FOR YOUR KID! YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO HAVE A FREAKING MEMORIAL PLAQUE AT THE SYNAGOGUE WITH HIS NAME ON IT THAT WILL BE LIT BECAUSE IT IS HIS YAHRZEIT. AND YOU SURE AS HELL AREN ‘T SUPPOSED TO LIGHT A FREAKING YAHRZEIT CANDLE THAT WILL STAY LIT FOR 24 HOURS FOR YOU KID. IT’S JUST NOT RIGHT!!!!!
But, guess what we will be doing this Friday, see above.
I’d much rather hike to the water fall with him than observe the year anniversary of his death, but no one asked me.
I’ve had so so many thoughts and emotions on the daily. Always…I had the memory of “the call” the other day. The call that changed my life. I hadn’t replayed that call in my head for several months so I just lost it when the memory came back. That is a call that you don’t EVER want to get, and really, if you’ve had the call you shouldn’t ever replay in your head; it’s.just.awful.
My head keeps wandering to the water falls….we were sitting next to each other on this huge rock. He was tired and quiet. I later found out that there were things troubling him that visit that he hadn’t shared with us. So, I go back to that moment and worry that he was stressing about those issues and it makes me sad. It makes me sad that he sat there and was troubled. I want to remember it as a happy day, but it makes me sad if he was troubled.
There is not a fucking thing that I can do. All this bull shit about being happy despite your troubles, I keep seeing that in memes and crap. Are you kidding? how do you rise above this? Sure, I have had happy moments, but it’s just not the same.
Here’s to getting through the year…….almost……barely…..
Today had some rough moments. You kept popping into my heart in weird ways, or maybe I just reacted in weird ways. I was sitting in the dining room and saw a photo of you that I haven’t looked at a lot. In fact, it is a family photo with all of us clowning around. I thought “that WAS my happy family”. No family picture will ever be the same; will ever be my whole family.
Then we were outside in the cul de sac with all the little neighbor kids. I told the young moms that I had probably spent hundreds of hours in that cul de sac. I saw you riding a bike, and yelling at your sibs and playing with the neighbors. It was so hard. It is so hard.
Your college friend is is town this weekend and wants to see us. Another one of YOUR friends coming to see US without YOU. We all share the grief and need to be together. G-d dammit, why aren’t you here.
Oh, and I got some really stupid texts from one of your favorite relatives. I want to send them to you so we can laugh about them together.
This missing is unbearable. Again and again I have to reboot my mind because it still doesn’t feel real. We are coming on a year. I am dreading the entire month of March. And it’s not like anything changes or gets better after. It’s not like you took a year abroad and will be back. This trip abroad you are on will never.ever.end.
I am aching.
I miss my old self. The self that would get up and move her body on a regular basis. The self that would try to make weekend plans and look forward to them. I miss being excited about things. I miss wanting to do things.
I don’t like the self that spends most of its time on the couch. The self that has to resurrect all its energy just to empty the dishwasher. I don’t like this self that thinks about what everyone else is doing, mostly being active, and I’m not.
Someone was asking when I would be able to join her in an activity that we used to do. First I was so angry, leave me alone, I’ll get there when and if I get there. I’m sure there was no malice in it, she just missed having me there as a friend.
Shit, if I had a dear friend that was vanishing from society, I’d be worried too. I’d probably try to encourage her too. But, being on the other side, I don’t want to be pulled out. I don’t want to be called on a regular basis. I don’t want to be asked to do this and that…..all the things I used to crave and love to be asked about.
I miss my self. I miss my son. I miss the family that I had (even though I complained about all the noise and the work involved). I miss my old life.
How do I accept and go forward with this life I have now?
It certainly wasn’t happy. It was far from happy. In fact, it SUCKED.
And, it’s really hard because the past two birthdays were fantastic. Two years ago was the big 50 and I celebrated hard and long. A girls weekend in NYC, a work celebration with mimosas, a big lunch celebration and then a fabulous combined 100th birthday party with the hub (where kid #1 facilitated a surprise visit from my sister for the party)(he was so damn excited and proud of himself. He did a lot of surprises (good and bad) and damn I miss them).
Last year, my birthday fell on a HUGE snowstorm. I was supposed to be going on a knitting weekend with my girlfriends. Due to the snowstorm we had to cancel, but myself and three friends stayed at a hotel though the storm. It was a fabulous weekend; we knitted and laughed and drank and watched movies and played games and trudged through the snow to the only two restaurants that were open. Those were both perfect birthdays.
Believe me, I had NO high hopes for this one. I didn’t want to do anything. Friends were lovely and tons of them asked me to lunch, dinner etc. I just didn’t want to do anything.
I slept way too late in the morning (after #3 went to school). I then got up to tons of texts and messages and cried for hours reading them. Often when people are nice to me it makes me cry, I don’t even know why, but I cried the whole freaking morning. And then some more and then some more.
My saving spot is work. I get to work and get out of me. It is such a break from me and my grief and my crap. I love going to work.
And, here I sit, three days later sobbing some more. The stupidest little thing happened and I just wanted to tell him. Just dumb stuff. I find things all the time that I want to tell him or show him. Most of them are really stupid like he hated hair that was super long. Whenever we would see someone with grossly long hair we would send each other creepy pictures that we snuck of the person with gross hair. He would make fun of everyone; the the other day my thoughts went to one of his snarky comments about someone and I wanted to tell him that they were doing it again. Today I learned that someone lives where one of his old friends lived; I can’t tell him this stuff. I can’t hear his reaction. I can’t see him or talk to him or hold him. So, I cry and I cry. And I avoid chores and house things. And, I eat and I don’t move or treat my body with health. And misery begets misery.
Grief, depression on top of grief and depression. It is feeling very very dark right now.
I haven’t written. I don’t know why other than depression is a heavy blanket under which I lay (I always struggle with the past tense of lie, so f- it if this is wrong). I have been feeling more grief and depression of late. We did have a nice family trip with another family in December and I wasn’t too depressed then; it’s hard to be depressed when my biggest decision was pina colada or strawberry daiquiri and the only thing that I looked at for a week was the beautiful ocean.
On vacation I had grief; missing my boy, imagining his craziness on the trip, knowing his bond with the family we vacationed with and general grief. But, I think depression ramped up as we left the paradise and made our way back to reality. And, it hasn’t stopped.
#2 kid was home for a month from college. It was so nice to have him on the trip with us and he is just so funny. For the rest of the month he was around some, but also working a lot. By the last week, I barely saw him between my schedule and his, but he was there. He came home from work at 10:30 each night with tons of energy and starving. If I had been the good mom and prepared food (mind you he is now a strict vegetarian), he would dig in, otherwise it was cereal, bagels hummus and pretzels. I so enjoyed his bouncing in, sharing nothing of importance with us and falling into the purple chair in the living room, a coveted spot for both the dog and me, that he managed to reserve for late night tv sessions. I struggled to stay awake and spend time with him; it didn’t matter what nonsense he and the hub put on the tv, (the last few days was all Family Guy), it was just so wonderful to be in his presence.
And then, on Sunday, he left. He had the nerve to return to his second semester of college and play his own life. I get it, it’s exactly what I wanted to do at his age, and yet, the ache is overwhelming. His presence filled a little something. It didn’t mask the grief, but softened it a bit.
The daughter, who has been sick, was actually away when he left. Despite some troubling stomach issues, she was able to rally and go on a youth group retreat which was fantastic for her. So, Sunday night, it was the hub, the dog and me. We were smart and met some friends for dinner, but the sadness was stronger than it’s been for a while.
That night, I was thinking about our early dating years, and thinking “weren’t we enough for each other?”. I think about our friends who don’t have kids and wonder about how they complete one another. I’m not saying that the marital thing isn’t working, I’m just feeling such longing for the family that we created.
I see young families and ache. I see young moms with young kids and know their angst; I know how hard it is and how annoying the kids can be and how they crave their alone time and I want to scream STOP- it isn’t so great on the other side. I miss my kids, I miss the chaos and G-d dammit I miss he who isn’t here.
He was a pain in the ass as a kid. Shit, he was always a pain in the ass, but he was SO MUCH FUN as he aged and came into himself. I miss that joy, that laugh, that silliness. His mind, crap the shit that came out of his mouth was sometimes unbelievable, I would say “who thinks that stuff?”. It was crass and crude and brilliant.
How could G-d take someone with so much potential? There was so much he could have done, so much good despite the somewhat crazy recklessness. His heart was in the right place, he cared so much about people, he wanted to be a Special Education teacher (ok, then had second thoughts because of the salary)…..but how could G-d take this thoughtful, caring kid and allow people like Donald Trump to lead our country?
I really think G-d was on sabbatical in 2016 and his replacement sucked. (I don’t even know if I believe in G-d, but it just got a lot easier thinking that the good loving G-d wouldn’t take my son and his replacement was some Trumper who is evil and heartless).
And, that’s where I am today…some kind of grief, depression filled existence that I try to numb with food which is an entirely other post…..and people keep telling me I am strong-WTF????
The sad. It is a beast of its own. It has a personality and its own moods. It can violently pour out of me, it can quietly stalk me. The sadness sometimes just leaks out without a warning and it sometimes sits on my chest like an elephant.
It can also go silent. When it’s silent does it mean that it isn’t there? Is it giving me a break? or is it waiting to accost me when it is good and ready?
When I don’t feel it for a while I worry, what’s wrong, where did it go? It has become so part of me, such a link to my boy that when I don’t feel it, I miss it as I miss him. I so worry that its absence means less connection to my boy.
I’ve read a hundred times and heard from professionals and other parents in the same revolting shoes that the grief doesn’t go away, but it shifts. And, that in time the sadness will be less and the joy of his life will be what we remember and honor. Okay, I’m not doubting it, but I am not there and I don’t know what that is like, and honestly, I’m tired of hearing it. I know they mean well, but…..
What I do know is that right now, nearly 9 months since he’s been gone, I STILL DON’T BELIEVE THIS IS REAL, I am still waiting for it to end, I am still thinking it’s just one huge nightmare, a never ending horrific nightmare, but there is still this place in me that thinks something is going to make it stop, like a teeny tiny glimmer of hope. WHAT THE HELL AM I HOPING FOR? He isn’t coming back and yet, I haven’t been able to fully completely grasp that.
His birthday is in three weeks. That day, twenty-two years ago, is when I became a mom. What the fuck? He broke me in as a parent and left me to continue with #2 and #3. It doesn’t seem right, he didn’t let me finish the job; and my goodness did he break me in, literally and figuratively (this kid was 9 pounds 11 ounces. I had a vaginal delivery with a fourth degree tear). That kind of baby has NO fucking right to leave this earth before me, his job is to stick around and pay for my pain and suffering. Instead, he has left and all I have is pain and suffering. (That part was supposed to be a little humorous, but it couldn’t even go there, Jesus, this is sad – like I said, the damn sad thing is insidious).
So, I write and I cry and I try to live. We do our new normal Thanksgiving, we are going away to avoid the December festivities. Man, would he love this trip, and the only reason we are going is because HE IS NOT HERE. All the college kids are taking exams, his friends are getting ready to graduate and HE IS NOT HERE.
The sad; it sits and wait to knock me down again and again, and by golly. it just sometimes is a relief and a comfort.
I was pretty f-ed up before; I am just one hot mess going forward.
that it didn’t happen.
that he isn’t gone.
I pretend that he is running around campus like a chicken with his head cut off. I pretend that he’ll call me on the way to class and bitch about something and tell me how busy he is and he has meetings here and there for government and fraternity and has two tests and is going to fail them miserably.
I pretend that he is concocting up another trip that is sure to cost us nothing if he uses miles and points and finagles this and that, so can he can he can he please go to (London, New York, Colorado or Fiji). My answer in my pretend is what it always was: NO.
I pretend that he is counting down the days until he comes home, right now it would be three days until he came home for Thanksgiving break. I pretend he has his speech about how he has to get out of here, he loves school, but he needs a break and can’t wait to get home. I pretend he has planned our sushi outing, our pho outing and Bagel Cafe. I also pretend he is doing is annual kvetching about how he hates Thanksgiving and the food, but can we buy this this and this on Black Friday for Chanukah.
I pretend that my he is part of our daily life.
I’m just pretending. It’s not going to happen and it hurts SO.DAMN.MUCH.