Brave

I’m not feeling very brave. I’m feeling very beaten down and tired. I’m feeling overwhelmed by the fact that it has been 7 years since Benny died. And maybe if the world wasn’t a disaster, and school wasn’t a mess and work wasn’t overwhelming I could spend 5 minutes actually acknowledging this very fact.

My soul is weary. Maybe even more so than it was 7 years ago. The constant reminder of death, the statistics and the faceless people is too much to bear. Because I know how absolutely soul crushing it is for these families to have to try to pick up the pieces. But I don’t know how they do so in the absence of hugs and physical touch.

I don’t think that I’m fighting so much right now as I’m surviving. It seems to be a constant game of defense, as something new rears its ugly head to contend with. I don’t feel like I’m pushing away the waves as much as I’m being slammed by them. Over and over as I try to right myself and swim again.

Trust me, I very much want to give up some days. I want to get in my car and drive until I’m somewhere, anywhere. I want to be done with 2020 and all of its constant reminders to ‘enjoy every moment, because you never know when it will be your last.’ If anyone knows about death and loss, it’s me. My bingo card is filled to the brim. It’s overwhelming to constantly be reminded of this.

But I’m here. And tomorrow’s another day. And hopefully I will find my 5 minutes of peace with my grief. And if it’s brave to just exist right now, to just be, then maybe, just maybe, I am brave.

Those Back to School Photos

I’m beginning to see the smiling faces of all of my friends kids on social media, all gussied up for the first day of school…or remote learning…or homeschool. With everything going on over the last 6 months, I had forgotten.

No I didn’t forget Benny had died, the rainbows and I drove by the cemetery the other day blowing kisses and saying a hello. I had forgotten that yet another school year has begun. Another milestone has been missed. Another memory will never be.

This is a messed up year in a lot of ways and maybe that’s why it didn’t occur to me until I saw a child Benny’s age. They were all dressed up and smiling for their first day of 3rd grade. I cannot believe that he should be starting starting 3rd grade. I cannot believe that it has been that long.

I just had to sit and do the math over and over, because it’s hard for me to rationalize in my mind that he should be 8 years old right now. While this year has provided me with time with my living children, it has kept me so busy that I feel I have neglected time with my dead child. Time in general in 2020 seems to be an abstract concept.

So I’m sitting here, with really tired eyes because it’s been another busy day. And my head is spinning as our new school year is right around the corner. And I just needed to make some space. I needed to take a moment and wrap my head around the picture that I should be taking of my crazy 8 year old guy as he starts whatever version of school we would have chosen, without the guise of loss hanging overhead.

I can almost see the smile with those dimples. I can almost hear him and Darcy rough housing and bickering like my rainbows do. I can imagine that he would be a mess before I even had a chance to take a picture. Because he was always into something. I can almost feel the hug that I have been dying to give him since 2013 when this whole disaster started.

Another school year, another landmark missed. That’s the thing with grief, you don’t just lose somebody all at once, but rather in pieces, over time. My god, I miss you buddy.

Late to the Hamilton Party

We just finished watching Hamilton here tonight. There’s just so much to digest. I’m still not even sure what we watched because not only was it visually stunning and musically unique, there were so many phrases/lyrics that struck me.

‘There are moments that the words don’t reach
There is suffering too terrible to name
You hold your child as tight as you can
And push away the unimaginable
The moments when you’re in so deep
It feels easier to just swim down.’

‘There are moments that the words don’t reach
There is a grace too powerful to name
We push away what we can never understand
We push away the unimaginable’

Both of these passages are taken from the song ‘It’s Quiet Uptown’ and are actually about two parents after the loss of their son. I can tell you that I wasn’t expecting this from a musical about Alexander Hamilton.

In the background of the song the cast is singing, ‘they’re living in the unimaginable.’ That’s probably the best way to describe life after child loss. We are living in the unimaginable. No one can understand this life until they are thrown into it.

Another song that struck me was ‘Who Lives, Who Dies, Who tells your story.’ Because that’s what we do as parents of children who are gone. We tell their story. We say their names. We remind people that they were here.

‘And when you’re gone, who remembers your name? Who keeps your flame? Who tells your story?’

This of us that are stuck in the unimaginable tell your story. We remember and we keep your name alive. If you haven’t watched Hamilton, I highly recommend it. It’s beautiful from beginning to end.

Missing My Mama

This weekend is SO hard for me. I’ve lost my mom and my son. Add to that the snow, a pandemic, some murder hornets and by golly this is shaping up to be an explosion of anxiety and emotion!

What a weird year to be alive. It’s truly hard to try to stay present too with everything going on. Things seem to change from moment to moment, facts are no longer facts until they are again and the entire world is feeling the weight of the chaos happening right now. I keep saying it’s a lot because well, it is.

And you know what always makes everything better? Mom. I cannot tell you the number of times I have said in my head over the years, ‘I want my Mom.’ Anytime something big, awful or happy happens, it’s my first thought. It plays in my head on a loop.

Even though I’m forty, there is still nothing I would want more than to speak with my mom. To have had her there for all of the important and the tough times. Twenty four years later and little has happened to change that.

I’m going to share something I wrote 4 years ago because it still rings true. Happy Mother’s Day to all of the Motherless Daughters. I see you. I know what you want this Mother’s Day.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/what-ive-learned-in-the-20-years-since-my-mothers-death_b_9856944