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

Siblings Day

April 10th is Siblings Day. Everyone posts pictures on social media of their siblings or children. I took a picture of my 3 while we waited in the car at the vet for the dog and all I saw was the missing piece. Another day that is just so hard after losing a child.

I came across this article and after reading it, felt a little lighter. Because just like Mother’s Day, Siblings Day was actually started from loss. A woman that lost her sister created the day on her sister’s birthday to memorialize her. My heart breaks for those have lost their siblings, their first friends.

https://modernloss.com/what-siblings-day-means-to-someone-with-a-dead-sister/?fbclid=IwAR0zTE146mjja2rPKU0DrlSaZiiKR_j_k1rjk-RSyCt34BRV01YrzkI36wM

I’ve been lucky in that sibling loss is about the only loss that I haven’t had to face. I’ve been lucky because I have my older sister. We have different mom’s, but you would never know, because we have more in common with each other than most would with an 11 year age gap.

She’s my person. She’s my go to for most things in life. Not only because she’s my sister, but also because she stepped up when my mom died when I was 16. She was the one who took me to visit colleges when I was a senior. She was the one that gave me my first credit card (and I’m sure promptly regretted it). My sister was the one who helped me to plan my wedding and spent countless hours with me when I had questions about my babies as a new mom. My sister was at the hospital when my son died and helped to plan his Memorial. She was there when my babies were born to help out at home with the other littles.

She didn’t have to do any of those things. We didn’t grow up together, we actually lived in different states. We didn’t get close until I was older, mostly due to the age gap. I am lucky. And I don’t think I have ever thanked her for everything that she has done. Because when I write it all out, it’s a lot. So thank you Deb. You are amazing. And I love you.