Thursday, November 11, 2010

a rough night

November 3, 2010
Dear Brian,

I pray that heaven is as I describe it to the boyz. I do not understand it, but I have heard it described as a place void of and incapable of having any sadness, longing, jealousy, anger, or any negative emotions. And if it isn't, I pray you do not have the omniscience I inquired about last post.

Tonight, as I was putting away some of Grant's laundry, I noticed his looking at the photo collage of you and him on his wall. I peeked up at him sitting on his bed looking off into the distance and asked what he was looking at, knowing full well what he was doing. He said, "My daddy pictures". I noticed his voice cracked and he immediately looked down. I asked if he was okay, which of course he answered that he was. So, I asked if he wanted me to lay with him for a while and cry.

For the next hour and a half, he cried inconsolably. The only other time I have heard him or any child cry like that for a JUST CAUSE was March 17, 2009 when I had to tell our boyz who had been away for a couple days that Daddy had died that morning. That task is another one of those events that brings about certain tears when I relive it. To even write the words is horrific: I had to tell my 6 and 7 year old boyz that their daddy died while they were away. While seemingly handling the news okay, within an hour, Grant came running to me in a panic and cried inconsolably for a sold hour that day. It was the worst cry I have ever witnessed because it was so pure, so genuine and so justified. There were no words. No answers. All I could do was hold him and tell him, "I know" over and over again. In my mind I prayed I never heard such a cry again.

Tonight, I heard the cry again. I pray that either you can't hear it or you can't feel the emotions it stirs to those of us on earth. To hear your child moan in anguish over something you can never give them or fix for them is beyond heart breaking. I heard it for a solid hour and a half realizing there are no words that can ease the pain.

I heard him moan:
Daddy, I miss you just so so so much.
Daddy, I love you.
This isn't fair to me.
I wish life didn't have to be this way. I miss my Daddy.
I'm gonna go to your grave tomorrow and spend hours and hours there just praying.
I might keep crying all night. I have so many tears to get out and i think I have a million more. I may never be able to stop crying.
I can't get him out of my head. I keep thinking about everything with him.
That cup makes me think of him.
That song you are singing makes me think of him.

He apologized to me for making me cry and for getting me wet with his tears until he finally passed out from exhaustion on the floor next to my bed.

November 4, 2010
Dear Brian,

As promised, I picked up Grant and Gavin from school today to let Grant go to your grave. My co-worker wouldn't let me pay for my lunch today and insisted I use the money to buy the boyz an ice cream tonight instead. We stopped and got milkshakes.

Grant wrote you notes at school today. I snapped some shots of what he wrote. They reiterate what he lamented last night.

One thought that came to my mind last night as he was crying was over the new man in my life. He is amazing and he loves me deeply and it is obvious to me and must be to the boyz. I believe my reciprocated feelings for him are also obvious. He spends more and more time with us as a family and is becoming an important part of all of our lives. Grant is quite taken by him and is very "all-in" as I had stated in my last post with his emotions. It is quite obvious to anyone that watches them interact that Grant loves him. (BTW, to my guy, sorry for referring to you as a pronoun. Don't wanna reveal your name on the blog unless we have talked about it first.) I had thought perhaps Grant's feelings for him were making him feel guilty or confused as he mourned you, and perhaps that was causing some of his outbreak. So, I spoke to him briefly about it being okay to love someone else and still be sad for you. That I feel the same way, but that you wanted all of us to find someone in our lives that could make us happy and vice versa. He assured me it was not the case for his tears, but then I saw this letter he wrote to you:

We went to the cemetery. Grant began his uncontrollable sobs again. He sat on my lap on the ground crying over you and how much he misses you. It was cold outside. Cold and windy. I sat with him a while. Gavin watched us both and stated. "I wonder why I'm not crying." I told him it was okay to be sad and okay not to be sad, that we all feel things at different times. Gavin went to the car to warm up. Grant cried for about 30 minutes as hard as he did the night before. He said to me, as he traced the letters of your name with his finger on your tombstone, "I wish so bad we could just pull this up." I asked him, "Why?" He said, "So I could see daddy again." OH HOW I REMEMBER THAT FEELING. It was months before I could go to the cemetery because I could not handle the thought of your body in the earth. It was all I had to resist the urge to dig. Yes, it is strange, but I wanted to see you or save your body or somehow realize it was all a mistake or something. I assured him it was just your body and not you there anymore. He yelled at me, "I JUST WANNA SEE HIM ONE MORE TIME SO BAD, MOM!" So, I hugged him tighter and cried with him knowing and understanding.

Eventually, the cold got to me. I gave him my gloves, I did not have a hat. I saw Gavin getting antsy. Gavin asked me if he could kick around his soccer ball. My instinct was to say no thinking it was disrespectful at a cemetery. We were the only ones there. I had just told him it was okay for him not to be sad. It is a grassy area. So, I said, "sure." It was very interesting to watch their contrasting emotions and coping mechanisms. Gavin smiling and kicking a soccer ball and Grant on his knees sobbing and occasionally burying his face in the grass.

I felt odd doing it, but I snapped some shots thinking that some day they may want to remember how they felt those days when they are happy and wonder if they were ever sad over your death or when they are sad and wonder if they were ever happy despite your death.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

it's in the air

Dear Brian,

Today you would have been 38. You didn't see 37 on this earth. Are there birthdays in heaven? Since you are no longer in your body, I have assumed there are not. I have often wondered what age you are in heaven. How will I recognize you? Will I be old and gray and you will be forever 36? Do you even see other heavenly souls as they appeared on earth at all or is there an entirely different realm of recognition that we on earth cannot comprehend because we are limited to the senses we use in this earthly body? Do you gain an omniscience in heaven? Can you see us on earth?

If so, then you would know the struggles I have been having lately.

I do not love this time of year. It isn't fair to the boyz for me to have this demeanor right now. This is a fun time for them. They love Halloween and I squelch their excitement becoming Scrooge-like regarding all the stimulation, candy and costumes. Some of my apathy may be warranted - additional candy in the boyz' sugar-filled world and the agonizing costume decision-making process, yet I remember my own enthusiasm as a child for particular events and occasions. Pure unadulterated excitement. The boyz have that excitement but I get so involved in my own struggles regarding this time of year I am not only missing it, I am discouraging it.

This time of year reminds me so much of you and I get very wrapped up in thoughts of you - thoughts that cause me much confusion. Fall was YOUR time. You loved the cooler weather. You loved the crisp air and the preparations for the winter nesting season ahead. You cleaned and organized the garage. You prepared the cars with a good coat of wax for the winter. This is football season and you would sometimes veg out on that couch for hours watching your favorite teams. This is hockey season and you personified hockey for me. You loved Halloween - dressing up, taking the boyz trick or treating, carving pumpkins and eating pumpkin seeds. We did carve pumpkins this year again. The boyz love it, too. This year they even helped with removing the insides of the pumpkin. However, I did not save a single pumpkin seed. As each one was tossed, I thought of you and how you would squeeze through all the pumpkin guts to extract the seeds. I was ever so thankful to have less mess as none of us desired to ingest a nicely roasted pumpkin seed later. I know you would have sighed and shook your head at that, but I am REALLY okay with that.

Additionally, this time of year reminds me of all the struggles of 2 years ago when life took the more certain steps towards your death. When I took the first steps to call hospice as you took a sudden turn for the worse. When you ended up in the hospital again with another surgery. When Gavin ended up in the hospital just a few hours after you were released. I get overwhelmed sometimes at the thoughts of what my life was like, of what our boyz witnessed, of the constant turmoil we lived in the midst of and I simply break down. I don't understand it because I am going about life just fine now and in the midst of that turmoil, we had peace and joy and we loved life. However, remembering it all, it is almost as if I actually FEEL the chaos and trauma that we SHOULD have felt at the time. I guess at the time, God's spirit took control to help us not only survive, but ENJOY the time. Today, God's spirit is with me in THIS present time but I am overcome with emotion at what we lived through.

Also, today is your birthday.

I get sad.
I get angry.
I get bitter.
Mostly, though, I get confused.

Confused because I have all these thoughts and emotions regarding you right now. I know the boyz do to. Confused because life is going really well for all of us. Confused because you are flooding my mind with the past despite that someone else is filling my present. I think it is fair to say that confused can best describe what anyone would feel mourning a past that will never be while they are falling in love with someone else wondering what the future holds for them.

Confused because I can't seem to let myself just let go and enjoy life and the good things that are in it. I find something wrong with every situation. If I can't find something wrong with the situation or with someone else, I find something wrong with myself. I'm not spending enough time with the boyz. I'm helping them too much with their homework. I'm not helping them enough with their school work. I have them in too many activities. I don't have them in enough activities. I have too much to do around the house that I never get to. I need to do more projects around the house. That takes time away from the boyz. I need to work out more. I need to work out less because it takes too much time. Things with my guy are going swimmingly. Things with my guy are going TOO swimmingly for how long we have known each other so something must be wrong. You get the idea.

I continue to sabotage my own happiness. It is as if I have become so guarded in my life and what I have endured that I cannot just allow good things to enter my life for fear of losing that good thing. If I stay guarded and wait for the shoe to drop, when it does, I will be ready. I will stay strong and I will overcome.

Because that is what has defined me for so long - I cope, I overcome, I keep my faith, I move on. It is difficult to change my thought pattern to accepting blessings as things that may STAY. Changing to such a way of thinking opens me up to vulnerability. Living like that means I am no longer afraid of losing.

I see it in every one of us - me, Gavin and Grant.

I see that Grant has changed. He is living for the blessing of today assuming it will still be here tomorrow. And he is happy. Happier than I have seen him in years. It is a beautiful thing to witness.

Gavin is guarded. He is cautious. He finds wrongs in every right. Maybe it is his age and that he is also afraid of accepting the blessings of today for fear they will be gone tomorrow. Gavin is me.

I know what you wanted for me and for the boyz. We talked about it several times. My prayer right now is that we can all move forward with receiving the good times, the good people, the good blessings that are bestowed upon us with the same assumption that they will continue to be here tomorrow that the rest of the world lives by.

I pray this "difficult" time of year and your birthday can transform into the milestone marking the time that Angie and the boyz began living assuming the present can evolve into a beautiful and blessed future.