It has now been 1096 days since Brandon died. Please understand it is NOWHERE near enough time to simply be over it or "be ok now," as someone suggested to Ariana. This was an adult with children of her own who should've known better than to make such a cavalier suggestion, but it wasn't meant maliciously, so there isn't much to be done and Ariana is far too tactful to correct this person. That time doesn't exist. Yes, you learn to live with it because you must, there is no choice, but the quality of living varies greatly from one person to the next and from one day to the next. There will forever be days that we dread. For us, this is the biggie. The day that rude, new normal, intruded upon our lives.
I posted something on facebook, one day before Brandon died, and I saw it in my memories today. It has stuck with me, since I saw it yesterday morning, and it simply said, 'I wonder at what point a small crisis of faith is deemed big.' I had forgotten I'd posted that, I don't remember doing it, actually, and I have sat and marveled over my naivete many times throughout the day. It seems so weird that I was completely unaware of the devastation that was about befall me and how I'd come to really understand what a crisis of faith looked like. I had no idea. God knew. That my only son, my precious firstborn, would be dead and in almost exactly 24 hours, I'd receive a phone call that would, literally, take me to my knees.
And, I think that's where the rubber meets the road. You can stay on your knees, at the Almighty's feet, the only place there is true healing (for me) or you can get up and hightail it out of there and keep running, not daring to look back at the one who took your child. That my son can be spoken of in past tense devastates me. I'm still like a deer in headlights when someone asks me how many kids I have. I'll never forget sobbing out the words to Ariana that her brother was dead. I have no idea what it even looked like her from her side because I haven't been in her shoes and I was too consumed by my own grief to think about how to be the mom in that moment. I'm so thankful she didn't react the way I did because I don't think I could've handled it.
I know I'm pretty much a variation on the same theme, as I try to get through this. My faith is intact, but certainly not without a lot of scars. I've questioned God and gotten no answers and I know that is ok, I trust. But then...I ache....I cry...I sob quietly...and then I furiously wipe away the tears and will myself to think of anything else except the thing that still causes my body to recoil from the pain. I can run mentally. My mind is a size 0 from the running. Then I think of the inevitable in having to eventually face this pain that I just cannot bear and I want to get through it not around it and I'm stopped again.
I can pray, again, without completely falling apart every single time, but I cannot stay there, I cannot linger or my mind drifts to the questions with no answers. How can he be dead? Why can't I see him just one more time? Why didn't you warn me? Why did you take one half of my very existence and leave me here to grieve for the rest of my life? I'm not mad. I've yet to really ever get seriously angry that Brandon is gone, you know the movie style of anger, shaking my fist at God and hating the universe. I am not without questions or real struggles, ugly, deep, wounds, but I am nothing without God.
Every year I marvel that I had no clue what was coming. I'm still just in shock that my life seemed so normal. I made plans like they were going to happen, plans that included Brandon and it still feels a little like the universe laughed at my silliness. In reality, a loving father cried with me and didn't want that for me and it's because of him that my blog says what it does 'death does not have the final word.' One day, we shall meet again. Three very long years without my boy wonder puts me three years closer to eternity with him. The faith in that drives me to at least try to keep my eyes upward and remember who is control. It's hard, but I'm here.
Incidentally, the day of the boy's death, just a little over 12 hours before I found out he was gone, I posted this on my Facebook wall: You don't know what beautiful and great things God can do with your broken heart, your broken pieces, your upside down world, your bad decision, life's injustices until give it all to him. That post popped up on the "wrong day," somehow and I posted it because it struck a chord with me. That post popped up right where it belonged.
My daughter has the first five words of this tattooed on her arm. Brando loved this, I'm trying very hard to practice it.