Monday, I sent my daughter off to spend a couple of days with my dad, before they both flew to New Orleans yesterday. It's been hard not to talk about it, but it was a surprise for my sister. I don't keep secrets well, mostly because I don't lie well, but it seems we pulled it off. This trip had been planned for about six weeks prior to Brandon's death or, believe me, she would not have been going. Sixteen days we will be apart. She has never been away from me for 16 days and, really, I don't think this is a good time to start doing drastic things. Yes, that's drastic. Right now. She is the only child I have left and letting her go so far away is hard.
Equally hard was leaving my house...Brandon's house. I flew to Vegas to stay with my Mama so that I wouldn't have to stay alone in his house for 16 days, but leaving took a lot of strength. I have good people house/dog sitting. Still, it took a lot of strength. I want to be where there are so many memories of the boy. Being around those memories still breaks my heart. So many fine lines in life right now.
From the time Brandon was born, I have checked on him, every single night that he was home. Ariana never worried me quite as much. Even if I would forget to check on him, and just climb in bed, my heart would beat wildly and I'd be filled with dread over what could happen and what if, by not checking on him, I cost him his life? With Ariana, I was comforted by praying over her and trusting she was safe. I had to see Brandon with my own eyes and know he was breathing.
In this house, Brandon and I have a Jack & Jill bathroom between our rooms. So, every night, I'd walk down the couple of steps and slide open the door to his room and check on him or tell him to take his meds and get some rest. Since his death, I still walk in there and check on his room, every single night. I look around and make sure things are "ok". At times, I'm tempted to pretend that Brandon will be back. If I thought I could get away with it, I would fully embrace denial and pretend that he's away at college...then medical school...then his internship...and just too busy to call. It seems so much easier than leaning into this sadness. What I decided, instead, was that I would keep looking at Brandon's room to remind myself that he is really.not.coming.back. When I look in his room, I can still see Baze in there, curled up on his bed with one of his shirts, absolutely broken, crying because our son would never be back. It makes it hard to deny the reality with memories like those.
So, I got on an airplane yesterday. And cried. For two hours. Quiet, subtle crying, tears welled up in my eyes, much of the time, blurring everything around me. I wanted to sob and tell the woman complaining about her peanuts that my son was dead. Do effing airplane peanuts really matter. Who cares if they're stale. Hush up. I wanted the whole plane to know that my son just died. He was only nineteen. NINETEEN! I wanted to show them his picture, show them what a beautiful life was just snatched away, tell them how much I hate death. I wanted to tell them that even in this, life's cruelest of tragedies, the deepest sorrow anyone could go through, it doesn't mean I've reached maximum capacity. Life still goes on. There will be more pain and suffering. In my life. How fair is that? I told them nothing because I think the Marshals would tackle me, but mostly because I don't want to tell them those things. I want to sit and have my private grieving session. With a couple hundred strangers.
And, while I was sitting there, crying over having to leave Brandon, it suddenly struck me...my husband had to fly home to his dead son. Imagining having to fly home after learning of my son's death was too much. I started shaking and had to dig furiously in my purse for Kleenex becase the tears were spilling over, everywhere, and my nose was running like crazy and my stomach was shaking from the sobs wanting to escape. Oh my gosh, the agony. How did my husband do it? I guess the same way we are doing all of this...no choice, we have been forced, the clock keeps moving forward and we go with it, like it or not. And, then he had to fly back home with the knowledge that he would never come back to a house with Brandon in it. It's hard for me to believe that with half a heart, I have to endure my own grief, much less the grief of a spouse bearing the same pain. I hurt so badly for someone else having to live this pain. He doesn't talk much about it and I don't push because it hurts me, too, talking to my sweet son's other parent, and I don't want him to know I'm crying in the background because his grieving heart cannot take it.
Still trying to remember to breathe. I have to apply the oxygen mask to myself, first, before trying to help someone else.