Today I seriously began to second guess my decision to have Brandon's memorial at my church. I mean, where else could I have it, that church is like my home and Brandon has been going there with me since I was pregnant with Ariana. But, the same way my home is so full of Brandon that it is sad, so, too, is the church. The boy tired of children's church at a relatively young age, so I let him sit in the sanctuary with me. Sometimes, I MADE him go with me. He was a regular presence there, sitting next to me, and I sat there crying because he will never sit next to me, again.
Most people, or so they say, have their regular seats. We had our regular section, if not the same seats, and rarely strayed from it, but the last two times I have been there, I've purposely stayed away from the last place we sat. I guess I'll play this game of musical chairs until those seats don't trigger heartache and that's ok, as long as I don't let it run me from the place I need the most.
When I went to the prayer and worship night, just a week and a half after he died, my breath caught as I walked in the doors. A few of the flower arrangements were still there and I remembered the last thing I saw on the big screen...Brandon's pictures and his date of birth/death. It's hard to marry my happy place with my sad place. I cried for a good hour, sitting there. I sat there with my arms folded defensively, trying to convince myself that I did, indeed, still believe those songs I've sung for years. One friend came over and hugged me and told me everyone loves me and reminded me of the difference Brandon made in so many lives and what a phenomenal service it was. I told her that God could have all those people back, every one of them, I don't care about the difference, I want him back. I still feel that way. Sorta. I think I would do just about anything for 24 hours with my kid, hell, probably ONE hour with my kid, but the truth is, Brandon would never do the trade. Who would leave the presence of the almighty to come back to a hard world? No one. And, it's grace that Brandon had such a beautiful memorial that made the difference it did. God gave us such a gift in that child and, while I never realized how true my words were, when I told him, repeatedly, that the steps he makes today will effect generations to come, the true impact is grace washing over us, again and again.
So, I went back to the sad church today and, again, wondered how I'd be able to keep going, how I would ever be able to make that building my happy place, again, and God heard me. I wanted to be alone with my grief. God said it's ok, I'm sending someone, anyway, and you'll sit there. And, I did. I wanted to run, but I stayed. I heard a good message and then got some good counsel from the friend God sent over. Then, He sent more and what I thought would break my heart, soothed me. The hugs from people hurt, sometimes. You know? It's a reminder. They want to comfort you and make sure you know you are loved, but it hurts so badly that they need to comfort you. It's a fine line between leave me alone, stop feeling sorry for me, and please remind me that I matter and feel sorry for me. And, I don't know how to describe it any better than that, even though I think maybe it sounds crazy. Today, though, I actually laughed for a moment when I said Brandon's name. The mere mention of his name brings me to tears almost without exception, but I could laugh and someone laughed with me. Very briefly, but it happened.
I ended the day with a trip to see Brandon's best friend. It has been weighing heavily on my heart to have a talk with him. I needed to tell him not to feel guilty about anything that may have happened those last couple of days. He loved Brandon so much and the feeling was mutual. Brandon knew that we were all just trying to take care of him and keep him safe, even if he didn't like it. I know how horrible it is when the last words you say to someone are not I love you or an angry conversation took place, something I learned when I was just a pinch older than these boys, and I know the guilt can condemn you for years. Brandon wouldn't want that and I needed his friend to hear it from his mom's mouth, do NOT feel guilty. Honor my son by not leaving things unsaid, but do not carry guilt on your shoulders, it's not your burden. And, I think he and the other boys received it. I'm so thankful he had friends that have good memories of fun times.
No day has been without a ton of tears, for the last 22 days, I don't even know where they all come from, but if I can do something my boy would've wanted, it was an ok day, right?