Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Notes

A Holiday Memorial

As we light these 4 candles in honor of you, we light one for our grief, one for our courage, one for our memories and one for our love.

This candle represents our grief. The pain of losing you is intense. It reminds us of the depth of our love for you.

This candle represents our courage - to confront our sorrow, to comfort each other, to change our lives.

This candle is in your memory - the times we laughed, the times we cried, the times we were angry with each other, the silly things you did, the caring and joy you gave us.

This candle is the light of love. As we enter this holiday season, day by day we cherish the special place in our hearts that will always be reserved for you. We thank you for the gift your living brought to each of us. We love you.

My Grief Share facilitator and friend gave each of us these candles and the little saying, (adapted from The First Christmas After a Death by Susan Dunn) and it sits on my fireplace until Epiphany, with the other Christmas stuff. I do have to choke those words out as I say them, so I've only lit the candles a few times, but it's a sweet reminder of so many things.

The "short" story is that Christmas went better than I'd anticipated. I had my little meltdown and my blog spew beforehand (that post is coming on another's not a happy post so I don't want it here yet) and then everything was ok. Not great, but truly ok is a good thing. Someone asked me, the other night, how I was and in that moment I was actually of the only (if not THE only) times that's been a reality since May 18th and I didn't even realize it, until later that night. I truly know that prayer is sustaining us. Living without Brandon doesn't get easier as time goes on, at least not yet, and especially during the holidays, but two ok times within a few days is pretty remarkable.

There's a picture of the girl with her new jersey. Christmas didn't have to feel forced for any of us, I don't think. We did allow the girl to wake us up at 8am, which was most unpleasant for me since I hadn't slept at all or only slept for a couple of hours...I forget now which, but it wasn't much sleep, regardless. I figured I'd go right back to bed, as soon as we opened presents, but that didn't happen, so some things got rearranged a bit, which was also ok.

I have a new Christmas tradition: decorating a random tree (nothing fancy, just a few things that are gonna get blown away or whatever) with balloons and Christmas decorations. I plan on refining it a bit and having better decorations, maybe some battery powered lights and maybe Brandon's initials somewhere. I think this is a tradition that he would've thought was cool. The family thought I was nuts, but really who is gonna say no to the mom under these circumstances? No one in their right mind. I was unable, however, to convince them to drive me to the snow and real Christmas trees. Oh well. As an aside, I'm looking rather albino-ish for some reason and I'm short, but not that short...the man and girl stand on a hill.

One of Brandon's best friend's came by the day after Christmas and that was sorta hard. He brought scads of goodies that he made, which made me immediately think of Brandon because his family doing that always really touched my boy's heart. His friend is a good kid and really misses my boy and it's just a little unnerving to have to be the calm presence in the room because the poor thing is crying and crying. My heart hurts in so many different ways because of the loss of that kid. I'm so grateful that Brandon had friends like that in his life, though, and I really hope he understood how loved he was by so many people.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Dear Brandon,

I wonder...what does God allow you to see? I know there are no worries there, but are you praying for me? Do you see me crying in your room, do you hear me asking why I couldn't have gone, too? Can you feel the pangs of my guilt when I look at all I have, but can think of nothing except what's missing? Brandon, I don't know who I am, I'm so lost. You thought I was the glue, but I'm not, I don't think I can keep even one thing together without you.

On the surface, it looks ok. Do you see past the surface? I hope not. We are all cracks and facades and emotions teetering on the brink of destruction. We are faces in public, but faceless, without an identity, in private because half of our identity is gone. We are an ever so slight breeze away from being blown over the edge for good. I am scared.

Have you been by your room? Probably not, I guess. I keep the heat on in our bathroom and your door open, so it takes the chill off. I cannot bear to have your room cold, I come undone. Your dad is going to freak at the power bill, I think, but I don't care...your room will not be like a morgue. I said that because I know you'll get the irony in it. You'll see the humor. Such a wise, funny soul. I sure miss your laugh. I want to call you in from your room to look at a funny commercial. Come ask me to watch something on You Tube, I promise to not hate You Tube, anymore.

Were you there when I lit the candle for you, on the 8th? Did you hear the putz say MY name instead of yours? I'm not sure if you would've laughed or been ticked off. I would've been mad, then you'd have been really mad, then I'd have said, "It's ok, Brandon, be gracious, he has also lost a child." I did tell them that it wasn't nice because it really wasn't, but I was gracious about it. It's further proof that I don't belong with those people. You know, the people who've lost a child. This is not the way it's supposed to be. Dreading Christmas, worrying about the burden on Ariana, as the only child left, wondering if we ever knew who we were or if we'll ever be ANYTHING, again. How can I be one of those people? Can I join you. Please?

The tree is up. She is full of icicles, just like you would want. The angel is on top, also to your liking. We are thinking of trying to find a new angel, one that lights up. That would be ok, right? I don't think I can get rid of this one, though, because you grew up with her. I'm going to give the light-up star to Freecycle, though, because you never were fond of it. Both of you kids love the angel and I want what you want. I truly don't know how I will manage on Christmas. I'm trying not to think too much about it or I'll run away from it and that wouldn't be fair to your sister. I thought about having Max and Tyler over for tortilla soup (Max has asked a couple of times), but I don't think I can yet. If one of them sits in your chair, I'll have to excuse myself and that wouldn't be very polite. So, what will we do? I don't know. You won't be here to give me any presents and the only present I want is you. Could you put in a word with God tonight, tell him your mom really needs some help or she may not make it? I'd appreciate it. I love you and miss you so very much, Brando! I hope to see you in my dreams soon.

Love, Mom-O

p.s. better put in a word for your stubborn grandpa, too...although I bet you already have, you're a good kid! Oh and say hi to Paul Walker for me, would ya :))

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

200 Days

Two hundred days of:

-Racing heartbeat
-A heart that barely beats
-Fears about my daughter
-Face in my hands
-Giving up
-Dreams about Brandon
-Late night sobbing into the pillow

Those are just 25 of the things that I have felt/experienced in the last 200 days. Most of those things weave in and out in the same day, along with many other feelings that, at times, seem impossible to corral. I miss Brandon so much, it's hard to believe that there will one day be a world that is ok or seems out of reach, most days.

Thanksgiving was ignored, but Christmas must be dealt with. Right behind Christmas will be 2014. How can we be living in 2014 and how can the calendar have the nerve to flip to a whole other year...a different year than the one my boy died in? I don't want another year. I want the others back. How can I just go back? I want it, more than anything right now.

Christmas will be here, before we know it. The passage of time is like a clock spinning wildly out of control, the arms crossing each other, every few seconds, while we watch, bewildered. So, I got my decorations out, before time got even more out of control. I actually got all the fall stuff put away and a few of the Christmas decorations up. My goal was just to get anything up by yesterday. I managed that. Mostly through tears. We are not a family of three, we are a family of four, what in the hell will we do without Brandon here, how will we make it? How could we even want to make it? But we do, we will, in spite of ourselves. Our hearts long for some joy, some freedom from all the pain, a memory to bring even a faint smile, instead of a flood of tears for all the memories we will never get to make. We will do whatever it takes to cushion the blow for my daughter, who is now an only child. I pray that by trying to soften the blow for her, my husband and I will also be able to consider the miracle in the date we're observing and remember that there are many other miracles to come in this life.

I did do something good for myself. Rather than stay on the path of self destruction I was on, I've changed a few of them is that I quit smoking, again. Last year, I managed to not start smoking through Brandon almost dying in front of me, but losing him sent me right back there. I gave myself six months. I went beyond that a little bit, to November 30th, but that was my last day. It's not easy this time around because I'd been smoking way more than I ever have and just not caring about the fallout, but I'm praying that my stubbornness serves me well. I have some other things I need to address, like getting in shape, and I'll get there in my own time. I don't want this life to drag by miserably. I want it flying by with lots of fun times. I want to be with my son, but I don't want to go dragging a burdened, miserable body to the gates of heaven, just glad I got there and missing life in the process. Brandon would want us all living. In fact, I'm sure our victories are his, as well, so I'm on the lookout for even the smallest of victories to share with him.