Thursday, May 15, 2014

The First Mother's Day

I thought I'd gotten through all of the firsts, leading up to the date that Brandon died.  As it turns out, I'd forgotten all about Mother's Day, which happened to fall exactly one week to the day before the "anniversary" of Brandon's death.  Deathiversay?  I don't know what to call it.  It's not something you celebrate, that's for damn sure, but it's also not something you'll ever forget and you'll be watching the calendar for weeks ahead of time.  I guess it's like Memorial Day is supposed to be...a time of solemn remembrance.  I've never done this before, I guess I'll probably do it wrong. 

I think I've been pretty well covered in prayer because the days that I dread with all of my being end up being sorta ok, it's the days leading up to it that really get me.  You have all this expectation of pain, so you're flinching way ahead of time, trying to brace yourself for what's to come.  Of course, this doesn't help the pain any, but I suppose it's part of that fight or flight instinct. 

Brandon died right after Mother's Day last year.  I mean, who has to lose their child right after Mother's Day?  It's completely unfair.  Truly, though, I can't think of a good day to lose a child, but he died right after Mother's Day and right before Father's Day.  It's hard.  Really, really hard.  We still have a daughter and we still have to be parents and she needs to know that she's enough and she really is, but the hole is still so deep, the wound still so fresh. 

I still catch myself in total disbelief that this is MY life.  I was talking to my sweet friend, K, who is a few years ahead of me on this agonizing journey, and I asked her if she ever still feels that way, like it can't be true, like it's all just surreal.  She said that, even after all this time, she still feels that way.  I wonder if that will go away.  Maybe that's some part of acceptance and maybe I'm not there yet.  I don't want to accept that this is my life.  I really could not have given birth to my first child 20 years ago and not have him now.  Never in my wildest dreams could I have pictured that it'd end up just being me and my daughter. 

So, I am still avoiding.  I'm starting to count calories and you know I'm looking for some serious distraction when *I* start counting calories.  Lately, I don't even feel like I'm part of the world.  The sun has been shining, it's been absolutely beautiful here and I don't want any part of it.  I've spent way too much time with the covers pulled up to my chin, staring off into space. Today, I noticed that I was smiling during a conversation that I felt like I was watching, rather than being a part of it.  It's a strange fog that I didn't expect to have to feel, again, but it's back.  I drive down the street listening to a song that isn't remotely sad and I realize I can't stop crying.  My body, I guess, has decided it knows what is really going on, in spite of my trying to pretend otherwise. 

On Mother's Day, the hardest thing was looking at the door that connected our bathroom/bedrooms.  I miss hearing the sound of his door sliding open and the knob turning on the door to my bedroom and Brandon coming in to say hi or sit and talk or show me something funny.  The crappy thing is that, while I lie in my bed throwing my pity party, I'm staring right at that door, a constant reminder of who is not coming through that door.  And, still I stay there, asking and yet not really asking, could you have let this happen?  There are no answers, not that I want, anyway.  I know it's grace, mercy in action, but still there are so many what-ifs, so many tortuous thoughts.

Thank God for my daughter, my saving grace.  She worries about me and cares for me in a way that I wish she did not have to.  Her life should be carefree and filled with girlie drama, not loss, sadness, death.  I am so grateful for her, though, and her attention to the details of my life.  What a strong girl she is, I can't wait to watch the story of her life unfold. 

The picture is the last card I received from my son, for last Mother's Day.  What a precious boy I had.

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