I started writing this a few weeks ago and am just now getting the chance to finish. Sorry.
Stan and I had a few days without the boys while they took a mini Spring Break vacation to Nana’s (thank you Nana, Grandpa and Jill!)
I realize how much the energy of my kids helps keep my mind ‘safe’ from the rabbit hole of grief. Within a few hours of them leaving I felt the walls of my grief starting to close in. It’s not that it isn’t there all the time because it is. It’s important to note…contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t get better. You learn to deal with it differently but the loss of someone important, someone so dear, someone too young to be gone is something that will never get better.
There are many times throughout the day I feel the grip of grief grabbing me by the neck. Yeah, grief is like that, it silently sneaks in and waits for the moment to grab you like an intruder in the dark…the kind with nothing but harm in mind. But the kids…they’re a dynamic and a powerful draw back to reality. The cascading giggles of joy from one of our boys washing over us or the shriek of battle over some toy or turn unrelinquished…good or bad, in that moment we are needed; needed to enjoy the moment or to pull on the black & white referee shirt and get down to what needs fixin’. In those moments, grief’s outstretched arms are too late and have to pull back in the shadows until another moment.
I realize I’m/we’re the Mr. Magoo’s (I am sooooooooo dating myself with this reference) of grief, unwittingly side stepping it’s outstretched arms yet another time. Of course nothing ever really bad happens to good ol’ Mr. Magoo but it’s the best reference I can come up with.
I could use the horror movie reference, for those who may not know sweet old Mr. Magoo, where the soon to be victim is able to side step their fate by choosing to go up the stairs rather than down or one room over another. All they are really doing is postponing the inevitable. I truly didn’t realize how much their wonderfully, beautiful little lives keep the vice grip of grief from grabbing a choke hold on us much more often than it actually does.
It was really overwhelming for me, this reality of the rawness of this grief, repeated so many times over such a short period of time. During dinner (ah yes, we went out…a real adult like dinner!), I told Stan what I had been experiencing and it gave us the opportunity to talk about it much more freely than we do most days or weeks for that matter. Seems like such an odd statement but having someone in your regular sphere who gets this world is truly complicated by the fact that we share the same loss. If the rawness for me is this close, it is equally so for Stan. Couple that we 3 darling little boys with bright blue eyes staring up at us, well it doesn’t really make for lots of open discussion opportunities.
It was a great conversation. We laughed, we remembered, we cried. Our poor waiter surely thought we were escapees from reality. But it was wonderful. We talked about how strange it all is and things we (ok, I…I’m really terrible about looking back and wondering what if) wished we’d done or handled different. Like, why didn’t we ask someone to bring a good ink pad so we could get really good hand and feet impressions? Ugh…this one kills me. So silly and yet so important when all you want is a piece of what you lost. I digress. How much we had to process with so little knowledge and time. How much we believed. How much we loved 4 little boys as much as we could during something so horrific and terrifying. We talked and shared and at one point, Stan looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “I just miss him.”
And that is it. I just miss him. All the heartache and wondering what if and hanging on to the physical things are all done in an effort to fill that void. It’s such a simple statement and through all of this, it is the key piece. Missing something so dear, missing sweet Declan. Wishing life could have been different but knowing his path was written on a level I am not privileged to understand at this time and waiting for the time we’ll get to see him again. Until then…
I just miss him.