Tuesday, August 31, 2010

18 months

He's been gone 18 months.

I feel very differently than I did at a year. I'm thankful for that.

Most days it's okay. Okay like the holocaust is okay, or 9/11 is okay. Of course it's not okay, but we all still get up, go to work, take care of our kids, watch tv in the evenings. Life goes on. Not his, but every one else's goes on. I don't cry most days. I don't feel overwhelmingly sad most days.

But every time I climb my stairs to go to my bedroom I walk past his door. I see the black and white sketch that a friend did of him holding a zucchini, hanging on the wall. I see the firetruck bed that my husband built, with him. I see his ashes sitting on his bookshelf. And if I stop to think about it, it makes me sad. Really sad.

So most days I don't.

There's not a hallmark ending to losing your child, the moment at the end of the movie when the music swells and everyone comes together for a warm group hug with a couple of happy tears. Sometimes I think there's a piece of me waiting for that.

It's a slow fade of pain, loss, sadness, that grows more distant, but doesn't go away. And the more distant it is, the more distant he is.

18 months is a huge amount of time for kids. The girls are different people than they were when he was diagnosed, when he was sick, and when he died. One of my consolations in his death is their relief. They do not seem to suffer the way that my husband and I do. But as much as he fades for me, it is tenfold for them. It's the way of a child's memory. Their brother is being lost to them.

My grandmother is 95. Our phone conversations are almost all about dead people, people so important to her, some that I never knew, (hoping here that I'm not the only callous granddaughter), many that I don't really care about. I listen, because she needs me to. When do I become her? When will no one remember him but me? When will no one want to talk about him but me? What can you say about a 3 year old, 2 years, 20 years, 50 years later?

I started this saying it was okay. It has to be okay. I am losing him again, and I can't stop it, just like I couldn't the first time. It has to be okay.


Granya said...

All who knew him will remember him. And I would think that all that remember him are happy to talk about him - anytime.

It's a comfort to remember, it's even a comfort to cry after 18 months. I got to spend time with two of my grandsons today and as I anticipated it, I teared up with joy. And as I teared up, Henry came to mind, and I cried.

Karen said...

I never met him. But I remember him through the words you share, and I think of him when I look at my most marvelous twenty-month-old, and I will be glad to hear more recollections if and as you post them.

It's not the same, of course. It's not what you want. But...I drove past a highway exit sign trying to entice drivers to a Chick-fil-A last month, and I thought of a beautiful boy I never met. He was beloved, and he still is, and I hope that knowing that can offer some small crumb of comfort to you.

If your words, your recollections, your stories can so imprint him on a complete stranger--you will be able to do the same for your girls.

rlbates said...

Would it help to tell all of us, your willing listeners, about him. Tell us every story you can remember, as many times as you need or want to. Share with us all the funny stories, the embarrassing stories, the sad ones, all of them. I for one will listen.

A Doc 2 Be said...

My own son has been gone almost 24 years.

I still talk about him when the time arises...

People still read here - they come to my blog, and find yours. In your honesty, and relating, they find comfort and remember Henry.

We all remember Henry; even those of us who never met him.

Continued blessings to you and your family, as you are to many others.

radioactive girl said...

If it makes you feel any better at all, I think about him every single day and I didn't even know him. I don't think there will ever be a day when I don't think about him. I am not sure why, but I will always carry him (and you, and your family) with me in my heart.

Gosh, I hope that doesn't sound creepy or stalkerish...I hope you know me well enough to understand what I mean and that I mean it in a loving way and not a crazy person way.

Jobbing Doctor said...

My own son died 20 years ago.

I think of him still a lot, but he would be an adult now. The pain is always there and you learn to live with it.

Whenever I am stressed, and I think of what I have been through then tears are not far away.


Julie said...

My grandmother lost a daughter at 2yo. She still talks about her all these years later (said grandmother is now 99), and we're all still happy to listen. We don't have memories to share, but my aunt is most definitely part of the family and part of the family story. She isn't forgotten. Henry won't be either.

pieceofmind said...

As one who lost an adult brother 5 years ago, I weep with you. I never had the privilege of knowing, Henry in the flesh. And yet, he’s here whispering on the pages of your blog, reaching out to others in your tears, lurking in the genetic mannerisms that all families share, even perhaps in the hidden grief of your daughters.

As one who felt pressure to push expressions of grief down too soon, for the sake of others or the non-grieving –world, I encourage you to write, blog, weep, cry, scream as long as need be. We will sacredly hold this space for you.

Anonymous said...

I agree with all the previous writers....we are always anxious to hear more about our hero.

love k3p3

Sybil said...

You sure hitit on the head when you said
"It's a slow fade of pain, loss, sadness, that grows more distant, but doesn't go away. And the more distant it is, the more distant he is."
and I think that it is that distance that really tears at our hearts. As you know my darling God daughetr died it is now 16 months ago and I still have that emty ache. Her dear Father will soon be joining her and just the other day he mentioned that he hadn't seen her ..where was she...it was wrenching to have to remind him, but he suddenly remembered and said, ..Oh thats ok then , she will be there for me at least, good...
keep smiling friend if I can be so presumtious as to call you that, as after so long reading your words you sure feel like a friend,
Love Sybil

...tom... said...


Wow. I thought you could write Dr. Smak. But your readers/commenters here ...wow..!!


As Karen mentioned early, many of us had never met Henry. But we all carry 'memories' of him, his mother, his family, his life ...we carry those memories with us.

They serve as a touchstone for us when we feel beaten down by life or troubled by our own little 'aches and pains'.

Perhaps in a way your words, memories, and shared pain will prepare us for our own true moments of loss.

Do not value this lightly.

Do know we value Henry's story and your story highly as well...


Arlene (AJ) said...

No one gets over losing a loved son and losing a child is extra painful and my heart aches for you. Time will each the pain but you'll always remember and that's because you loved your son so much. Bless you all.