Fried Chicken

Today is Easter and it was just one more holiday that we had to get through without Drew. When we were discussing what we wanted to do the only consensus was that we didn’t want to do what we always do. We knew we needed to do eggs and baskets for the girls but that is as far as I thought. Randall and I were talking about what we wanted to have for Easter dinner. I knew I didn’t have it in me to do a big meal. We bounced around a few ideas a roast or bbq. Then fried chicken was mentioned. The thought of even making fried chicken makes me lose my breath.

If anyone knew Drew you knew he loved food. There weren’t many things that I could make that he didn’t like. There were days he would eat like he had never eaten before in his life. There are a few things that make me think of Drew and fried chicken is one of them. There was a running joke in our house that if we wanted Drew to come around just make fried chicken. He had this sixth sense and almost no fail I would be making fried chicken he would either walk in or call me and ask what was for dinner. I have not made fried chicken since he died. I’m not entirely sure I can do it all now. The thought of knowing he will never be able to walk through that door just breaks my heart. It makes it hard to breath and makes my heart and body so heavy I can’t do anything else for awhile. There was so much laughter in the house when he would once again walk through the door and say “hey mama, I thought I smelled chicken”. Madison would yell at him “stray cat go home”. Oh how I wish I can hear  them argue again.

There were so many things that Drew had a sixth sense about. My Grandmother and Uncle used to live in Sapello, NM, which is north of Las Vegas. We would make this trip practically every weekend and every break they would have for school. I am sure I made this drive hundreds of times. The kids would load up their stuff and buckle up and we would be on the road. The drive was just a little over an hour from here to there. It was almost a given that Drew would look up from his game, or whatever he was doing, and ask us where we were at. Every single time he would do this we would be passing the sign to Villanueva. I’m not sure he even did it on purpose. I would laugh and shake my head and tell him we are at Villanueva. I told him that when he was grown he should look for land in Villanueva because he obviously had a connection to the place. We stopped a few times so we could see what was drawing him to the place. I never saw it but he said that a cabin out there would be perfect. He wanted a cabin in the woods so he could go fishing whenever he wanted and “not be bothered”. I think Drew would have lasted a few days but he enjoyed peoples company too much.

That’s the worst part about when you have a child die. All their dreams are gone. All your dreams for them are gone. You never know what moment will stick in your head and remind you of them. You don’t know what will trigger a memory that will make you weak in the knees. I’ve been told that if I just do it (whatever it is) then it will take the power out the memory and I will be ok. Here’s the deal….my son died. I don’t want to take those memories. They are all I have left. I can never make him fried chicken again. I can never gripe at him for leaving his one sock in the living room floor. I will never be ok. I will be able to live and I will be able to other things for my family but no, I will never be ok. I carried him in my body for nine months and I made sure he was safe as he was growing up. Then there was a moment that I could no longer do that and now he is gone. I don’t want to be told “just do this” and life will go on…..if it makes me sad to make fried chicken respect that. Respect that there are things that are harder than others and you may not understand and I am glad you don’t but respect that we are doing the best we can.

Thankfully we were asked to come over to a friends house for lunch and egg hunt. I didn’t have to worry about cooking but I still felt my ever present hole in my heart. Drew should have been there today. He should have been helping Molly find eggs, and helping hide the eggs for the older kids. He would have had fun. Today I felt the hole in my heart a little more than usual.

Breathing

It’s been one of those weeks that even breathing is hard. My longing for my son makes my whole body hurt. I sat today at work and cried all day at my desk while I was doing such mind numbing activities. Today I wondered how I am supposed to go on with this pain inside my chest. How I am supposed to do all the things that are needed of me without him. Shel Silversteing quote about son's

It’s no lie that grief ebbs and flows. It’s either the soft waves of sadness or like this week the tsunami of feelings ripping to come to the surface. I had been doing so well for the past few weeks. I keep thinking that if I keep busy then the pain can’t catch up to me. I now know I was lying to myself. I have no idea why this week is so much harder than the past few. Maybe it’s because the season is changing and Drew would have loved to pull out his fishing pole and look for a place to set camp. There are so many things that make me think of him. And once the tears start flowing they are almost impossible to stop. I hate when that happens because then not only does my heart hurt but I physically feel worn out.

They say that immense grief is a sign of your love for the person that died. There are so many things I loved about Drew. When he was little I counted down the time till he would finally go to sleep just so that I could have a few moments without all his intense energy. Then he got a little older and I couldn’t wait till we were done with all the field trips and he could do more things on his own. He got older and I impatiently waited for those crappy teenager years to pass, people would tell me just wait when he hits 20 something all the pissy attitudes will be a distant memory. He was just starting to become a man, to come into his own. Now he’s gone. I will never be able to tell if he took in all my life lessons. Whether he would have been a good cook, finding his dream career. Life is just so unfair. I wish I had known to not wish the time away. To keep looking that future would be better than the now. If I had known…

I know, I know. Life isn’t fair. I’ve been told that my whole life. Everything I have had to deal with up until Drew’s death was a cakewalk compared to this. Nothing and I mean nothing ever prepared me for this feeling I have. I thought I had it bad when their dad and I divorced. No, not even close. It’s just so strange to think that I will never see him smile again, never hear his laugh, tell him he’s gone on enough with his jokes. I wouldn’t even mind smelling his stinky feet right now if that would mean he would be back here with us.

I don’t get many moments to cry and to let the emotion free. Part of that is when I am with the girls, especially Molly, it upsets them. I still have to shop, cook, clean, and do all those things in life we do to “live”. I have always been one of those people that likes to stay busy. I either worked more, went to school, or like now jump in head first getting the non-profit started. Every spare moment I have I use to work on Smiles From Drew. The pain isn’t quite as bad when I see that all my work is doing some good. When I can see that I making some headway and my goals are coming to fruit. Although on days like today I don’t think anything would make me feel better. When I am busy with Smiles, Drew is on my mind but not so much the fact that he’s still not here. I can think in my mind he might be at school or a camping trip. He might just be back at any time. Then days like today the absolute truth of him never coming back hits me with such force that I can’t even think. I know that I have to push through this, I can’t let the feeling take me under. I have too many people depending on me. I know Drew would be devastated to know that the people he most loved gave up on life because he was no longer here. Then there are those days when I just need to keep breathing……..

 

Batman

I have a love/hate relationship with Batman. To be quite honest it is mostly hate. I was very girly growing up and there were not whole lot of girl superheros for us to admire to be so as a kid my knowledge of superheros was very limited. Although Evil Knivel was the bomb. That all changed when Drew came around. He loved anything action related. If it could fight or could be turned into a weapon that was his kind of thing. I was even one of those mothers that said I would never let me son do that…oh how I didn’t realize they are going to do it anyways.

Drew loved Batman. He loved that Batman was just a “regular” guy with gadgets. I think that idea gave him hope that he could one day be Batman and he sure did come up with some wild stunts practicing his “Batman”. Batman antics took us to the emergency room more times than I can count. Numerous sets of stitches and a realization that a 9 year old can not jump off the garage and come unscathed like Batman does.

Drew was about 2 when he was running around the living room with a towel wrapped around his neck like a cape when I hear this clunk and then the blood curdling scream. He had been jumping from the coffee table to the couch and back to the table when he missed his mark and hit the side of the coffee table just right. This adventure gave Drew 9 stitches and a story that seemed to get bigger and bigger every time he told it. Mind you he was little so he probably did not remember that actual incident but they way he told it you would think the Joker was actually in our living room at the time. As he got older and he would be telling people the story of his scar I would just smile. Batman gave Drew many more ideas especially when it came to tormenting his sister Madison. One day they were playing in the dining room and Drew asked me where the saran wrap was. I asked him what he wanted it for and he told me that it was top secret and he couldn’t tell me. That was my first clue it probably would not end well for either him or Madison. He loved to pretend that Madison was Poison Ivy and he had to defeat her. Poor Madison has been tied up, locked in closets and left in a tree all for the sake of Batman.

There is a new Batman movie coming out in a few weeks and I am dreading it. Drew was so looking forward to seeing it. Originally the movie was supposed to come out around the time of his birthday but I noticed on Facebook that it is coming out at the end of this month. I have even seen a countdown for the premier. Drew would have had the countdown set to his phone, he would have bought his ticket as soon as they went on sale for pre-sale and he would have been bugging me as to what shirt I would be making him to wear that night. I see the previews for the movie and I can’t take a deep breath. It is just one more nail in my reality that he his gone and will no longer be able to do the things that he so loved to do.

I’ve thought of going to the movie just so I can feel a little closer to him but I don’t think I am strong enough for that. I will wait to see it when it comes out on video so that if I start crying in the middle I don’t have to explain to anyone. Oh man do I miss him and I wish I could say that it is getting easier. I miss the vigor he lived his life with and I miss the antics he would pull. It’s not fair that he is not here to be able to do these things. It’s not fair I have to live this life without him. I was told once (or several times) that life’s not fair.

If you go see the new Superman vs. Batman movie think of Drew. Think of him with his smile and coming up with ways to save the world….or torment his sisters.

Narnia

I want to tell you the tale of Narnia. Narnia was huge mammoth Drew called his first car. He loved that car, he loved it because it was his and he loved it for all its imperfections. And boy did it have imperfections but I’ll get to those in a few.

For the Christmas the year Drew was 15 I paid for driver’s education as his Christmas present. He had been living with his dad for a little while and I planned it so he could go to the classes while he was here for Christmas break. I told him that I had lined up a job for him to do while he was here so he could start saving up money for an eventual car. He kept bugging as to what job it was that he was going to do and the first thing that came to my mind was he was going to help build a rock wall. That’s the part that was so funny to me because like most kids Drew worked really hard for other people but not so much for me. Asking him to do the dishes you would think that I asked him to amputate his foot with a rusty saw. He was really excited to be working during the break and he was super excited to be coming home to visit with everyone. I go get him from Carlsbad and the whole drive he peppers me with questions as to what the job consists of, how much he will be getting paid and where it’s at. I make up this elaborate story and he is satisfied.

The Monday comes that he is “supposed” to start this job of building a “rock wall”. I get up early that morning and wake him up to get ready. I tell him he better dress warm and he better bring a paper and pen so he can take notes. He looks at me a little strange with that comment but he has no idea of the driver’s ed class. We go to town and I pull up in the parking lot of the driving school. He looks around and he says “why would they want a rock wall here in the parking lot”. I laugh and tell him that no he wasn’t going to be building a rock wall but would be taking driving classes. He looks at me kind of strange and I asked him what was wrong and he said he sure was hoping to make some money. He ended up being really excited about being able to start driving and was really happy I surprised him.

Fast forward to the summer and he is back home. He has his full license and is in search of a car. His idea of searching for a car and my idea of searching for a car were two completely different things. He’s looking at sport cars and big trucks and all the while I’m laughing because he has no money and there is no way I am going to pay that much for a 16 year olds car. I told him that I would put $500 down on a car for him and he would have to pay the rest. I do believe he took that as a challenge to find a car for $500 so he didn’t have to put any of his own money(which he had none) on the car. He scoured Craig’s List and the Thrifty Nickel he would show me cars and I would have to tell him “no, you can’t get a car without doors”. One day while I was at work he called all frantically and my thoughts go to that there was an emergency or someone got hurt. No he found his “Dream” car…and if he can go look at it before 3 pm it could be all his. I worked till 5 and there was no way I could leave work to take him to go see a car. He called my friend Samantha and sweet talked her into taking him to go see this car. Samantha has pretty good head on her shoulders so I asked her to make sure that the guy wasn’t a complete weirdo or scamming Drew. The car was a 1980 something Crown Victoria this sucker was a tank of pure metal and steel. The guy selling it was a backyard mechanic and kept pretty good care of it. He was asking $1,000  and Drew batted his blue eyes and he agreed to take his (mine) $500. Drew was ecstatic. Sharon's phone 11-12 078

He and his friends ended up name the Beast “Narnia” because things would go in and never to be seen again. I think that had more to do with the fact he never cleaned it. Poor Narnia as with all used cars had issues. The windshield wipers didn’t work unless you plugged them in which could be really inconvenient when it was raining and you had to jump out to plug them in. The heater didn’t work so we ended up getting him a dash defroster and heater. He even almost got kicked out school for an illegal ramen sale out of the trunk of the car.  But, Drew loved that car for all it’s imperfections probably more so because of them. I think that is typical Drew, he loved the people that didn’t think they were worth it. But he loved them just the same. As with any stories of your first car I am sure I don’t know even a fraction of them but what I know it was well used and well loved before it kicked the bucket.Sharon's phone 11-12 081Sharon's phone 11-12 079