Once again this time of year came around. Tomorrow would/is Drew’s 22nd birthday. This year it fell on Monday which means had he been here we would have been partying all weekend. It also means life will go on tomorrow whether I want it to or not. I have work to go to, baseball games to play, and school for Madi. He loved his birthdays and I loved celebrating one of my greatest joys. I loved looking at him year after year in awe and wonder with the fact I was chosen to be this wonderful person’s mother.
Now I am sitting at home crying till I can’t breathe wondering what on earth did I do to deserve this pain. How did my life get so far off track that I am having to go through this. All week I kept telling myself I should be lucky that I had him for 20 whole years. There are parent’s out there that didn’t get that much time. I kept telling myself I need to remember how much I love him and how much he loved me. I tried…..but I am just not there yet.
I feel cheated. I should have had more time with him. I feel like the life I envisioned and the life he deserved was cruelly taken away. I feel shattered. I see his friends getting married and having kids and I know he will never get to experience that. I feel anger because he KNEW better and the people around should have too. I feel lonely because he gave the best hugs and truly loved to hear how I was doing. I feel ashamed because I should have stopped it. I feel tired for having to be strong all the time if not for me for the girls so they can have “normal’ childhood. I feel all this love for him that has no where to go.
I know this sounds like a pity post and I’m sorry but right now at this moment I am having a hard time seeing my silver lining. I am just a mother that is missing her son and all that he was to me, to his sisters, his family and friends.
If I knew how this story would end and I was giving the choice to still be his mother I would. I would love him more. I guess that is one of the reasons we don’t know when our loves will leave. But I would choose to be his mother because in his 20 years he taught me more than I ever could have without him. I just hope that he would choose me.
You find that when you have lost a child you grab all the life preservers you can. Whether at that time a life preserver is just going into you daughters’ rooms at night to stare at them to make sure they aren’t going anywhere. It doesn’t matter how old my children get I love to watch them sleep and see that peaceful look on their faces. You look at them and you realize why you are working so hard to stay afloat.
You grab a book for a moment as a life preserver so you can get lost in the story and try not to relive the story that keeps replaying in your head. I have always loved to read but there are times now that I have to read so that I can get the visions of my last moments with Drew out of the repeat cycle.
You keep yourself really busy…..you find more projects, more work, more things to keep your hands and mind off where it really wants to go. I work full time. I go to school for media arts. I run a non-profit and I sell LipSense to help fund it. There are some days I am not even sure what day of the week it is.
These are my life preservers for the moment. It may not be forever. Eventually I will have to look at all this head on but for the moment I am going to stay afloat with my life preservers.
The few things you learn in child loss is there is no normal path. Everyone grieves different and each situation makes you feel different. I never know how something it going to affect me until it affects me.
Yesterday was just one of those days that I should have just stayed in bed. I ended up being 15 minutes late to work. You can’t be late with my boss. There are no excuses she feels is valid. I knew when I walked in she was going to be upset so I was hoping to just duck and cover. Nope that wasn’t going to happen. She was already upset that I was late and then she started looking for other reasons to be mad at me all day. Every time I would leave my desk I would find these passive aggressive notes on my desk, “where was your head when you were typing this” “do we need to teach you the alphabet again so you can get the files in the right place”, it just went on and on. Most of the mistakes she found were things that she was working on and not me but at that point there was no way I was going to point that out.
Finally the end of the day came I had decided I was going to drown my frustration in a cup of coffee and a donut. I walked into Dunkin Donuts and the just the smell was already making me feel better. I got my coffee and just 1 chocolate frosted donut (with sprinkles) and found me a seat near the window so I could just sit for a bit and people watch. That was my first mistake.
I’m sitting there and 3 teenagers walk in. Two boys and a girl, they look like they are about 16 or 17 and are enjoying that they have the freedom to go to Dunkin at 5 in the evening without a parent. You could just feel the excitement flowing off of them. There were a few people ahead of them so they were bantering back and forth, the boys being more vocal than the girl. One of the boys starting telling his friends that he wanted 2 of everything, then he said no he wants 6 of everything and started laughing. The girl told him that it wouldn’t surprise her if he ate that much cause he was a bottomless pit. They finally get to the counter to order and they sit down at the table next to me. I look over and the girl had 1 single donut and a frozen coffee drink. The boys sit down with this box and a couple of carton of milk. I turn my head to look at them when I notice the “bottomless pit boy” is super excited that he is practically drooling. I look and the boys have the biggest donut I have ever seen in my life. they are laughing and trying to figure out how to eat it. That is when all of sudden this wave of sadness overcame me and I realized I was crying. Not just a few tiny tears but big fat crocodile tears.
I was crying because I could totally see Drew and his friends being this excited over a donut. I could see them betting each other who would eat the most before they got sick. I’m not entirely sure Drew would have wanted to share that donut with anyone but I could see he and his friends having their own and seeing who could eat it the fastest. That thought brought me to a memory of the time Drew decided to join a pie eating contest.
It was around Halloween time and we had gone out to the Horse Park to their annual Harvest Festival and he decided he wanted to do the pumpkin pie eating contest. The lady that was doing the introduction said that the most pies ever eaten were 6 and if anyone beat that they would win a grand prize. That was all Drew needed to hear. Game was on. He just knew he could eat 6 pies no problem! He loved pumpkin pie. He sits at the table with the other pie eaters, Madison being one also, and starts in on his first one. He gobbles that pie up so fast, they give him another one. He starts devouring that one. I’m thinking to myself he better pace himself or he’s going to make himself sick. I do believe pie eating contests are a time slow and steady is the course to take. They put the third one in front of him and I see the color to start changing in his face. He looks like he is getting a little paler..his bites aren’t quite as voracious…his movements get a little slower. He finishes and they put number 4 in front of him. At this point there is only 2 people left in this contest an older gentlemen that looks like he has done this a time or two and Drew. By this time, Drew is starting to look green, I think the announcer started to see that too because I see that she had gone to go get the trashcan and bring it closer to Drew. He is probably not quite halfway into the fourth pie when it was almost like that scene in Stand by Me……thankfully the whole crowd didn’t start throwing up with him too.
After it was all over and he didn’t win the big prize I asked him if he would ever eat pumpkin pie again. He said of course it’s my favorite, you don’t get rid of your favorite just cause it made you sick once.
This is why life is so strange that memory came as clear as day because I saw two teenage boys excited over a donut. Life is strange because I will never have another memory to add to this one. Life is strange because I will never be able to tell his children all his crazy stories.