Life is strange….

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.

full pumpkin pie

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.

empty pie plate

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.

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Triggers

You never know how far someone has intertwined into your soul till you lose them. When they are alive you take so many things for granted. Their smiles, the dimple in their chin and the sparkle in their eye when they had come up with a plan to “get” you. As a parent you know all the way to your marrow the love you have for your children but quite honestly you don’t feel that more than when they are no longer with you.

Drew was such a central part of our lives. He loved being the center of attention and if he wasn’t at the time he made sure he ended up being. He was a young adult and was just starting his own life. He worked full time and tried to keep the ever important social life standing. When you are young those things are so important so family got pushed to the back burner. It wouldn’t be uncommon for me not to see him but every couple of weeks. Usually when he was either broke or hungry. He had a knack of knowing when I was making fried chicken. We would joke and say that he had a food radar. As a parent and you are trying to let your children grow and find their identity as an adult you (hopefully) back off a little and just keep showing them in the little ways that no matter what you are going to be there for them.

Drew had been making this transition for a few years since he went off to college. We had family trips he couldn’t go on because of work or school and even last years Christmas photo’s that he didn’t get in. I look back and wonder if it’s harder now because I didn’t see him everyday or is it easier. The thing about Drew is even if he wasn’t with us he would still be apart of everything. I have noticed it so much more now that he’s gone.

I went back to zumba this week for the first time since having the Molly. Yea I know she’s 3 but it took me awhile to get the motivation. I cried the whole time. I am sure I looked like a crazy lady. When I was going to zumba before I tried talking anyone and everyone into going with me. A friend of mine went with me and said that she knew of easier ways for me to kill her than that class. Madison went with me and seemed to enjoy it and Drew went with me. He only went a few times but the whole time I was in the studio I kept seeing his goofy self next to me. Drew was such a ham and made everything into a party or a joke. He would do funny faces, put things on his head (especially underwear) and just generally be a clown. Going to zumba with me was no exception with his antics. There was this one class in town that I particularly liked. It was glow in the dark zumba so the lights were off and we exercised to a black light and glow sticks. Drew proceeded to do naughty things with the glow sticks and he would do exaggerated moves to the dance. He was doing such crazy things that I couldn’t stop laughing the whole time. So when I decided to go back to zumba I never thought it would be a trigger to my tears. He was just such a part of everything I am and was.

Triggers can be anything and come at the strangest times. I was cleaning out my purse and found the ticket stub to Jurassic World, it was the last movie we saw together. He was so excited to see it. He loved dinosaurs from the time he could pick up one. We have probably seen the other movies at least 200 times. I made us all shirts to go see the movie and we had a great time. So when I was holding this old ticket stub in my hand at that moment it was not just a printed piece of paper it was memory and my tears started flowing. I haven’t made fried chicken since Drew has been gone, I’m not sure that I will be able to for a long time. I hear a car stereo bumping down the road and my heart flutters thinking I will see him at any moment.

I know right now I am so new on this journey that it will take me time to feel his whisper and be able to smile more when I think of him. Right now every inch of me hurts from longing something I can’t have. I hope the future brings me less triggers and more smiles of his goofy self.