Another holiday is here without you. The last couple days I have been really sad, that sadness that comes when I want to be happy. I smile, laugh, and play but the sadness deep down is never gone…I see you everywhere. About three weeks ago we started thinking about Easter and what we would do. I remembered all the Easter’s before you left us. By now we would have the kids Easter baskets picked out and had filled them with toys and a new outfit. We would plan a cookout with our family and I would make your favorite deviled eggs, we would make confetti eggs with Johnathan and you would stock up on your favorite Cadbury cream eggs – gross! At least we both hated peeps. I was running into Walgreens the other morning before work, I needed to grab a snack for one of my kiddos who always comes in hungry; as I was checking out I saw the Cadbury cream eggs….I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes and I quickly made it to my car just in time before I lost it. All the memories have been flooding back to me since then. I can’t imagine another holiday without you. I can’t make Easter baskets for the kids. I can’t make deviled eggs. I can’t do a family outing. I just can’t. I told Johnathan, I just can’t, I’m sorry. He understands of course, I told him instead we would just have dinner at home with grandma and popo. He asked for spring decorations rather than Easter decorations…as much as I hesitated, I told him we could get some flowers for the table. I told him I can’t do baskets this year, it’s too painful. Instead we’ll make a trip to Toys R Us and he can pick out a little toy that has to be played with outside. He agreed. We went shopping for the dinner this week, I just grabbed random items and thought, “I think I can make a roast with this stuff”.
Tonight is the beginning of the long weekend and it’s hard, I know by now that we would be doing all our normal Easter rituals, but instead I settled for one of our favorite movies and popcorn for dinner with the kids. I scrolled online to see how the scholarship campaign has been coming along. It’s getting there! So happy and so grateful. It’s so hard to relive this tragedy over and over again, each time I see that video on social media. I still can’t believe it’s you, that I’m actually talking about you who died. How did this happen? How am I working for your memory? It just doesn’t making sense, it’s so frustrating that I can’t wrap my head around it. But I’m so honored to do it. Not only is my mind trying to wrap itself around the idea that’s it’s another holiday without you, but my body is also telling me that Sunday is the four month anniversary of when we buried you. I can feel the anxiety rushing through me, the hard to breathe moments, the everything makes me want to cry feeling, the silence that I carry…even Johnathan stopped and asked “are you sad mom?” – yes, I’m always sad, but I’m a little extra sad this weekend….”me too”, he says.
On my way home today I kept thinking about that weekend and what it felt like, I could feel the tightness in my chest again, the tense feeling in my shoulders and neck and the blurriness in my eyes from tears. I can remember staying up that night watching the sun rise and thinking that this can’t be real. I remember the next two mornings waking up and not knowing where I was and then reminded that this is a nightmare, I would pinch myself to see if it were a dream, each time it would hurt and then I would bruise. I remember staring off into nothingness in complete disbelief. Looking back I remember a lot of sitting and gazing off while everyone around me was rushing frantically trying to get answers, answering the telephone, speaking to investigators, speaking to people we knew, calling family and friends, I remember people in and out of the house, plates of food being brought to me every now and then, Johnathan playing, Bella crawling around….but I was still on the couch just staring in disbelief, shock; I couldn’t move for days it seemed. I came home after we buried you, walking into our house and smelling you here still…it hit me like a ton of bricks. I crawled into our bed and cried myself to sleep. I haven’t done that in a while, but I remember those long nights where all I could do was cry myself to sleep and hope for a miracle that I would wake up with you next to me. Now, I wake up slowly, I stare at the ceiling and think of you standing there next to the bed where I last touched you begging you not to leave. It takes everything I have to pull the covers off and start our day.
I don’t know that the anger will ever leave me, but the sadness is getting deeper and that’s the only way I can describe it. That deep cut that stung so bad is now scabbing and so the pain is getting deeper. Weeks don’t seem so fuzzy anymore…reality is settling in. I used to look back at a few weeks and not remember much. Now I can look back at three weeks ago and remember things clearly again. I don’t have to write myself a lot of notes to remind myself of what has to get done, my mind is starting to come back together again. I have been working so hard and I don’t know if it’s to keep myself from really grieving, but it’s what keeps me going for now. I focus on work, I focus on the kids, I focus on the organization and the scholarship is our number one priority. I’m trying my hardest to catch Johnathan up at school and Bella keeps jumping ahead five stages at a time I can barely keep up with her. I wonder what you think of her. She is such a firecracker, go, go, go from sun up to sun down she is on the go and taking in everything around her. She owns the world and she isn’t afraid to take it on. Her development is so fast and her doctor can’t believe it, she just got assessed for gifted! Can you believe that!? I know you would be proud, not just because of her amazing brain, but because of her little attitude, I know that’s you! She’s a wild one and she gets that from you.
Today, Sawyer’s groomer came, the same one who came the day of your funeral. Poor kid, he showed up thinking he was just going to groom a service dog, instead he got a family in chaos and grief. He remembers us so well and has become quite the companion to Sawyer. Each time he comes Sawyer is so excited to see him, today he asked, “the usual?” – an oatmeal bath soap with extra conditioning cream…. I added a trim too. He asked how we are holding up, I said “ok”. He acknowledged how awesome Sawyer is and said that he seems to be adjusting just fine…I agree, Sawyer has gotten so much better. He said, “I have a surprise for you Sawyer, I’ve been saving it for you” I was kind of confused but said, eh maybe a new treat….Sawyer came back with a red marine corps bow tie on his collar, he said I found it on the bottom of our tie bucket and knew this had be Sawyer’s for his next grooming! I took it off and saved it because I know Bella is quick to rip off all of Sawyer’s fresh new bow-ties. I love that everyone has kept a special place in their heart for Sawyer, because he felt this too, he hurts too, and he deserves a little something special every day too.
As much as I wish I could skip through Easter and just jump right into the next weekend, I can’t. I will have to face it like everything else we have had to face. I will spend it quietly at home with our kids, there will be no grilling, there will be no deviled eggs, or candy, there will be no Easter baskets, or stupid bunnies, or stupid chickens, it will be just us and some sort of dinner.
This song reminds me so much of us, you would always play and sing it to me…in the most beautiful awful way, thank you for loving me like that.
I love you, I miss you, I want you home.