I’ve been trying to write this blog for weeks now. My head has been in a bad place for a little while, to say that I am struggling is an understatement. I have not felt like myself since Drew’s birthday. Then it seemed right after that it was the anniversary of his death. This year feels so different. So final. I’m not sure why it feels so different. I feel more scattered, more lost, more broken, and oh so alone. To add to the self doubt in my head I was fired from my job a few weeks after Drew’s anniversary. When your heart is in so many pieces it’s hard not to take these things to “heart”.
My normal coping skills have just not been cutting it. Usually when I start feeling that dark veil creep in on me I get busier with Smiles or some other project. I just have no motivation to do any of that right now. I am so tired. I am tired of my heart hurting. I am tired of pretending I am okay. I am tired of not seeing my son. Yea, it’s a bit of a pity train I’m on but I’m not quite sure how to make the thoughts quit swirling in my head.
Drew has now been gone from Molly’s life as long as he was in it. She was so young when he died it just seems like that is my measuring point. The other day we were doing a project for her kindergarten class and it was all about “her”. We were supposed to write things about her so her classmates could get to know her better. I’m going through the list of her many likes: science, bugs, worms, unicorns. Then I say ” You have 1 older brother and 1 older sister”, she looks at me and says “no, I only have a sister, my brother died and that doesn’t count”. It was like my heart was breaking all over again. In her mind does he not count? Does she really remember him? If she doesn’t remember him and just the pictures on the wall I can see why she would think that he doesn’t count. Who does Drew count to anymore? Is he now just a past memory that people say “Oh yea I think I knew him”? These are the thoughts that get stuck in my head.
My house is covered in my kids pictures. To me there is no better art than to see my kids smiles over the years. Awkward school pictures with missing teeth, baby pictures when they were just too cute and squishy and moments we have had together that have always made me smile. The first few weeks following Drew’s death I would wake up several times a night with this overwhelming thought that I needed to take his pictures off the wall. His beautiful blue eyes and radiant smile was everywhere. I would get up when I got these thoughts and go out to the living room and look at the pictures. Some nights I would take his pictures off the wall and then immediately put them back up. I would have that panic filled thought of “what did you just do”. The past few months I would look at Drew’s pictures and I wouldn’t get that flood of comfort from them. I would see a look of blame, disapproval, and disappointment. I took his pictures down and I boxed his ashes up.
I don’t think I will leave them down forever but that is how I realized I’m not okay. I called my primary doctor and of course they can’t get me in for months. I ended up calling nine (9) doctors in town and the soonest appointment I could get was the middle of November. I know I called more therapists offices than that and was not able to secure one appointment. We tell people to reach out…there’s always help available. But there isn’t. If I was in a much darker place I would worry. I will do what I need to for my girls. I will keep getting up day after day.
So if you’ve been wondering why I’ve been so quite lately that’s why. I’m not okay……
The calendar has moved to another month. I hate every single time I have to change the calendar to another month. The very act of turning that page makes my stomach hurt, it makes me physically ill. In the beginning I hated it because it was another month closer to that year mark. I dreaded and braced myself for that moment. I thought I would feel better after the year mark. Nah, that is not the case. In some ways we are worse off than we were a year ago this time. Time is not my friend, it the enemy to my soul. It is the force that makes me realize my pain will never go away.
We have passed the one year anniversary of Drew’s death. I hate calling it an anniversary. There should be another word for dates of such horror that all you want to do is forget that particular day is even on the calendar. Anniversary’s are something that deserves celebrating something that brings joy. The date you got married, the date you started your new job, the date that something wonderful happened to you. August 5 is not one of those dates. That is the day my life forever changed. That is the day that death came knocking on our families door. That is the day my girls lost their big brother, my mother lost her grandson, my grandmother lost another great-grandson. It is not a joyful date. I don’t want to celebrate that my son is no longer here with me. I don’t want to have a date I fear for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, I do have one date that can bring me to my knees.
They told me in the beginning that time will heal all wounds. Time will make it more bearable. It’s not true. We just learn to live with the pain. We find ways to keep us busy so we don’t have to think about it. We are now going into the holidays. Last year, it was the first of everything’s. The first Thanksgiving without Drew, the first Christmas, we have passed all the firsts. I think that is sadder. Molly now has had as many birthdays without her brother as she had with him. She won’t know how much joy he got from her. He won’t know how he loved to shop for her. Or how he loved to come home early in the morning so she would wake up and smile at him. We will tell her these things but we all know that is not the same thing as having your own memories of someone.
Madi has started another school year without her brother. She has to navigate the depths of high school without his advice and guidance. I worry so much for her cause unlike Molly, Madi has so many memories of Drew and not all of them are great. They liked to fight, they liked to argue. What she had he wanted and vice versa. I would hear all the time that I always took so and so’s side. It just depending on who was hollering the loudest at the time. She won’t get to see how her and her brother’s relationship would grow as they got older. She won’t be able to have him at her graduation like she was there for him. She won’t have him for any other life moments. We are just filled with the longing of things we can not have.
The longing for more time is the worst part about time going on. Time goes on and all the memories I have of Drew is all I have. There will be no new ones. I miss him, my girls miss him, my family misses him. He was such a big part of our lives and poof he is gone and there is no more time.
I just need one more moment with Drew. I don’t have nearly enough pictures. I don’t have nearly enough moments with him. I need more. I want more. I wasn’t done making our moments. If I had known that my time was so short I would have done more. I would have said more. I would have savored the moments I had left. I know they say hindsight is 20/20 and all that but I truly feel it now. I feel to my bones the moments I missed because I didn’t understand that I wouldn’t have more. I had already started feeling that the time with your children was short from them growing up on you. I just never thought it would be cut so short.
Today had me really missing my boy. It was beautiful weather and I could hear him asking me if I had any food he could take fishing. He would have called me asking me if I had any money. I would be OK with another phone call of him asking for money. Never in a million years would I have thought that I would have no more moments with Drew. I would have never thought that I had all I was ever going to get. Drew was getting to the point in his life where he was doing more and more on his own. I tried not to be an overbearing mother and call him all the time. I thought that if he needed or wanted me he would reach out. I thought I was trying to give him wings. If I had known he wasn’t going to be here I would have called so I could just hear his voice. It’s a strange thing as a parent when your children start growing up and becoming adults. You want them to know that you are there for them but you want them to be able to do things on their own.
We would tease Drew that he was going to build us a basement just so he could live in our basement. He came home from college because he got homesick. I wondered how that poor boy was going to make it as an adult. I prayed that he would find his way and that he learned the things he needed to be a great adult. I was just starting to get glimpses of the man he was going to be. He would have made a great husband. He really wanted kids. He would have been a fantastic father. Seeing how he was with Molly I had no doubt of how great of a Dad he would have been. He just really loved seeing all the milestones she would hit. I think he got more excited about some of them than I did. If he had one more moment we would get to see the gleam in his eyes when he played with his own children. If he had one more moment he would have found his path and started his great big journey of life.
Madison and Drew are 4 years apart. Drew was rough with Madison. We would say that there were times when love from Drew hurt. They would fight, they both wanted what the other had. Last June, the kids went on a road trip to Oklahoma. I noticed that when they came back that their relationship was changing. They were maturing and being able to see each other as friends and not competitors. As a mother it was a great thing to see it warmed my heart so much. If we had one more moment they would have time to nurture their new found friendship. If we had a one more moment they would have time to realize that they are on the same team and working for the same goals and be able to enjoy each other. Madison deserves more moments with her brother. She needs more moments of him making sure the people she dates is treating her well. She deserves more moments of him taking her driving because it’s nicer for him to do it than when Mom does it.
I can think of so many reasons why we need one more moment. The biggest reason is I miss him. I miss his face, his voice, his being a pain in the butt. I miss all of it and I need one more moment.
Drew and Molly
Drew and Madi at Water World in Denver.
Drew helping Molly swim
You don’t realize how precious your memories are till one of the pieces of you heart dies. When they die all you have left is memories of the past because there is no future. There is not going to be another birthday or Christmas.
I really wish I wasn’t the one in charge of the memories. My memory is pretty finicky normally, when going through stress it is even worse. I have always been that way. Once something was over and done with my mind just lets it go. I vaguely remember things from when I was a kid but for the most part I only remember when someone tells a story and reminds me. It is a little easier to remember the kids when they were little but I feel the fog coming and that scares me. I don’t want to forget him. I NEED to remember him because if I don’t know one will either, why should they if his own mother can’t remember.
I found an old VHS tape of when Drew was in kindergarten. He was so small but I did not remember this performance at all. Then I started crying cause of all the other memories I have forgotten. I had a computer crash when he was in about the 5th grade and I lost so many photo’s of when they were little. I wish I knew then how to backup and save the files other places. Needless to say I have a big gap in my pictures of their childhood.
When someone dies people don’t know if they should keep talking about the person that died. The memories hurt, the feelings are too raw. If we don’t speak of them and tell the stories then the end is so final. Drew was never a person that hid in the corner, he was never one to blend in. If you met him you remembered him. He was memorable. He was funny. Most times he felt like he was funnier than he really was. He did not want to let a joke die. He would go on and on about something. That is how I feel we need to do with him. We need to keep talking, telling the stories, keep his memory alive. The thought of him not being around is hard enough, but the thought of me being the only one that remembers him is torture. I know in my mind that I am not the only person that will remember him but my heart talks for me quite a bit lately.
So I ask all of you that read this if you know someone that has lost someone don’t stop speaking of them. Yes it may hurt but it hurts worse to know that they aren’t remembered of thought of. There are so many little moments that make like grand and when you are in the darkness being reminded of the love they had for everyone makes it easier to get through it. Drew loved hearing stories about himself, especially when he was little.