Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Random stuff I need to tell you.

Dear Josh,

  It's been almost four years since I posted here.
  Six years since you left me.

  I suppose I thought I didn't need to come here any more. After all, I talk to you every day. But, somehow, it's harder to tell you how I really feel when my words are floating out into the ether of the universe.

  So, how do I feel? Like a mother without her child. I feel old. I feel tired. I hurt. Physically, mentally, emotionally. Fearful. Your death has made me fearful. Of loss. Of losing someone else I love. It's been six years and I'm still fearful all. the. time.

  I cry, inside and out. Now, yesterday, tomorrow. There is no end to the tears in my soul.

  I go through life with the eerie knowledge that the happiest day of my life has already passed. There will never be another day better than the last one you were alive. And frankly, the last day you were alive was gut-wrenchingly awful. Your last day was when we didn't know where you were, filed a missing persons report and feared the worst. But on that last day, there was still hope.
Now, there are good days. There are great days. There are beautiful days. And every single one of them is tinged with grief. Every single one of them is spent without you.

  Life has moved on without you. Spinning, turning, evolving. I tried to slow it down. Hell, I tried to fucking STOP it. To no avail. Time moved on without my permission or blessing. Life truly does go on.  All while staying the same. Your Father and I are still married, money is still tight, we still want to move to Hawaii, we put a new roof on the house, we have too many animals, and we miss you. Oh, how we miss you. Now, some days, instead of wanting time to stop, I wish it would move faster. I no longer rail against the sun coming up, but, instead, on a small level, welcome the knowledge that I am one day closer to the end of missing you.

  Your brother is married. Can you believe it? We missed you at his wedding and there was some part of me that kept looking at his best man and wanting to hate him. Or hate you? I'm not sure. That day was a day that couldn't be about you long enough for me to figure it out. All I can say is, "You should have been there."

  Tanner also just graduated from college. He's officially an electrical engineer and he and his wife, Jen, are moving to Austin in just a couple of weeks. I am so happy for him....He is so amazing and we are so proud of him and I know you would be also. Would be proud? Are? What a difference it would make if I knew the answer.

  Your sister has really struggled with your death and her depression. It makes me sad and I don't know how to help. She was only 17 when you left her and she longs for the chance to get to know you. She has two children who only know you by your pictures. You have a niece and nephew who are the most amazing children and I can only imagine how much you would all love each other. Sometimes, I look at them and try to picture you playing with them. Then it makes me too sad to think about it so I block you out in order to focus on their lives rather than your death.

  I do random acts of kindness in your name. You motivate me to be a better person. I live with the regret of not doing them sooner.

  It's almost Christmas. Every year we do a donation to someone in your name. A single mom received your Christmas gift this year. We don't know her but, I wrote her a letter so she will know of you. I so want you to live on.

  I still hang your stocking then struggle with not filling it on Christmas Eve.

  I miss the pickle hunt. That fucking pickle you brought home from Germany. That fucking hunt you always won. You were selfish and ruthless when it came to finding that pickle and getting whatever silly little gift came with it's discovery. The pickle broke the first Christmas without you and none of us can bring ourselves to buy a new one. Even knowing someone else would finally get to find it... I think we all know that the pickle would really belong to you. I wish you were here to teach Little Josh and Cadee how to lose the pickle hunt....or better yet, I wish you were here so I could see you let them win.

  Some things are easier after six years. Breathing doesn't hurt every single moment. Compartmentalizing my emotions comes more naturally. It's easier to part with your belongings these days because I've accepted that they aren't pieces of you. I've come to understand, at the core of my being, no matter how much time passes I won't remember you less simply because the guitar you couldn't play isn't sitting in the corner.

   Some things are forever different. Like how few things I really care about. How often I feel like I'm "faking" life. Or the fact that we don't even talk to most of the people I considered friends before you died. A lot of "friends" disappeared just as permanently as you did. Some because they wanted to, some because they simply couldn't push back anymore after a while of me pushing them away.

  Oh, the stories we tell of you. I particularly hate how there are no new memories. I hate how we can't talk about how much you've changed. Or hear you tell us all how sorry you are for being such an ass sometimes. I want new memories that don't involve missing you.

  I will never be able to fill the human, Josh shaped, hole you have left behind in my life. I know every inch of it intimately and run my mental fingers through your space every chance I get. I touch your smile, I graze your hair, I admire the ruggedness of your hands. I relive the moment of your birth when my pain was literally the beginning of your life. Now my pain is in the ending.

I love you, Josh.
I love you, I love you, I love you.
To the moon and back.
Through thick and thin.
Through my life and your death.
Until we meet again and then forever after.
I love you with every trite cliche' we poor humans use to try and express the inexpressible.
I love you.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Way We Were.

Dear Josh,

I no longer remember who I used to be when you were alive.

I saw a picture today from years ago when you were in high school and Sarah came to visit us. We lived in a little house.. an ugly house even, and I remember being self conscious of how we lived... in our little house, with our ugly kitchen, with a picnic table that had been revamped and painted for our dining room table. We were crammed into that house. No room to be alone, one bathroom, an extra kid living with us half the time, and friends dropping in to stay from all over the world sometimes.

When I looked at that picture it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was happy then. All my children were alive and well. You were on your way to graduating from highschool. We were all together ... and we were happy. I can't seem to stop the tears from coming and I can't make this make sense. All I know is, just for a moment, when I looked at that picture I FELT what I felt then and realized how much time I had lost waiting for everything to be perfect when they already were. Just for a minute, I remembered what it used to feel like to have you with us, all of us together. I already had all there was to have in this world and was just too stupid to know it.

I miss you.
I miss ME.
There is no way to compare this life to that one. We will never all be together again and because of that I will never be as happy as I once was. Most of the time that's o.k., because the way I feel now is usually all I remember... but today, I remembered the way we were.

I love you,

Monday, September 27, 2010

Dear Josh,

The two year mark is steadily creeping up on us and I spend my days in a constant state of anxiety. My mind has a way of playing tricks on me without me even realizing what is going on and I realized the other day I had almost convinced myself you were going to "undo it" if I could only survive until the two year mark. Don't suppose your really gonna' pull that one off, huh? Don't get me wrong,I never actually expected that to happen, just used the fantasy as a means to get through the days...As the day itself gets closer and there is nothing to look forward to besides another long endless year without you it is harder to get out of bed and function.

Half the time I spend my days pretending nothing has happened, the other half I'm incapacitated by the reality of you being gone. Sometimes I'm really angry with you, sometimes I just want to join you in order to stop the pain. Then I'm angry with you again for causing the pain.

Oh Hell... nevermind. This isn't helping, you can't hear me, your not going to respond and I'm not a rational reasonable person right now.

I am so overwhelmed by the knowledge that this isn't ever going away. Not ever.

I'm sorry for being so mad at you today.

I love you.


Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Things NOT to do When Someone's Child Dies.

I'm angry today, so I'm posting something I probably wouldn't post otherwise. Doesn't make it any less true, but it's probably not very politically correct. For that I apologize, but if writing this down will help someone not be bombarded with well meaning, but ignorant, people then it's worth it.

Things NOT to say or do to a grieving parent.

Don't run away. Don't hide behind the justification of " I'm just not good at these things". I'm not either. I'm damn sure not good at it and never want to become good at it. Understand that the pain you feel, no matter how overwhelming, is not the same as mine.

Don't compare my grief to the loss of your mother, your father, your sister or any other person in your life, unless it was your child. This is not my first go at the grieving process. I've lost mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends, loved ones. It is NOT the same.

Don't tell me how he's with God, at peace, in a better place. I am grieving MY loss and I don't want MY child anywhere else besides with me in the physical realm. I truly believe he is at peace... but I am NOT.

Don't tell me "at least you have other children". My children are not interchangeable. Relationships are not replaceable one for another. Each of my children are loved and cherished, as I hope yours are. Which child would you be o.k. with losing?

Don't avoid his name. His life is precious to me and my memories are all I have. Share yours with me. Talk about him. Even if he was an ass the last time you saw him. I survived his teen years. You think I don't know he could be an ass?

Don't be afraid of upsetting me by mentioning him, his death or the word suicide. If I cry, well it's probably a WELCOME release from trying to put on a brave front in order to make YOU feel better. The tears are there whether you see them or not.

Don't tell me to call you if I need something. I'm not going to call and ask you to do my laundry,sweep my floors,wash my dishes or any of the million and one things I am no longer capable of caring about. I'm not going to call. No one ever does. If you want to help, then help.

Don't ask me if I'm better. No, I'm not better. Better than what? Better than I was before my child died? That's never going to happen. I am never going to be the same person I was and I'm certainly not ever going to be better than I was.

Don't put me in a position to have to comfort YOU. I know you loved him. I know your hurting too. I know you miss him also. But I was his MOTHER.

Don't ask me how I am unless you want to know. I am sick of coddling you and your sensibilities by saying "I'm fine". It needs to be alright to say "I'm having a bad day".

Don't wonder when I'm "going to get over it". I'm not. Ever. He was my child. He grew of me, from me, through me. He is dead. So is a part of me. Not all of me, the rest of me will learn to live, love, laugh and survive. But that part of me, the part that he filled, will never be "over it". I am getting "through" it. I don't even have the desire to "get over it".

So after reading this, if anybody wonders what they can say or do, the answer is simple. Show up and be present. Let me be wherever it is I need to be emotionally and know that whether I can express it or even realize it at the moment, I am grateful to not be alone.

Remember him. Say your so sorry for my pain and loss. Call my other children and my spouse to check on them, because I'm not always able to hold myself and them up. Be patient with me. You don't have to understand what I'm going through in order to understand you don't ever want it to be you.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Happy Birthday

Dear Josh,

I'm posting this the day before your birthday because I'm not sure I will be able to do it tomorrow. Today has been bad, can't seem to stop the tears from coming and I'm afraid tomorrow might be worse. I can't  believe your gone. Still, almost two years after the fact. I wonder if you are still watching over us like I knew you were in the first days and months? If you are I can only wonder what you would think of the changes your absence has wrought, wonder if you regret your decision, wonder if you are sorry for the pain you have caused. Sadly, I don't know the answers to those questions and I never will. All I know is that I'm drowning in sorrow today and miss you more than you could have imagined.

I've often reflected on your life, and my role in it, and am filled with regret for the things I did wrong, the times I wish I could change, the ways I should have been a better mother. I was so young and damaged when I had you and though I did the very best I could, I know there were so many times I wasn't the mother you deserved. I struggle with the guilt I carry, and yet I try to forgive myself because I know in my heart I loved you each and every day of your life. I truly did the best I could and when I knew better, I did better.

You and I talked about all these things before you died, and I know you had forgiven me, but I can't escape the fact that I impacted your life in some negative ways. Forgiveness or not, I can't take them back or change the effect I had.

The other day I saw pictures of your son. He is SOOO beautiful. He looks just like his mom, and yet everyone who sees him that knew you sees you in him. It's his grin I think... His facial expressions. There is some essence about him, at least in his pictures, that makes you known. I wish I knew him better, and certainly haven't been a grandmother to him, which I think would disappoint you, but I don't know where to put my anger when I talk to his mother. I'm so sorry Josh. I want to be better than that, but right now today, I don't know how.

On a different note, your nephew and namesake, baby Josh, is growing like a weed. Every single day I marvel at how much like you he is becoming. As nuts as it sounds, I deeply believe you were meddling in our lives when his life began. I mostly keep that to myself in order to avoid admittance to the looney bin, but today, I share it with you. Thank you for meddling.

There are so many many things I wish I could say to you, yet I can't think of many I hadn't already said. I love you. I am proud of you. I miss you when you aren't here. My beautiful boy, you were my saving grace. You were the beginning of my life, my desire to be a good mother, to be a better person. I owe you so very much and hope in some small way you knew that before you died.

Twenty Eight....  I wish you were going to be twenty eight somewhere other than in my heart.

Happy Birthday Josh.

Loving you, Now and always,

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Labor Day

Josh was born on Labor Day Weekend.  He was my first true labor of love. Sunday is his birthday... the day he won't turn twenty eight. Because he didn't turn twenty seven last year. This year, for the third time, I will labor through the day, but the pain I will experience will have no happy ending. No 8lb 2oz bouncing baby boy screaming his way into the world. Instead, I will labor to remember the bass of his voice, his shit eating grin, and the very essence of his being.

Oh Josh, I wish you were here. To blow out your candles, to make a wish, to celebrate.

I miss you my child.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dealing with Others

The thoughts of his suicide tumble through my mind till they are smooth and shiny, cool to the touch. When they leave my lips or fingers they have been made presentable, but sometimes I want to just throw them down in their raw unaltered form. Then you would see how rough and ugly they are when I'm feeling them. How the sharp edges of emotion leave bleeding wounds on my soul.

Then you would see how broken I am.

I'm not sure who I'm protecting anymore. You from having to share my pain... or myself from the inevitable moment you turn away because my pain is more than you can bear.

Leaving me alone again with a pain much too large for two people to bear, much less one.

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