This would be where I normally say, “It’s Friday! Cheers!!” And while I certainly feel like raising a glass, it’s more just to my lips than in cheers.
For those of you who are new to reading Wine & Glue (hey, glad to have you! most posts aren’t so bummer-ific), you might want a little background before you really sink your teeth into this post. In addition to creating wreaths, castles, and delicious pies made out of cookies and breakfast bars, sometimes I write about me. Most of the time it has to do with these two hilarious little people I happen to be raising, Gavin & Quinn, but sometimes it has to do with the loss of my mom (you can read more about that here) and the loss of my son, Elliot (you can read more about him here).
Can I talk about grief a little bit today? I promise to get back to the glitter on Monday.
One thing I’m learning about grief is that it comes in waves.
I can go along for months, and feel really great. Even at times when people around me would expect me to be really struggling. For example, Christmas this year was okay. Lots of my good friends and family worried about me, but my memory of it was that it was filled with lots of holiday stress, but not a lot of grief.
And then there are other times that . . . suck. My birthday, for example, has been a really difficult time for me since my mom died, and losing Elliot has made it twice as hard. It is just a few days away from Mother’s Day, and I kind of hate it. I wish I could just erase May from the calendar each year.
And then there are times that sneak out of the blue. They reach up and grab you, like seaweed around your ankles, and try to pull you down into the deep dark depth of the sea.
This is one of those times.
Sometimes it lasts for a few days. Sometimes one day. Sometimes a week or two.
And I wish that I had a better grasp of what brings it on. Maybe that would help keep it at bay.
What I can say about right now is that it started with just thinking about them more. I mean, I think about Elliot and my mom everyday. Each. And. Every. Day. There is not a day that passes that I don’t think about them both. At least once. This is partly because there is reminders of them scattered through my house.
Pictures of Elliot in the living room, the family room, my bedroom, the hallways. The tree planted in his honor in my backyard. The urn that holds his ashes in my family room. The only picture we have of him without medical equipment, a 3D ultrasound picture. His siblings, running around, who share his features and sparkling spirit.
Pictures of my mom. Pictures of the roses that she spent years growing (she had over 50 rose bushes in her gardens when she passed away) hang in my kitchen. A picture of her and my dad on their wedding day is in my family room. My favorite photo of her in my living room. The last picture of her and I on my dresser. The quilt that my aunt made for her in my entryway. Her jewelry box on my dresser.
But even without these reminders, Elliot and my mom make up the fiber of who I am. And so does the loss of them.
But sometimes, they are in the forefront of my mind. At these times, a million and one things happen in a day that make their loss feel more tangible. That makes me ache for their presence in my life more.
Last week Gavin mentioned for about the billionth time that he wishes he had bunk beds. That he could sleep on the bottom and Quinn could sleep on the top. And for about the billionth time, Nathan looked at me with such sadness in his eyes. And I knew he was thinking that Gavin has been robbed of a little brother to share bunk beds with. (I realize that seems trivial. But to us, it is another wound on our hearts.)
A few days ago I overheard Gavin playing legos, and he named one of the characters Elliot. It simultaneously made me happy and heartbroken. I want him to remember Elliot. But more than that, I want Elliot to be here with him. I want to watch them fight. I want to watch them play.
Over the last few days, I have been watching Quinn and wishing my mom could have met her. The other day, I watched Gavin and Quinn give each other a long loving hug that brought tears to my eyes, and all I wanted to do was call my mom and tell her about it.
This morning on the radio, there was a segment called, “I still call my mom for _____ ” In other words, what as an adult do you still need your mom for? Ummmm, everything. Seriously. If she were here I would call her everyday. And I would have to beg her to get texting so that I could send her pictures of my kids doing funny, hilarious, and annoying things everyday.
When I miss my mom and Elliot more than the norm, they are everywhere and no where all at once.
Yesterday, the thing that really put over the edge . . . ok, not over the edge, that sounds a bit dramatic . . . the thing that pushed me to tears, was a conversation with Gavin’s teacher.
She told me that Gavin had gotten in trouble the day before and as a result he had burst into tears. It brought up so many emotions for me. I was angry with what he did to get in trouble. I was empathetic because as a kid it was traumatic for me to get in trouble too. I was embarrassed for him. I was embarrassed for me. And I was annoyed that I was having such a reaction, because it really wasn’t that big of a deal.
But more than all of those things, I was sad. I was so desperately sad because I wanted to talk to my mom. I wanted her advice on what to say to Gavin. I wanted to ask her more about what I was like as a kid, and get her thoughts on dealing with a kid who finds it so traumatic to get in trouble. I just wanted to talk to her.
I know that as far as life goes, I have it really really good. I am not short on gratitude for the all the amazing things I have in life. But. There is something that feels so unnatural and so awful about being a mom without my mom. There is something so horrid about raising a family that is missing a child. And today, there is something that seems so terribly unfair about having to do both.
And I will be fine. I’m tough and scrappy like that. But today, I’m going to eat fudge and feel sorry for myself.
And probably make a second pot of coffee.