Wednesday, June 24, 2009, 11:43 PM ( 19 views ) - Posted by HeidiI have learned that two years without my Son brings no more peace than it does pain. In my constant battle, with one or the other perpetually crashing into me, I have discovered a new wave of sorts. This one doesn’t slam into me, and the others in grief around me, but it consumes us. I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is, but my Dad told me a story on the night of the 22nd that can sum it up. It was around 8:30 when he called and the sadness had pinched and poked at me all day. I was just settling in to join it and begin torturing myself by spreading all the pictures out on the floor to study J.T.’s eyes trying to discover some emotion I hadn’t seen before when the phone rang. It was Dad asking me how I was doing and I responded “…oh I’m alright, what are you up to?” His voice suddenly changed from that calm mild mannered Dad voice and took on a more mischievous tone when he said “Guess what I did today!?” Now I have to admit this intrigued me because Dad is by no means a boring guy, but he is smart, even tempered, and dependable. So for my 63 year old Dad to tell me that he rode his bike behind the park to a place where there are motor cross trails made me laugh. He said he rode over the fifteen foot drops at full speed ahead, then he told me that one hill got the best of him and that he fell off and his back now looks like hamburger, but he just got back up shouted J.T.’s signature “woo-hoo!” and kept going. I didn’t have to ask why he did it, I knew it was for J.T. I knew J.T. was the only grandchild Dad has that could convince him to ride those trails, and I knew it was the very spirit of J.T. that had slammed into Dad and instead of knocking him down, consumed him. Dad ended the conversation by telling me he was fine, he knew I would get a kick out of it and it actually made him feel great. Perhaps a couple of hours spent with the adventurous spirit of J.T. consuming us we would all feel a little better and I found myself contented to discover it has the ability to do so.
Monday, June 15, 2009, 03:33 PM ( 16 views ) - Posted by HeidiAt one it was all smiles and four teeth to skin a pea. He didn’t speak to us at all only pointed and held his bottle with his feet. Then came two and it was dogs and trucks, everything was a dog or a truck, the fireplace, mom’s cat, the garden hose anything could fit into one of those two categories. When he turned four Madie went to school, he cried and laid his head in his hands and spent the rest of the day trying to make Kenny play with him, asking when Sissy would be home. At six he started school, the memories all documented in precious photographs, the pumpkin farm and the fire house. He found his love for friends, learning and paper and pens. He wrote his name on everything and always had a list, I love to read them now hidden in the third drawer on the left side of his dresser. At eight it was camping, peeing outside and playing cowboys with Kenny. He was all boy dressed in work boots and a black t-shirt so he looked like Granddad. At nine he loved football and his bike, it is still parked there by the shed gathering dust, waiting. The surf board hangs on the wall in the barn, the paper and pens sit up in his room with the bird house he built and his work boots at the foot of his bed. Everything waiting for more memories as I am. This is what I have for sure, the memories of what was but it’s what I don’t that have haunts me. What might have been? What would ten have brought or twelve or sixteen? The longing to know feels like torture to my psyche as my imagination works overtime trying to finish a puzzle with so many beautiful pieces missing.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009, 11:22 AM ( 8 views ) - Posted by HeidiThis is the time of year when I feel lost in a deep and heavy sadness. I keep reliving a time only two short years ago. It was the end of the school year and the kids were excited. We spent our time preparing for end of the year activities, Field Day, Awards Ceremonies, the last day of school, and making our summer plans. Life was effortless, the days filled with swimming of our dock and eating sandwiches outside, all my little ducks in a row, one, two…three. Now I live a little lost in what was, spending my time whishing I was back in those simple moments. We still try to enjoy the dock but the memories are heavy and the lake feels like swimming in wet concrete now, the picnics have grown quiet because we don’t know what plans to make and J.T. can’t come along. It seems sad I know, to hear that the weight of grief still sucks some of the joy out of the present but without those blue eyes and that yellow surf board, that front flip before the splash, life just isn’t the same. My joy is in the past and my mind keeps rewinding to it just to try and borrow a smile.
Thursday, May 14, 2009, 10:25 AM ( 10 views ) - Posted by HeidiHere is a subject that I haven’t yet touched upon but I seem to struggle with, especially as of late. Words. Now this blog isn’t referring to the people that walk up and say “I know how you feel, my dog Duke died last summer…” Let’s just assume those people are missing a chromosome, chalk that up to ignorance, and move on. I’m talking about the people who hold special places in our lives, those people we love and value, and normally say things that we would try and accept. I knew it was inevitable to hear this one someday, but even that knowledge didn’t keep me from the sweaty palms and rapid heart rate I received upon its delivery “…It’s been two almost years, It’s time to move on.” Ouch, there it is like a grenade with the pin pulled moments before it explodes my heart. At first my mind went to logic, thinking that’s ridiculous, the death of a child is not something a mother just gets over. We all struggle through our existence trying to live a life that matters, and believe me, J.T.’s life mattered to me and it always will. Angry feelings followed that up of course, but I have become an expert at anger so that was no surprise, then days later, after the statement had time to marinate in my mind, the guilt set in. You see there is no book entitled Grieving For Dummies, therefore I don’t know if what I am feeling is right, and for someone to suggest that it isn’t makes me feel guilty, as though holding on is wrong, even though I know it’s impossible not to.
That first statement I thought I might hear, this next one didn’t even make my radar. “ Heidi, you have to learn to separate THIS from other situations.” THIS? What is THIS exactly? To me this is my son, my child, and just like my “living” children J.T. is a part of every situation and every decision I make. To have to separate what happened to him from every other aspect of my life would be cruel and unusual punishment. It has become almost as certain as blinking to openly cry when I am reminded of him or interject him into a situation where he is obviously and painfully missing. As the words began to bore holes in my brain, images of me in a black cloak alone in my room secretly grieving like a leper emerged, then the questions, Is that what I should do? Spare those around me from the pain I feel? Keep it to myself? That doesn’t honor J.T. and as much as I know how the people that love me don’t want me to hurt, I do. Is it better for me to conceal that to protect them, or for them to accept my pain to comfort me? I don’t want to cover my scars with a cloak, I am proud of them, they represent my son. Are these the wrong things to say? Perhaps, but inside every situation is a lesson and this week during my unwelcome “grief intervention” I have learned that life is a fine mingling of some holding on and others letting go.
Thursday, April 30, 2009, 02:49 PM ( 7 views ) - Posted by Heidi
Kirby Crow did this watercolor portrait of J.T. Jeremy e-mailed it to me this morning. When I opened the picture I found it fascinating that Kirby was able to capture the joy in J.T.’s face. That joy was always there and it was contagious. What a beautiful gift.