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I wish that there was a specified way that this grieving process went. I am a linear person,we go from A-B and so on in my world. But in grieving things don’t work that way, one day I am fine then something little derails me and I am back inside my own head, filled with grief and pain. I am pretty sure I will be like this for a while, just slogging thru this crap and trying to come to terms with this new normal.

Facebook is generally a happy place for me, but logging on this afternoon changed that. I knew sooner or later the Memories Feature would catch up with me. It did today, with all the glory of a ski slope, a Mohawk Football Sweatshirt, dayglo green ski pants and his precious Go-Pro. Looking like he was ready to take on the world 5 years ago. Instantly my heart broke and the tears started, and I was back in that place again. The place where I can’t catch my breath and nothing matters but the hurt and despair.

This evening one of Connor’s friends has created a Dodgeball Tournament in his honor, something he would have loved. The competition, all his friends and the chance to wallop someone in a sensitive place with a hard ball. My guys at S Keyes Electric will be playing in honor of Connor and that in itself makes me smile. He would have said “bring it on”. So I will go and laugh and watch and yup “bring it on for Connor”

The Firsts

Anyone that I have talked to that has lost anyone will unequivocally state that “The Firsts” are the worst. I wholeheartedly agree. The missing plates, presents and normal traditions have got to be the worst. Trying to create new traditions may be the key, but it doesn’t fix what was lost. The person that you loved is gone, there is a huge hole where they used to be. In my heart there is an enormous cavern marked “Connor”. It is now just full of pain, occasionally there is some happy memories that make there way into the dark place. But right now it is a soul sucking black hole.

I have made it through 3 Firsts, using the phrase “made it” is optimistic, but I am still breathing so I made it. Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. None were like years past, but we muddled through. The changes we made don’t fix the hurt or the pain, but they make the day go by, they got me through, but no one said it was pretty.

Next on the horizon is New Years Eve, Kyle’s Birthday, My Birthday and then….Connor’s Birthday. I was looking forward to him turning 18, now I dread it with all my heart and soul. I want to turn back time, and make the wheel stop spinning. Stop so I can go back and make the accident not happen. Then none of these feelings would be necessary and I wouldn’t have to feel like this.

The feeling that someone took off a limb, or hacked out a vital organ. Like a part of me just isn’t functioning anymore. Or maybe it is the feeling that I am slogging through waist deep mud, constantly exhausted from all the emotions that I just can’t control. I told Brad (Jordan’s dad) the other night that I’m more emotional at night cuz I’m tired. He said “if you want to lie to yourself and say it’s cuz you are tired go for it, but the fucking truth is we just miss him, we all do!” He is right, tired, awake, asleep it doesn’t change the fact that I miss him, and having to slog through each and every one of these firsts just suck.

Ebb and Flow

Today was one of those days where if I could have stayed in bed all day I would have. But there was too much to be done, employees to be paid, vendors to be paid, Credit Cards and Bank Accounts to be reconciled. The oh so very exciting life of a small business accountant.

So I slogged through it all today, Kleenex in hand, trying to stay as positive as possible. Focus on the task at hand and try to push the unhappy thoughts to the back.

I wish it was as easy as that. As easy as, “today I will only think of happy things and I will pretend the nightmare doesn’t exist.” It just isn’t possible, at least for me. Every day some memory comes flooding back, they are mostly good ones, but they still trigger such pain.

They trigger the flood of tears, the inability to catch my breath for a bit and the racking sobs. Sometimes I can catch the trigger beforehand and bury my face in the Kleenex, but usually not. If you were to walk into my office today you would have more often than not found me with wet blotchy cheeks and puffy eyes.

My thought is that the holidays are roaring up like a freight train and I can’t stop them, the time when we were all together, and I got to watch my boys be kids even if they were young men. I still get to watch Kyle be a kid, even if that joy is tempered for him this year. It will be tempered for all of us.

It is a new normal, a new way of life that I will have to adjust to, not like but adjust to. I won’t apologize for my tears or my emotions. I will never apologize for the hurt that I have in my heart and my soul.

Foundation

The most beautiful or prettiest house on the block is only as stable and secure as the foundation that it is built on. I have the best foundation, my Mom and Dad. They know what true love and even heartbreak is about. My Mom and Dad have been married for over 50 years.

They raised 2 great kids (my brother and I) and taught me how to be a Mom. They stood next to me through thick and thin. Through the hardest thing that I have ever done. Holding me while I cried, wailed and screamed.

They have shown me that love will see you through the highs and the lows. That there is nothing that you can’t conquer if you stick together. My family, all of us are a little crazy, a tad dysfunctional, but I wouldn’t have us any other way.

To my Mom and Dad, there are not enough Thank You’s or I Love You’s to tell you how I feel. So these will just have to do!!!

Love you to the moon and back forever and everโค๏ธโค๏ธ๐ŸŒ™โญ๏ธ๐ŸŒ

Milestone

Today I met a milestone, not a big one, but a milestone nonetheless. I made it a whole month. So now we go on to month 2. This is how I will measure things from now on. Slowly, but surely, one little step at a time.

Originally when Connor first was involved in his accident I found the mantra to live by. “It is a Marathon, not a Sprint”. That mantra still holds true. This heartbreak will not change in one month, or two or even six. It will be long and arduous, but I will run this marathon. One foot in front of the other.

One day my heart will not ache like an elephant is parked on it, smothering all the feeling out of it. That day is not now, but I am the eternal optimist, call me Positive Polly. I don’t know what the positive is in this, but I will search until I find it.

I will find the joy in my life again, little by little it will come back. There will be more smiles than tears. Someday there will be actual laughter on a regular basis. That day is in the future, most likely far in the future, but it is there. Just call me Positive Polly. I will find the happy again, I am sure of it.

Time

Time does not heal all wounds, it may make them easier to deal with, but it does not heal them. There is a hole in my heart that hasn’t even begun to heal. I realize it has only been a month since this large hole was punched in my heart, but it feels fresh and raw.

30 days into this awful heartbreak and I still have the intense desire to turn the clock back every day. I have tried, and tried but I am having no luck. I open my eyes and the reality remains the same.

Connor is still gone, my family is shattered, my life will never be the same again. He left behind a set of parents, a brother Kyle and his girlfriend Holly. Jordan, Connors Girlfriend who he adored and the feeling was totally mutual. A set of maternal grandparents who can’t figure out why this has happened, and a paternal grandfather who at 90 was sure he would be the next one to vacate this earth.

Add to that the members of his Electrical Shop who I am learning are a truly awesome group of kids. I have met so many of his friends that I am sure I never would have met, and learned so much about a side of my son that amazes me.

Today, 30 days after Connor left this earth I went to his gravesite. The first time since the funeral. It was hard, but cathartic in a way. It was covered in wreaths and baskets, a battery powered lantern so he wouldn’t be in the dark, and a hat left by a classmate. What struck me most was the overwhelming tracks on the snow to his grave. From everyone that had come to visit him

He was loved, by his family and friends and that makes the hole in my heart feel not so raw. It will take time, work, community and great friends. I have all of them.

Healing

During this entire process I was told that the stronger and deeper the love the more intense and painful the loss is. I believe that to be true, when someone you barely know does, a passing acquaintance or even a huge Hollywood Star that everyone knows. You may feel a slight sadness or be barely effected. But when a family member dies, and even worse when it is sudden. That pain is intense and deep and endless things seem to trigger it.

Seeing Connor’s pictures and his friends I can tolerate, hugs from all of them, that’s ok too. What will send me right off the edge is a video. A video of him being silly and having fun, joking around and just being him. That sets off the torrential waterworks and there seems to be no way to dry them up.

I have the overwhelming urge to reach into the phone and somehow pull him out. To feel him, touch him, listen to his voice in person one more time again, even smell him as odd as that seems. Just get the essence of him out of that phone, and back to real life.

If any of you remember the little boy from the Original Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory. That wanted to be on TV so bad? Mike Teavee was the character name, he was dressed completely in white with a funny western accent. He was projected across the room, but his little pieces didn’t line up right!!

I want Connor to come out of that little box with all his little pieces lined up correctly. Laughing and joking and smiling. Just being my same Connor. I know intellectually it can’t happen, but it doesn’t stop me from wanting the impossible!

I want a lot of impossible things now, for this never ending bad dream I’m in to just stop. To wake up and have none of it be true. To have Groudhog Day stop replaying over and over. To have a holiday full of sparkle and joy, to not snivel and tear up when anyone hugs me or tells me how excited they are that all their kids are home for Christmas.

I know (or I am told) it will start to get easier someday. I just have to get to that day. The first step is getting through this holiday season. That being said, please don’t treat me with kid gloves, or not tell me things that you think will make me sad, as much as I want to live in a bubble I can’t, nor will it help me heal. I can want for things to be different to the moon and back, but it won’t change the reality of the situation.

So check on me, hug me, send me well wishes. Just be prepared for the waterworks, and know they are ok, because I do.