The Storm

As I sat at the last of the whirlwind graduation parties for Connor’s friends the McCloud twins. Who I have never been able to tell apart, I know that one is just a little shorter than the other one, I now know that if they are wearing baseball caps Zacky wears his backwards and Brady never does. To me they have always been the McCloud twins, Brady and Zacky his buddies, the twins. They always came to my house as a package deal, because I wouldn’t dream of separating them. They were 2 of his pallbearers (in different color shirts) thank God. Brady in s blue dress shirt and Zacky in green, so I didn’t have to fumble through not knowing that day.

They did the unthinkable, the unimaginable for Connor and for us. What 18 year old boys could ever imagine having to carry one of their buddies to his final resting place? But they did it, for me, for him for the amazing community that we live in. Because that is the kind of children that we raised. Children that are kind and yet strong, loving yet dependable.

Amy has walked through this storm of grief with me. Both of us knowing that by the grace of god it could have been any one of us.

After most of the crowd left a group of us sat at one table chatting and reminiscing about baseball, little league, travel team ball and all the sports our boys played. Shortly the clouds opened up, luckily the tent kept us dry. But it was a storm of a different kind, unlike the emotional storm that I have endured for the last 7 months.

I will never understand why I was chosen to give up my precious son, or what the overall plan was for this. Sometimes I am in disbelief and think he is gonna walk through the door, sometimes I am angry because I know it is never gonna happen and other times I just plain sad and broken.

What I do know is that I am a different person than I was before November 6th. I am a person who doesn’t take life, love or anything for granted. I learned that the hard way. It is fleeting and needs to be savored like fine wine and chocolate.

Unexpected

I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would no longer be a Baseball Mom. It was my title since Kyle was in 3rd grade. To be honest Kyle played because all of his friends did, yet Connor played because he adored the game. Kyle was obsessed with anything that had a motor and wheels, while Connor’s obsession was sports. Baseball, Football and Skiing (as fast as he could go.)

They have always been 2 vastly different children, raised in the same house, by the same parents. It didn’t mean I loved them any differently or one more than the other, just that they were very different from each other. Yet they shared some things, the same temper, a love of animals, lack of patience and a shared love of picking on their mom.

Baseball Moms are a special breed. We spend our time finding gloves, and uniforms, getting water, Gatorade and snacks for games. Getting our kids to games and practices on time, even they are playing at far-flung fields that require GPS directions. We often have a houseful of teammates to feed and entertain.

In my case I was the “Team Mom”, I sat with the scorebook in my lap and a “Mary Poppins” bag of goodies at my feet. The bag contained extra pencils, snacks, an umbrella, sunscreen and bug spray. I kept score and kept the kids in line, keeping them all in the dugout and batting in order.

I always thought that I would be so glad when Connor went to Middle School and this part of my Baseball Mom life was over. But when it ended I seemed lost, I had done it for so long, it seemed odd to just sit and watch a game without having to keep track of everything and everyone.

It was the first step in learning to let go, I never expected to have to let go in this way. No parent ever does. I have learned that the unexpected is the wave that we all surf. It just so happens that my waves are hurricane force.

Field of Dreams

FCTS 2018 Eagles

Tonite was the FCTS Baseball Banquet, the cafeteria full of teenage boys and their families. The tables laden with potluck foods, soda, brownies, cookies and white chocolate lollipops in the shape of baseballs.

The varsity players came carrying a huge package covered in a sheet and placed it at the front of the room. Much like the elephant in the room, it was there, and I could see it. I didn’t know what was under it, but I had a pretty good idea that it was tear invoking.

Mr. Intensity

Then all the Varsity players were called to the front and my tears began. Goodness I am a human faucet, I can’t control the river of emotions that are running down my face.

Brian starts to talk about what a joy it was to coach Connor. How he loved the game, and just expected people to play it, be accountable and no excuses. How this team has faced adversity and yet they really have triumphed this year. They won their division and beat teams that Tech has normally been beaten by.

Then the sheet comes off and revealed is a gorgeous oak frame, handmade by Dakota Dean. Inside it is Connors #3 Jersey, tacked up on a blue FCTS background. Any thought I have of holding back the tears is long gone. Thank goodness for waterproof makeup, I am crying but there are no sounds. This is possibly one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. This jersey should be on Connors body, but it can’t be, won’t be ever again. These boys have made me a remembrance, a frame to hold his jersey forever for me. It may just be an oak box. But it holds the #3 and that is precious to me.

Gorgeous Frame made by Dakota

At the beginning of the season I had one request for these boys, to play this season for Connor. To play hard, and fierce and dedicated. With no excuses and no bullshit. I can truly say that they did it!! Sitting and watching them play this year was the closest thing to watching Connor on that field. The field that he loved, the game that he loved. His Field of Dreams.

Beautiful hit #3-2017 Season

A Man with A Plan

Connor entered FCTS, following in both Kyle and Mark’s path. He chose his shop, rose through the ranks and made his mark. As his shop teacher said to me when we were choosing the recipient for his scholarship “we need to choose someone like Connor, who knows he wants to be an electrician, since Connor did, from what? At the age of 3..?”

It wasn’t 3, more like 12 when I took a job with S Keyes Electric, Inc and he entered Middle School. He became a young man with a plan, and there was no stopping him. A plan that started out with Connor being an electrician, and a damn good one. Somewhere in that 4 years the plan tweaked a bit. His plan was to become a Lineman. First by going to Southeast Lineman Training Center in Trenton Georgia, and spending 15 weeks climbing poles and all the craziness that went with it. Then the plan tweaked again, working for Eversource in their Apprentice Lineman Program was his plan.

He pursued it with a passion, getting his name on the list, submitting his paperwork. Using every contact he had, or could find. Eversource told him that once he was 18 they would be call him and start the process. He was prepared to be part of their program once he graduated.

The Electrical Crew

Plans change, something that my family knows all to well. You learn to roll with the punches and be flexible. You play the hand that was dealt to you.

His smile lit up my world๐Ÿ˜Š๐ŸŒŽ

In our case that hand is a bust at this time, it contains heartbreak, tears and no answers to the proverbial why? But what it does contain is memories, memories of a young man so strong, determined and driven that nothing short of his death would change that plan. Those memories keep me going, they hold me up through the hard times, and that is all I can ask.

In his eyes she hung the moonโค๏ธ

Miss

I was told when Connor first died to try to think of all the things I would miss and grieve each and every one of them. I grieved the person that my amazing son was, the fact that somehow the shy high school student I was, gave birth to and raised the “Big Man on Campus”. The guy that all the others followed, girls followed him like the pied piper and he was the leader. Although he didn’t see it, didn’t want to be it or wasn’t cocky about it.

Connor just expected everyone to do their job. He held everyone to a standard that he was held to, he held them accountable for their actions and accepted no excuses and no crap. In that way he was the young man I raised. He knew how to work hard, play hard and have fun.

The other side of Connor was the side that most people didn’t see. The romantic side, the side that treated Jordan like the princess that she is. The side that would help me cook dinner and clean up. He made amazing Guacamole that I have yet to recreate.

The side that before he got his license enjoyed snow days so we could have chocolate chip pancakes and hot cocoa for breakfast. The side that polished his moms toes from the time he was small (probably 8 or so). He had the steadiest hand, and could even do some pretty cool nail art, flowers, butterflies and ladybugs.

The external Connor is the one that the world misses, but I miss ladybugs and chocolate chip pancakes on snow days.

The Truth

Any of my followers know that I don’t sugar coat the truth. It is what it is, this new normal isn’t pretty by any means. When Connor first died I tried to numb the pain with bottles. Bottles of Prosecco, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay. It was a temporary fix, it temporarily dulled the pain. But when I woke up the next morning the ache was still there, with an added headache and sometimes some nausea.

It didn’t take me long to realize that this wasn’t the way to cope with my grief. What I needed was therapy, so I hauled my butt back to therapy, then to my PCP to get something to deal with the overwhelming grief.

After a few trial and errors with meds I think we have found the sweet spot. An anti depressant, a med to keep the nightmares at bay and a short acting anti anxiety for when I am too wired.

My one recent worry was I was becoming a walking embodiment of my grief. That it was becoming all consuming and all anyone saw when they saw me. One of my dear friends reminded me last night

Nah. You kick ass. Your fun to be with. Pretty. Wicked smart. Hilarious when you want to be. Loyal. Dedicated. And there’s a wild streak in you too. A wild side only your friends know.

Your straight up kick ass female.

So I am remembering that, I have been through hell, I am still less than 7 months into this new normal. My sparkle will return, but right now I am a little scuffed up and tarnished.

Poof

I made a promise to myself and his teammates. A promise to attend each and every one of their home games this year. I sat in the cold, the rain, a little bit of warmth (there wasn’t much of it this year.)

Through amazing wins and crushing losses, watching them play their hearts out. At each home game seeing Connor’s bat bag hanging on the fence, along with his #3 FCTS Jersey. Both of those things made me proud, but I won’t lie to you, they also made tears sting my eyes, sometimes flood my eyes and sometimes roll down my cheeks.

But I kept that promise, I kept it because spring would not be spring in my life without baseball, and I have known some of these teammates since Connor played Rec Ball. These boys are part of my history, Connor’s history of baseball.

These boys have been through more than most kids their age this year. They are strong and they are tough. Stronger than they should have to be, stronger than any teenage boys should have to be. I wish that none of had to be this strong.

I am proud of them, proud of how they have navigated these uncharted waters. No one asked for this, none of us expected or knew how to deal with this. We just did the best we could, and played the hand we were dealt.

Tonight they played their first and last playoff game against the Mt. Everett Eagles of Sheffield, MA. They lost 4-2. They played a good game, a hard game, full of heart and soul. They left everything on the field. I can’t ask anything more of them, ever!! 7 innings later, Poof, the promise I made is fulfilled . The season is over and we all of us can say we did it

#3connorstrong4everโค๏ธ๐Ÿ’™โšพ๏ธ๐Ÿฆ…๐ŸŽ“