Tonite I did something that Connor would have normally done. I took Jordan shopping for school supplies. We went to Hadley so she could get what she needed at Staples. Next stop was Hannoush Jewelers to exchange Jordan’s Alex and Ani’s ring that was missing a blue crystal, and our final stop was Sephora. Now that place is a girly girl’s paradise. Makeup and perfume and hair what nots as far as the eye can see. I left with some new perfume …Good Girl by Carolina Herrera. It smells sexy and divine.
Even the packaging is sexy, who can resist a perfume bottles to look like a stiletto pump??
The whole time we were wandering the mall, I kept thinking, Connor should be doing this, he should be helping her pick out school supplies. Knowing exactly how many binders and notebooks and packets of loose leaf paper she needs. He should be telling her that she looks perfect without makeup, and she doesn’t need waterproof mascara, that there is nothing worth crying about. But unfortunately he isn’t here, he isn’t here to entertain her with his silly antics, to spoil her with all the love he has to give her.
Instead I am a poor substitute for the young man that she loves so dearly. The young man that hung the moon in her eyes, my Connor, her Connor. The sweet, gentle, crazy guy who won her heart, and had plans to keep it for the rest of their lives.
If you have any friends with infant children I’m sure you have seen these.
The “I am However Many Months Old Blanket”. I have seen it over and over again on Facebook, and my thought is, maybe Grieving Moms need them. Although keeping track of the months and days can be obsessive, sometimes it becomes inevitable. When I write the date on a deposit slip, and all of a sudden I realize why I have been in a funk.
Tomorrow I can circle 9 on that blanket, 9 months since Connor has been gone. Some days it feels like 9 months, other times 9 years or even 9 minutes. It all depends on the day.
Earlier this week Jordan and I were laughing on the phone about him, recounting that he had many great traits, but a good sense of direction was not one of them. Connor had a terrible sense of direction, without his GPS, I’m not sure he could have gotten out of Colrain. I always was afraid I would get a call from him saying, “Mom, I’m lost, the sign says Ohio!” LOL
Tomorrow morning, I will get up, make myself a cup of coffee, and go sit in his room for a bit. I’ll have a conversation with him, albeit one-sided. Tell him how much I miss him, how this counting BS sucks and how I wish he could come back. I will cry into the pillow that still smells like him and embrace the memories that I have that allow me to put one foot in front of the other and head towards month 10.
Since November our lives have changed in so many ways. The loss of Connor being the most obvious. Kyle moved out in May and our nest became empty. Empty in a way that I wasn’t ready for. I always knew it was coming, but I thought had more time. Let me give you a hint, time goes too quick, don’t blink, because they are grown adults before you know it. Texting you with laundry and cooking questions, instead of emptying the refrigerator while your back is turned.
I started with one tattoo, an infinity piece to keep Connor on my body, because he will always be in my heart and soul. I have added 2 more, butterflies (a family of 4) following Connor as he is trailing off. And now a piece to honor all the friends that have stood with me through this. Who have held me while I ugly cried and assured me that my makeup didn’t look awful.
Mark and I have grown closer, spending our free weekends at the beach, enjoying the sun and quiet that it brings. We have spent time working on the house. Cleaning closets, working on emptying our cellar, getting rid of stuff we don’t need, and eventually painting the interior rooms. All the things that we needed to do when the kids were little and we just never got to it.
Our eventual plan is to sell this house, the house I moved into when I got engaged to Mark, the house we raised Kyle & Connor in. We had always planned to sell and move once Connor graduated from FCTS anyway. I am tired of living so far away from everything and the winters on top of this hill are brutal. Now the memories in this house are another kind of brutal. They are every where I turn, I will take the good memories with me. But I need to not be smacked in the face by them at every turn.
I know it will hurt when we move and this chapter ends, but if the loss of Connor has taught me anything. It has taught me that I am stronger than I ever thought and he will be with me forever. Those memories don’t reside in wood and nails, but in my heart and soul.
Since that fateful day in November of 2017, when my life was turned on it’s head and shaken. I have truly learned who my friends are. Some of those friendships came as no surprise to me, they were people who have been in my life for years. Other people have truly stepped up and showed me their true colors. Showed me that they are not friends that will vanish when things get hard.
Friends that will be there when I need someone to cry to on a random Tuesday because I just can’t stop crying. Friends who think dinner out on a Thursday night is the best idea. Friends that won’t let me stay home and wallow in my own pain. They use their broad shoulders to take on some of that pain with me.
Only a few of these friends have ever been through this awful loss of a child. But they have all suffered a loss of some kind. Whether it is a parent or a grandparent, a close friend or relative. Loss has touched all of their lives in some way.
Yet no one has ever said to me, ” I know what you are going through because I lost….”. They understand the loss of a child is a different loss type. It shares no components with a loss of any other kind. Your heart is broken, the mother child bond has been shattered, like a delicate China plate that someone tossed on a tile floor. No amount of Gorilla Glue will put it back together, like no amount of glue or stitches will repair my heart right now. But these friends of mine, the family that I chose, know that what I need is compassion, and love and fun, and the ability to fall apart when necessary. They give me all those things and more. They are the FRIENDS THAT GROW IN MY GARDEN OF LIFE. And I am eternally grateful for them, like wildflowers they weren’t planted. They just grow and bloom where they land, and the fact the they landed here makes me happy, and happy is what I need now.
I’m sure most of you have seen the Facebook Meme or question asking “If you could go back and talk to anyone who would it be?” It’s no secret that I would go back and find Connor in a heartbeat. This week has been nothing short of a living hell. Starting the process all over again, walking each step all over again, feeling each and every agonizing emotion.
But I would also talk to someone else, someone who has walked in these shoes, although I didn’t realize it at the time. When I was 3 years old my cousin Beth Anne was killed in a car accident. On her way home from the Cape, on a surprise visit to see her parents. She was 20 years old and although I don’t remember any of this (I was only 3) her parents were devastated.
When I got older I loved to go visit Uncle Turk & Aunt Ann, he had this little dog that rode everywhere in the truck with him, and a cat Jezebel that was a huge bundle long pale grey fur. You could only pet that cat for so long before she had enough and would swat you. Aunt Ann made the best cookies, and Uncle Turk just laughed at everything.
I want to go back and sit at her round kitchen table with her and ask all the questions that I never needed the answers to before. How did you cope when Beth Anne died? Did you feel like your heart was permanently broken forever or did you eventually start to heal? Did you ever stop crying? These were questions that teenage me never would have asked. Beth Anne had been gone many years by the time I was s teenager, but it was an unspoken family rule not to bring it up.
Aunt Ann has been gone a long time now, she died the day that Kyle was born. So the questions that I have for her will go unanswered. I have living people to ask them of. I just wish that I had asked her. A lady that I loved, at that round table that I am pretty sure shared the broken heart that I carry now.