Bandaids and Holidays

This is my 2nd Christmas without Connor, but in all reality it feels like my first. Last year I was numb, nothing felt real, I was still thinking it was a really bad dream and he would walk through the door at any moment. That his loud car would come into the driveway and his clunky chips would come across the kitchen floor, leaving dirt and mud in their wake. In the words of a 3 year old “when is Scotty gonna stop being dead, so we can play? ” I still wish for all that, but the reality of it is long gone.

This is the second year we are spending Christmas at my parents in Connecticut. Something that we haven’t done since Kyle was under a year old. Christmas was always a huge event at our house, with presents piled so high that you could barely see the tree. Switching up traditions is the way for me to heal, and not to dwell on what should have been and the way things should be.

Sometimes the bandaid of grief holds tight, and other times it gets wet and slides off. Those are the easy times, the times that something catches me off guard and it gets ripped off and it bleeds, those are the worst, because time doesn’t heal all wounds.

Crushed Like a Candy Cane

I am supposed to be wrapping presents, but instead I am sitting on the couch with a drink in my hand, The Hallmark Channel on and the express intent of quieting my mind. The drink is good, the movie is charming, but my mind just won’t stop racing. I had a conversation with my best friend Kathy today, she is not only my best friend from college, she is also my person. The one I can go to when the walls come crashing in, and I start to implode. It doesn’t hurt that she is a Licensed Social Worker with The State of Connecticut and is trained in this kind of stuff.

Not only is my heart crushed like a Christmas Candy Cane from the loss of Connor, it is sore from an upcoming hurt that I am steeling myself for. I have uncharacteristically held this one close to the vest, since you all know that this blog and these posts are my salvation and part of my healing process, but I can’t bottle it up anymore.

In October my father in law, Connor and Kyle’s Grampa and Mark’s Dad was diagnosed with metastatic adenocarcinoma. We have ridden this roller coaster for 2 months and now we are headed down to the end of the tracks. Hospice has come in, heavy duty pain meds are on board and things are both changing rapidly yet standing still all at the same time. What I do know is that I am not ready for this, I’m not ready to embrace another loss, and I don’t believe anyone ever is.

There is no blueprint for how to figure this out, we just figure it out as we go, sometimes we fly by the seat of our pants and hope for the best. What I have learned is that being surrounded by ones you love, great family members and fantastic friends can get you through the worst of times.


Last night I had a tearful text conversation with my boss. If you know Steve at all, you know that really isn’t abnormal. He may play the part of the hard-assed boss, but he is one of the kindest, soft hearted and loving people I know.

Not only was Connor my son, he was an employee of S Keyes Electric, Inc. First as a summer employee, then as a co-op employee through FCTS. He loved working for Steve, learned things in the real world that even FCTS Shop Class couldn’t teach him. He honed his work ethic, how to deal with customers and how to correctly do paperwork.

On the other side I think he taught us quite a bit too. He was serious about doing a good job and learning all he could about the trade. But he also had other loves in his life. Baseball, which during the season he would have to leave early for practice and games, and Jordan. There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind how much he adored her, he would move heaven and earth for her. What has come to a surprise to me is how much my guys knew that he loved his mom. At the end of each work day, Connor would come into my office, empty my trash, sometimes bring me a soda, fill me in on his plans for the evening. Was he going home, or to Jordan’s, or maybe to Rusty’s to work on his car. Then before he left he would say “gotta go, love you mom.” My response was always “love you to the moon and back Connor, be safe.” He would roll his eyes at me, with the be safe thing and then out the door he would go.

In a lot of ways it was as hard for me to go back to work as it was to stay home surrounded by all his things. At my office he was there too, his time sheets, his paperwork, the “CP ornament” that he made out of copper when he was exploring plumbing that hangs on my wall. He is literally everywhere I turn.

His loss has taught us all that life is full of accidents, both good and bad. Sometimes we get second chances and sometimes we are one and done. Before this I always lived by the motto “there is no such thing as an accident.” It is something that my Dad always drilled into us, there was always something that was done to cause it. But for this I just have to accept the accident and let it be.

When I was in my early 20s I didn’t want children, now I can’t imagine my life without either Kyle or Connor. Children are unconditional love, even when they are being shitheads. They are proof that you can do something right, you can have a positive impact on this world.

I look at Kyle and see the strong, independent, hardworking young man we raised, and think we did good. I just wish that the world was able to experience Connor for more than 17 years, because I’m sure we did good with him too.