As I’m laying here on the couch being very thankful that this week is over, I’m coming to the realization that it has nothing to do with how hard I worked. Because in all reality I didn’t work that hard at all. I was off Monday, worked Tuesday, was off Wednesday because I had a specialized cortisone shot in my shoulder and then worked Thursday and today.
What made this week so hard, and so long was the emotional turmoil that it consisted of. I realized that my birthday is fast approaching, and it is just another year older. I could care less about that, what is rocking my world is that another year has come and gone and Connor isn’t here. I know deep down that he isn’t coming back, to think anything else would be delusional. I am not ready to be carted off by the guys in the white coats just yet. There are not little green men living under my bed, that I know of anyway.
As Connor’s friend Krystal said the days that were the hardest for her are the holidays they should be there, the birthdays and the big ones like Christmas, Thanksgiving and maybe even Easter. She is right, they are the hardest ones, every day is hard, a cruel reminder that I am going to have to slog through the rest of my days on this earth without him. But these special days are the worst, turning 51 without my 18 year old smiling, silly, sarcastic, blue eyed romantic young man with me. Yup that is a personal version of hell that no mom should ever endure.
For the most part the guilt over Connor’s death has dissipated. I say for the most part, because there are still those days where nothing helps. Where all I want to do is cry, find blame in the situation and stay in bed. I know that isn’t rational, nor does it make any sense. All I do know is how I feel, one moment I feel like everything is ok, and the next moment I am back in November 2017 and my world has imploded in the worst way possible.
The more time that has elapsed, the more I realize that I’m not alone. I don’t mean my cherished friends. They are always there at a moments notice if I need them via phone, text or FB messenger. I mean the ever growing group of women that have lost children. There are nothing easy about these emotions, they are raw, messy, ugly and full of pitfalls at every corner.
Someday I hope my life won’t be full of all these emotional pitfalls, that I will be able to see a Black Mazda 3i without the big crocodile tears running down my cheeks and making a huge mess of my makeup. That the sound of untied workbooks clunking across the floor won’t cause a lump in my chest that no amount of swallowing will clear.
I have always lived by and taught my children that you reap what you sow. That hard work pays off, education is the brass ring and with a good education and a trade you can go far. That if you are careful and pay attention to your surroundings, then things like this don’t happen. I was dreadfully and woefully wrong, on so many levels. Accidents do happen, and I will spend the rest of my life trying to figure out why me, why us??
Today we went for a walk, Mark and I and Cooper, I wore the new hat that Mark gave me for Christmas, I’m not a gat person, but it does look kind of nice. It was a nice day, not full on winter, but not spring either. It was nice to get out and just enjoy the weather, and each other, no phones no screens, just us.
We didn’t talk about anything important, just that Cooper doesn’t have the energy that she used to (she is 14 after all), how will sugaring season be with the wonky weather we have had. That there is very little snow on January 6th, and what that means? Will we get walloped with snow, or is this all we will get? The current political idiocy going on in the country and the fear that #45 has gripped a significant amount of this country in.
We walked hand in hand, avoiding the puddles and the mud as much as possible. Which meant we zigzagged back and forth across the road, luckily there is no traffic on Thompson Rd.
On the way home, Mark was scuffing his feet, scuffing and clunking the way that Connor used to. I said to him, “pick up your feet, or tie those boots, you sound just like Connor” he said “we are almost home, don’t worry about it.” As he continued to walk, scuffing and clunking, in my mind all I could see and hear was Connor in his Chips. Making that same noise. Scuff, clunk, scuff, clunk. Oh sweet Jesus how I miss him, all the quirks that made him Connor.
Today Kyle turned 22, and running through my head as he was opening his present was “you should be here, standing with your arm around me here, cutting up cracking a cold beer”
Yes, I know he wasn’t drinking age, but it fits, they were brothers. He should be here, watching Kyle open his presents, busting him about something and just generally riding him the way brothers do. There are times that I can go through my day compartmentalizing the grief so it isn’t front and center. The holiday season and Kyle’s Birthday is not one of those days.
Connor should have been here for all of this, Christmas this year, then 4 days later when we laid Grampa to rest after 91 years. He should have been the one celebrating New Years with Jordan and busting me because I didn’t make it to midnight.
My father in law used to tell them that he and his brother never fought, usually when my boys were at each other’s throats. Kyle and Connor never believed it, and I’m not sure I do either, but what I do know it my boys loved each other. In a way that only brothers can, whether it meant keeping secrets from Mom and Dad, or just confiding in each other about things that only brothers can. They shared a bond and a love that brothers have, a bond that is different from the one that I had with Connor and the one I have with Kyle.
It is a bond that Kyle won’t have with anyone else (sorry to any of his great friends). No one will replace his brother, no one will bug him and pester him like Connor did, no one will get under his skin like Connor did, and conversely no one will love him unconditionally like his brother did.