Hands of Time ๐Ÿงญโฐ

I made it through another Thanksgiving, the 3rd one since Connor died. Each one has been different, the first one I was numb, in a fog, not really accepting he was gone. Just having gone through the Wake, Funeral and Burial, something that no Mom should ever have to do.

The first year we spent Thanksgiving with Mark’s boss John Lamoureux. Just a quiet day with he and his kids, Prime Rib and all the fixings. A Thanksgiving unlike any we had ever had, which after the emotional trauma we had been through, was just what we needed.

Last year we had Thanksgiving at my parents, which was our normal M.O., but again things were different. My father in law had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, so he and my sister in law didn’t make the trip to CT with us.

This year she made the trip to CT with us, but the table was missing 2 chairs, Connor’s and my father in law’s. As time goes by things change, more chairs will become empty around holiday tables.

This is not a fact that I am looking forward to, the inevitable change that comes as we age and everyone grows up. But it is a change that I won’t have any control over when it comes. What I will be able to do is savor each and every memory as they come along. Enjoy each laugh, relish in each story told, and every meal shared together. Because time is fleeting, so enjoy each and every second that you have together.

Hard Truths

If I was to tell you that this week had been easy, that would be a bold faced lie. In fact it was horrendous. Wednesday was November 6th. The 2 year anniversary of the tragic accident that started the domino effect.

I remember everything about that day. From the fact I stayed home with a migraine, to the fact that Mark’s boss John pretended he was Connor’s Uncle to “grease ” the wheels at Baystate before we got there. I know what I had on, because I wore the same thing for 3 days, until Kyle & Holly brought me some new clothes from home. Eventually we made a Kohl’s run for leggings and a sweater.

I remember his room being kept so cold, because he had a brain injury. So we had extra blankets on us that night to stay warm. I remember watching that ICP # like a hawk. Fixated on it, because it wasn’t supposed to go over 20.

At one point in time, a trauma doctor came in to check him. His ICP# was 2. I was internally so happy because it was low. He said to the nurse, “I’m concerned it is too low, the brain stem is herniated.” Those words went in one ear and out the other, I didn’t want to hear, or absorb them. All I wanted was for Connor to recover.

But it wasn’t meant to be. More CAT scans, the ICP removal, a surgery to remove a section of his skull, and finally an MRI, confirmed those words that doctor uttered that first night.

My world crumbled, like a delicate sugar cookie. All of a sudden the worst case scenario was here. A parents worst nightmare, and to have to make the decision to turn off the machines. All those beeps, and the whooshing of the ventilator that had breathed for him for 11 days. My brain knows it was the right decision, but convincing my heart of that..I’m not sure that will ever happen.

1,400 Miles

This weekend I met some ladies in person that I have only ever talked to on Facebook. I have been on-line friends with these ladies for almost 3 years. 2 of them drove 1,400 miles, just to road trip and see Salem, MA, in that respect they are crazier or braver than me. That amount of time and miles in a car would make me nuts.

We chat on-line all the time. They were there for me when Connor died. They have pulled me up my bra straps and made me face the world at times that I just wanted to hide in bed. Conversely they have also allowed me to cry and howl and whine about how unfair life is.

To actually meet, hug and laugh with these ladies was beyond magical. It felt like I had known them for years, although I was meeting them for the first time. There were no awkward lapses in conversation nothing that we couldn’t talk about.

Anything and everything was a topic of conversation, and nothing was off the table. From relationships, to jobs, to pets and everything in between. Not to mention the great food and drink that we had at Wahlburgers in Lynnfield.

I have had people tell me that “In-Real-Life Friends are much more important than On-Line ones. I tend to disagree, I know in the world we live in there is so much fraud out there. So many people “Catfishing” others, but I am happy to say that I was never concerned about that with this group of ladies. I am so glad they felt the need to come get scared in Salem. Love ya Mamas๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ

Always Prepared

This weekend Mark and I did something that we used to do quite often when the boys were little. We made a fall visit to the beach, we walked along the sand, watching the waves rush in, smelling the salt air and seeing the fog envelop everything. This trip walking at Salisbury State Reservation was almost impossible, to put it mildly..the ocean was angry. Sub-Tropical Storm Melissa was off the New England Coast and she was stirring up the waves in a crazy frenzy.

There was a little boy running in the sand, chasing through the dirty foam that the ocean had left behind. His mom trailing after him, fruitlessly trying to put his jacket back on him. He was laughing and giggling as he was tossing handfuls of foam in the air, and her patience was wearing thinner by the second. He was wet up to his waist from letting the waves soak him as they ran farther and farther up the shore each time they broke.

My memory instantly returned to Kyle, he would be in the ocean regardless of how cold it was, I learned to bring him multiple changes of clothes for these off season trips. Telling him he couldn’t go in, just wasn’t an option. Connor would stay far enough up on shore that he didn’t get wet, or only the edges of his sneakers got wet. Kyle would ditch his clothes and head full fledged towards that freezing cold water. If we had been there on a weekend like that, with those angry waves, it would have taken all my strength to keep him on the shore so he didn’t drown!

They each had their own fears, and their own hesitations. Kyle loved water, and waves from the time he was born. They were never Connor’s friends. He was much happier building sandcastles, or playing ball on the beach.

If it had a motor or wheels, it was right up Kyle’s alley… I swear his first words were “vroom, vroom go!!.” Connor was all about balls, sports, girls and speed. Baseball, football girls(from day 1) and the faster he could ski the happier he was.

I never could understand how 2 children raised in the same house, by the same parents, could be so vastly different. But that is what made them my boys, they were different, yet as they got older they shared things and knew how to respect each others differences without it tearing them apart.

I had always vowed I wouldn’t have an only child, my children would have each other. To grow up with, to learn from and with. But somehow that thought didn’t follow through. I will always be a mother of 2, Connor will always be in my heart. But Kyle won’t have the younger brother to joke with and hang around with and continue to be with…..Sometimes the best laid plans just don’t come to fruition, no matter how hard you try.

His Baby and Mine

That car was his baby and he was mine. In the blink of an eye it all blew apart. He lost his baby, and I lost mine.

He loved that car from the minute he laid eyes on it, he didn’t even know how to drive a standard but he wanted it. He was insistent that he would learn so he could have that car. That sporty little black car. He painted the grill black, put new rims on it, and he was ready to roll. The thing sat so low to the ground I nearly had to roll out of it when I rode with him.

He turned the bass up so high, as well as the music, hooked his phone up so he could play Pandora. And I swore the windows shook. But he might have gotten that from me, I like my music loud, always have and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

He learned to drive the stick shift up on Thompson Road, and Ed Clark before he even had his license. Practicing with just his permit, so that when he got his license we could register and insure that little black Mazda and let him go. I bought him this bumper sticker for it.

We both laughed about it. But deep down I was terrified, he was my baby, and now he was driving, independent and I could see every horror around each corner.

Both he and Kyle kept telling me that I was just a worry wort. He rear ended a young lady on the boulevard coming out of the tech school, so I figured we were good. He had his one mulligan out of the way, all was good.

Until that fateful phone call. Until my world turned upside down, sideways and spun in ways that I didn’t know possible.

Winding

Summer is my happy time, we spend weekends at our campground surrounded by our friends. People who have made us feel loved, safe and included right from the first day we arrived. It is easy when we are there, no stress, no bickering, very little worries from the outside world.

But that time is winding down, there are bound to be less beautiful hot pool days. Less nights in the hot tub or around the fire toasting marshmallows and roasting hot dogs on sticks.

As this summertime winds down fall looms closer. November rushes fast on the horizon like a train I don’t want to see. Tomorrow, September 17th will be 22 months. 22 months that Connor has been gone. Some days the pain is just an ache. Kind of like my shoulder from playing nerf football in the pool yesterday. And some days it is a full on knife twist. Today it is a full on knife twist, and I am prepared that tomorrow won’t be much better. The memory of telling that team of doctors to do everything that they could, and it still wasn’t enough is burned into my brain. Missing you comes in waves and today the waves are 15 feet tall, the space between them is short. This whole process sucks. What I wouldn’t give for one more day…

Bucket Loader Full of Dirt and Rocks

I swear just when I think I have crawled out of the hole of grief, someone dumps a bucket loader of dirt and rocks back on me. Today was one of those days, in spades. It started out as a normal day, just like any other. I got ready for work, headed out the door and glanced at the calendar, and that’s when the first pile of rocks started to fall. It is that week, the week that contains the 17th of the month. The day that Connor formally left this world 21 months ago on Friday of this week. Although in 3 months he will be gone 2 years, 24 whole months, it still seems surreal to me. As if he could walk through the door at any moment.

That I could hear the distinctive sound that his semi-tied Chips made as he came through the front door. Of course after I heard the thumping of the bass that his stereo made as his beloved car came up the road. Those are sounds that I still hear in the recesses of my brain, almost as if I continue to hear them, he will somehow magically reappear.

Unfortunately my day went from bad to worse. I went to go get our company T-Shirts, with the new Connor Strong Logo on the sleeve. There it was in full color. The reminder that my guys will carry with them all year long, the full color reminder that he isn’t coming back.

No matter how hard I tried to turn off my brain, it just wouldn’t stop today. My father in laws house has been sold, Kyle is still trying to sell his powder blue mini van. In my yard sits 2 rally cars that are reminders of PBR-Powers Brothers Racing, and all the times they spent together. Racing and working on those cars together. Competing against each other to see who had the best times, they were always so close.

Then there is the constant reminder that I don’t want, the headstone that sits in Calvary Cemetery, the black granite stone with his name and his beloved baseballs on it. The stone with the short dash that marks the 17 years that he was on this earth. But that dash doesn’t represent how much he lived, loved and was loved. How much fun he had, how strong he was, how smart and ambitious he was. And most of all, how much he is missed.