Thursday, March 13, 2014


We've rounded the corner on the two month mark since I last saw and held my sweet boy. It feels like it's been two years. I've been spending a lot of time looking through old blog posts, pictures and video clips and I hardly recognize the happy child that appears in those memories. At the time, I didn't appreciate how good a life Jack really had and how good he looked despite all he had going on.  Oh, how I miss that happy Jack. I struggle to remove the images and emotions of the last difficult months of Jack's life from the forefront of my mind. I can't yet replace the painful memories with the happy ones.  His memories are not a blessing.  Not yet, anyway.

The tears still fall every day. They fall in the mornings on my drive to work. They fall every night when I carry on a one way conversation with Jack before I close my eyes in anticipation of the sleep that eludes me. They fall when I listen to music. They fall as I am asked to choose a headstone for Jack's grave. Today, in particular, my tears are intermingled with anger. I'm angry that I have to live the rest of my life without Jack. I'm angry that I have to pick out my son's headstone. I'm just f-ing angry. I'm not sure which is more draining, sadness or anger. Regardless, I'm drained.

I'm also thankful. Thankful for the amazing and continued support I receive every single day from my friends and family. The text message, email, card, Facebook post, telephone call and offer to spend time with me do so much to lift my spirits and keep me from sinking into an abyss of isolation and despair.

If you were to ask me how I'm doing, I'll likely tell you, I'm doing "OK". And, I suppose I am. After all, I get up every day, take a shower, get dressed, go to work, care for my family and my home, hike, go for walks, participate in 5Ks, give interviews, run a Foundation, spend time with friends. I even smile and laugh on occasion. So, yes, I am doing OK.

And speaking of Jack's headstone, we are still trying to decide exactly what we want. If cost wasn't an issue, the decision would be much easier. Mark commented the other day that we should just dig him up and bring him back home with us. It's tempting, I'll admit. (But, don't worry, we won't do that.) The one thing we are sure of is that we will include the following words by Maya Angelou on his headstone:

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always irregularly.
Our senses, restored, 
never to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be better.
For they existed.

We can, indeed, be and be better because Jack existed.



kathie said...

that is one of the most beautiful pieces of poetry ever, and so very true...when they sink in, really sink in, those words, those awful, tragic, and wonderful words...i believe you will be more okay you....

Kate said...

I think you're doing brilliantly. I kept waiting for this big tsunami of grief to hit me and leave me in pieces, incapable of functioning, but it didn't happen. I was so scared of this happening because I had so much to do, and people needed me. I didn't know anyone who'd lost their child before, so my only reference was books, films, and other media. Motthers always seemed to fall apart spectacularly in those. Thankfully it's not like that (for most). I think your brain protects you and only lets the flood gates open a little at a time. It is hard and so draining, but endurable most of the time. Having our amazing boys taught us how to be patient and remain strong even in situations over which we had little control. It's the best preparation anyone could get for this shitty, emotional marathon.

I'm still so sorry you lost your Jack. He was a wonderful boy. I'm glad you got to have him, hold him, and know him. Lots of love to you all. Xxx

Karen Gerstenberger said...

I can remember and relate to many of the things you describe here. The trauma memories will soften, and you will remember the happier days, eventually. It WILL get easier.

You sound as if you are doing a great deal of good for your family and community. I do hope you are taking good care of yourself, as well. Yoga might be a great gift - perhaps a massage, too! Massage has been a huge help to me.

Picking a headstone sounds like a terribly painful task, but the verse you chose is lovely.