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Friday, May 31, 2013

My Bwother

I've had a hard time articulating my feelings lately.  The words in my head aren't doing my heart justice, and that's frustrating for me.  Tonight, my 5-year-old daughter, Morgan, expressed what I knew was coming for a couple of weeks now.  And the fact that she can't say her "r" sound makes it even more heartbreakingly beautiful.  So, I've decided to let her do the talking.

"Mommy!  This isn't wight! It's not the same without my bwother.  I want to hold him.  I want to see him.  I want to hear his little giggle.  Wemember his giggle, Mommy?  Wemember how he used to destwoy my towers in the living woom?  Wemember how he laid his head on my chest when I hugged him, and then pushed me away when he was all done?  Do you wemember, Mommy?"

I remember, baby.  I remember every second of every day.  I remember when I'm playing with you outside. I remember when I'm forcing a smile because you've drawn a picture of him.  I remember when you smile and I see the same crinkle in your eyes as your baby brother. I remember when I hold you in the chair and the softest scent of baby shampoo nearly breaks me in half.  I remember in the car, in my bed, in the kitchen, in the store, in the dentist's office.  I remember with every breath.

"I know I don't get to decide for my soul, but sometimes I don't like being here.  Sometimes I want to be an angel and go to heaven and just get to see his face again.  It isn't faiw, Mommy.  My othew fwiends get to play with their bwothers every night.  I just want one mowe time.  Do you want one mowe time, Mommy?"

Sometimes the pain of living is so overwhelming, I feel as though it can be seen as some sort of color emanating from my body.  Is it red for angry?  Is it blue for pain?  Black for emptiness?  I know this feeling well, baby.  Sometimes I hate the people I see.  I hate the trees, and the ground, and the sky, and the "rainbows denoting salvation and promise for tomorrow."  I hate the air that I breathe.  It's at those times that no amount of placating, no ridiculous platitude can pull me from the depths of the Hell that I'm in.

Through choked sobs: "Mom-my, I-just-want-him-back.  I-can't-stop-the-cwying-some-times.  Help me, Mommy.  Can you make my heawt stop huwting like it's bwoken?  Does your heawt huwt too, Mommy?  Do you have the bad cwying sometimes, too?"

There are times when the pain is so much a part of my being that I can do nothing else but break.  It's during these times that I have to just stop everything else.  It doesn't matter if my house "needs" cleaned, or if I "need" to get a workout in.  Nothing else matters but my need to crumble into a heap of heaving sobs.  And now, I have to witness yet one more thing that I can't fix, can't heal with a hug. Tonight, I had to be on the other side of those sobs.  She has the same guttural scream, the same pleading in her eyes.  But this time, I was doing the watching.  I took cues from my sources of strength.  I held her as she cried and was silent as she screamed.  I waited until her breathing slowed and evened out before I tried to offer comfort.  I avoided saying things like, "he's in a better place."  Instead, I just promised to love her, because that's the only thing I can promise anyway.  I told her about the amazing gift I was given because of her.  I told her how I would never have to wonder what E would look like when he's 5, 10, or 20.  I'll never have to wonder because I seem him in her eyes every day.

"That is the best gift, Mommy.  I don't need any pwesents fow my biwthday this year.  All I wanted for my biwthday was to look in his cwib and have it NOT be empty.  You should have your bwother with you when you tuwn 6. I still talk to him, but he doesn't answer me. I need to know he can hear me.  I just want to see him one mowe time."

We stepped outside to get some air, and to our surprise, it had FINALLY stopped raining.  Not only had the monsoon quieted, but the sun was actually trying to make an appearance.  I looked toward it, and actually gasped out loud.  It was BEAUTIFUL.  I have seen the rays of the sun shining down through the clouds hundreds of times, but this I had never seen before.  Rays of sunlight were shining straight UP.  The sight was so breathtaking, and I couldn't help but imagine the immense beauty of this same sight from the other side of the clouds.  I piled my children into our van and drove past the trees.  I stopped, rolled down the window and said, "Hey, Morgie...I think someone is talking to you..."

The van was silent for a long time.  I took a picture and just stared.  Then from the back seat, I heard a soft, breathless whisper

"Thank you, Beastie..."

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Toy cars.
Mickey Mouse.
Skinned knees.
These are things a three-year-old should have on his birthday.  I don't feel like those things should be so much to ask.  I'm not asking for perfection.  I don't need potty training, or perfect manners.  I don't care about the best birthday cake and the most amazing gifts.  I don't need the perfect party theme or balloons and favors.  I just want you.

Your birthday is this Saturday, and as a gift to myself I picture how you'd look if you were here.  But, if I get to wish, I am going to go all the way with it.  I don't picture you here as you were.  I see you as you'd be if your body hadn't betrayed you.  Your curls are slightly longer, but the ornery grin is still there.  I struggle to keep up with you as you run from me giggling.  Run.  How unbelievably beautiful that would be.  That's my wish for you on this third birthday.  RUN, baby.  Move in ways that you couldn't while you were here.  And if you could, stop just long enough to let me know you're here.  I'd really love to "feel" you on that special day.

Your brother and sisters will be buying gifts for you.  They are excited to get you exactly what you'd want.  We know we'll just have to give them away in the end, but what's Super E's birthday without an ETO?  We'll  send you love and kisses from your favorite place on earth.  Look for the lights in the sky because I'm sending three lanterns your way.  I know you'll love them.  I realized I'm wearing the shirt you always liked best. Remember?  The one with the stars on it?  You used to point to them and look at me as I counted them.  Now you get to see the stars and your lanterns from a vantage point that I can only imagine.  Keep pointing...I'll keep counting.


Happy Birthday, my sweet baby boy.