Friday, August 24, 2007

Growing up, going forward, looking back

This has been a humdinger of a week. Nice bravado in my last entry. It was accurate in that I DO have a lot to be thankful for. But I think I try to force myself to be okay, so that when I run into days when I really am not, it feels shameful on top of just painful.

The start of school on Monday has just plain thrown me into crisis emotionally and it is so unanticipated! I mean, Joseph could not attend school for seventh or eigth grade in any real sense of the word, so I didn't expect it to feel so powerfully grief stricken. I remember being so sad last year on the first day of school, because he was in the hospital with an infection, had relapsed, was pressing toward transplant and we knew already he would never walk the halls of the middle school again..that by the time he recovered, it would be time for high school. But here we are, time for high school....and those are halls he never will walk either. Oh how my soul hurts inside, all day, constantly. How tall would he be now? He'd be shaving...he was starting to get facial hair when he died. Would his shoulders have broadened? Would he have that lanky, slender look of teenage boys whose bodies have sprouted before their sense of equilibrium could keep up? Would we be getting along as well as we always have or would we be starting that on and off love/hate relationship that signifies the severing of childhood and coming of independence?

The moon was so bright on Wednesday night. I took the trash out and then just lay down on the driveway and looked up. Some parents say they can feel their dead children when they look at the stars, so I tried. I really, really tried. But all it did was emphasize the nothingness, the nowhere-ness, my own smallness, the helplessness of my own nature. All I could feel was that it was dark out and one of my children was not in his bed and I didn't know where he has gone. It just always surprises me when the intensity of my grief wells up from inside and overtakes me. I work so hard to not do that, to not writhe around in the pain, to not spend much time weeping. It isn't fair to those around me. But sometimes it just comes and I can do nothing to stop it. It makes my throat hurt so badly to try.

I am going to take Nick school shopping tomorrow. He has been so busy that it has been difficult finding time to do it. Today is Alexander's Meet The Teacher, so I am going into work a tad late so that I can shake hands, spend a moment explaining what has happened to us all (as if anyone in the school district were not already aware) and pass on information we have gotten about kids grieving for a sibling at his age. I need to do this with Nick's teachers too but it will be more difficult..he has so many now.

Joe and I had dinner with Ryan and his new girlfriend Jessica last night. First time I have gotten to meet her. I finally bit the bullet and wrote to my older brother Jeff and my sister in law, Stacey. Stacey gave birth not long after Joseph's death to a little boy...their third. His middle name is Joseph. I have been so delighted they gave him Joseph's name..and completely paralyzed when it came to actually going to visit the new baby. I just feel devastated inside. Absolutely happy and joyful for them...three boys is such a blessing, so much fun...and absolutely devastated for me, my own loss underlined, one of my own three boys taken so soon. I am embarassed to have waited so long, embarassed how easily it makes me cry, embarassed how hard it is and ashamed that I have not gone to see that baby before now, ashamed that I still very much fear it. I am sure there are hurt feelings all around...there is no way to make it make sense to anyone. I am paralyzed with fear of this new baby, scared I will hold him and weep in front of my brother, his wife, my nephews and Joe and feel all I have lost.