I have kept so busy today that I have hardly had time to think about anything to do with Joseph other than what I posted here this morning. Work was busy and the day passed quickly. I went to the gym after work (yay me) and then dropped off a movie we had rented over the weekend on the way home, then slipped into Fashion Bug just to see what they have in terms of work appropriate clothes. I came home, put some sausage on to fry and gathered up the ingredients for pumpkin sausage soup (which Joe would not touch because it has pumpkin in it), talked with Joe for a bit when he got home, went out with him and picked a few tomatoes, swept the front porch, cleaned up the living room a bit, made beef stroganoff for Joe for dinner from leftover roast. We ate together, watched some boring show about the planet Jupiter and now here I am...whirling into a sudden wall of memories that has quietly waited for me all day to come and stand before it and give it its due.
I went back and read my journal entry from last year. Was it really this day that the air mattress collapsed from beneath me while I slept? That incident is one of the pillars of our transplant experience for me...one of those weird twists of humor that would show up now and then. For a while it seemed like all humor disappeared from my life. It is coming back now, a little at a time. But it seems both so long ago....I feel like a different person completely since then..and yet the idea that an entire year has gone by just fractures my heart in a way I have not felt yet to date. The march of time away from Joseph is devastating. I still remember so clearly how exhausted I was that night...how sick Joseph was...how worried we all were...how determined. How can it be a year when it is still this vivid? It honest to God seems like I should be able to get into my car right this minute, drive down to the hospital and slip through those swinging doors, go into Joseph's room with the crime scene tape on the door and gather him into my arms and sob out my relief until he is annoyed with me.
They showed on the news today a woman whose son has been in Iraq. She was at church or something and not expecting him home for another month, but somehow he surprised her and arrived while she was at church...and the whole thing was, of course, filmed. I found myself so incredibly jealous. So bitter. I want that moment too. All the religious people will insert here that I will get it in heaven. That is too long of a wait. The woman in the story said "nothing tests your faith like waiting for your son to come home". My muttered replies were scathing and inappropriate, full of envy and anger and completely unwilling to acknowledge that there is any suffering on earth that surpasses or equals my own...after all...she at least had some hope he would come back. I suppose that is the way with all people. Joe is fond of saying "Every person's problem is their biggest problem". That is probably true. Things tend to grow to fill the space available. That is likely the case with emotional struggles as well. Everyone has their load to carry and some are so heavy it is impossible to appreciate the heaviness of someone else's. Of course, my problem now is being so resentful and scarred by the load we had to carry then. I am not carrying that particular load anymore...but I still remember well its weight on my shoulders. I have a different weight now...one so permanent that in my better, healthier moments I realize I cannot even weigh it up against anyone else's burden. It is its own unique entity. In my even smarter moments it comes to me...who would want to win that contest anyway...to be declared the one to have shouldered the greatest hardship? What idiot would want to win that particular war??
And so I remember him, my Joe-Gi...and I cry..and I miss him...and I mourn all we hoped would be that is not. His wacky sense of humor. The way he would laugh so hard that no sound would come out for a while, only to then suck inward with a great woosh of air and burst into the room, drawing anyone nearby in with it until all would be laughing whether they knew why they were or not. The Garfield comics did this to him a lot. America's Funniest Home Videos. Silly animals and the antics of babies. His Dad.
I wish I could apologize to him for putting him through the transplant. It brought him nothing but four months of misery. And he trusted us to heal him. And we failed. I wish I could hug him just one more time and say goodbye with some sense of understanding between us, with some air of knowing I have prepared him well for this journey and prepared myself to cope with his absence. How I wish I knew where he is right now, whether he is the same, whether he is grown up now, whether anything would be changed. Is he angry at me? Is he whole and well now? Does he forgive us? Does he miss us too much?
I want the satisfaction of having packed extra socks and underwear and admonitions to be careful and watch for cosmic debris and to stay close to his guide..and not to forget to visit sometimes, to brush his teeth and don't go flying too close around Grandpa when he is trying to work on the golden gates or he might just get Grandpa kicked out of heaven when the distraction makes him cuss. To give him a picture of us, one of the ones we took together in San Antonio, and to review my favorite memories with him and to assure him that I will always be his mommy and I will take good care of his brothers and to be right there waiting for me when I come down the path, because I will be afraid and anxious to see him. To tell him he is the best son a mother could ask for. That I am proud of him. That I love him. That I love him so much.
So much that I wish. So many regrets. So lonely without him.