I am so emotional today. I have been making efforts to divorce or distance myself somewhat from the world of childhood cancer, to figure out why I am struggling so much this semester wtih school, not just academically but on a motivational and satisfaction level as well. I have given myself permission not to go to the websites for grieving parents, not to go to the websites for sick kids. And as I drift away from that, I find my priorities changing, my desire to be at home very strong. I am happiest when I am at home, doing home-like stuff. If you had asked me when I was a teenager who I thought I would be and what motivated me, being a homemaker would definitely not be it. I still dont' want to be a stay-at-home mother or any kind of change that dramatic. I am just noticing I am most at peace with the world when I am taking care of Joe, the boys, even Stewart to some extent. That is my family. That is what matters.
Since I have been slowly separating myself from a world completely saturated in my loss, hearing news of other children passing away from cancer has become more rare than it had been. I heard of one who died though over this weekend in a place that I don't normally hear news of children dying, and heard about another today who is likely to die in the next 24-48 hours. Sometimes it is like it comes to find me.
Stewart took a picture of Joseph's headstone decorated for halloween and there is this sweet little ghost seeming to rise up from the ground, a goofy, happy smile on its face, so reminiscent of our son. My heart just hurts today. Halloween was his favorite holiday. I imagine he would be less interested in it now, or that his interests would be changing to something more teenaged and less boyish, as he would be 15 and in high school. Probably more an opportunity to hang out in the dark with girls than an opportunity to get free candy and dress up. But he's stuck at 13 in my head, and thus his boyish passions will always be there. I can see where this could actually get more poignant as his brothers out-age him and outgrow childish pursuits. I will have no frame of reference for their older sibling anymore. He will continue on and ever be a boy.
The sadness is physical. The back of my neck aches, my shoulders, my spine.My head is throbbing softly. There is a lump in my throat that is easily summoned to watering eyes and my hands occasionally tremble. I yearn for home, for a nap, for Joe's chest to snuggle into, for a project with Alex or Nick, for something to cook or bake (I made cookie dough, homemade bread and chicken stock yesterday already) and for somewhere cool and woodsy to walk, listen, think and be alone. I want a day to retreat from the world.
I am headed to a family wedding in San Diego on Friday, and I intend to make time to walk the beach by myself. I can feel very excited to contemplate that...that ocean I last saw wtih Joseph at my side (from the beaches of Hawaii). The ocean had loved him. It was as if it called to him, played with him. They flirted and tumbled together, Joseph a lithe, unafraid creature and I seething and hissing against the urge to snatch him back to absolute safety on the sand, restrained at times by my own recognition that he needed to play and explore, at times by Stewart, who was less fearful in those days than now. I hope I find a bit of Joseph in the sea air and waves. I need to. I am missing him and questioning all of my priorities these days. I spend far too much time away from home on an every day basis. I don't like it.