Starting has been the hardest part lately. I don’t know how many times I’ve sat down in the last couple of weeks to blog. I want to blog daily. I want to purge the thoughts in my head and, hopefully, help others. I want to so very badly. Everyday. I just can’t seem to collect them lately. I have so many thoughts and feelings and I keep thinking that these posts need to have a point and be informative and uplifting in a way. I haven’t been able to get there.
So, tonight, I’m just going to type. I’m letting my swirling mind overflow onto the keyboard and that’s just what it is. It leaves for more raw emotion. Less articulation, more reality. Well, at least my reality the last couple of weeks as my brain has been so chaotic. A real cacophony of things left unsaid. Here goes nothing.
I miss my son. He’s my baby. My boy. The one I let get away with more than any other kid. The one I felt extra protective of. He didn’t have the easiest entry, but I listened to my mama instincts and my 33 week and 5 day preemie spent just one week in the hospital and came home on Christmas day. It was the best Christmas ever. I nursed him until he was almost two and he was a fat baby. A solid, feisty mass of undeniable cuteness. I would nibble his thuts (thighs so big with so many rolls they looked like sideways butts) and he’d laugh and laugh. His feet were almost as wide and thick as they were long and shoes were hard to find. He’d stick those stinky peets in my face everytime I changed his diaper and laugh at the faces I’d make in response. I loved that. I loved that he loved that. It was our game.
He was a beast. He could be a real brute. He was my brute and he loved to snuggle me. I was the only woman he’d ‘nugg with. He was one of those toddlers that, even though he was getting big, could still curl up perfectly to fit with the curves of my lap and torso. When we ‘nugged, we became one. His cheek would become sweaty on my chest and then his scalp would sweat. Then, when I rubbed my cheek on that soft, almost white hair, it’d stick up and brush the bottom of my chin when I lifted my head. He fell asleep like that almost every night while I worked on the computer, both arms outstretched to mouse and keyboard, with my growing boy between them. My arms are closer to the computer desk now, not so outstretched, as my lap is empty. There’s a void. His void.
I get angry. I know it’s a normal grief stage. I don’t feel bad about being angry and I won’t apologize for it. My mother arms have been robbed, my heart shattered. The pieces come back together, but there’s one missing. It accounts for my heaven hole.
I took my boy in for help with his sleeping and speech issues and he died. I know it’s not common. It’s almost unheard of. My son had a tonsillectomy and then died. Yes, it’s more complicated than that, but that’s what it boils down to. My arms and lap sit here empty and the hurt inside my chest is so intense it feels as though I’ve been pierced through with fire and it’s still burning. It almost always feels like that.
L, age 5, has taken to labeling everything smallish, or yellow, “Caleb” or “Bubba”. She proudly declared her smallest piece of broccoli “a little Bubby broccoli” at dinner a few nights ago. Every yellow flower or weed is something “Bub” or “Caleb”. Every toddler boy toy or small object gets tied to him. I know why she does it and I know she’s grieving in her own way. They are 19 months apart. She’s just now learning what life is without him. That doesn’t make it easier to hear him compared to or related to something ever 5-10 minutes. I’m mad that she needs to do that. I’m mad that she, at 5, is struggling to figure out who she is now, how she fits into this new dynamic. What does it mean to her to be the baby of the family? She sometimes tries to adopt aspects of him and his personality, but she was so shy and timid and he was the opposite. She doesn’t know what to do. She’s 5 and her brother, one of her closest and best friends, died.
I couldn’t save him, I couldn’t fix it. Now, they all hurt, they all feel anger, we all do, and I can’t fix it. I couldn’t protect them from this pain. I still can’t. It’s the cruelest way for parents and children to really learn the lesson that we can’t shield them from everything. My brain swirls with my grief, but it swirls with theirs and Brig’s, too.
I’m strong. We all are. We still live in the light, but sometimes camp in the dark. That’s okay. We’ll be okay. Not because it get’s better. We just keep getting stronger as we adapt. Right now though, I just want to slide back from the desk, stretch out my arms, feel his weight in my lap, and rub my cheek on his sweaty, soft hair as the warmth of his breath leaves condensation on my neck. And the void is heavy.