Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Six Years Later: I Remember Day One

 It's said you have a vivid memory of the most significant days in your life.  That every sight, sound and even the smells of the moment come back to you and it's like you are back in the moment.  It's true for me too.  The best days like the day each of my children were born and the nightmare I lived six years ago today when I got home with them and found my husband had died and life flipped upside down.  I went to bed last night keenly aware of the dates of this week.  I woke up this morning keenly aware of the date.  I have not forgotten anything about it.

I try not to relive it and as time has gone on I have done much better even though I won't forget.  I still don't know how I survived the evening that I now call: The invasion.  Death, after all the times we fought it off, it invaded.  And despite all we had been through, when 911 had to be called, it was the first time.  And the strangers invaded.  I recall answering the police's questions while nursing my son under a blanket.  Yes, that's right.  He was 2 months old.  The moment meant nothing to him when his dinner time came.  But the police had questions.  The firemen had questions.  The EMS people had questions. I still remember. 

I still remember the pain in people's voices when I made the dreaded phone calls.  I still remember the quiet tears from my baby girl and her words, "So now we don't have a father?"  A month shy of seven years old, her grasp of the moment struck me then.  Her sadness was only interrupted by her many many questions.  Now a month from being a teenager, her grief journey has changed over and over.  She has begun to discover herself.  It's a challenged life; but it ain't dull.  She has the answers to all of those questions she had back then and can express herself in ways now that she couldn't then.  She's a poet, a musician, a humorist, and a real work of art who can push every button I forgot I ever had.  I so want her belief in herself at a level nothing can bring it down.  I want that for her that much more because I didn't have it.  It's work.

But that little baby, the tiny little boy who kept me from losing my mind that day (and a lot of days since), he is not a baby anymore.  He's happy; but he's no longer happily unaware of things.  Seems like such a short time ago he came into the world.  But he is a little person.  He's funny, energetic, obsessed with cars, trains, and legos.  He loves soccer and football.  He has gone on to school and is participating in his first sport.

 Now, he is the one with the questions.  He's in Kindergarten and he has friends.  He loves school; but he knows his house isn't like that of his two best buddies.  He talks to me about how "N" and "C" have daddies at home and he doesn't.  It's like day one, only instead of Ariana, it's Elijah asking these questions.  "Is he going to stay gone, mom?"  "Is he still sick, mom."  "Is he going to come back mom?"  "Can he just come back and give me a hug, mom."  "Did he go far mom?"  I answer as best I can and I hold him when he buries his head because the answers are never what he wants.

But we continue.  No matter how many times Elijah takes me back to day one, we continue.  No matter society's ideas of the fatherless home, we continue.  The number of times I have to change myself to fit this role don't matter.  That I'm just doing what I should while a father can stroke a brush once across his daughter's head and glitter falls from the sky, that really doesn't matter.  Just makes me roll my eyes some days.  Yeah, I know.  How I have to work during the day, support learning and activities and manage to get in 30 volunteer hours at their school...doesn't matter either.  I made them and I'm the one left. 

So we continue.  And I learn.  I taught my son how to write his name and I taught him how to tuck a football.  I watch the Avengers and The Descendants.  I hold him when he cries.  I tackle him when he wants to play rough.   I'm a poet, a humorist, a soccer defender, a musician, a historian, a wrestler, a driver and the rest.  Still working on my spiral though.

It's life day one and still is nearly 2200 days later and life is for remembering, learning, moving, pushing, loving, changing.  It's for living.