I have spent the past few days swimming in my thoughts. Yucky thoughts. Not negative just yucky. It’s so hard to put my thoughts down these days in any clear way. I have so many things to write about in my head throughout most days…our life without Declan, our new life…but then at the end of the day they just fall away. I get frustrated when the “right” words don’t come or I can’t recall them in just the perfect way I did earlier in the day so I retreat away from my thoughts. (In case you’re wondering, the Scrabble app is a fantastic way to escape whatever it is in your head that ails you.)
Tonight I found myself battling these thoughts again and thought I would try to make sense of them. Although I firmly believe I will spend my life trying to come to terms with our life from March 9th, 2010 to August 18th, 2010 and beyond. I actually think I’ve engaged some of those “lesser” used areas of our brains in the countless hours I’ve spent grappling with all the events of our life since March 9th. On most nights I wish those ‘newly lit’ parts of my brain would be filled with the daily reminders of a life with little boys…skinned knees and giggles or temper tantrums and tearful “I’m sorry’s” or new accomplishments and boastful parental smiles…and they are, I mean who doesn’t revel in the day to day with their kids? But our lives will forever be viewed through the tempered glass of grief so those nights are also filled with the memory of a life of horror we lived in the 5 months and 9 days leading up to August 18th and the horror we still grapple with today. The memories I wish I could turn off because of the pain they meant to my husband, my boys, our family, friends and most of all, Declan. The memories I cherish because they are of our son. My God, the love you have does not fade in any way shape or form…maybe that’s why it hurts so bad?
So the thoughts are there, all the time. When you ask how I am and I tell you I’m fine, I’m not. I won’t ever be. I’ll be good enough and will live as full of a life as I can lead. I will, and am, enjoying the life I have with as much gusto as I have (and I have a lot!) because I love my family and want nothing less than the best for them. But I will always have that piece of me that feels missing. It really dances in front of so many of my thoughts. In many ways, it causes pain but in many ways it helps me to truly live in the moment and enjoy it for every smile I can wring out of it. So back to these thoughts over the past few days…again, there are so many…and I’m not sure I have the capacity to share them all but I felt compelled to write after I read a blog my neighbor and dear friend, Kiran Ferrandino, wrote titled simply ‘Broken.’ (http://www.masalachica.blogspot.com/) She’s a great writer, do yourself the favor and read her blog. She has an amazing way of capturing the moment. Kiran’s post affected me on so many levels because I remember those carefree days and all those plans we wistfully made for our babies (we didn’t know we were cooking boys…we like to be surprised in the delivery room) while we sweltered together in the summer of 2009. BTW, Kiran, you’re a rockstar in the pregnancy department…I don’t know how you mustered up the energy to cut through the jungle of humidity to come sit with me knowing at any minute you could black out. Really. I guess Shaila and Brady had a little to do with that, eh? Ah the plans…
I get caught up in my own little world, as much of us do, and I forget about the lives of those around us and how their lives become intertwined with our own whether we choose to or not. Our life, Declan’s life, became intertwined in so many hearts and I forget that. I can appreciate what it feels like to sit on the sideline and watch with horror as your friend goes through unspeakable things with their child because I’m sitting on the sideline now…hoping and praying, as so many of you have for Declan, for my friends and their children, hanging on for the next blog to see how they are. Is their treatment working? How is their child faring? Reading between the lines and crying for the parents because I know all too well how truly difficult it is to sit with your child going through this nightmare. Trying to catch a glimpse and wondering what I can do to help besides my ever present stream of prayers for those I know and those I will never know.
Again here I sit losing my thoughts…not knowing where I’m going and hoping to make some sense out of all this.
Trying to figure out how to console my friends whose pain for us is stifling…
Trying to figure out how I will keep my son “alive” in our family…just in case you thought that sounded strange, not in any weird way just part of the day to day….
Trying to figure out how to keep regular visits to the cemetery in our new routine….
Trying to figure out how to make up to Stan for the fact that he will never have a Father’s Day with Declan. This one is one that I have really been struggling with. It occurred to me yesterday, perhaps while Stan was off on his visit with Declan at the cemetery, that they were robbed of the opportunity share a Father’s Day together. In many ways, it was his desire to be the best Daddy which kept him away from Declan last year. While he did spend the majority of the summer in Houston with us while Declan received treatment, he also traveled back home around Father’s Day to be there with Will as he graduated from 5th Grade (our radiation trip began 3 weeks before Will got out of school). Stan (and I) wanted so badly for him to know how much we all wanted to be there with him but our circumstance just wouldn’t allow for us it. In being there for one son, he missed being there for the rest…certainly a regular occurrence in lives of Dad’s all over the world and one that is not given too much thought in the context of a lifetime. When that life is cut short though, it can mean so much. We shared our ritual iPhone pictures and texts last year not knowing it would be the only one for them. Not knowing less than 2 months later Declan would be taken from us so swiftly I still have trouble wrapping my brain around those final days. Those terrible words. Those last heartbreaking moments of his life. I know this is not something I can or ever will be able to make up to him. I know he doesn’t expect it but the thoughts are there nevertheless.
So all these thoughts, so little sense in many of them…so much pain in most of them and yet somehow so much joy too. Weird, I know but true.
I think my thoughts have really come alive because of the amazing grant process we have found ourselves in the middle of, a la Vivint. You cannot know how truly inspiring it is to see those votes roll through my Facebook page. Each post lights up a memory of that person and helps remind me that Declan’s life mattered. That his life touched so many and lives on in their memory.
I’ve also been trying to come up with the perfect way to ask you to help and ask your friends to help but I don’t think there is any perfect way. I think it just needs to come from within. Come from a need to make a difference. Maybe it will be to see just how so much difference can be done by a simple act each day. Maybe by deciding you will set aside the 1 minute afterwards to send loving thoughts to your own kids / family…or even a family facing the devastation we felt in hearing those words, “Your child has cancer.” I don’t know what will make the difference for you, maybe the image of my husband leaving the gravesite on Father’s Day morning thinking he had pulled it together enough to call his own Dad and wish him a Happy Father’s Day and the ensuing uncontrollable breakdown he had when he heard his Mom’s voice on the other end of the line.
What will be the catalyst for you to say, I’m committing to voting every day until August 27th and asking your family and friends to do the same?