Matt, Today is Memorial Day. The day is bright and beautiful. White puffy clouds dot the blue sky. A hint of a breeze stirs the tree tops. Memories are flooding my mind this morning as I sit on the deck listening to the birds sing. Memories of happy times before you left. Memories of sun and sand. Dogs running through the surf while you and I enjoyed the warmth of the sun on our pale winter skin.
Closing my eyes I can hear your voice. You hated the beginning of the summer season. The noise, the crowds. You complained that the tourists invaded your piece of heaven. I can see that scowl on your face as you contemplated trying to find your way to the sea while fighting through hours of traffic.
The summer season was upon your precious peaceful place and you had little tolerance for the hustle and bustle that those crowds brought to your sleepy little beach town. I remember you pacing as you grabbed leashes that would now be required when we walked the dogs. Days of running free on the beach had come to a screeching halt. I could see their eyes questioning what you’re doing as you leashed them up heading out your door.
I remember walking with you to the bay as we moved from one side of the street to the other avoiding the golf carts driving through the once quiet streets of town. I knew better not to try to bring you out of your funk. Grabbing your hand I reminded you of times not too long ago when I was the one complaining of the noise while you were enjoying every minute of being part of the beach crowds. Funny how as you matured, we blended together in our dislike of noise and crowds.
Those were the days we would escape to the sea. Packing the cooler with plenty of ice for the dogs we would head out for the day. I was in awe of your ability to control such a powerful machine. You became one with your boat. I could see your face begin to relax as the sea spray hit and we bounced over the waves. Your laughter was music to my ears.
So many lazy days were spent away from the noise. You would anchor us as I watched you become one with the sea. You would spot a school of dolphins and jump in while I stood back watching trying to keep the dogs from joining your party. You taught me to not fear life but to embrace it. So many great conversations were shared as we sat together under the warm sun floating on the bluest of seas.
Today my heart grows heavy as I remember those precious times together. My heart refusing to think they would ever end. Years have passed since we shared our Memorial Day tradition of escaping the crowds to spent the day in our peaceful place.
Both your precious boat and you, my precious son are gone. I am left to remember and grieve the loss of times that are never to be again. I always think of you as I look out at the vastness of the ocean. Closing my eyes I can see you standing at the wheel, the sea spray hitting your face as your laughter dances in my heart.
Matt, Tis the season. Wherever I go, Christmas music always seems to be playing. I can’t even run into the grocery story without being punched in my gut. There is no escaping the joy of the season. People with smiles on their glowing faces are singing along to the carols. Hearing I’ll Be Home For Christmas left me sobbing in the cereal isle as I wanted to scream out that No, he won’t be coming home this Christmas or next. I wanted to stand in the middle of that aisle and scream at the top of my lungs. My son is Dead. Everyone shut up! There is no Merry or Happy in my holiday.
Sleep used to be my only reprieve. The only time I could crawl under the covers and disappear. The quiet of the night used to bring a comfort to my soul like nothing else. Wrapping myself up in my safe cocoon I could shut out the noise of the happy world and just be.
I don’t know what the trigger was. I don’t understand why. Suddenly, the night became my enemy. The silence I once craved is now full of noise. My brain, like a newborn babe has confused day and night. Maybe it’s the season. Maybe it’s ugly reality. Perhaps my grief found my safe place and decided to move in. Quietly, with the cunning of a predator, grief found me in the silence of the night.
Now, like a child fearing the monster in the closet I dread the night. The night awakens all those thoughts that were safely buried in my psyche. Those visions of your disease swirling through my head. The what if’s and why’s come flooding into my brain ripping me from the safety of slumber. My body instantly reacts causing my heart to pound and hot tears to form. There will be no escape from the questions that continue to tug at my heart.
The silence. The lack of distractions allow my eyes to focus on your picture smiling back at me in the night. My mind goes to places I refuse to visit in the daylight. The darkness, the stillness has a way of surrounding me with the despair I can no longer outrun. The darkness allows the grief a power that is nonexistent in daylight.
In my mind I have conversations with you. I pray for your peace and mine. I wipe my tears quietly as my mind does the delicate dance of acceptance versus disbelief. I allow myself memories of how holidays used to be. Holidays when I was the one singing in the aisles with a smile on my face and childlike anticipation for our gathering in my heart.
I’ve come to realize that nothing will ever be the same. Holidays will never get easier. I will continue to feel your loss as long as I walk the earth. Certain Christmas carols will most certainly come with gut punches.
Sleepless nights have become a part of my present life. Reminding me of past sleepless nights when I held you close and rocked you as a baby. Holding your sweet body next to mine those nights bonding us forever. Under the cover of darkness I will close my eyes and try to remember your smell. Your laugh. Your amazing eyes. I will allow the darkness to hide my weeping from the world. I will allow myself to imagine you spending the holidays in a beautiful peace. I will lay in the darkness and allow myself to grieve……