Sunday, March 01, 2009

Five Years Later; Nothing Poignant in Repetition

[Cross-posted here.]

Today marks the first day of the fifth year of grief season*. I would call it 'grief month', but when your kid dies just five weeks after their (only) birthday, all of those important anniversaries like birthday and deathday run together, and calling it 'grief season' seems a bit more accurate.

I realized it was coming last week - it is a thought then it becomes a distant flickering light and then with a pop and crackle it explodes in front of me.
I am a veteran now.

Part of the pain this year is in the number. Well, there is truthfully always pain in the numbers; the numbers represent what never was, what never will be. Each birthday becomes the number of years he has been gone plus one, the age he was when he left us. Each birthday is a reminder of the age he will always be; a widening gap and stark contrast to the age he should be.

Five years.

There is fear in that number - a fear it is so far away - it makes Elijah farther away too. There is fear in saying that number aloud. Fear in the anticipation of how it will be received. Fear that you will expect too much from me, fear that you will quietly judge me: the mother who still grieves her child so deeply. Five years later.
Five years later and still so much is ragged and torn since he left. Five years later and the wound returns to be examined and the edges painfully lifted. Peeking into the same swirling abyss, searching each year for some previously unrevealed meaning. Something to make sense out of it. Still searching.

How does one make sense out of death? How does one ever make sense out of connecting the following thoughts: Oh shit that bronchodilator treatment didn't work...Oh that sound he is making isn't good....We need to get him to the ER, call the pediatrician....OH MY GOD HE IS NOT BREATHING.

Sure, I got rid of the living room rug upon which I administered CPR to my son for forty minutes.
That helped a little.
But even with the rug gone, the ghosts are still there. Not his ghosts so much as the ghosts of that evening, the ghosts of our absolute worst fears being realized, and the ghosts of failure.

Baby's breath is so intoxicating, so very unique, that a flower was named after it.

His last breath hangs in my home like the ghost it is, not the elixir it was.

*Grief Season: the period of time lasting from the weeks leading up to March 31st (Elijah's birthday) through but not limited to May 11th (Elijah's last breath), always including Mother's Day.


Vodka Mom said...

may the years bring some kind of peace to your soul, and I do NOT wish you to forget, but I wish you to look forward with hope, and with thankfulness that he was given to you for the short time that he was.

and be thankful that he chose you. He chose YOU.

all my love

Julia said...

I don't know that I would call myself a veteran yet-- some days it feels very much so, and some-- not really. I've only been at this for a bit over two years, but a season of grief has very much been my experience. I think I have come to accept that it will be like this for the foreseeable future.

And screw those who would judge. How could you not grieve so deeply one you love that deeply?

Anonymous said...

It's so very hard to live in the same place you did after someone you loved and lived with dies. There are reminders everywhere, you remember their smell, the things you hung up for them, the decorations and all the accouterments. I'm sorry, it's an awful thing. And really, nothing anyone says can make it any better, and time doesn't do much for it either. Sounds quite miserable, but you know there's beauty in the world. Sometimes I wonder if it's enough to counter the bad, but damn, things like beautiful sunsets on beaches or perfect bright red leaves in fall are nice when you see them.

I'm always in admiration of you. Sometimes it amazes me how people ever manage to laugh or smile again.

Sigh. Ah well, e-hugs to you, m'dear. Know that there are multitudes of people who care.

karengberger said...

Thank you for visiting my blog. I am glad to have "met" you through Hopeful Parents. God bless you as you walk through this season.
Katie's birthday is March 8th, so I am about to enter a "season," too.

Denise said...

Ah G... You amaze me with your strenght. You... Are my hero. Big hugs 2 u girlie. Elijah was so very lucky 2 have u 4 his mother. Love u.

Rachel Inbar said...

Your ability to put this in words amazes me. I wish there I had words that could make this easier for you in some way... but maybe easier isn't the point... I'm beginning to think maybe pain isn't always a bad thing.

Thinking of you.

Tricia said...

"How does one make sense out of death?"

How does one make sense of grief? It has a path all its own.

jennyalice said...

It doesn't surprise me at all that there are still ragged edges.. if I can sit here and read your words and feel so much sadness... and the memories aren't even mine, how would I begin to think that they would not be so much more vivid for you.
I cannot imagine a season of grief, and I hope I can hold your hand for just a moment sometime soon.

love to you-

Headless Mom said...

How could one judge this kind of pain? All I can offer are hugs and kisses. This is your grief, but as a community we are here to bolster you in walking through it.

No matter how long it takes.

Shannon and Carey said...

Thinking of sweet baby boy Elijah.
And you.
Hugs to you and your family.
-Shannon in Austin