This isn’t going to turn into a tribute site for my son. Promise. Modesty is for Suckers is a writer’s blog, not a grieving mother’s blog, but I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve. I keep no secrets. I hold nothing back. And this is now part of my life. It’s going to be reflected in my writing. Thirty years after my first husband’s death, he still makes it into everything I write. This will be no different. Nothing’s going to stop it, even if I try.
I am a writer. Those of you who claim the same know that we think differently. It’s our job to make characters, their worlds and their circumstances, believable. We notice things others don’t, because in those tiny details, our stories not only come to life, they dive to depths a reader might not actively notice, but will absorb all the same.
During these harrowing days, I’m still noticing. I’m not looking for signs from my son that he’s near, and maybe that’s why he’s been so blatant about nudging me. It wasn’t just finding his door open the day after it all happened, when I know my husband had purposefully shut it the night before, or his cat being in there and refusing to come out. It wasn’t just the little black squirrel at the feeder when I’ve never seen one before or since. It’s not all the people sending me messages about spotting deer and having an overwhelming feeling of him. It’s not my friend showing up with a gift for me, a little turtle with the words, “One Day At A Time” on it’s back–she had no idea his nickname for me was Turtle. It’s not even the tapping on my shoulder through the shower curtain yesterday, or waking up this morning to find last night’s locked door wide open to the new day. Coincidence? Chris? As I said in my last post, whatever it is, so be it. I’ll choose to believe what I wish.
Aside from the poem I wrote about in my prior post, there was one undeniable message that I think you’d have to have been here to truly believe. I’ll do my best, but I’m still kind of stunned and trying to find a scientific explanation for what happened.
Chris’ girlfriend spent the night with us a few nights ago, and mentioned that it upset her to see his door closed. My son was always freaky about keeping his door closed, even when he was little. He didn’t like the cats in his room (maybe because Gyro peed on his bed twice when we first got him!) It was just his thing. But I agreed with his girlfriend. I didn’t want the door closed either. So upstairs I went, armed with one of those rubber, wedge doorstops. I jammed it under the door, tested it to make sure it would stay, and got to work writing in my loft.
Hours later, the door gently closed. Not a slam, just softly. There really wasn’t a breeze, but I hadn’t been paying attention. I opened the door up again, but found that the rubber stopper wasn’t there. It hadn’t wriggled free. It hadn’t been pushed with the door as it closed. The damn thing was all the way across the room, as if kicked, and in the opposite direction of what it would have been had the wind closed the door. I tried every which way to get it to do it again, but there’s just no physical way the stopper could have ended up where it was, especially given that the door gently closed, not slammed.
I said, “Fine, Chris. I’ll leave the door closed for now, but only for now.”
His room is mostly empty. We kept a few things. I don’t want to erase him from this house, but I can’t bear leaving things as if he’s still here, either. I’m not going to see that smile, hear him call me Turtle, get wrapped up in one of those big hugs of his, but I feel him whether I like it or not. He’s going to make sure of it. And I’m so glad.