This is not untrodden ground. Many have
been here before. I
have been here before.
And yet I’m unprepared, because what everyone says is true–
it’s different for everyone.
Happiness makes me sad. Seeing it.
Feeling it. I listened to my family sing
Christmas carols on Thanksgiving,
watched them ham it up.
I went into another room and cried.
If he were there, he wouldn’t have been singing with them.
He’d have been standing off
to the side, watching.
When he sang, it was with his ukulele, and solo.
I hear him singing, all the time.
There is no such thing as silence in my mind.
If words aren’t filling it, music is.
My brain sings,
not always in his voice, but often.
Clear. So clearly.
I hear every crack in his song.
I have learned how to push down
the memories that flare
up unbidden and precious.
“Don’t. Not now.” I can do it
and I do. I have to or go mad with sorrow.
Remembering hurts, and so does refusing to.
I don’t want to forget. Anything.
But most memories will turn into
ones I want rather than ones that were.
It’s how I’ll be able to remember without crying
the time he cut out coupons, thinking he could use them to buy toys;
how he walked his baby sister to her classroom, kissed her good-bye. Every. Day.
that he befriended every misfit in his world;
all the times I held him, making sure he kept breathing through the night;
His chaos. I don’t want to forget that either.
but I will. I will.
I had a son, and now he’s gone
no matter what anyone says of heaven or the other side of stone walls.
I open my arms and shout his name,
trying so hard to feel that presence still imbuing this house.
He’s everywhere I look. Every corner, every wall full of the life he lived here,
but I don’t. I try. Maybe he does too.
Or maybe it’s just too soon, and it just hurts too much.