Well, here we are, four months into Christopher's passing. I still can't wrap my head around it. Easter weekend was very hard for me. I was at the threshold of a new form of loss in missing Chris. There was such emptiness in the air and too much quiet for me. It was so hard to be joyful on what is such an amazing religious event. None of us seemed hungry or inspired so we watched The Bible series on TV as we picked at our food.
Easter proved to be much more difficult than Christmas. I'm going to guess because Christmas came upon us fairly quickly and the house was hectic with activity still. It was so early in his passing that there was never a quiet moment. Plus I know my mind was elsewhere at that time. I was worried about the students and players, Bailey and Matt. I remember checking on them by call, text or tweet. I had them over to the house to talk and sit in Chris's room to help alleviate some of their angst and grief. I felt I had myself in check at that time. I was feeling strong. I suppose I hadn't accepted what was truly unfolding in my life.
I felt detached during Christmas. Like there was a fog around me. The day seemed slow and sluggish. I remember my brother in-law came up to visit, we opened presents and then we went to Baileys. It all seems so fuzzy to me, even now. Easter appeared clearer but desperately sadder, the most inconsolable day for me so far. My eyes streamed non-stop. They never dried up no matter what kind of talk I gave myself to pull it together. The fragility of my mind and body was beyond anything I have felt up until this point. I really believed I was capable of breaking into pieces. I felt so vulnerable that a wrong look from anyone would shatter me. I even make some strange guttural noise once in a while. I don’t know what it is, never heard it come from me before but I guess it's a parent’s wail of despair. As much as it’s foreign to me, I suppose it's good in its own way because it means I'm recognizing my loss and grieving it.
I had gone to the Northway Church for Good Friday services and felt I did a pretty good job of holding myself together. I was engaged in the evening and enjoyed the music and Pastor Buddy's sermon. The crowd was enthusiastic and there was a wonderful energy in the room. By Saturday I was getting mildly grumpy and reclusive. On Easter Sunday I knew I needed to do something so I decided to try 10am mass at St. Francis of Assisi (the old St. James on Delaware Ave. in Albany). I should have known better than to stay seated once I felt a wave of panic as I sat in the pew. I had already been sobbing from the time I got up but I continuously talked to myself and tried deep breathing to relax. I use that technique on myself many time to calm down and it typically works great. During mass it was not helping. I felt like I would either burst like a volcano with my insides spewing out my head or I was going to run frantically past the poor old woman who had me blocked in my row. I didn't know what to do. Of course neither of these happened but I felt like I came damn close to losing it. I held off the outburst but I couldn't control the tears. They streamed at their own pace and so I just let myself cry. I suppose the congregation wouldn't care too much if they saw me sobbing, I didn't try to hide it, it was quite apparent I didn't have myself together. I was just praying that guttural sound stayed away.
It didn't help mea any that the pew in from of me had two of the most adorable little girls ever. They were in their colorful dresses and white patent leather shoes. The little one was barely walking and held her baggie full of pretzels to keep her busy during the mass. My mind wandered the entire hour as I looked at the girls and remembered when we would suit up the boys and do the very same thing. I wanted so much to lean forward and tell those parents to snuggle their girls tight and never let them go. I wished so hard to go back in time although I knew full well it wasn't going to happen.
I apologized repeatedly to Chris throughout Easter day. I kept thinking he was mad at me for not filling his basket and hiding it. It broke me in two seeing it sit there in his room with nothing in it but the purple straw. I put it away early Monday morning. I couldn't take it anymore. I faced the day and got through it but couldn’t prolong living with it. I pray next year won't be as cutting as this one was.
I do hope that by reading this you are able to take something from it other than feeling bad for me. By that, I mean, I hope there's some sort of information you glean so that maybe you can help someone else in the future? Maybe by my sharing you will better understand what happens in the mind of a grieving parent so that you are better equipped to help another should you encounter something like this in your own life.
I think it's important to articulate as best as I can what filters through my mind on any given day. I can't say that what I experience is normal grief or that anyone else feels even remotely like I do. I'm just sharing me. I'm sharing my love of my son and the anguish that goes along with the loss of him. If I didn't love him so deeply and completely I imagine my grief wouldn't cause such suffering each day.
I know wholeheartedly that God is good. I also know my son doesn't hurt. He is the happiest he has ever been and he is wrapped in love in heaven. I have no doubts about any of this and I take tremendous comfort in it. I also know I cry and I ache because I miss him so much and I was not ready to part with him. My schedule was not the same as God's. I selfishly want him here with me - with us. It will take more time, much more than a mere four months for me to understand. In the meantime, I will share with you how I feel and what is happening.
For now, I am focusing on renovating the memorial garden, I'm preparing my mind and heart for the May senior awards night and the June graduation. As much as I want to run away and cry a million tears rather than stand on the stage and hand out a scholarship in my son’s name, I will do it proudly because Christopher deserves a voice and he was well loved. There isn't anything I wouldn't do for either of my boys. They are both incredible and I am blessed.
Thank you for reading.