Wednesday, April 23, 2008

It became my reality

What makes it real?

Time? Pain?

Is it waking that first morning and screaming as loud as you can because it wasn't a nightmare at all? That scream lives inside of me forever. Being a dream was all I had left to hold onto when sleep finally won the battle... but I woke and it wasn't over. Pain and emptiness were there instead of my tiny, beautiful child. He was there the morning before, I remember. The first time I woke without him was impossible but not yet real, I was frozen this day, the second worst day of my life. I started sleeping in the crib that night. Imagine how that looked, but I still remember how it felt. Safe and warm as if I were as close to him as I could be. In complete honesty, 2 and half years later, I would opt to never have slept anywhere else since. I remember the smell and the cramped coziness of his tiny bed. I had put him down there to rest while I got ready, so why not sleep there? Sometimes he would roll over in the morning and look at me through the crib and if he saw me he would start a protest to be 'freed'. I brought him home from the hospital and gave him a tiny tour of that crib, 'and here is your sheets, and your music player, and Mommy sleeps right here beside you'.

Is it the funeral or the memorial? Touching him and kissing his tiny nose for the last time as they closed his casket, does that mean he's really gone? He was wearing a soft little sleeper with a firetruck on it, it said "little hero" with a puppy. I put a little gold St. Christopher medal around his neck, though I realize he needed no more protection, not from me anyway. Then I pinned a tiny silver Miraculous medal to his sleeper. I bought two, one blue on silver, one pink. They were made for little children to wear on Easter Sunday or for their first communion, my son wore it to his funeral, does that make his death real? Does the consuming pain of the words 'in the ground' ever stop? Who thought to bury the people we love in the ground anyway? My little boy's Father would just say over and over how cold the ground was in October and November, he thought he could do something to keep David warm. I knew he was not there in the ground but still, not real enough then to elaborate on the thought.

It didn't become real to me until I celebrated my son's 1st birthday without him. There were balloons and psalms and presents... the balloons were let off into the sky, the psalms all choked out through tears, and the presents all left tied to a light over my son's headstone or placed carefully on top of rose petals that covered the words "David 'Beloved' Ford Dates". A ton of my friends and family came, but instead of holding my big boy in celebration, we held each other in his absence. He had no cake. No cards. He had no special outfit for his '1' pictures. Had this really happened to me? Is it possible that one year prior I had given birth to a child that I no longer had in my hands? My quiet secret pain was real. I hid it from myself and from those around me, I shuffled along in my day, I went through the motions all leading up to that day, 6 months of motions. Then April 24th, 2006 came and I had only memories, both happy and painful but not tangible.

It became so real, too real. Every birthday is more real for me. Do I buy toys for a 6 month old, or a 3 year old? Should I read verses of loss or faith? Should I light candles for a 3 year old in heaven or a 6 month old no longer here? Do I tell my children that we are celebrating 6 months of life, or 3 years since birth? We buy cakes now, My Hubby bought David a cake last year and we let C blow the candles out. 2 of them. I have to wonder if the cake was for David... or me? Who cares, it had his name on it... something I never would have seen if he didn't do anything at all. A mother deserves to see her childs name on a birthday cake. I can't imagine I made a wish though, it would have been for something impossible.


Amy said...

I can't imagine wishing for anything but the impossible either.

Thinking of you.

KE II said...

I just came onto your site whilst searching. A really close friend of mine just lost her daughter at 3days old and I was looking for a blog to read to see how she'd be feeling or what I can say or do. I've had tears streaming down my face reading your site. Praise God that you are so open and willing to share your thoughts and feelings. I can't even begin to imagine what each day must be like for you, but I want to thank you for your willingness to share. God bless you and your family.

Janice said...

Thank you for your kindness, I am so very sorry for your friend's loss. I found that the things that meant to most to me following my loss were the people who sat with me, in person or on the phone... in the painful uncomfortable silence, noon or 4am, saying everything or nothing... they just stayed and I will never forget how much that meant to me not to be alone.