February. A cold, snowy, bleak month. Always made bright and sunny by the birthday celebration of the one who always laughed and smiled and truly just made this world a better place. This is the first year I have not gone to the cemetery on her birthday. I thought about it. I even headed out intending to go there. I just…couldn’t this year. I’m not sure what it is. Maybe we (all of us!) are getting older and the painful stuff is just so much more painful. Also. The joyful stuff is just so much more joyful. But this February, I chose to celebrate her by remembering her and the impact she had, continues to have, on my life. Dude. I could tell some stories. And one day, maybe I will. But she was the best. Our Beth. The best.
March. Beth was diagnosed with the horror that would take her life. Spent a lot of time in the hospital with her. Spent a lot of time lying on her bed with her. Spent a lot of time sitting beside her bedside. I felt like an intruder. But I couldn’t stay away. It was a blessing in the same breath that it was a nightmare. I could do nothing. Nothing to help her. To help her parents. To help her husband. To help her children. I would not trade a single moment of that time. One day, I will write about it. I promise you…it still brings a certain…peace…to remember it. As horrible as it was.
March. Getting a phone call one evening that changes the very essence of a family. Four years ago on March 21. But every 21st day of every month since…a reminder of loss that is just beyond imagination. When I think of him, I picture him as he would be now…26…not 22. I dream about him. As I dream about Beth. And always…always…I am surprised in my dream that they are alive. And I always tell them so. Without fail, they tell me something of Heaven; of God. I know they are there. I know Andy is there. I know Beth is there. And it makes me smile. Lucky SOB’s.
I’ve written of it before. The pain that Andrew, Stephen and William endured at such young ages. The sorrow that my nieces, Court and Minz have lived. And the loss my own three children have experienced at such young and precious ages. I just never experienced any of that. Sure… grandparents, great aunts and uncles…but honestly…it is expected, isn’t it? But the young ones dying…so shocking. So not right. And I wonder…and I marvel. I know that my own Wild Boy has written many, many essays about losing a cousin so young. And the mark it has left on his life. And I wonder if we are better for it. Or did we not recognize it.
And April. The Boy’s birthday month. A time of celebration. And celebrate, we do. And we reminisce and we talk and we laugh and we cry and we live through…all over again…his life. And we will continue to do this for as long as we are able. As long as we remember.
Selfish. I feel selfish in writing this tonight. In sharing it with you. Selfish because we all have lived through, some times more horrendous than other times, loss and pain and sorrow and death. Mine/ours is not any greater or less than yours. Talking about it…writing about it…selfishly helps me get through it.
And I love you for being there with me. And us. And I selfishly beg your prayers and understanding. Thank you.