Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hard Times

I've started this post a dozen times or so, over the course of the past few days.  I keep hitting the delete button and starting over.  Kind of like wishing I could change things, I guess.  Kind of like wishing I could stop time, or pass over the next month.

December is coming, whether I like it or not, and I'm fighting an uphill battle with my emotions.  For the past six years I've had a love/hate relationship with December. I've been crying for weeks, it seems.  Not continuously, in fact, no so that most people would even notice.  I just tear up, impatiently wipe my eyes, and march on, doing what needs to be done.

Yesterday, I was crying before I got my coat off in my classroom.  It started with my neighbor teacher asking me how my Thanksgiving was, and I replied cheerfully, "Great!  Well, mostly great.  Well, actually, sometimes it was kinda hard."  And I looked at Bob, and just teared up.  I could, because Bob knew what I meant.  

Thanksgiving was great. Jessica came home and we had a lovely two days with her.  Thanksgiving morning, I got deep satisfaction and a few chuckles listening in as Jess bantered with her sister Kailyn via skype.  With Kailyn in France, we made the most of modern technology, Jess and I puttering in the kitchen, with Kailyn virtually on the counter. It was a good weekend, too.  My nephew was home from Texas, and it was so good to see him, even though telling him good bye I got teary and he said in his deep voice, "Now Aunt Sandi, don't you cry." Wrapped in his bear hug, I swiped at my tears, then held his face in my hands and told him I loved him. He reminds me so much of my son.

December kills me, little moments at a time, gobbles up my laughter, freezes my smiles, strangles my gaiety. I can be perfectly "normal" one minute and sobbing the next, with little warning. I can't overplan enough, and even doing that, I'm still caught unaware. This is not to say I don't love the spirit of Christmas, the lights, the smells, the beauty of December.  Like I said, I have a love/hate relationship with December.

Most nights I wake in the dark, and my thoughts are on events that are out of my control, and chained to the past.  Sleep eludes me. I chase it around the room, but just when I get close enough to touch it, I remember.

Tonight at my regular counseling session,  I told Terry that I have a sub next week for a "mental health" day, and just knowing that helps me get through this week. And, she already knew I have a sub the following week for one day, so I can get through that week. We talked about grief, and how I am often frustrated that I can't seem to let go of what will never be. That what I miss most is not so much what I had, but what I will never have.  

I don't want to let go of my memories.  I want to remember.  My memories are what make me smile, and rejoice in what was.  Memories are warm apple pie, birthday candles, peanut butter and honey kisses.  Memories sustain me.  Terry tells me that I honor my son with my memories, and writing about the impact his life had on me, and others also honors him.

This Sunday is my son's birthday.  He would have been 36.  The last time I saw him alive was at his 30th birthday, a surprise party his wife and I planned.  I made him a quilt, with 30 squares, and I remember teasing him about the fact that the 30 squares represented his age.  Never in a million years did I expect my words to be prophetic, and that he would be gone in 12 days.  I also had a journal I had been keeping for him, but I didn't give it to him that day, because I wanted to write about the party, and planned to give it to him for Christmas.  

I still have the journal.  I still write in it sometimes.  I don't know who, other than myself, will read it.  Maybe someday one of his sisters will.  And, I will read it on Sunday, and write.  His whole life is in that journal, from his birth to his death, and all the milestones in-between.

I've also been working on a "birthday post" but, I'm not sure if I'll finish it.  Just in case I don't, I'll link last years post here. (I hope this works. Deb showed me how after we got back from our antiquing trip, but I may not have followed the directions correctly.  If it doesn't, I meant it to link to Dec 4, 2010.)

One of the reasons I hesitated to write tonight, is that I don't want people who read this to think I am seeking sympathy.  I'm not.  I write because it helps me think, and yeah, I cry, but, it's ok.  I miss my son every day, but like the old saying, "That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger".  I am a stronger, wiser, deeper person than I was before my son died.  I have lost much of my urge to control my world.  I know that I can't.  (That doesn't stop me from trying on occasion, but I do know now that I can't.)

Every blessed, stinking day is a gift. Even in December. Especially in December. I write to keep my perspective. And, to remember.


  1. Dear Sandi,
    I know I stand on holy ground within your posting. You have shared with us today the deepest part of yourself--the most vulnerable. And yes, memories sustain us. They comfort us with their familiarity. But this line you wrote brought tears to my eyes: "That what I miss most is not so much what I had, but what I will never have." The truth of that statement pierces my heart. This December may you feel the Oneness of all Creation enfold you in the love that all your readers have for you.


  2. Oh, Sandi! I know you don't want our tears or sympathy, but I cannot help myself. You have written so incredibly emotively and beautifully and, as the Mother of a son who turns 28 on the 16th December, I think I can feel what you feel...even though I know that one can never know exactly how another feels until you've walked in their shoes. My Uncle and Aunt lost their only son tragically, days after his 21st birthday 28 years ago. My Uncle died aged 80 last year and my Aunt, now 78 told me that it never gets any easier. She said that for them, it only got worse with each passing year, knowing how much of his life they had been denied being able to share. They were such a close-knit family and it really tore into them to lose Ian.

    Have you ever visited Gina at Antique Art Garden? She lost her 21 year old daughter a little over a year ago. If you read through her archives, I am sure you'll find the two of you could relate well to one another. And, saying that, I do hope I'm not imposing or being insensitive to your feelings, Sandi.

    I am sending hugs and loving thoughts.

  3. Dear Sandi, writing these posts are the catharsis that many of us need. Please be assured that simply writing these down and allowing many of us who have lost sons and daughters know you are in the process of healing. The wound is not one that ever goes away completely. My son Chris died almost ten years ago, and now that wound is healed enough so that I can touch it and remember him with smiles.

  4. Memories are good...
    Hugs to you, I can't imagine losing a child, 30 is young.

    You know, I believe he knows what is in your journal. I also believe you should keep writing in.

    Sending some love your way.


  5. That's a road I have been on too. My worst month is usually November but this year was different. I was happy till the 29th. Now I wait for that bypass hubby had to endure and hopefully survive. I pray he get's renewed health . He still has lots of life to share but the control lies elsewhere. All we can do is stay positive and hopeful.
    I have been reading journal my dad wrote when he was just 17. You never know who might read yours. Keep writing cause its useful.

  6. Sandi, I followed the link from your comment on Dee's blog and have been very deeply moved by your beautifully written post. It was our son's 43rd birthday on Dec 1st and though we are lucky enough to have him still, I could just begin to imagine how hard December is for you. I have never lost a child, but I was very close to my parents and even 30+ years after their deaths, I still grieve for all they have missed - our children's weddings, the great-grandchildren - so much they would have enjoyed. I am glad to have found your blog.

    All good wishes from across the Atlantic.

  7. Sandi, for some reason, this post didn't show up in my list of blogs, or maybe I just missed because I am so befuddled myself. I think of you. I thought of you last night as I read about how a mother dread December after the death of her son who was born on Christmas Day. I think of you as I try to go through this month myself. I pray for you. I hope that helps.

    As I read about your memories, my heart broke. Memory is a strange gift/curse. I don't want memories to be lost. I wish I were making new ones with my daughter. I understand that none of this makes sense.

    I am reading a book by Ron Dunn that he wrote after his son's suicide. It has brought me much comfort because I find I still am not beyond asking, "WHY?" Somedays, I know there will never be any answers and I can accept that. Mostly, I am also aware that, like you I am a better person, a deeper person, a much blessed person since my daughter's death. I also miss her so much. I understand, dear friend. I understand.

  8. Such a beautiful, bittersweet, heart-breaking post, my friend. You have been in my thoughts and prayers, sitting in my own broken heart with me, since our incredible day in the Gorge. I am so grateful for you and your words and your courage. Love.

  9. This post reminds me of how I feel.Made me cry. We are supposed to not look behind, to press on, but what we have behind us...is too valuable, too important to our very being to ever just put in a box and leave to God. That is how I feel too. My grief is still a big part of my psyche/heart/soul , and my will is holding onto it tight. Thanks for joining my blog, very kind. take care, Gina


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