As I write this it is 76 degree outside and I can feel the slightest of breezes blowing through my hair as I sit by the open window. I can picture you here on this sunny day. You’re in your front yard planting spring flowers in pinks, purples and white. You’re dressed in white-wash jeans, a pink v-neck tee and your white canvas “gardening” shoes don your feet. That blonde hair is back in a ponytail and those hard working hands are covered in fresh dirt. I can picture the boys running up to you and you turning around with a wide smile and laugh. A little dirt smudges your cheeks and rubs in the boys’ hair as you give them a big ZZ squeeze. Jared walks up and those eyes shine a bit brighter as you kiss his cheek in that way only mothers can do.
This is what I see as I look outside right now. These beautiful memories that always play themselves out in this way. Death is funny in that way. You aren’t here physically but I feel like you’re still here in every other sense. Many people probably think I’m cuckoo….heck I’m sure you have thought that of me more than once…..but I think cuckoo is okay.
I live in a house you have never been too yet I know you’re here. I swear you live with us and there are a few things we need to discuss. Like the smoking on the staircase….yea…we have a no-smoking rule in the house, missy. I know, I know but let’s do it for the kids…shall we?!? And the taking our pictures off the wall….yea I also know that’s you and while our decorating styles might be a bit different I have accommodated a lot of your decor into the house so if you want to look at something can you please put it back. I’m running out of studs in the wall to keep re-hanging stuff.
I have a son you have never met but I know that you have shown yourself to him. Perhaps these are ghost secrets us humans aren’t supposed to know but I KNOW he has seen you or communicated with you. I can feel it in the deepest part of my soul. He finds you in space and looks at you and smiles and laughs. I know it’s you because a wall isn’t that funny. I’ll catch him looking at what appears to be nothing and there is something to him. So on that note I want to say thank you. I cried when I found out I was pregnant because I knew he would never meet you. I carried this burden all through my pregnancy and I thank you for alleviating any doubts I ever had. Stupid me should have never worried. Love is too strong to be buried in some dirty grave.
Speaking of Gavin, you would think he is the greatest little thing. You would say, “He is just like Logan,” and call him your “little fat baby.” You would be reminding me of his impending toddlerhood as we approach a year old. I can hear that laugh of yours every time he scoots instead of crawls…it really is the funniest thing. Those cheeks would get lots of ZZ kisses and I’m sure they already have.
The older two boys miss you like crazy. Mason remembers all the happy things which I think is part his age and his personality. He says the funniest things like “I love you ZZ, too bad you had to die.” He says all these things in his happy voice as if he knows he will just see you tomorrow for dinner. It’s the saddest thing but yet I just can’t help but laugh because I know you’re laughing too. Logan still cries at night. You two always had that sweet bond that only happens once in a lifetime. He loves to write you notes and letters and you’re always included in his drawings. The older he gets the more he tries to understand the “Whys” and “Hows” of death. The hows I can explain and have. Cancer is a bunch of “bad cell bugs” and you had too many to fight off. He gets this and is now on a mission to squash all the “bad cell bugs” so that no one else gets them. Maybe he’ll cure cancer one day! I have no doubt you would be proud of them. They are the most perfect of boys.
As for Jared…..well he misses you. As a wife there is nothing harder than seeing your husband grieve. He is so much like you it humors me. He has handled himself in the best way and I know that you are beaming with pride. Every day he is still alive he strives to be that man you taught him to be. I know he constantly worries if he is doing the right thing and what you would say. I often hear him talking to you….usually in moments of exasperation (yes I probably drive him to these moments….sorry) Listening to your voicemails is his favorite nighttime activity. Hearing your voice makes us happy and listening to what you had to say always makes us laugh. It’s the kind of laugh that purifies that area of grief and pain that is always in the heart. I have never met anyone on earth who talks about his childhood like he does…..YOU were a great Mom. I hope that one day my boys will look back and think the same of me but it’s large shoes to fill.
As for me…..well you know. Life is strange with it’s endless curveballs. I feel like we have two lives. Pre-You and Post You. I try to do all those things you asked of me. I think I’m doing okay so far….if not I’m sure you’ll smoke on the stairs to let me know about it. I sleep better at night….unless I’m stressed….then I always wake up at 3:33 (the time of your death) In those moments I can literally still feel your body heat and your labored breathing. I can see your eyes as if I’m looking right into them. It’s a strange phenomenon. Maybe it’s some strange form of PTSD although the whole thing certainly was not in the least bit traumatizing. In most cases this is comforting to me….maybe its your way of finding me to tell me everything will be okay…..because you’re right..it will be. I found your pink sweater the other day….I remember keeping it because you always wore it. I really didn’t know what good it would do me until the other day. I was having a bad “mom” moment – ya know feeling like a failure and all that. (I’m sure you saw the whole thing) So I did some cleaning therapy which involved cleaning out my closet and found that pink sweater. Even after two moves and 2 years it still smells exactly like you. I swear it’s like I pulled it out of your dryer 2 minutes ago. It reminded me of what you told me 5 days before you passed. You said, “Alecia, you’re the best mom and the best wife for my son.” So thanks for the subtle reminder and the calm message to stop smothering myself in self pity. I’m listening….I’m just hard of hearing sometimes.
Tonight we will set another lantern off into space. I think it helps the boys connect with you. Watching it float off into the sky is a beautiful reminder of how connected we all are. I hope you feel it to.
I could ramble on and on but since I suspect you already know what’s going on here I’ll say goodbye. We all miss you very much but keep you alive as best we can. I hope you’re reading on the beach of paradise with the sun hitting your face, soaking up the warmth. I hope you’ve danced every day and laughed so much the wind blows here. We continue to feel your love every day and for now in this state of life and death we embrace that gift with open arms. Stay close….we love you!