The boy’s first picture
If there was a single moment that captured everything about my cleaning out Alison’s closet, it was when I found her Filofax, opened it, and something fluttered out.
For those of you that didn’t know her personally, this was a rarity. Because she was the single most organized and clean person I knew. Nothing fluttered out of anything when she was here because she always put everything away where it belonged.
But what fluttered out was a sonogram of the boy. Our first picture of him.
I remember walking into the room one day and catching her staring at it with a look of such love. Realize now that she musta taken out that sonogram a million times to just stare at her son.
Several friends and acquaintances have recently had babies. While I’m thrilled for them, it reminds me how much we’ve lost.
And I don’t think anyone except a mother could truly understand what must have gone through her mind when she was told she had cancer and would die.
Do you know the very first fucking thing she said to me was? Not about herself or even the cancer. It was,
I won’t see him grow up?
She cried for 24 hours straight after that. I didn’t think a body could cry so much. It was only five days after he was born. Fuck all.
Goddammit. Just typing that hit the pain button full-on and I’m trying not to be a basketcase.
So I put away the photo and try to not think about my most aching possible past.
Just watch the first four minutes. It’s worth it.
I’m putting stuff away cause, unchecked, grief can definitely be fatal. If not for Mouse and the boy, I wouldn’t be here.
In the past 45 days or so, a number of people that have been experiencing grief have reached out to me, exactly as I did to Leigh’s husband when Alison died. And like him, I’ve been trying to help as much as I can.
It’s hard. Cause I gotta dredge up things I’d rather not. But people like Leigh’s husband did that for me so I gotta do my part.
The thing is, you don’t know true grief until you feel it yourself.
And, while I wish you wouldn’t, you will, cause there’s nuthin you love that you won’t lose someday.
If you’re lucky, your grief will only be a small fraction of mine, which – trust me – is a blessing.
In fact one fella I spoke to whose wife died of cancer and left him with two boys told me, “Wow, I wouldn’t think it possible that someone had it worse; but you two’ve had it worse. I’m sorry.”
It’s a shitty achievement we’ve unlocked and one that I wished we didn’t, but, then again, I wish for a lotta things.
In any case, whenever I speak to someone about their grief, I’m reminded of the kid that said that I shoulda moved on after a year. As the video notes, you never move on; you move forward.
Evilly, I used to wish that she’d feel my grief for herself – like I said, I’m not a good person – but I was different then.
Now I just feel pity for her cause she’s just a dumb kid that’s never dealt with it. For better or worse, she will feel it one day, and I don’t think she’s equipped to deal with it.
I barely was. I barely am.
Now, I did promise Alison that I’d be here to take care of her son.
I didn’t mean it then. But I do now. I do. Really. Although there are moments that take your breath away, and not in the good way.
Me: Goodnight, kiddo.
Boy: Mommy’s sick.
Him: She’s sick. She died. She won’t get better.
Him: I love mommy. But she died.
Me: (fuck me) Get some sleep.
As I was writing this, one of the two people I still mentor called me to tell me that he’s worried about cancer with his aunt that raised him.
Man, it really is the emperor of all maladies.