Twenty-two months ago Charles died. And today, he would have been 22. So that’s the 22 and 22.
The spark that lit the flame of fun died by suicide which is still so hard to fathom. How is it that the funniest person I ever met suffered from depression so dark, so ugly, so painful he killed himself?
I talked with David Gallagher recently (CKG Foundation). We agreed birthdays are the hardest and I’m really struggling. This week has been a serious grief relapse–muscles have lead in them and motivation is nil. Kleenex in every pocket and I just want to curl up in a ball in a cave.
I want to remember my boy, too
Nobody spent as much time talking about his birthday than Charles did. For months he would talk about it, fantasize about it. He would have the wildest requests that were always difficult to fulfill. One time he wanted boxing classes. For an 11-year-old?
Then one year he searched the internet and found a camp in Canada, a zoo camp of sorts. It was crazy expensive and way off in the boondocks. And while I considered it, we simply couldn’t swing the dollars it required including the airfare and time it would take to get him to this remote location.
A pony would have been easy compared with some of his wishes. Something that would make him fly? Like I can pull that off? So a zip line had to do for that one.
What’s different between this birthday and the one last year?
Last year around this time, I was hurting like I do now a lot more often and certainly, the birthday was worse. This year I’ve had more good days and this month I have just plummeted to the depths of grief which is a much sharper contrast to how I had been feeling recently.
I knew it would be tough and set the expectation without setting a self-fulfilling prophecy–a tough balance.
I had definitely suffered emotional pain before. But until Charles died I couldn’t understand the emotional pain that was so bad it would trigger thoughts of suicide. And while I’ve never had those thoughts, I do understand the hurt and if you are predisposed, how it could trigger darker thoughts.
There are times I want to do just about anything to get away from the intensity of this pain of loss so deep and so unrelenting. Except that.
As an adult whose been through a lot in my life, from attacks at knifepoint to a broken neck and a brain tumor, I’ve developed the resilience to deal with even this. I would have never thought I could go on and move forward. But I have.
My brain came equipped with the tools to help me do that and I’m grateful. I’m just sorry I couldn’t have literally scooped some out and shared some of that with my son. How could I have so much and he have so little resilience? I’m his mother, right? Why didn’t some of it leak into him when he was conceived?
I feel I have enough of it to share which I think is part of why I do what I do. I need to. I have a few gifts and that’s one of them but I don’t have to keep it all to myself.
I will make it through the day.