It’s been 5 years.
5 years since I got to look at you. 5 years since our worlds were turned upside down. And we are about a month away from the 5 year mark of the day our world shattered.
I definitely didn’t think that this milestone year would be easy, but I truly didn’t think it was going to sideswipe me. These 5 years have been turbulent for our family….. the loss of you kicked it all off, and what followed over the years for our family was a collective 7 job changes, 3 house moves, 2 separate starts of elementary school (not different schools, just different kids), multiple pet losses and additions, the addition of many new friends, the closing down of my old event planning business (when we moved) that use to be so dear to me, but was no longer relevant to what was going on in my whole new universe, the loss of a path in life, the loss of my identity, anxiety and depression issues, new experiences and education that have lead to significant growth both personally & professionally…. a mix of positive and negative changes, but changes none the less.
(ok, turbulent may have even been an understatement – reading this back now, it seems sometimes all I’m missing is a book deal…)
By far the most exceptional change, was the creation of this organization that has been meant to provide support to families who are also missing a piece of something in their hearts, because that is an evolving relationship with you, when the physical one we had for such a short time has long since become static. I am forever thankful to you for your inspiration and guidance Delilah in creating this project, because without that, all that’s left is “moving on” and letting go, which is simply unacceptable to me as your mother. I don’t need or want to hold onto the past, that does no good either, but I certainly have worked on my healing through the passion and people in this space. The loss of the person I was before you and the rebuilding has only been able to happen because you allowed me an outlet to grieve and process by walking with others through theirs.
Now is a scary time though, this 5 year mark brings a lot with it. It brings the drive to continue building momentum for the project, which is a good thing, and at times can be invigorating and its a reminder that I’ve made it this far. But it also brings with it the fear that all along I’ve not really had the calming environment or stability, in every aspect of the word, to allow myself to process the entirety of our loss. THAT leads me to question whether I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, because I seriously thought I’d done a LOT of my processing over the last 5 years. And that strikes fear in me like you can’t imagine.
When the moments come (and they will) that I allow myself to think about you and memories of our last days with you come creeping in too, because I can’t just remember your sweet angel face as you slept in your isolette or the pictures your brother and sister drew you that were hanging in your window. No, with the memories also comes the guilt, the sadness, the anger, the self-doubt, the sheer panic and breakdown I had on the morning that we had to bury you, all over again. I couldn’t walk down the stairs D, and I kept saying “I don’t want to do this”. Every year on February 14 I have to relive that, and it doesn’t get easier. Ever. It puts me right back in the awful moment. Every year. and it hurts, more than I can ever describe. I know that doesn’t displace celebrating the love that we all had for you and the love that was shown to us, but the two feel like two alternate realities sometimes.
Does that put me back at square one? Because really if I’m still feeling these things and it still brings me to tears, have I done any processing at all? And then I feel like a hot mess all over again.
Your brother and sister are older now and they talk about you more often, and they look at their pictures of you, they wonder what you would’ve been like or what it would be like if you were with us, and they cry over you and that makes me cry because they are feeling their loss just as much as your dad and I are. For as strong as everyone makes me out to be in pushing forward and surviving though these past 5 years, there are so many times that I don’t feel it at all. I believe in the work I’m doing, but I would surely trade it all in if it meant that you had the chance to stay with us. So stripped down to my roots, it seems that I am just a grieving mom for whom absolutely everything and yet absolutely nothing has changed. That kind of dichotomy is really challenging to wade through.