04 Feb i’ll never…
Today I am full of a bunch of thoughts that begin with the words “I’ll never…” I’m overwhelmed and saddened by the realization of the hundreds of things I’ll never do with my son. Remember that character in the Charlie Brown cartoons? Pigpen was his name, I think. Wherever he went, a dust cloud and flies followed him. Thankfully, that’s not me but similarly, I have a dark cloud attached to me today that I just cannot seem to shake.
At work, I am disconnected but feel pressure to make a difference. I usually start my day stressed, like I am a little late to the party, and hyper aware that I am missing something. This afternoon it slapped me in the face as I was listening to a conference call about the progress of our division. I was a completely different employee ‘before’ but now I just cannot find the energy to engage. I’m super disconnected, disjointed, discombobulated. I want to be that intense, productive game changer that I was, but she has gone into hiding and has been replaced by someone who doesn’t believe in the same things, who doesn’t respond to a dangled carrot anymore, and has no real reason to keep striving toward that next seemingly unattainable rung of the ladder. Instead, it’s just me, sitting here, blinking at the bright lights and looking a little bewildered. I feel bad about it too, but have no idea where to find that girl or how to grab onto her again.
I’m not accustomed to feeling lost. I’m the chick that takes the bull by its horns. I’m the closer. I’m the bulldog. I’m a catalyst for change. I’m a leader. I’m the winning ticket. More accurately, I used to be all those things. Now, I don’t know where I fit or who I am. I don’t know what I contribute and when I finally figure that out, will it be of any value? I’m in the wrong place. Not just professionally, but personally. I’m in the wrong time zone. I’m in the wrong country. The wrong job. The wrong life. It’s all wrong, and I can’t seem to find the door that takes me to option #2. I also can’t find the gearshift to take me out of this mindless, numbing drift I’m caught up in.
Insert the I’ll nevers… as time continues to pass, and life moves on, and people keep living, and new babies arrive, and seasons change, and pages of the calendar turn, and friends come & go, I am becoming more and more aware of the I’ll nevers. These thoughts don’t hit you right away. When you lose a child, you’re too shocked to process anything but the immediate moment and sometimes you can’t even do that very well. It’s not until later that you start looking towards the future without your child that the I’ll nevers hit.
And when they hit, it’s like a ton of bricks. A mac truck. A sledgehammer.
I’ll never hear his laugh. I’ll never play with his gorgeous hair (and tuck it behind his ear to annoy him). I’ll never hear him negotiating with his online friends during a video game raid. I’ll never pick him up from school, or drop him off, or give him lunch money, or ask him if he is feeding the whole school, or laugh with him about his fantastic future career ideas. I’ll never do his laundry again, or ask him to switch the loads. I’ll never do a road trip with him, or travel to another country with him, or take another cruise with him. I’ll never watch him guzzle whole milk by the gallon. I’ll never take him to another braces appointment. I’ll never listen to his stories, or hear about his friends, or learn about something he’s learning at school. I’ll never do another fun run with Mase, or bear the brunt of his criticism about my cooking, or go Christmas shopping together. I’ll never go school shopping, or buy Dr. Pepper, or bacon by the ton… I’ll never have a new story or another picture. I’ll never snuggle on the couch with him again, or push him away jokingly, or hear him call me shmuvver and feel his amazing, epic hugs. How can that be?
There are thousands of memories I have that will never be repeated. I could go on and on. I won’t, but I could. It’s not even those things that hurt the most. I’m so thankful I did those things with him and have those memories to cherish. What a gift our life together was, and how very blessed were we to experience things in such a short amount of time that some people never, ever experience in a whole lifetime!?!? I am thankful. I want more and more and more, but I am thankful for what we had.
It’s the I’ll nevers that didn’t take place that crush me today. The things I’ll never get to do with him that eat me alive and make me ache with emptiness. The future with him, the dreams and goals and plans with him, those are what threaten to wreck me, once and for all. I don’t know how to make sense of it. I don’t know how to let go. It’s been hounding me for a while now, and I know I need to face the reality that there are some things I’ll never, ever get to do. Period. I’m still grappling with it, and desperately trying to figure out a way to deal. How do I let go of someone I loved with my whole heart? It’s enough to lose him, the actual person, but add to that all the accoutrements and you have one blubbering mess of a mommy. It’s strange how the timing of different realizations can, without effort, take you out at the knees.
Keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I endeavor to find a way to come to terms with the I’ll nevers. Here are just a few that I’m thinking of today… Eight months after Mason left.
I’ll never throw him an 8th grade graduation party. Instead, I had a Memorial Service that day.
I’ll never see him start 9th grade.
I’ll never see him go to Homecoming or Prom, or even ask a girl on a real date.
I’ll never teach him to drive or buy him his first car.
I’ll never cheer for him in any games or competitions.
I’ll never scream his name at high school graduation, or buy him a cap and gown.
I’ll never send him off to college or the military (he was interested in both).
I’ll never meet his college girlfriends, or watch him find the love of his life.
I’ll never dance with him at his wedding, or have him walk me down the aisle at mine.
I’ll never be a grandma.
I’ll never meet his beautiful babies, or spoil them with my love… how is that fair, when I have so much to give?
I’ll never live with him (like he promised) and do his laundry the wrong way again. I’ll never be his cook that can’t cook, or his housecleaner who hires cleaners. These were all things he teased me about.
I’m not ready to be done. I’m not ready to face a future without him. It’s not fair. It’s unthinkable. I’m just not ready. Can I just say that? These are big things. Huge I’ll nevers. I can’t think about them too much or I’ll crawl back into my little hole and never come out. I wasn’t foolish to assume I would have him in my life for the rest of it, was I? We all do that as parents, don’t we? When I was 25 years old, I dedicated my life, the rest of my days, to loving that little person to infinity and beyond. I couldn’t have known that meant only 14 years together, and the rest of my life mourning the I’ll nevers.
So life will have to forgive me for not being the person I once was. I wish I could go back in time, not only to find her, but to find him, to save him, to shmuvver him, to shake him, to love him even more.
I’ll never stop missing him. I’ll never forget how he changed me, in life and in death. I’ll never understand this.
I’ll never give up trying.