This past Saturday was my baby boy Cole's 10th birthday party. It occurred on what would have been Shane's 33rd birthday had he lived. For those new to this blog, Shane was my best friend who died suddenly in 2000 and Cole is his only son, who was 3 years old at the time of his death. It's been very hard trying to carry on with our lives and we meet that challenge with the usual successes and failures, and sometimes extraordinary failures and marginal successes.
I miss him every day of my life. Each summer as the date of his death approaches, I start thinking about what was, what could have been, and what never will be. In part this is also because I've lost many people - family and friends - around this same time of year. My childhood best friend was raped and murdered when we were six years old
. My best friend when I was a teenager committed suicide
when we were 14, and then Shane
so unexpectedly on the year I turned 30. As if this all isn't enough, I have stockpiled my grief because there is not just so much of it I cannot even get to, but so many people I mourn the loss of. Confound this by the fact that I have had to weather the loss of multiple family members in succession more than once. Five years ago I lost 3 in the space of 2 months (Granny
, my Uncle Kelly
, and my Grammert
), and two years ago it happened all over again - three more (my oldest aunt, my cousin Lynn, and my cousin Robb
) in less than 2 months. Three years ago we lost Lynn
, the mother of dimpledoo
and the woman that daisy_down
and myself viewed as a surrogate mother.
To be perfectly honest, I cannot process all of this grief so I do the best I can with it. Sometimes - most times - I am pretty okay in the grand scheme. I've learned ways to live with all of this, and I do the best I can with what I have. I've learned how to ebb and flow with all of this, I know when it is time to cast out my emotions and when to reel them back in so they don't overwhelm me to the point of no return. I've done that already many times before, and it's almost too difficult to recover from, which I believe is the same desperation that invariably led me to heroin so many years ago. I'm sure that sounds odd to many, but it was the first thing I found that allowed me to get by and simultaneously take all of my feelings down to zero. I don't think much about my involvement with drugs because I've made that lifetimes ago in my mind and I just cannot bring myself to revisit that time for too long before I start feeling the urges and the desperation that compelled me to make that choice in the first place, and besides - that is just not a part of my life anymore, so I leave it where it deserves to be - far, far behind me.
Sunday D and I were grocery shopping when I came around the corner of the baking aisle and saw a little old lady walking toward me that looked amazingly like my Grammert, who is one of the people I lost two years ago. Those of you who know me well know and understand that I don't cry in the presence of others unless you're a lifetime friend of mine or unless I absolutely cannot help myself, but as soon as I saw this woman and it struck me how much she looked like Grammert, I burst into tears. Right there in front of all kinds of people and during a busy shopping weekend, I came unglued for a few minutes and had to collect myself. I've also been thinking about how in a few short months, it will be a year ago that Elissa
& her father died. That was the catalyst for me being where I am right now - back in mourning and alternating between being very sad, very hurt, and VERY angry. Yesterday I cried so much I gave myself a headache. Today I'm tuning up my bike for the first big ride of the year, which I'm taking before too long. I need to get out in the air and sunshine and ride along the river and make peace with what I can.hanukkahmonica
sent me an email yesterday telling me that today is the birthday of another special Shane, 7 year old Shane Bernier. He has had leukemia for two years now. He hasn’t asked for money or toys or anything like that for his birthday today - instead, he would like to break the world record for the most birthday cards ever received. He has received over a million so far, but his goal is 350 million. That is Shane's wish.
It doesn't matter if he gets a card after his birthday, he still wants one from all of us. Make one or buy one, but send it to him.
I'm going to explore downtown and Linwood on my bike and go picture taking, so I'm off. Be well, everyone. Make sure the people you love know that you do.