We made it through another one. It wasn’t peaceful, and at times it flat-out wasn’t pretty, but at least it is behind us now for another three hundred and fifty odd days. I suppose it went as well as it could.
I was a little surprised that even after five years, a lot of friends and family were still unsure of what to say or how to act around us during that time, which I realized when the old, awkward elephant showed up in the room again. A close friend abruptly caught herself when she was on the verge of mentioning another friend’s birthday celebration. The birthday in question and B’s anniversary are the same day. At first I said nothing, but later decided to clear the air and send the pachyderm packing; I told everyone I was aware of the ‘shared’ date and have been for years, adding it was nice to find reasons to smile on June 12. I went on to say one of John’s closest friends shares that birthday as well, so it’s okay to talk about it around me.
I suspect most are afraid of mentioning Brian or acknowledging the anniversary for fear of throwing us off kilter or causing an eruption of tears. It could happen, but as we’ve been here before, it’s less likely now. Rest assured, we are acutely aware of his absence with every breath we take and we navigate around it daily…
I much prefer the way another friend threw caution to the wind when she stopped to say hello last week.
“I don’t know what to say, but I wanted to say something. I wanted you to know I’ve been thinking about you, Brian and your family.”
Another I haven’t spoken with in several years called and left a similar message via voice mail: “Hey Tammy, it’s me; I just wanted to call and say I was driving down Highway 51 this morning and thought about y’all. In fact, whenever I’m down this way your family comes to mind. Hope you’re doing okay.”
I can’t speak for every family who has lost a child, only mine… Pretending it didn’t happen, that Brian never existed or that we’re “over it” is far, far worse than risking our getting upset, for any of them presume we’re fine in the first place. We walk, talk and go about the new normal because we must. But just because we’re upright and functioning, don’t think we don’t think about it or that it ever goes away.
The reality is, we aren’t okay with losing Brian, but there’s nothing we can do to change what happened.
It’s always comforting for us to know B is remembered, during this time or any other... When dealing with us or someone like us, just say what’s on your heart; it’s hard to go wrong when you do…
Tammy will update her blog twice weekly…