Moms

Sweetness and Sorrow

Tammy Garlock’s son Brian was killed in a automobile accident on June 12, 2008.
Tammy Garlock’s son Brian was killed in a automobile accident on June 12, 2008.

I can always tell when the darkness is descending... An off-beat comment thrown my way coupled with a subtle change in tone and I know where we are about to go…

There are no outward signs of scarring, nothing visible to the naked eye… Nevertheless, the burden of our loss is always there, just below the surface of what we allow the world to see…

It has been eight long years since Brian left us, though at times it feels like yesterday…when I catch a glimpse of John, trying to swipe the tears from his face before I notice…when Beth continues to question “Why him and not me?” as if her borrowing his car on that terrible day would have resulted in changed places…or when Grace suddenly bolts from our presence, cutting her visit short for no apparent reason other than too much togetherness, being too close for too long…

We have yet to find any sweetness in the middle days of June, though I continue to pray someday we will be able to do so. In 2008, Brian’s accident, John’s birthday, Brian’s funeral and Father’s day all lined up in an excruciating row; thankfully, this last happened in 2014 and it won’t fall exactly this way again until the year 2025. John still refuses to celebrate his birthday…I don’t know if that will ever change, but I do see a glimmer of hope for Father’s day-as long as the dates don’t align.

At other times-ordinary days unmarked by a particular occasion-we are sometimes able to think of Brian and smile…John leaving the tea pitcher in the fridge with only a teaspoon of tea remaining…Grace and Beth cranking up the radio whenever one of Brian’s favorite songs comes on…or John pointing out my subconscious decision to pick every shred of purple cabbage out of salads, just like B used to do.

It is in the memory of everyday moments with Brian that we are finally able to find tiny sparkles of happiness to carry us along…

“It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness.” –Chuck Palahniuk, novelist

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