Moms Columns & Blogs

Happy Birthday, B

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November 6, 2008 

Today would have been Brian’s 18th birthday; it’s hard not to dwell on what might have been.  To be thankful for what you were given, rather than angry for what you have lost, is a constant struggle now for each of us, in very different ways.  The old saying, something like ‘yesterday is a memory, tomorrow is not promised, all you have is this day’ has a new meaning altogether.  The sun still rises and sets, life goes on…just not like before in this house.  Dying has changed everything…  

The day started with the iPod deck buzzing shrilly, sounding like a smoke alarm at 5:45 am; in my confusion I couldn’t figure out the origin of the noise.  I checked Grace’s room (she had buried her head under a pile of pillows), and then opened Brian’s door (really freaking out at this point), finally stumbling into their bathroom…  It seemed like someone moved the light switch and the off button during the night, so I decided to pull the plug, only to realize it wasn’t even plugged in!  I guess I pushed enough buttons to shut it up…it hasn’t gone off a single time since June 12th, until now.  

I baked a cake in his honor, choosing to do a white cake with caramel icing, Beth’s personal favorite.  I think Brian decided it was his fav too, if only to annoy her!  The icing turned out messy and ugly, but that’s what happens when 10 hours pass between baking the cake and making the caramel icing for it.  He’s been sitting on a cloud, laughing at my aggravation, without a doubt…  

Earlier I decided to go to the site in Pineville, my third visit since the accident.  The cross is still there, with the original stuff, flowers, socks, bunnies, etc. that the kids left, validating his life, in their own way.  The lines still remain on the concrete curbing, marking the spot where his car finally came to rest, despite the fact the road was re-paved at some point.  I left a tiny birthday balloon and some pink roses with their gifts.  Yes, that was me, crying alone as countless cars raced by, busy with their own lives, oblivious to the end of our world that occurred 21 weeks ago today, around noon…  Time continues to be so elastic…  

I also went to check on things at Forest Lawn East, to leave another balloon and more pink roses, and to assure myself it was orderly and neat.  I cannot explain this desire, as I know he truly is not in that place…  Others had come ahead of me, leaving flowers, a keychain, a miniature baseball mitt…tokens of love for our son, their brother and friend.  As I raked up the fallen leaves with my fingers (an exercise in futility, like fussing at him to take his clean clothes from the laundry counter to his room) it occurred to me yet again the verse ‘love bears all things’ is impossibly difficult to do…  

John fought the good fight…  I wish I could ease his pain; early evening was the worst of times, as usual.  During the day, work consumed him, but as the sun set, he could not help but look for Brian to walk up the driveway with his golf bag, ready to recount every single shot.  How someone who couldn’t remember to take out the garbage could remember every single stoke he (and those of his group, I might add) had over a round of golf still confounds me.  Their father-son camaraderie is irreplaceable, and that missing connection was ever so obvious at dinnertime tonight.  

Gracie couldn’t handle counseling this afternoon~she was the focus of the grief group at school and was not prepared to open the painful places twice in one day.  It was much easier to be surrounded by like-minded friends, Brian’s and her own, and be mad about the rock being painted over…and then doing something constructive about it.  I’m sure Brian has been laughing about this too, his birthday occurring the day before the Butler / Independence football game, and the competition for spray painting space…  

Beth made a valiant attempt to go about her day, business as usual, and managed to do so until this afternoon.  We have kept the door to Brian’s room closed since it happened, so it is mostly as he left it, including the sweaty boy/man smell that anyone who knew him knows all too well.  She went in, just for a moment, and ended up on the floor sobbing amongst the lint and dust bunnies.  When you go into his room, it fools you into thinking that he will be coming home at any moment; but for the shoe in the hospital bag, and the candle (which John put in his bedroom window today), you can almost believe that your hearts’ greatest wish will be fulfilled in just a little while…  

Somehow we made it, one breath at a time, one prayer at a time…  

Wishing you hope…TG  

If you would like a ‘Remember Brian’ bracelet and you haven’t been able to reach me previously, please send your request and mailing address to rememberbrian@mindspring.com. 

Tammy will update her blog on Mondays and Thursdays.  -- Jen, site administrator

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