This place has been quiet for quite some time. It's not that there is no more grief or that I don't think of Boe, because there is, and I do. I just think that, right now, I am at a place where, though there is still grief and sadness, it has transformed. It is not always right in my face consuming my every waking minute. It has relinquished its spot at the forefront of my mind, and it has made way for beautiful friendships. Friendships formed during the deepest and darkest moments that we could ever endure, friendships based on laughter through tears, lots of ugly cries and the rainbow after a raging storm; friendships that will last a lifetime. My grief has also helped me move to a place of comfort. It is not comfort with the fact that Boe is dead, for how could the loss of a child ever make anyone comfortable? It is being able to have a conversation about him with my surviving children and answer their questions about him without crying. It is seeing a drawing that my sweet five year old has made for him that brings a smile to my lips and warmth to my heart instead of a tear to my eye. That being said, the quiet here is not because he has been forgotten, it's simply because I'm in a different place right now. The following is an entry on which I've been working since March. For many reasons, I've held off on sharing it until now. I hope that by sharing it today, I honor the two people who inspired it. They are always on my heart and in my mind...
If you read my last post then you know that I have been struggling with the very sudden death of my best friend from childhood. She passed away in April, and there are times when I feel as though I am back at that exact time in that exact moment receiving the news that she is gone. Those times tear through me and open a very fragile wound, a wound just begun to "heal" (as if that is even possible), a wound just begun to stop being SO DAMN PAINFUL. And then, the guilt sets in.
A song that we enjoyed together as teenage girls comes on the radio, and I cry. My children ask why Auntie Kathleen had to go to heaven, and my voice quivers as I explain to them, as best I can, why such a fabulous, exciting, loving, and loyal person was taken from us so unexpectedly. My daughter looks at the last picture of me and 3 of my best friends together; she points us each out with such pride, and I begin to feel such anger that one of us is no longer here. And then, the guilt sets in.
Guilt. I feel guilty because even though I miss Boe tremendously, I feel like sometimes I miss Kathleen more. I cry more freely about her death. I talk about her more often, or so it seems. I speak to her, I think of her, she crosses my mind SO DAMN MUCH.
I can think of lots of reasons for this. Maybe it is because her death is still so recent, the wound so fresh and tender. I have had nearly 4 years to process Boe's death and how his absence fits into my life, I am still trying to figure out what to do without Kathleen being just a text or a phone call away.
Perhaps it is because I have a lifetime of memories with Kathleen. Countless moments which made us laugh, cry, lash out in anger, hurt or disappointment, small little phrases or sounds we could subtly throw out and reduce the other to a heap of blubbering laughter within seconds (Ba ba babette!). Knowing the opportunity to create more of these moments has been ripped away hurts me to the core. I never had any of this with Boe. With the exception of the times I saw and felt him in my womb, I have not one memory of him alive. I never heard him cry, or saw his beautiful blue eyes. With Boe, the moment to which I cling is holding his tiny still body in my arms. The moment where I tried to cram a lifetime into minutes because it was all I'd ever have. The moment I had to say "hello" and "goodbye" simultaneously.
It really angers me that I feel guilty, for I know that doesn't serve anyone, not them and not me. It also doesn't solve anything. They are both still gone, and they are not coming back. They both hold such important and significant roles in my life, and they occupy such vast space in my heart. I love them both dearly, but so differently and for such different reasons. Maybe that should be the thought on to which I hold; maybe that should be the permission I can give myself to mourn, grieve and miss them differently. Maybe this revelation will be what it takes for me to put aside the guilt and simply celebrate the wonderful and powerful presence they both hold in my life. Maybe I'll finally let go of the reins, relinquish "control", and just let this be what it is. Nasty. Ugly. Grief for two people who I hold so dear and miss so very, very much.