Tuesday, December 4, 2012

It's Been 3 Years... Now what?

Back in December 2009, I got a phone call from my husband.  It was strange - I was in the local thrift shop, trying to find nice but cheap table clothes for my daughter's birthday tea party.  I found the correct section, but no luck.  I was about to leave when my cell phone rang.

"Are you sitting down?" 

No hello, or how are you.  "Yes, I can sit down.  What's wrong?" 

I sat on a chair in the store.  I remember nothing about the chair, only that I was sitting when I heard the news.

"Eddie's dead." 

Eddie - our eldest son.  Dead.

I remember we talked about how my husband heard the news, and we talked about telling the other kids. 

I left the store without purchasing anything, and the rest of the day, even the next week, went past as a blur.  The birthday tea party, Christmas, New Year's Eve, my birthday, the private memorial service - everything went past in a blur, as I learned to live without getting phone calls from Eddie, learned to live in a world with no Eddie.  We discussed death with the other kids, and let them feel whatever they felt.  We packed up Eddie's stuff - pictures, school papers, ... - and put it all away in storage.

We survived.

Now, the anniversary of his death approaches, and I wonder what to do.  I know that grief is a strange thing, and I have a narrow walk to go on.  On one side, I fear that no mentioning his death, not acknowledging the event, will be disingenuous.  It happened - Eddie died.  

But on the other hand, I don't want to linger over his death.  Sadly, I know several people who lost children, and I have seen the effects of lingering.  I know people who constantly think about their dead child, wondering what that child would be doing now if only he/she hadn't died.  These people spend their life in a sort of fantasy, daydreaming about the dead child, talking to the dead child, and living for the dead child.

That's just not me.

I think I'll do things a bit differently.  I am thinking I might use Eddie's death as a day to write down Eddie stories, so my other kids have something to remember his by other than his death.  Or maybe I'll find someone who needs help and lend a hand.

I don't know. But I do know that life goes on.  In the end, that's what counts.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my gosh...Kathryn, I don't know that I ever knew you lost your oldest son. Words can't even begin to describe how sorry I am for your loss. I'm just read about the Lincolns losing one of their sons and how Mary Lincoln could not get over the loss (and got into mysticism that way). I pondered how I would handle such a loss...would I be like Mary and go off the deep end, or would I be like the nurse who had helped care for their child (who had lost 5 kids of her own but was still functioning).

    I just want to reach out and give you a huge hug to let you know how much I admire your resilient spirit and resolve to carry on.

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