Sunday, February 28, 2010

Scar Tissue

Last week marked a year that he's been gone.

I didn't know what to expect of the day. We made plans so as to keep busy, keep moving, which helped. But eventually we quit moving, and I was overwhelmed. It was easily the worst day I've had in 6 months. Many significant days have come and gone since Henry died; most of them have not been as bad as the anticipation of how bad they were going to be. I don't know if I let my guard down thinking this would be the same...but it wasn't.

What I realized is that I have not healed at all. There is no scar tissue coating, covering my wounds. It is still a horrible gaping hole.

The shock of his death is gone. The imbalance of a family with a missing member has with time assumed a new balance. I thought that time had healed my wounds.

What I have learned to do is to put him away. The wooden box in his bedroom that holds his ashes is a fitting metaphor for where he exists in my psyche. This is what I have to do to continue living my life.

Last Thursday I opened that box. Got it out of the closet, unwrapped the blankets, opened it and looked inside. Nothing had changed.

Henry was gone. My arms ached to hold him. My eyes ached to see him, my ears to hear him. All of the things he would not do bounced around the box. My family's grief, my daughters' losses, my pain and despair poured out of the box.

Nothing had changed. Nothing will. Next time I look in the box he will still be gone.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Dave Matthews has released a new live acoustic album. While listening to it yesterday, this song made me smile and remember Henry.


I hear you still talk to me
As if you're sitting in that dusty chair
Makes the hours easier to bear
I know despite the years alone
I'll always listen to you sing your sweet song
And if it's all the same to you

I love you oh so well
Like a kid loves candy and fresh snow
I love you oh so well
Enough to fill up heaven, overflow, and fill hell
Love you oh so well

And it's cold and darkness falls
It's as if you're in the next room so alive
I could swear I hear you singing to me

I love you oh so well
Like a kid loves candy and fresh snow
I love you oh so well
Enough to fill up heaven, overflow, and fill hell

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Peeking through

Of late, I find that I am able to have positive memories of Henry. This is a change.

Up till now, virtually all of my memories of him were laced with Cancer. When he was younger, did he have it then? Remembering the time around his diagnosis. Remembering the chemo, the treatments, the vomiting, holding him down to give his meds. Terrified of relapse. And then, the agony of simultaneously treasuring every minute while watching his death bear down on him like a freight train. Unable to fight, unable to run, even unable to scream because it would scare him and make things worse.

Cancer infiltrated his body, his life, our family, my being his mom.

I have hoped for good memories of him. It's been hard. There was so much pain. But a few are beginning to peek through.

I can remember how soft his cheeks were to kiss, without remembering that he was bald from chemo when I kissed them then.

I can remember his voice as he made one of his quirky comments without seeing the steroids all over his body.

I can remember his pleasure with a toy without focusing on the fact that he played with it because he was so limited otherwise.

My memories remain laced with grief. They make me miss him more. But I'm really glad that the cancer is finally letting go of him, if only in my head.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Take it easy on me

If I lost a leg in a car accident, I don't think I'd spend most of my time being really thankful that I still had three limbs.

Why do I expect to be able to get past my loss so quickly, just because I have so many other blessings in life?