It wasn’t just one thing. It was a collection of things. I’d finish the frenetic morning breakfast/school lunch making/drop off routine, look down at my hands and notice all the spots I earned from decades of not wearing sunscreen. I’d look in the rear view mirror and see dark circles under my eyes as well-worn (and seemingly as old) as the Nile River. I quit my job in February, which I certainly do not regret, but am having a hard time with the question “What exactly do you do?”
“Well, I write.”
“Oh really? What have you written?” Genuinely interested parties would ask.
“Oh, it’s nothing. It’s a blog.”
“What is it about?”
And therein would start the conversation of my son. I began feeling like an old, sun-spotted, unemployed Grief Queen. I felt neither interesting nor inspired. I began a healthy handful of blog posts, then would save the draft and go do something else. I had thoughts and ideas I wanted to share; things I felt needed to be said, but suddenly just didn’t have the motivation to keep going. I had to take a break from putting my creative energy toward something that was so serious, so sad, and so solemn.
Not that blogging makes me sad. In fact, it’s profoundly therapeutic. In fact, I should have kept going. But I didn’t. I ran away for awhile and began a new venture. I began a new creative outlet that made me forget about extraordinary sadness, sun spots and a stomach reminiscent of The Saggy Baggy Elephant. It’s something I intend to keep doing, but it’s good to get back to writing that has a whole bunch more heart.
I was lying in bed the other day when math hit me over the head. I have been thinking about how my son has been gone for two years, and it never occurred to me during all those months of that thinking that year 3 was coming up soon. Christ fuck, 3 years?! How on earth could he be gone for that long? I was watching Floyd in the bath tonight, all happy and laughs. Just having a gay old time, and it crushed me all of a sudden that all of the love and happiness that was Jay isn’t here. He’ll sit in my lap and all I see is the back of his head and feel his little warm body in my lap. I could be reading to Jay, but I’m not. I’m reading to his brother, who wouldn’t be here if he hadn’t died. And he did! Floyd had his first dental appointment today; a milestone Jay never reached. We sat down and the dentist said, “I just love his sweater!” My gut reaction was to respond with, “Thanks, it’s his brother’s.” But I didn’t. I stopped at “Thanks” and spent the next minute wondering if I should have put that on Floyd today.
Grief is a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week experience. You get breaks, sure, but you’re on call for grief for the rest of your life. You don’t know when you’ll be pulled into the sads, or get those dreadfully traumatic moments where you actually, fully take in what has happened to you, your family and your child. So you must forgive me for running away for awhile. But as I said, it’s a job that never goes away. I will always be back.
For grieving parents: What do you do when you need to run away? How do you take breaks in your own life? Do you feel guilty when you do? I do sometimes, but I do it anyway.
Also, I would love to write more about topics that interest people. If you have any ideas for things you’d like covered, please message me with your thoughts. I have always wanted this blog to have more reader comments and input, so please feel free to ask for any grief topic to be covered.