Time, Dates and Anniversaries

All of the really intuitive people I have spoken to over the twenty one and half months have tried to explain to me that time doesn't matter or exist "on the other side".  It is a concept that I have a hard time wrapping my brain around on this side of the veil, as time seems to be the only thing that matters most days - and I'm not talking about simple time, as I once knew it: Time to get up, time for Mo's naps, time for work, time for lunch, time for bed.....I'm talking about the really complicated passage of time and its markings.

In the really early days of my grief, I would stare at the clock.  The minutes went by like hours, the days like years.  I had all of the time in the world - to sit in my own personal hell, rotting from the inside out, starting with my heart and moving out to all of my extremities.  Time was killing me.  I would get through the days by creating markers - Time for a certain show (usually something about death or the afterlife - ie: The Long Island Medium or that show about near death experiences), Time for Ted to get home from work, Time for a visit with some kind friend....Time for things I had tried to plan in advance - Beth's marathon, Maxie's benefit, a trip to Mexico with Ted, attending a conference in Phoenix where I met so many others just like me.

Time was marked that year by anniversaries and empty holidays - Maxie's first birthday without him, Halloween - would have been his second, Thanksgiving, skipping every other holiday that he didn't get to celebrate with us.  Time was also marked by how long it had been since the last time I was with him  - nothing to look forward to except more empty days and nightmares all night.  It was no way to live and yet, that was our life.  We were clinging the this hope - the little boy growing (BIG) inside of me....trying to keep our fears at bay - not doing a great job most of the time (speaking for myself).

And then a whole year had passed.  THE LONGEST YEAR OF MY LIFE - and somehow, also the shortest.  I still can't believe that happened....that I got through that whole first year.  Even if I barely left the house, I am amazed at my strength.  I can't believe how our marriage survived - because it was hard...but I am proud that we gave each other the space to do whatever we needed to do for ourselves, even though most of the time we could not do much of anything for one another.  Oh my lord - I cannot believe people get through these things.  I can tell you and tell you and tell you how hard this was and you will never understand.  Complete hell.

And, then little Mo was born, only two days after the anniversary of his brother's passing.  What a gift he is!  He is the most special person in my life.  We are obsessed.  Time passes so much quicker with him here....but time is still always ticking away and being counted in ways I never would have thought of.

Maxie's second birthday without him.  Holidays celebrated again - without him - sometimes with people who understand the pain of "celebrating" without our son; sometimes with people who don't.  As time goes on, there will be less and less mention of his name, less and less understand of the important role he plays in our lives.

I've been counting down to THIS day since the day Mo was born.  Today Mo is nine and a half months.  He is currently taking the nap during which his brother stopped breathing.  I believe he will wake up from his nap - I believe it with all of my heart.  And, then, I believe he will turn ten months old, and then a year old.  I believe we will have a party for him - and watch him smash cake in his face.  I believe we will feel overwhelming joy watching him grow up while we continue to shove down intense and enormous amounts of pain every day - while we count down the days until we get to be with Maxie again.

It has been almost two years since the last time I kissed and hugged and sang to my lovely boy....and time is what keeps tripping me up.  Has it only been that long?  It feels like another lifetime.  I miss him so intently - it still feels like it could swallow me up alive and kill me.  Can it be that it has been THAT long?  It feels like I was holding him yesterday, my nose buried deep in his neck -trying to smell up all of his sweetness.  

Ironically, today is International Bereaved Mother's Day.  I feel connected at my soul to all of you other mothers and fathers (and other grievers) who count time the way I now do - with sad dates and lonely anniversaries and complex feeling holidays. I wish all of you a "Mo" - whether is it another child, a grandchild, a godchild, a friend, a spouse, a love of some sort - to help you get through the time, the dates and the anniversaries.  I know how complicated it is.  I am sorry.

"The people who you lost feel like they just left you yesterday and will see you tomorrow", said the first medium I ever spoke to.  Though that sounded abstract to me when I first heard it, I realize these days that this is how I feel.

Maxie - I do feel like I was just with you yesterday and I feel every day like I might see you tomorrow.  I look forward to the "time" when time doesn't matter - likely not in this lifetime....  I love you little boy.....ALWAYS AND FOREVER - to the moon and back!!!!  A thousand times...

and I hear your little brother starting to whimper - just getting up from the first nap of the day on his 9 1/2 month birthday.


Taryn said...

I've been thinking about you all day, hoping it would be as gentle for you as is possible. I know it's hard no matter what bright moments there are, but that was such a sweet, tender ending to this post, because I know how much that waking moment means to you. I am so sorry for your heartbreak, and I hope for all your greatest dreams to come true for sweet Mo. I know time is cruel and tortuous, but I truly believe you will be reunited with your Maxie again, and be able to see those same dreams fulfilled for him. What a blessed day that will be! But today we will celebrate that Mo is here and that he is a beautiful light in a hard, hard world.

Sarah P. said...

Thought about you so much yesterday, Abby. I am so sorry you are without your sweet boy and that Mo doesn't get to know his big bro. Glad you made it through yesterday, but I also know that the nightmare continues and the heartache never goes away.

The Blitz said...

Just catching up on the blog. thinking of you guys! I'm off to eat a salad so hopefully I can do better in next month's challenge!

Em said...

wow. what an intense day! i found your blog quite awhile ago but just couldn't read for awhile even though we are on similar timelines (eva died on her 10 month birthday on August 15th 2011) because you had a rainbow and I just could.not look at other babies. I have rediscovered your blog with the birth of my own rainbow, Nathan Evan (Evan is for Eva and Nathan means gift). I also want to acknowledge what you said about time. It is so incredibly surreal. How have I managed to live this long without her...how has it possibly been long enough to conceive and bear her brother? Time. what a mind-warp.

Maxie's Mommy said...

I am so so deeply sorry Em. She looks beautiful...