Every day I decide to be happy.  I DECIDE to do my best....DESPITE the fact that my heart is BROKEN and can never be put back together.  I spend most of all day every day SHOVING very hard, dark emotions deep into my insides.  Shoving, shoving, shoving.  Smiling and shoving. Wearing a gigantic mask.

I was overdue.

This weekend my cousin Jodi was in town with her three beautiful girls for the Bar Mitzvah. Each little girl is so completely different from the other - as children are - as PEOPLE ARE - completely different and unique (even though people suggest that Mo can replace Max, he CANNOT because people are unique!!!!!).  The girls loved Mo.  They showered him with affection and attention all weekend long.  He LOVED them.  They never met Max.  It is so painful to think about.  Jodi only met him once.

I haven't been to a Jewish service since the Rosh Hashana right after we lost Maxie.  I didn't really think ahead.  At first, it felt like a homecoming.  It was a lovely service.  The cantor sang familiar melodies.  It was comforting.  I even contemplated making services a part of my weekly ritual....perhaps they would bring me comfort and community.  As Mo's nap time was right in the middle of the service, Ted and I had devised a plan.  Ted would take Mo to the car for a bottle and a car nap, while I stayed and finished the service.  So, I was alone at the end when IT happened.  "IT" is the part of the service that I had forgotten would come.  "IT" is the Mourners Kaddish - the prayer for the dead.  In a liberal service (which we were in), the rabbi or cantor often asks the congregants to say out loud the names of the deceased.  I called Max's name almost too eagerly - since nobody ever says his name out loud, I look for opportunities to say it because I love him SO much.  In fact, I sort of wonder if I shouted it.  After I said it, tears came pouring out of my eyes and I couldn't stop.  I literally could not stop crying (quietly) until the end of the service.  You see, usually I can focus on Mo and that helps me stop - but he wasn't there - he was having a car nap with Ted.  I was defenseless.....and JEALOUS.

JEALOUS!  I hate it!  I hate that on a day celebrating a special little boy (ahem.....I mean, man), I was feeling jealous.  But it is true.  His mother was beaming with pride and love.  And as I sat there, I watched my other cousin snuggle with her youngest daughter.  Her mother, my aunt, giving an arm tickle to the oldest.  My oldest should have been sitting next to me while my youngest napped in the car with his daddy.  But it just isn't so and I am so so jealous and I miss Maxie so much and I LONG for normalcy.  I finally pulled it together but the hole in my heart was wide open and stayed open for the rest of the weekend.

Yesterday, Mo and I had breakfast with my aunt and her husband, my cousin and her daughters.  Mo held center stage.  The girls were all over him and he was totally eating it up.  I know they would have loved Maxie.  He would have loved them too.  He loved attention.  He loved little girls.  He loved new people.  I cracked.  My aunt has five granddaughters.  She said something about being lucky to have not experienced a loss like ours and I said, "But you have!   Maxie was yours!  Just like these girls are mine!"  I know she knows that, and I know what she meant.   Also, she didn't ever really get to know Max.  If she had, she would have been devastated.  Or at least I like to think that about the people who didn't really know him.  I like to think it would have blown their world to pieces - as it should have anyway if they love me - because my loss is their loss and my loss is devastating.  The connection I feel to my cousin's daughters is in my bones - they are a part of me - as I would imagine my children are in her bones. 

I don't even think Ted knows how much my heart hurts right now.  I do a good job faking it these days.  I don't let anyone in anymore - not even him.  If I've learned anything in the last two years, it's that pain is private, as much as I wish I could share.  Everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) is just sitting around waiting for you to be "happy" again, even when they are being patient with your sadness.  Some people do the best they can, but even then it gets to be too much.  So, I only share the real pain here now...and even here I dumb it down.  Anyway, I was overdue.  I was going to crack eventually.  Sometimes I just don't know how I am doing this, especially now that I really know - this pain isn't going anywhere - it is here to stay - forever and ever - for the rest of my life.


Tiffany said...

i can relate to so much of this. it's hard to be completely honest about what i'm feeling even with D. sometimes i feel as though he is trying to "fix" me. i'm unfixable though.

Taryn said...

Abby, I'm so sorry. Your pain is just as personal as your love. I can't imagine there are even words in any language of this earth that can capture either. I'm so sorry for your loss, but so inspired by your love. It is one of the most horribly bitter, yet divinely sweet things I've ever seen in all my life. Hugs to you for both your love and your sorrow.

Em said...

I blogged about faking it a couple days ago. post is called 'on being real' if you're interested. I wish we had a mourners kadish or something where I coykd say Eva's name aloud on Sundays. That would be amazing. And I often feel that even Mike doesn't understand how much I miss Eva. Even him.

Sarah P. said...

I am so sorry Abby. I have tears in my eyes reading this post. You have my greatest sympathies and compassion. Your sweet boy should be here!!! I am eternally sorry that you are without him. Hugs.

Anonymous said...

I have not experienced such a devastating loss. But when you wrote about saying to your aunt, "you have! you lost him too" I completely understood. Just as a reader of your blog, as a stranger, I feel devastated by the loss of your Max. Every picture I see of him makes me tear up so I cannot even imagine the pain you have to deal with on a daily basis. I am so very sorry. From having read your blog there is no question in my mind that you & your husband showered your son with love & affection & care every day of his life. You gave him such a happy life. It is so incredibly unfair that he was taken from you. It angers me so. I do think though that many people live long lives yet do not ever experince the love that your Max received from you & your husband.