Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Moodiness

Dear Jakey,

Wow, I did it again. I let an absurd amount of time go by between letters and I have been procrastinating this one for too long. So much has happened that I wanted to tell you about. So many things: happy and sad yet I never made the time. I don’t know why I let that happen but I do. And now I am annoyed because it seems I only reach out to you when things are the hardest and that doesn’t seem so fair to you. Last time I wrote was in December when we were struggling with 4 years without you. And now I am writing as we enter the other crappy stretch. Sometimes it seems like this time of year is even worse than December. To think that you are turning 9 in a few weeks blows my mind. It is so hard for me to picture you at 9. I remember Ethan turning 9 and thinking about it being his last single digit birthday. This is yours coming up but the milestone is sad, not exciting. And the JHFH event is 12 days away. And it is the 5th one. And all I can really think about is that it is the beginning of another landmark – 5 years without you. It makes me so sad to think about what that really represents – all that has happened in 5 years. I keep thinking about the day you died, before I knew it would be the day you died. When I was just hanging on the couch with you and that was enough. Those were my days. Heath stopped by to visit me and you but you were enough to fill my days. Now my days are filled with so much other stuff and I really just miss the days with you so much. I would give absolutely anything to go back to that.

And I wonder when the pissed off part of all this will go away. The part that creeps up around this time each year. The frustration with others. With friends complaining about their issues – which as real as they are, still manage to upset me. Because I would give a lot to have those struggles with you. To have the luxury of worrying about the things that they worry about. And then I feel bad because maybe I should worry about those things everyone worries about with Ethan but I mostly don’t. Because nothing is really that big a deal. Nothing really is as important as you think when it can all just change so quickly.

And I think about people in the beginning of this struggle with loss. And sometimes I think I can help and other times I don’t. I remember how important it was for me to know I wasn’t alone struggling with loss but I also know that no one can feel your pain in the way you do. And that when people presume that they can it sometimes makes it so much worse. We had losses this year – we lost Ashlyn just a few weeks ago. She was a fighter like you and I suspect you and her have found a way to connect in Heaven. At least I like to think that you have. Similar to you, she was dealt a tough hand in life with an extraordinary amount for her poor body to handle. She fought it well though and I am grateful that JHFH was able to support her and get to know her and her family. Knowing them as helped me as much as it helped them I think.

Mrs. Billok also passed away. You never met her here but I know you have since met her. It gives me comfort in my own selfish way that she is in Heaven too. She undoubtedly is taking care of you in a way that only a mom can and that makes me feel better. I just think of her family still here and how hard this journey remains.

I don’t know how to make sense of it still. I think of all the things I say about how the work we do with JHFH helps and how keeping your memory alive is so important. And it is all true but at the end of the day it doesn’t really feel like it’s enough. I just want to be getting ready for your last birthday in single digits. Not working on a JHFH fundraiser or thinking about how to celebrate your birthday without you or thinking about the Jake Alexander Memorial Scholarship. I just want for one second to be a normal mom with a soon to be 9-year-old boy on Earth.

I miss you so very much.

Love,

Mommy

Advertisements

4 years

Dear Jakey,

So today’s the day. A pit in my stomach arrives at some point before this day comes. And then the day comes and for the last four years we have spent this time away. The first year we went to Lake Placid and the following years we have come to Montreal where we are now. Both places are so wrapped in you that they both feel right. Today I took myself for a run. I really didn’t want to but I wanted some alone time with you and I figured that might be the best way to do it. I ran past the Embassy where we always stayed with you. I ran by Notre Dame and by the Science Museum and by the street with the Italian restaurant we took you too. And by the steak restaurant we had take-out from while watching the Derby for your 4th birthday. And by the waterfront where you and I would sit while Daddy and Ethan played catch or tried to get some kites to fly. I love the memories and the moments.  And I loved that when I wanted to quit you kept me running in the morning’s blistery cold.

I always think that this day is the day to get through and then it will be better. But it really is just the beginning, at least this year. This night is worse than the day. I feel like as I write this is just about the time you left us. And I feel like am on the outside looking in of the entire night from when I yelled to Ethan to call 911 all the way through when they told us you were gone. And everything in between – watching them work on you, seeing the priest come in and just you lying there. And those are the pictures that came up on time hop today. And I wonder why I took pictures. I think because I didn’t believe it was real.

But we have some tough days left – the memories of spending the days and nights at Tunison. And getting used to that and thinking that was okay – that we could hang out with you still. And then having to bury you. And that might have been the absolute worst moment of all. I still don’t know how I walked away and left you there.

We leave Montreal in the morning and will be back in Saratoga and real life. Ethan to school, Daddy to work and I hope the Mardi Gras invites will arrive on time.  We have our Make A Difference Event at Vapor tomorrow night and I will speak a few words about you. It keeps us all going. And we keep busy. And life keeps us going. But it still sucks always, and especially these days. These days its hard not to be consumed by it all.

I miss you and can’t wait to see you again,

Mommy

Blurred Lines

Dear Jakey,

As we quickly approach December 8th I find myself more and more in a daze. The line between happy and sad, between productive and not, between angry and weepy, silly and mopey is all so grey. Blurred Lines. When I was out today I heard that song which is about an entirely different type of blurred line and I don’t particularly like it, yet it put that phrase in my head. And I couldn’t stop thinking about it all day. It just seemed to fit.

A week ago or so I felt different. I was lost in good memories. Lost in remembering those amazing days and weeks before you died. When you seemed so awake and when you had so many good days. When you cried and whimpered instead of being numb from all the meds. When you rode the fire truck with Xavier. Even when you broke your femur, you had such strength. I remember the letter I wrote you after our day at MGH when Dr. Grottkau cast you. It was our family love story and that is one of the things I miss the most – the way we (the three of us left on Earth) could surround you and do the right thing for you when you needed us to. And how integral a part of it Ethan was in your care. And I worry that sometimes he forgets that – that the memories for him aren’t as clear as they are for me and Daddy.

Speaking of Ethan, he did his black belt test. I know you know it because nothing made me happier (and Ethan too) than seeing the cardinal at the grave that morning. It’s almost like I could breathe again. And it felt like you were sending him your support. And then when we left Saturday night after he had his belt ceremony and dinner we all saw the decorative cardinal sitting outside Massage at Saratoga. Ethan actually thought I put it there for him. And I think Daddy did too. Apparently they think I am a little crazier than I am. Anyways, to me it’s just another clear sign that you are here with us. And while that makes it easier, it’s still not enough. Especially today. Today I just want you back more than ever. And I want to simultaneously stop time AND make it move faster. Another blurred line.

I miss you so much buddy. I keep trying to picture you as an 8-year-old boy and the image doesn’t stick. I don’t really have one. I have the pictures from my dreams but it’s just not enough. At least not today.

Love,

Mommy

Same Old

Dear Jakey,

I started this on Monday and couldn’t get it quite right. And I realized it was because it was a bit too early. I started to write in anticipation of how this time of year makes me feel and the distractions I had in place that I thought might prevent my usual “going into hiding” mode. And then yesterday, it hit me.

I was going about my business when the sadness of this time of year really hit me. And it manifested itself with my unreasonable frustration and annoyance at things that maybe shouldn’t get me quite as fired up. So here I am, missing you as much as ever.  It all leads up to the day that we lost you and I can’t help but remember all those moments before I knew you would be gone – before it was more than just a bad thought that popped in my head on the darkest of nights.

The thing is that I’ve accepted that it will always be hard. I will remember the trips to Boston, I’ll remember the weaning off of Clobazam (now you can get actually get it here, not like when we had to order from Canada) and how awake you were after we got you off that, I’ll remember you riding your fire truck with Xavier and your days at Prospect, I’ll always remember how nervous but then so proud I was when I first left you alone to be fed at Prospect – you were doing so well and I guess that is always what makes this month so hard. There was so many great things that happened and then it always makes me wonder why it had to end.

NowI keep thinking about what you would make of life down here. Ethan is testing for black belt this weekend. He started TKD the month before you died. He started during that month where we thought everything was going pretty well. And he was so little and it was always a challenge to figure out whether Daddy or I would take him since we couldn’t bring you.And now for the most part we both try to be at every class. It still seems so odd to me that you never saw Ethan at TKD. I wonder what you think of who he is now. I have always connected his TKD with you in a way that I can’t really explain and in a way that I don’t think makes sense to anyone but me.

The next few weeks bring lots of emotion. And people who will tell me they understand when they don’t. And that’s all fine because I know people handle it all in their own ways. It doesn’t always make it easier for me but I know I have you on my side. I hate to wish time away but I am focused on getting to Montreal with Daddy and Ethan. And all the memories and traditions we have there. I may not be out of the fog until then.

With love,

Mommy

Gratitude

Dear Jakey,

I write to you today from a happy place, a truly happy place. Today has been an extraordinarily good day for me. And not for anything particularly exciting just from a sense of contentment in all aspects of my life. I guess I often find myself feeling good about some things I am doing but then can always find the negative and I focus on the things I didn’t get done. My to do list can seem endless and that it grows longer without ever-growing shorter. Yet, today I found the good in all of it. Maybe because for the first time in what has felt like forever we saw the cardinal a bunch this week. I feel like you and I were out of sync and now we are back. The day started with Ethan and I playing one of our favorite songs louder at the grave. We blasted out a little Ed Sheeran for you and then you were there. For the first time in too long, we enjoyed the moment. And maybe that helped get the day going well.

Today was a busy JHFH day. Marc and I went to a new family that was awesome. Awesome in so many ways. And then I met with another family and handled some business on the phone as well. As I spoke with Linda, she told me she was talking to you last night too. She talked to you about how thankful she was that you were such an amazing kid that you caused the kind of inspiration that made Daddy and I do the work we do and the Board do the work they do. It’s hard to explain how that made me feel.  And when I told her she made my day I meant it.

It’s not unusual to have good JHFH days but it isn’t always that I have good personal days. Or maybe I don’t always take the time to appreciate the good. And I don’t only appreciate it today but I am grateful for it. At TKD today we worked on tournament prep. You know me well enough to know that those moments typically make me anxious and crazy. But somehow today I felt okay. And I was grateful for Tam (who I don’t think you even ever met) for making me better and making me more prepared so that I can be stronger for Ethan.

So often we see bad things happen to good people and it can make things overwhelming. Yet today so many things made me see the good, even in the bad. The world cares. It cares about the loss of you, it cares about terrible things that happen and it wants to help. It feels good to be surrounded by a community that cares. Often, for me, all that good is dimmed by the loss of you. Today you helped me see things brighter. Thanks Jakey.

Love,

Mommy

Dear Jakey,

I wonder why I do it. Why I read so many books about people dying and why I watch movies when I know people die.  I do it a lot. And today, as I was watching The Fault of Our Stars I came up with the answer. Every time I wrap my self up in someone else’s kid dying I feel less alone in this life. And while I know I am not alone, and in fact surrounded by love, I still live my days dealing with you not in them. This life of mine is extreme. It is very good and very bad all at once, every moment of every day. And even when the good is great, it is always missing you.

And I sometimes get mad at you. There I said it. I get mad because you left me here. And you left me to make sense of this life. But I never really stay mad too long because I can’t. And you’ve taught me more since you left than you can every imagine. You’ve helped me with patience – patience to roll with it, even when those around me make it harder. And you’ve helped me find blessings in the least likely of places, every single day. And you’ve helped me find my next chapter.

I wonder sometimes what you think of your life. When you watch us carry on here on Earth, what do you think? When your story ended, how did you feel? How do we feel when our story ends? This life we lead is really pretty amazing yet so very hard. The choices we make, the people we share it with – it can all be so overwhelming. But it can also be so great. This life of mine brought me you. And I somehow ended up with my most important role as your mom (Ethan’s too). And while I appreciate the journey, I still wish it was different. I wish our story ended together or at least had more time. Every choice I now make in this life is different that it would have been. Everything. And that is what people don’t understand. It never leaves me. Not when we travel, not when go out, not when we stay in, no matter what we do. This life will always be different now. And sometimes I just want it to be what it was.

Miss you more that you know.

Mommy

puzzle noise

Dear Jakey,

We are starting our second week on PI. Sarena left early this morning. I find myself thinking about you in so many ways. So many memories of our life together.  I remember our 2nd and 3rd summers here at 81 Northern (which is just up the driveway from where we are now) and I remember when I was paranoid you had an ear infection. I remember our 4th summer at 35 Northern and every time we walk by the house I remember Tuck over for dinner and you on my lap.

IMG_0514

And I remember Daddy pushing your stroller over the same path through the dunes we walk now. I remember hanging with you under the umbrella or in your shark tent. I can picture what you were wearing and what I was wearing and these snapshots feel like they could have been taken yesterday. Everything here is so much more vivid than in our real normal life. Maybe because the memories here are all good, they don’t get lost and mixed up with the bad ones. And almost every day since we got here,  when sitting on our deck I hear a noise that makes me jump. The first thought that comes to mind is that its your puzzle from Kate that lives in my car (well lived in the Volvo, I still have to move it to the Jeep) because it is that exact sound. And it makes me think “Hi Jakey” the way everyone thinks when the sound happens in the car. And then I realize that can’t be the cause of the noise but I still can’t figure out what it is. And that is fine because I like to think it is you on vacation with us.

Love,

Mommy

%d bloggers like this: