Tomorrow is Tuesday. To the rest of the world, it's just Tuesday. To our family and friends, it's the day that forever changed our lives. It's been two years since Alex left us. I still find it incredibly hard to say Alex died, but my heart feels it. My mind knows it, and yet it still plays tricks on me. When that back door to the house opens, for just a split second I think it's Alex walking in from having a cigarette. My heart skips a beat and then a feeling of sadness creeps in, but it doesn't stay as long as it use to. When I wake up, the first thing I think of isn't him all the time. It used to be but now, after a few minutes, I remember. I guess you can say those few minutes are peace for me. And I imagine that in time those minutes will get longer and more peace will come. The pain has dulled somewhat, the pain that used to bring me to my knees in tears. And yet, a feeling of sadness and sometimes even anger is always there. If anyone would have told me I would become stronger from this I wouldn't have believed them. Mainly because I thought after he died I was broken. I remind myself very often that the amount of grief I suffer is because of the amount of love I had for him; how much he filled my heart with joy being his mother. We all can fix things with our hands or with our brains, but you can't FIX the heart. And nothing and no one can fill that part he owned. So when I say I was broken, that's the part of me that is; my heart.
I was afraid my marriage wouldn't survive. We each have our own grief and we cannot protect each other from it. I have heard it can tear a marriage apart. Losing a child is enough to tear anyone apart. We have been together more than half of our lives. We have three children together, vacationed together, laughed together and cried together. But we are still two individuals that had to learn how to get through our grief. The pain is still there, and yet I look at others that have been hurt worse and feel almost blessed in a way. I am fortunate in the way that Alex wasn't an only child. I didn't get that terrible phone call in the middle of the night. I don't have to wonder every day not knowing where my son is. And most of all, I know he was not in pain. Those are blessings in my eyes.
My friend asked me recently what has been the hardest to deal with since Alex passed away. The answer may surprise some but it is the only one I am sure of; that I am still being a good mother and wife. Even through the funeral, my focus was for Adam and Audra to know how much they were loved by their brother, and how much they are loved by me. There were days I was grasping for the right words to comfort them but I couldn't get them out, I was too busy still grieving myself. I can't forget the fact that life goes on and theirs did.
But that's where Adam and Audra AND Mark come in. And also his friends that have kept me in their thoughts and prayers. The ones who stop by to talk about Alex and just talk to me. They are not my only reason for being here but they keep me in the present. Their love kept me going on the days that were so dark I didn't think the sun existed. And when I say their LOVE, I mean the love I have for them, not just the love they give to me. I know how much I hurt from losing Alex, so I know a little of how they must feel. I don't assume to guess the amount, but in this house, Alex's presence is missed. His wonderful sense of humor, which now carries on in Adam and Mark. Or maybe it's just that's where he got it from. His smile, OH what a beautiful smile it was, I see it in Mark. He definitely looked a lot like his dad. And he was so smart. Not just book smart but very aware of the world and people. It's hard to compare his intelligence to others but when he set his mind to something, he did it. No matter if it was building a computer from scratch to fixing a broken Xbox to forming a snow fort in the backyard. ALL to him were projects of great joy and he would be proud of them in the same way. Like I said, it's hard to put into words. But I know I see that drive and ambition and force in both Adam and Audra. There is no stopping them once they have their mind set on something. Understand, these things I see aren't WHAT they got from Alex but what I see in them that Alex also had. They were siblings, of course some traits will be stronger in one than the other, but they had them and shared them.
There are still times I don't want to get out of bed, I want the day to go away and I just want to sleep; mainly because only then I dream and there is no heartache. And the dreams aren't about him. He comes to me in a voice and tells me things. What to do with his favorite hat I have kept. But right now I can't part with it. His voice only is what I hear but no face. I will be dreaming about driving on the freeway and his voice will come in and say NEW YORK and that will remind me of the car game we played on long road trips. So you see, sleeping some times brings me peace. But the mother in me comes out and I have to get up. Being a wife and mother are part of that driving force behind me, getting through this and living each day to its fullest. I could cry every day of my life that he is gone. But instead I choose to smile because he lived. It hurts to think about the future without him and then I turn and think of all we shared; the birthdays, the Christmas's. I no longer can say we LOST Alex; he died. Because he isn't lost to me, I carry him in my heart every day. There is a small hole and tear where my heart broke the day he died. My heart will always have that tear there. But the space has gotten smaller and just the tear will remain. But that's OK, I can live with a tear in my heart from his passing. Because that hole is being filled up by friends visiting, talking about Alex, new adventures coming my families way. Babies are being born, engagements and weddings are happening. Life is still going on around us and I am here, in the present, with all who loved him, shared his life, and also who miss him. He was one of a kind, a handful, a spitfire, head strong but the best friend to have. And to all those who knew Alex, even with all the trouble and turmoil he sometimes brought into our lives, I can say with certainty that I am glad he was my son. And that I will always love him forever; beyond forever.