There is a cloud of melancholy surrounding my snug little cottage* tonight.
For the last few weeks it has been quietly seeping in through the cracks in the mortar and inadequately sealed windows till it hangs thick in the air like smoke from cookies burning in the oven.
There is something about Christmas that makes you yearn for loved ones. Even though the holidays can try the patience of a saint, if you have those you truly love with you the moments of joy can be so very sweet. When you are separated from those you love it is like there is a missing chunk in those moments of joy where that person is supposed to be. You always wish that they were there with you, celebrating and sharing the joy.
When death is the thing that separates you the pain can be acute.
Christmas is always difficult when you have lost a loved one. Getting through the season is hard enough when you don’t do anything to make it worse on yourself or your family. I did that very thing. In a pretty big way.
I forgot about him.
Forgot about Matthew, my sweet Little Bug.
For the very first time in four years, I didn’t go to the cemetery on a holiday.
While I cannot bring myself to visit his grave site very often, I always take something to him and visit on every holiday. It is my way of loving on him and feeling like my little family is still together in some way. Sometimes family is with me, sometimes they are not; I don’t require anyone else to go with me to the cemetery. Every year, I traipse through the snow and ice and unearth his headstone, lay a wreath or a tree down, sing to him and tell him that I miss him.
OH, how I miss him.
It didn’t happen this year.
What makes me feel worse is that very late on Christmas Eve night I remembered and I thought to myself, “We’ll stop with the family on our way over to Brigitte’s for dinner and games.”
It didn’t happen because I forgot.
I forgot because I was happy.
The last two Christmases were spectacularly hard. I was basically numb for the first two years but it caught up to me and struck with a vengeance. One day I will write about them, but today is not that day. Let’s just say that I looked into the face of hell and I am not entirely sure why or how I am still here.
This year was better.
On Christmas Day I was enjoying myself, my family and friends.
It came and went and there he lay, all alone.
Totally forgotten by his momma.
I am six hundred different kinds of suck.
Now that the holiday is over, I can feel the full weight of it and feel terrible. I’m sitting here creating my own little thunderstorm with big, fat tears spattering all over my keyboard and sniffing and honking into a wad of tissues. At times like this, it is like a war in my head and my heart. There is the side that has so much self-hatred and guilt for “Letting this happen” and the side that knows that I loved my son and would give anything to have prevented his death if I could. I would lay down my life for his without even batting an eye.
It’s an exhausting struggle at times. Sometimes the self-loathing wins, sometimes not. More and more over the years the self-loathing gets beaten up and put away. The last four Christmas’s have been hell on earth and I know in my head that I shouldn’t beat myself up for being happy enough to let the pain go for the holiday’s. That Bug wouldn’t want that for anything.
My head knows it.
Try telling that to my heart, somebody.
I feel things deeply. I also hold onto painful things much longer than I should. I know it sounds odd, but it is like letting go of that horrible pain is letting go of HIM. The loss of my Little Bug was so awful, so traumatic, so final. It feels like it SHOULD hurt forever. That each and every day SHOULD SUCK FOREVER AND EVER, AMEN.
It’s been 1,558 days since the worst moment of my life.
I’m tired, people. Tired of the hurt, bitterness and anger.
Worn out from wishing that my life were different.
I feel very alone right now.
Except…I know in my heart I’m not.
I have family that LOVED my little one almost as much as I did. I have the most awesome friends in.the.whole.freaking.world. It takes extraordinary people to hold and cling onto me in the flames of the craziest, most destructive hell imaginable. They are all still here. Unbelievable. My gratitude to everyone in this paragraph is unending and indescribable.
And then there are you lovely people. My bloggity family and friends. The most helpful thing for me is that you are here 24-7 for me to pour out my heart to. I need that. Oh, how I need that. Things like this build and build inside me and having the ability to write my thoughts out here have helped me more than you know.
I have had so many email exchanges that have truly warmed my heart and even made me chuckle in sincere appreciation when you said that you hurt so much for me after reading my archives that you had to watch “SuperBad” at 1 am so that you could recover and sleep. (Humor is sometimes the only thing that makes me feel better. She gets that.)
These hugs of comfort in my inbox are so appreciated.**
I have also taken some comfort knowing that there are other people out there like me. Even if I just lurk on their blogs it is a comfort to know that there are people that “Get it”. That seem to mourn in similar ways. One that is particularly wrenching is another blogger who lost her “Little Bug”, too. These people don’t just kindly sympathize. They empathize. They know exactly what it is like to have that kind of fear and loss. To be in this horrible, exclusive club that nobody ever, ever wants to be a member of.
No matter my raging anger and bitterness that I have (OH, how I have it), I am eternally thankful that I have all this love and caring around me. Many days is the only armor that I have against the never ending hurt that seems to go on and on. I am doing so much better than I was and hopefully, more love and happiness will seep in and replace so many of the ugly wounds that I have on my heart.
I know that my son forgives me for forgetting him.
I will have to find some way of forgiving myself for this lapse in memory.
On a bigger scale, I know that one day, one day that is NOT today, I will work on forgiving myself for failing to protect him from things I had no control over.
One day at a time.
*If you can equate a 1918 bungalow built by cowhands in their spare time as a snug little ANYTHING.
**I know there are so many more of you. PLEASE forgive me for not putting everyone on here. My husband is starting to bitch at me to help him clean the house.