11 years ago today my 12 year old son died.
Depending on the year, the "crapiversary" is about reflection, memorializing Jack, muddling through, being grateful, or sitting in anger and jealousy. It all depends. Lately it's been about shuttling Andrew here or there, trying to keep him entertained, and whispering a "Thank you, I love you," to my Jack.
Today is different. Coming off a difficult summer, I'm home with my first case of COVID. Andrew is sick too, although testing negative, and our lives have been reduced to one bed, like the grandparents in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but with screens. A lot of screens. This limited sphere, as well as the misery in my body, made Sept 8 sneak up on me, sidling up to my sick bed in the night. I knew it was coming. It loomed. I felt it in my soul for weeks, but it whispered, "Trudge, Anna, trudge. This is your life now. Just deal."
In a way, the sick bed represents how I've been feeling for a long while: depleted, limited, trapped. "Trudge, Anna, trudge. This is your life now. Just deal."
If you are looking for a tribute to my amazing Jack today, I can't even muster it. My heart, my soul, my person, how could this be? Yet his memory flits away from me as the demands of the here and now keep me rooted as if my legs are half-sunk in concrete.
I have no guilt over this, for I know I can't disappoint my boy. I know that he sees me struggle and cheers me on, just as I supported him through every struggle he faced on earth.
While certain memories fail, I'll never forget how he made me feel-- like the best mother in the world. In the 34 years since my own mother went to heaven, what remains is how she made me feel: SAFE and BELOVED.
I know I'll feel better soon. I know Andrew will go to school and I can reclaim some autonomy and find my spark again.
Maybe then I will write a beautiful tribute post to a 12 year old who changed so many lives.
But today I will whisper, "Thank you Jack. I love you" and I will think about how even in my weakness, when I can't control ANYTHING, I can consider how I make people feel, and put that into the world.