We took Benjamin to Children’s Hospital yesterday. Our pediatrician advised us to get Benjamin checked to have peace of mind that Benjamin doesn’t have the same heart abnormality that Alex did. We arrived and everyone seemed confused about why we were there. We needed to re-live the circumstances of Alex’s death, explain the heart abnormality without any of the proper medical terms at our disposal. They ran one quick test and it wasn’t even the test that would tell us if Benjamin is a-ok.
After the doctor’s office, we took Benjamin to Build-A-Bear. His first trip. On the way there, I asked him what kind of bear he wanted to build. He didn’t know what I meant, so I explained that he could build a little bear, or a big bear, or a brown bear, or a white bear. He thought for a moment, then told me, “I want to build a Mommy Bear that’s just like you.” Melted my heart.
As sweet and pure as that moment was, I wonder what Alex might have said. If Alex had been 2 years, 10 months old, what would my sweet Piggy have said? Who knows- maybe he would have been a Daddy’s boy.
I haven’t heard the firetruck in awhile. It’s made me sad. I wonder if I was just hallucinating all those times before, or maybe I haven’t been listening closely enough. I heard the familiar siren this morning and raced into the room. It was Benjamin. He was pushing the fire truck along, prompting the siren. I was momentarily dejected, but then I glimpsed a flash of pink. What on earth could be pink on a traditional red fire truck?
A little pig. I have no idea why, but there was a little plastic piggy nestled into the fire engine. I don’t recognize him, so I’m not sure where he came from. Other mommies can confirm it- we *know* the toys that belong to our kids. When we’re cleaning the playroom and stumble upon a lone car, action figure or lego that’s not ours- we know. It’s crystal clear when a foreign toy emerges. This piggy is unknown. His presence on that fire engine made me catch my breath.
Sometimes I can’t quite let it all out. I don’t know why. It’s like I have all these tears about ready to boil over and they get stuck. A lump in my throat, a pain in my chest and a hole in my heart. I am stuck in my world, going through the motions. The grief starts to skim past the surface and I choke it back down.
I don’t know why. I don’t feel like I need to be strong for anyone, and after all that has happened, I’d like to think that I’m not a slave to those around me, worried that my emotions might make them uncomfortable.
But I’m here, aching from the pain, wanting to release all the sadness, and it won’t come. I don’t know why.
It isn’t like I feel instantly better when I cry. I’m just still relieved that I can summon up that emotion for my boy. He was amazing and I miss him. Where is the sign that I still miss him? The salty, stinging tears to reassure me that, yes, I loved my boy.
I sit here, feeling impotent and worse than I did before. My baby is gone and I want to fall over in sadness and I just can’t let it go. I’m cold, indifferent, stoic, unmoved. What kind of mother can’t cry for her son? This one. I don’t know what’s holding me back, but I know that the pain doesn’t escape if the tears can’t flow.
When Alex first died, the emotions were right underneath the surface, accessible and unpredictable. Now, they’re deeper and I can’t get them to flow. I’m not sure what is worse- numbing the pain, or having it consume you.
In the meantime, I watch Benjamin play with his fire truck, the mystery piggy tucked into one of the compartments. There’s time for sadness another day.