It’s so weird, but my body has this internal clock. I hardly know what day of the week it is, let alone what the actual date is. However, I feel it creeping up and the ominous gray cloud sort of looms over me. It takes me awhile to identify what that nebulous, yucky feeling is, and then I realize that it’s almost April. Almost Alex’s birthday.
I need to pause for a moment to validate how old he would have been. Molly’s birth and presence have sort have clouded the dates in my mind. April 11th was Alex’s birthday. June 9th was when he died. Molly was born on May 29th. What year did all this happen? Alex was born and died in 2011? Molly was born in 2012? What year is it now? 2013? It’s all jumbled together and fuzzy. I have to stop and think about the exact dates and details, but I have a visceral feeling around this time of year. I don’t know how else to describe it.
For so many people, Spring represents a wonderful, fun time of year. It is Easter eggs and bunny brunches and tulips and flowers… For me, it’s this looming memory of a beautiful little boy who was born into a family that loved him very much. It’s memories of adjusting to the excitement and joy of having two boys. It’s feeling so utterly unprepared for such a devastating loss on a beautiful summer day in June.
Mentally, I can separate these events from the season. There are happy memories of the Spring. Being pregnant with Molly, taking Benjamin to the park, visiting the zoo as a family… But my initial response associates these things with Alex and it catches me off guard.
That first warm day in the Spring, the smell of the air, the way everything changes from Winter. I know his birthday is coming and the sadness sort of wafts over me in a way I can’t avoid. I have more coping techniques now. I can bottle everything up until a time when I’m better able to handle everything, but when it all comes out, it seems as fresh and clear as it did the day he died.
I’m not sure if there’s always going to be a hard time of year. It’s like the only thing that brings me joy during this time is being pregnant. I can think about all the wonderful “firsts” that I’ll get to have all over again, and I can imagine that this new baby coming into the world is just like my sweet Alex.
I drift back to the day that he died and I indulge the painful thoughts around what it would be like if he had never died. How would our lives have been different? I can’t help but think that things would have been better if he were still here. Would Molly have been born? I’m not wishing that she weren’t here. I’m not wishing that she were him. I’m just thinking. What if Alex had always awoken from naps like he was supposed to?
How would our lives be different? There’s no answer, so I never finish turning this question over in my mind. It nags at me and I don’t ever quite get the closure that I’m looking for.
It’s been so long since he died, that I feel like I need to justify why I’m sad. Honestly, I don’t even think about Alex every single day of my life. When I do think about him, I’m sad. I don’t know how else to describe it. Sometimes I’m just sad and I want there to be some grand explanation for why. It hurts. Still. A little less than when it first happened, but still arresting in an entirely different way…
I miss him. Maybe that’s all it is. He pops into my thoughts, more this time of year and while there are happy memories of our time with him, the sad ones of his departure are the freshest.