I Just Wanted My Vagina Book...

For most people there are four seasons. Spring, summer, autumn and winter. I, however, have five seasons to deal with. I like to call it the sorrow season. It begins every Oct 21 and runs until Jan. 5. This time of year has no spectacular display of autumn foliage, nor does it have breathtaking exhibition of wintery whiteness. No, this season is generally accompanied by used and crumpled tissues; empty kleenex boxes; and a big bulbous red nose. (Apparently, there are some seasonal similarities...)

This season of sorrow was hard. Not that I expected jolly laughs and good times. I honestly believed that getting through all the firsts would be the most difficult part of the grieving process; everything after would pale in comparison.

I was wrong. What I neglected to take into account was that through a lot of those so called "firsts", I was still in shock. My son was only dead for two months when I had to face our first Christmas without him. I had barely processed the fact that he was gone, let alone what a lifetime of Christmas seasons without him would mean.

Shock is a grieving mom's best friend. It can numb the sharpest of pains like nothing else.

The only shock I had this year to to insulate my pain was when I touched a shorted out wire on a string of Christmas lights this winter. And it didn't help dull my pain or lessen my memory. It did however, get me to curse like a seasoned sailor who just picked up a cross-dressing tart only to discover....

I wasn't ready for the onslaught of emotions that began bombarding me from the anniversary date until now. I had naively and somewhat stupidly thought that I had done the hard part and survived.

Turns out, the hard part keeps on coming. It never really ends. It's like that annoying pink rabbit banging on that freaking drum to advertise batteries. It just never stops banging away at my heart, at my head.

This year was harder than last year. Last year people made excuses for my shabby appearance, my lack of thoughtful gifts, my inability to articulate an intelligent thought. After all, I was grieving. I had just lost my baby boy. This year, it was as if a spot light was turned on me and people were examining me to see if I survived my year in purgatory. Apparently, I didn't receive a passing grade. This year people expected the T from the past to make a long awaited appearance. They thought that she would come back in fine style, shake off the dust from being trapped in a grieving box for so long and start entertaining the masses. They were disappointed to discover that she no longer exists.

That T, that piece of me is gone. Replaced by a more sober, sadder version of myself. This T no longer cares if the packages are deliciously wrapped and rival Martha Stewart's. This T no longer cares if Fric has a hole in her stocking or if Frac's hair is cut. This T realizes the only value of Christmas is the value you create by being together and appreciating the small moments togetherness creates.

The old T was buried with her son. She no longer exists. It's a hard lesson for those who love me. It's a hard lesson for me. I resent having had to change. I liked myself, who I was before death reached in and snatched the light from my soul.

But I like who I am now too. I have walked a path no person should have to. I have experienced a pain so severe, so debilitating, no human should survive. But I did. I survived, am surviving. I may have a few more earrings and body art to show for it, but I am relatively intact.

I discovered a strength, a resilience I never knew was part of me. And I kept my funny bone, even when my heart was ripped from my body and buried with my Bug.

All in all, this Christmas was good. Hard, but good. I kicked my hubs ass several times around the board games, I watched my children's faces light up with excitement and wonderment and I talked with my Bug through out it all. He was as much a part of this Christmas now as when he was alive. Minus the tube feedings and shitty diapers. There was a bad moment, when my well-meaning mother-in-law gave me my present. To every other adult female in the family she gave various vagina books; Your Vagina and Menopause, Your Vagina and It's Health, How to Be an Effective Leader with a Vagina; I was looking forward to my vagina book. Perhaps I'd get the How to Grieve with a Vagina, or How to Watch What You Say When You Have a Vagina.

Sadly there was no vagina book for me. Instead there were three lovely picture frames. It was a thoughtful gift, but it only served to remind me that while I replace the pictures in two of the frames, one picture frame will be frozen in time, collecting dust. Forever frozen while everyone moves on.

Every one but me.

I don't believe I will every truly move on. Part of me will linger with my boy until the day he is in my arms once more. Part of me doesn't know how to let go, forget a life so beautiful it hurts to remember it. Part of me never wants to.

Because that life, that boy, is part of me, a part of this family I created. It is a part I cherish, love and admire. And death do us part, it still exists. It always will. Some years it may be more dusty, others it may be more vibrant, but every year day it is always present.

I am looking forward to this season of sorrow coming to an end. After the new year, when the tree is back in storage, the ornaments carefully packed away and the house once more swept clean of Christmas merriment, I might be able to breathe deeply again, without this pain in my chest. I just have to get through New Year's. And his sixth birthday. I will survive. I will cope. I may even grow.

If I don't think too hard of who he would have been if life had worked out just a bit differently.