Lost and Found

I never expected to be shackled to my child more tightly in death than in his arduous brief life. I spent hours, days, weeks, and months staring at his tiny face, wishing him well, praying for his survival, willing him on. I devoted my very essence to his needs, while still trying to find a balance of parenting him, parenting Fric and Frac and of course, performing my wifely duties. (Snicker. By wifely duties I'm referring to folding his socks. Just so you know.)

I got lost along the way. I know this now. I recognized this immediately upon his death. Before I was even out of the hospital, while his body still lay on a gurney in the emergency room, I understood that I was screwed. The very identity I had created around this little boy had vanished in a puff of smoke, like a bad magician's trick. There has been no silence in my head since his death. No peace. His name and his memory bounces around inside my head, inside my soul, so loud that sometimes I fear there is no room for anything else.

I was aimless and lost. It was hard to feel anything for anyone. And that included my children. I knew that I loved them, but it was locked away, put in a box on a shelf so high up, that even on my tippy toes I couldn't reach it. I feared I would never be able to feel love for them again. So I overcompensated,and showered them with hugs, kisses and I love you's, even though I was vacant inside.

I shifted gears. My priority became seeing my kids through this nightmare, getting them past this crisis intact. I have no problem with spending inordinate amounts of money so my children could whine to a therapist how I was too sarcastic with them, how I never cooked anything but processed foods or canned goods, or how I accidentally walked out of the bathroom naked and gave them an eye full of pierced breasts and a tattooed ass. But dammit, there was no way those kids where going to whine about how their mother shut down and stopped functioning when their brother died.

I didn't want to become one of those mothers whose lives revolve around their dead kids. Who set up shrines to a memory while ignoring the living.

So I set aside my lack of emotion and just faked it till I made it. I yanked Fric and Frac through their emotional hell so fast their heads snapped back. And they survived. Kids are resilient. It wasn't long before they were talking about Shalebug and laughing more than crying, and generally just getting on my very last nerve.

That's not to say they don't miss their brother. Or ache for him. Or that their lives haven't been completely turned upside down because of the absence of his presence. Like me, like their father, they morphed into new little people, changed so completely through no fault of their own.

They are both more sombre. They are both more fatalistic. When they hear someone, especially a child, is sick or in the hospital, they no longer assume they will leave that hospital. In fact, we have had to work very hard to get them to stop presuming just because someone is ill, someone will die.

Every night they say goodnight to their Bug, and I can sometimes hear soft murmurs coming from their rooms. Behind their doors, in the dark of night, they spill their souls and tell their brother their darkest secrets. I asked them once why they did this, and they just shrugged. Worried, I asked if he ever talked back. I had sudden mental images of visiting my crazies in the nut house. Thankfully, they don't hear any ghosts, or voice of God talking back to them. But they both report feeling a closeness to him that they haven't felt since the day of his death, and that comforts them.

Like me, they fear the unknown. They want to know where he is, is he healed, will he remember us. I offer platitudes and warm thoughts while wondering the same things myself. They struggled with their faith and looked at their father and I for guidance.

It saddens me to know that who they were is lost forever. They carry a sadness with them that will always mark them. They have been through more tragedy, more hardship than most young children. They spent five years trying to understand why their brother suffered so, and they will spend the rest of their lives trying to understand why he died. That changes a person, especially a young child.

We spent these past 504 days mourning and coping and morphing into the people we have all become. I often wonder where our 'old' selves made off to, if they found new bodies to inhabit. I like the vision of four happy, little, redneck zombies wandering the world, looking for kooks to inhabit.

I can't say I'm not sad still. Not just because my baby is gone. But because my older babies lost their innocence when Bug's life was snuffed out with the quietest whisper of death. But I look at who they have turned into, and how they have handled themselves through it all; how they managed to help their momma stay sane, and I am so very proud of my kids. I just want to share them with the world. Shout their names from the highest mountain, and make the world aware of how remarkable these little people really are.

Despite me and my inept parenting.

It truly is a marvel.

I decided to share with you my babes. After all, I have posted pics of Bug, my Boo, even my backside, I figured it was only fair that I share the products of my womb, the fruits of my labour. (Pun absolutely intended!)

Think of it as an offering of proof that I am, indeed, a natural blonde.