It is a feeling that is more than physical…it is spiritual and emotional…it is pain that bypasses nerves and hollows out a place to stay in the very core of my being. I have to say it out loud sometimes that Brandon is gone and I will never see him again on this earth. I seldom say the word “dead.” It seems so final…and yet, for here…it is. Somehow making it verbal and listening to my own words confirms what I have known now for almost 5 years. It is a bitter awareness of a deep loss, knowing that my smiling blonde haired, blue-eyed, “baby” boy was the first person in our immediate family to leave this planet. I remember saying to my husband “that terrible night” that our lives have been shortened because of what happened. I thought for certain that I would not live long at all….and here I am nearly five years after, still breathing…and the missing I have in my heart is an ache like no other.
In the beginning of my loss, I lost weight. Could not eat. My stomach burned from hunger and still my mouth could not taste food without making me feel sick. Not a smoker, I smoked cigarettes to feel the numbing nicotine which also made me feel nauseous. I did not wear any make-up, what was the point…my tears hardly took time off. I could not drive right away. it took me four or five months before I was focused enough to drive. Brandon was on my mind constantly. I needed sleep to get a rest from the horror of reality. I was fearful of waking if I did go to sleep, usually with the aid of xanax. My mind was racing with questions and more questions. Everyday was a repeat of the last and on and on. I begged God to take me where my son was. I just wanted to be where he was and tell him what I thought would make him feel better, as if he needed to feel better where he was now. My faith knew better. After all, how can a mother who has always been focused on her children just be content when one is missing…gone from her. My nurturing instincts are and always will be in tact. I cannot remove myself from all that I have known as a mother. It is my nature to be concerned and caring. It makes the pain all the more unbearable.
I was and can still be sometimes angry at God. I should redirect that anger at the evil in this world. I know that God never wanted illness and death. In my finite, human mind I place the power in God’s hands and all that I had ever prayed for was not so much about worldly things but rather, the health and welfare of my family, especially my children. I have had to change my expectations since all that has happened. To doubt and to wonder is part of this process. Of course, I know in my fractured heart that there are not always answers in this life. My prayers have suffered. I wonder if I should pray for my prayers.
Thanksgiving and Christmas are challenges to all who have lost a loved one. The first year is most definitely the worst. The gut and heart will twist and hurt and the tears will flood…there is no gentle passage. Those who are missing from our tables, our sight, our touch, are now more thought of than ever before, more present in their absence. It is that vacancy screaming they were and are and always will be.