Monday, December 5, 2011

Santa's Special Delivery

I don't think Little Man will ever be the kid with perfect attendance in school. We are having another sick day; this time due to a stomach bug or something. Saturday night and Sunday morning were full of puke and empty of sleep. Always a stellar combo, but at least he is recovering nicely. He is totally loving his diet of gatorade, jello, and toast with apple butter. He smacks his lips and says, "Yes! Sugar!" as if he's a complete addict. I seem to have been spared; whether a result of antibodies or hand washing and lysol, I don't care. I'm just so glad this bug passed over me. Fingers and toes are all crossed as I knock on wood and hope it stays that way.

Last week I had some extra time to kill in town before picking up Little Man for swim lessons and I went to library. I am there a few times a month, usually with a list in hand; but this time I just wandered up and down the rows of books, trying to not get dizzy from reading sideways. I ended up lingering in both the coping and religion sections, picking up books here and there to bring home. I ended up with a stack of books all about coping with the loss of a child, what heaven will be like, and one book written by a hospice nurse about the end of life. I've spent a lot of time thinking about Jameson and our lives last year at this time while reading. I've read many stories about other parents learning(or not) to let go, about young and old hospice patients filled with peace and joy at the end of their lives, about perspective. I'm still processing a lot of it and not able to share much more than that, except to say that I'm glad I'm reading through this stack of books on my coffee table at this time in my life.

It is so strange, trying to reconcile the holidays with this upcoming anniversary. Celebrating thankfulness and the birth of Christ with joy while mourning the death of my son almost one year ago is confusing, painful, weird. I'm somewhat at a loss for words here.

Saturday morning, Little Man and I went shopping to pick out presents for all of his cousins. We were pulling into the Walmart parking lot when he told he he hadn't yet decided what to get Jameson. I responded with silence, trying desperately to not crash the car, start sobbing, or say the wrong thing. I mentioned to him that I'm not quite sure how we'd get a present up to heaven. He asked if Santa couldn't pick it up and bring it there on his way through town? Well, I don't see why not, I replied. So, Santa will not only be dropping off, but picking up a special delivery at our house this year. It is heart breaking, but genius at the same time. He is still thinking about what he wants to get J.

I'm thinking about what J likes, which leads me to wondering who Jameson is. Who is my son? Is he 3, like he was when he died last year? Or does the aging process stay the same, making him 4? Or do we maybe just have one perfect age in heaven and he could be 22 or 35 or 16? Will he still be J with the same irresistible smile and gorgeous red hair? Will we recognize each other in heaven someday? Will I still get to be his mom? I look at his pictures and strain to remember his little quirks. The sound of his laugh, the feel of his soft, creamy skin, the way he fit into me perfectly when sleeping. I have to really work to hear him running down the hallway to jump in bed with us in the early mornings, to picture the way he rode a bike, splashed in the tub, played with his brother. It can be such a struggle to hang on to who he was. To remember. To make him real again. To wonder who he is takes my breath away in an overwhelming, painful, and awesome way. Who is my son???

Patience, I hear in my mind. The answer almost makes me laugh, because the joke is on me. I want so badly to hit the fast forward button and just be there. Just be there and see him and have all the pain and fear and confusion of this world over. Why can't we just skip the mess and get to the happily ever after already? But we can't. So I try to breath deeply and I can't tell if the breath won't fill me full because of my grief or if it is from the baby pushing on my lungs, reminding me of my future here, my life here. Patience, my mind says again. This time it isn't funny at all, but I know that it is true.

The Lord's Prayer comes into my mind and I feel a smile pulling at my corners thinking about how I don't need to worry about getting through this whole life. We get to take this one day at a time. Give us this day our daily bread. Give me what I need to just make it through this day. And tomorrow I need to ask again. And the next day I need to ask again. It can be so overwhelming when the big picture is all I'm trying to see.

Sigh. I just need patience. And maybe a nap.

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