I woke up – almost in a startled wide awake fashion – with this fucking fortune cookie thought blaring thru my mind, “You can’t avoid the date. It’s coming. You have to remember.” It was seriously like someone shaking me awake to give me information that a). I already knew and b). I didn’t want to deal with. I wasn’t an idiot. I immediately knew what it meant even in my sleep and my first thought was “Please, not now, let me get back to sleep, it’s only 2AM.”
It wasn’t a clairvoyant thought. It wasn’t the dead speaking to me – although some might say it sort of is. It was a reminder, just in case my waking thoughts were trying to stuff down what’s in front of me. Fucking March 3rd.
It’s this recipe of horror and love. Made up of dread and fear, mixed with sweet happiness, and peppered liberally with confusion and guilt. No sooner does it hit my proverbial emotional taste buds, then it sends my mind reeling into a confused orbit. I can only hope that this will be the first and last year that it really leaves me feeling less happy and more – like I’ve been dunked in a vat of depressive gunk.
It’s funny, I’ve been walking around the past week with this feeling of anxiety and darkness. This ball of anger in my chest. I really just want to sleep, but this this tight ball – this tight strain of anxiousness leaves me exhausted and hyper. Like I’ve wandered into the Disney version of Manic-Depressive Land. The place where the smallest things can set me off (and have), and it never dawned on me that it could be stuffed emotions. I’ve honestly put it down to politics, work, and a (too) busy schedule, but my subconscious knew that was bullshit. Well most of it. Politics does hit my anger button pretty easily these days, but that’s another post.
Lately my contentment and happy place has been me all alone. At home. With my cat. Yes, I’m becoming that lady. No one can anger me if I am alone it seems. Well as long as I stay off of social media.
Here is the Good, because there really is good. An absolutely wonderful kind of good. My adorable blonde haired, beautiful blue eyed, dinosaur & truck loving grandson turns 4-years old on March 3rd. I don’t get to see him anywhere near as often as I would like for a variety of reasons, but mostly because he lives about 1000 miles away from me. It doesn’t matter, because I love the heck out of that kid.
This is my son’s son.
Here is the bad. Ironically, my son died last year ON March 3rd. Yes his son’s 3rd birthday. Weirdly, in the midst of my shock, once the dust had barely settled on his early death, I wrapped my head around all these number 3’s. I think I must have repeated that a dozen times to anyone who would listen. I was Fox Mulder, and this was my own personal Numbers Conspiracy. The irony that he died at 33, on 3/3 which was his son’s 3rd birthday. Now that time has passed, I see a bunch of numbered coincidences, but I also see that I pounded that irony into my own brain, and now my brain won’t let it go.
“March 3rd is coming. What are you going to do about March 3rd. It’s coming you know. You can’t jump over or under it. It’s COMING!! That’s my brain. Like the Disney version of the Mad Hatter, I hear – no wait, I FEEL the voice telling me this.
The day I actually start hearing these voices, I might want to check myself into a Happy Place, where they give you pretty blue happy pills.
Before any mellow dramatic pauses are added in to this, keep in mind my son was sadly not in his own small son’s life. Point blank he was a shitty dad, and I’m ashamed and embarrassed of that. That in itself adds to the sadness, and the guilt. I’m sad he is gone. I am angry he left nothing but a semi-decent social security for his son to collect on monthly. It’s almost like it was when he was alive – my disappointment and anger in him, and THAT – right there, makes me feel guilty.
I’m very fortunate that my grandson’s mother has chosen to keep me involved in her son’s life, because it would be just as easy for her to walk away and wipe clean that part of his life. I’d be lying to say I didn’t fear that when it was all said and done. I probably even prepared myself for that possibility at some point. But that, amongst a list of other things, is really what makes her an outstanding mother. She understands that no matter how crappy of a father my son was, that her son is going to want to know this side of his family at some point. And even though I’m not this constant physical part of his daily life, that I love him as much as if I were.
So every year I try and send him a spectacular or needed Christmas gift and 2 & ½ months later I try and do the same for his birthday. I am certain he has no clue who these gifts come from, and it will probably take years for his mind to come to grips with it. Fine. Let me be the anonymous Birthday Fairy, I’m good with that. Hopefully as he grows up we can Skype or something. We’ve tried it, but thus far his attention span isn’t what is really required for it.
So this little bean of a boy, who looks like the perfect mix of his mother and paternal grandfather is this beacon of light for me, even though he hasn’t a clue. Of course I have to tamper down my erratic feelings of how much more he means to me now that his father is gone. It can be quite frenetic. I wouldn’t want to SCARE the boy. 😉
Sometimes I feel like I’m watching this stranger from afar. I’m envious of my friends who get to babysit and be that hands on grandparent. Who have these cool, silly goofy nicknames. I remind myself that I didn’t see my grandparents a lot when I was growing up, but they were still this huge presence in my life. I hope that this relationship doesn’t unravel with time, but there is a small part of me that is holding on, accepting the possibility with dread.
As I write this, I tear up, and I’m not certain why. This is the boy who brings me happiness.
But like I said, the stuff I try and push down – it’s coming back up. I’m a clogged garbage disposal right now. My close friend Steve’s death anniversary is also coming up, next week no less, and that brings some more sadness, but not like this of course.
I think first anniversary of anyone’s death is hard for family. I recall feeling so very gloomy, and hugely angry with my mother’s first anniversary. You’ve gone thru all those firsts without them; First Christmas, first Mother’s Day, first Birthday. Every year after that it diminishes slightly. It started as this HUGE calendar target. This BEAMING reminder. I’d find myself getting sick or depressed in September, and sure enough I’d look at the calendar, and there the date would be, standing there all stoic and proud, like it was a GOOD thing to recall. It took years for me to get past, and now more than fifteen years later, the reminder is small and like a regular day. More often than not I only recall it when it’s her birthday, two weeks later. I look back and realize her death date is now just like any other date. Time doesn’t necessarily HEAL all wounds, but it definitely diminishes the painful impact.
I don’t feel as much sadness as I do anger when I think of his death. The feeling in my chest is this ball of angry fire.
I’m furious with the date of March 3rd. I’m angry that this is the day my son was taken from me forever. I’m angrier moreso that it mars the date of the birth of my first grandchild.
I don’t know who the anger is for really. I mean I can’t be mad at a calendar date. Is it Fate? Him? Me? Everyone? No One? Don’t get me wrong I am sad too – but I’m stuffing that and in writing I think I realize that I don’t want the sadness to suffocate me.
I’m not certain what this flummox of feelings is outside of pain, or what I am supposed to do to deal with them. Can a person be reminded at the same moment that they are so grateful for one life and at the same time grieve the life of another? At the exact same time? I don’t want the bad, the sad, the negative to spill over to my daughter’s birthday either, which is ironically the following day. I would imagine that parents that have lost one baby in a multiple birth situation deal with something like this quite often. That’s my coping skill. Always realizing someone out there has it as bad, if not worse.
So here’s to you March 3rd. Fuck You. Thank you. I hate you. I love you. I’ll be waiting for you. Strong and hopeful. I’ll be here next year, and the year after that, and after a while I guess the fact that I love you, will outweigh the fading angry memories.