I needed a holiday break.  My mind went quiet even as my soul raged against what again we did not get to share with our son.

No highchair at the Thanksgiving table.  No presents under the tree for him.

So instead of trying to parse the brutality of that reality, I just shut down.  I went into hunker-down-mode and tried to stay focused on what needed to be done to get through the many Happy Holidays I did not feel at all.

Overall it went okay at best.  I probably seemed better than I felt.  Thanksgiving was as tough as I expected it to be, but Christmas caught me a little off-guard.  I guess I thought I was doing better than I was, because I really did not expect to be as destroyed as I felt.  I thought I’d gotten used to missing him, but that day with family all around except for him was awful.

Even though he has been gone for over a year I still feel his absence as though he was just taken from me yesterday.

I doubt that will ever change, and I wonder how it is that friends and acquaintances don’t seem to realize that all of this is the case.  To this day I am shocked by the baby-centric conversations I have to endure around people that should know better.

Do they think Silas was like the flu?  That his death was something to be endured during the acute phase and then thoroughly healed with some chicken soup and a good night’s sleep?  Or is it just easier for them to forget in a haze of denial and positive-thinking that this is all still very real and present for me?  Either way it doesn’t work and so I do what I’ve always done in this situation.  I walk away.

For a while there, I even had to walk away from my own mind because facing his absence through another cheery season of joy and light was wrenching and unbearable.

But I refuse to give up.  I’ve come to the conclusion, finally, that his death will not destroy me.  It could have and perhaps it still can, but I think I’ve at least reached the stage where I know that I will endure and I will not be some kind of mutilated, desolate soul.  There’s no doubt I will visit those barren places again, there’s no way to avoid them.  They are part of the landscape I inhabit.

But I will not linger there.  I will not be poisoned by his death.  I will not let blame and anger and hate and rage consume me beyond reckoning.  Those fires will flash through my soul many times, I’m sure, but now, finally I know I can withstand the heat and tears and walk out the other side intact.

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