I know she is proud of me tonight. I just do. I almost never think what would Jennifer want me to do… Its just not something that seems to resonate with me. But it did today. Today I felt worried I would be letting her down.. worried that she wanted me to do something I wasn’t sure I was capable of.
Going to one of her best friends 6th birthday parties. ..
I have a fairly large Facebook network now (I know total lame brag right) and I see a lot of birthdays come into my feed. Often just from a friends liking a picture or commenting on it. I see them and I want to scream. Imagine. Imagine if today you find out your child will die. No hope. No cure. If you find out that this birthday you are supposed to be celebrating will likely be their last?
I want to scream it .. often.. and rip apart my computer screen.
I am not proud of that. Not by a long stretch.
Today wasn’t that though. It was just a palpable ache. For my little girl. Who should have just turned 7 but will forever be 6. And it was unrelenting. No mercy. As Tony was leaving for work he asked about the party and I just looked at him and cried. .. that I didn’t know what to do. He said he would take the kids. .. I didn’t have to go.
I went to the gym. My mind shut off for the workout. But then stretching after my mind barely started to wander towards the party.. and my eyes began to burn. I didn’t even make it to the car before they started to fall. I can’t even put words to it. Just all day whenever I thought of the party I hurt. Deep down. A ache coming from unknown places inside.
Luckily the kids were still at my parents. So I had time and space to do this without their eyes watching me. Without the guilt of adding more onto their already full hearts. Because that was a piece of it too today.. it always is. What about their hurt?
What was I supposed to do? I didn’t want to miss the party and upset our friends that have been so in our corner.. That quite literally took care of us in our darkest hours. Make them look at my kids and know I was home crying alone. But I also didn’t want to go and cry. No matter what I felt screwed. No matter what I felt like I was ruining a special day for them. And I didn’t like myself at all today. So completely unable to see past my own hurts. I do not want to be this person.
…but I couldn’t stop myself.
Tony came home for a few minutes in the middle of the day. ..
did you tell him too jennifer?
And we talked and I just cried. That non stop onslaught of tears that aren’t even worth trying to wipe away. My face still as the tears just poured out.
why why why? why is this so hard? and will it be any better next year or the year after. her friends hitting milestones she never will.
I felt pretty out of control. Because I didn’t understand why. Why I was feeling this sadness so deeply and so strongly. And I couldn’t seem to stop it. But I did. Stop the tears long enough to go lay on the couch with my boys and watch a movie. Close my eyes and escape with a little sleep. Because they needed me today too.
When we got home earlier this afternoon we grabbed the mail. As I was opening it they re-opened a gift one of my friends had brought for us last night. I was flipping through the mail.. not paying attention to him pulling open the paper. Until he said my name. Mom. And then just motioned for me to come to him. At first I just kept saying what is it baby what is it baby..until I realized it didn’t matter what it was just that it was. And that he called to me to comfort him.
But then he told me… .
its just this mom. Its a dragonfly for Jennifer.
yea buddy ..
And see here. Its got all these jewels on it. Jennifer loved jewels mom.
yes you are right. Exactly right. Good observation Jon Boy. What do you think we should do with it?
Then he just leaned into me… and held the dragonfly in his hand. He asked me to take a picture of him with it. A few actually. It was a beautiful and tender moment. And a surprising one too. I had no idea that it would impact him like that.
Tony came home a little while after my time with my boys on the snuggle couch to take them to the party. But I knew she wanted me to go. I really almost never feel that way. That Im letting her down by any of my choices. When people say she wouldn’t want to see you sad like this.. somehow I know she is ok with it. She gets it and understands. But this was different. This she wanted from me.
So I went. Jonathan went right in and started running with friends. That was a relief. He is ok. But then a little while later Tony caught my eye. Carrying Jonathan with his face buried in his Daddy’s shoulder. I knew it was a hurt feelings thing.. I just didn’t know what. Tony told me later. It all of sudden hit him. Jennifer wasn’t here. She loved this place. Sometimes I worry that people think I put this on him. Or bring it out of him. Times like today though.. they remind me I don’t. Its there. I just happen to be close enough to catch it most of the time.
My friend and I did cry when we saw each other. And I had to fight the urge in that moment from hating myself for it. Because even then. I knew she wanted me there. Towards the end I finally knew why.
The birthday girl saw me and her face light up. She hugged me. And then smiled a pure smile one more time. And I knew why..
oh. ok sissy. thank you.
Later snuggling in bed Jonathan told me about the party for him.. that he didn’t realize the whole car ride there. But then he did. That he just remembered Jennifer loved playing in that one area. And he told me he didn’t cry.. well not really .. but he looked at Daddy. And Daddy looked at him and then they went to talk together. I told him about how the mommy cried with me. And I made him tell me why. And I made him think about why the birthday girl asked for everybody to have a dance at the end to the song Brave. Because they miss Jennifer too. I told him how another one of Jennifer’s friends came up to me and asked for a necklace with Jennifer’s picture just like mine. We named all the people at that party that I saw remembering Jennifer. And he smiled at me. That same pure genuine smile.
oh. ok sissy. thank you.
And then he told me a story about a rainbow named Jennifer.
…until there is a cure…