Kindergarten. Seriously? Already. Again. I don’t know if I can do this. I still feel locked in the time of her in kindergarten and him in preschool. . I don’t want that altered reality I seem to be able to live in destroyed.
Yesterday we had to go to her school.. I probably should start saying his school.. their school. But thats not what my heart screams when I think about it. I assumed it would be a little difficult… I took a different route there.. but I still knew where I was going…. and the blood rushed.. my ears felt like wanted to simultaneously explode and collapse in. I stopped the car.. purely to attempt to catch my breath, I did. We arrived and parked. Jonathan insisting this isn’t it. This isn’t the right school.. he kept saying it over and over again. No mom .. no this the school.
I know that feeling.. of how you remember something in your mind from when you are a child.. then you return as a adult and it seems so different… but he is just 5. I cannot believe he is old enough to have experienced that yet.. A place so valuable in his memory .. that it refuses to see it adjusted to his new height and perspective.
We loved this place.
She loved this place.
Nicholas jumped out. But Jonathan wouldn’t get out of the car. He started crying. Didn’t want to get out… but also didn’t not want to. he just stood feet planted in our blue mini vans opened door. I just hugged him. Promised him this was it and that maybe he would recognize more as we walked on campus. I explained all the things that would happen in our lives before he actually started coming here..
He held onto me to get out of the car.. then needed to be brave.. be by himself and just walk beside me.
I showed him a student walking by in the same bright blue shirt his sister wore 5 days a week for such a short time. He remembered it… just looked up at me.. Full of questions I know he can’t figure out yet how to ask. I told him I still had her shirts. That since boys and girls all wear the same ones that he could wear hers.. or I could buy him all new ones.. but before I even got the latter option fully out of my mouth he skipped a bit and said Jennifer’s. Firm. Strong.
.. you got it buddy.. Ready? And we all walked on campus.. my 3 living and one still growing babies.. with Jennifer so present..
I felt lost.. confused a bit at first. Luckily somebody from the office came out to help direct me. I got the packet and was transported back… to filling it out for her. I somehow remembered what would be on the next page before I even flipped it over.. That shocked me… kinda.. I guess it makes sense I was so upset about her starting real school. . Jonathan was just soaking it all in. A teacher came by.. wanted to give him a 5 five but he was just locked inside himself .. Normally he has to say no thank you when a gesture like this if offered that he doesn’t want.. but this time he was given a full pass. I understood how he was using all his resources to try to translate all that he was seeing and feeling.
He whispered the whole time we were in the office initially he wanted to stay more in the lobby area as I walked in to have a seat.. But then he came to me and when his younger siblings went to a back table to draw he stuck right next to me.
We finished. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. My head was swimming.. I felt intoxicated with the strength of everything I was feeling. . .
..you. it was you i felt wasn’t it sissy?
She loved it there. She really did love that school. That makes me cry.. I don’t even understand why, but it does.
I think she still goes there.. still watches over all those kids.. I don’t think I expected that. To have that feeling that she still does love this school.. that we do in fact belong there. That yet another gift she has given her 4 younger siblings is their place on that campus .. she won the lottery to get them all in… and now she won’t be there.. not the way we want her to be. ..
… it just makes me sad. . but I know she would sacrifice anything for them.
When we got out of the office I asked if they wanted to go see her bench. School was already out and the campus was mostly clear of students. .. Jonathan said no.. and then so did Nicholas and I gladly started to walk out. But Jonathan stopped insisted we ask Charlotte who mimicked her brothers with a no.. Then Jonathan started again asking Nicholas. I told him he had already answered no.. but this time Nicholas said yes.. I took a deep breath.. to think about what to to do. I told them no. .. this was Jonathan’s choice today. But Jonathan took my hand and said quietly no mommy Nicholas can choose.
I got that too.. the want for something .. but the fear to actually ask for it… .
Tonight before bed Jonathan asked me a lot of questions about starting school and his birthday. .. Tonight he seemed to be connecting that he would start kindergarten and then have his 6th birthday soon after. So eerily similar to Jennifer. I know it is for me, but I am not completely sure it is for him.. I debated talking with him more about it.. but tonight I just let it absorb. . I know it will bubble up again and then maybe we can confront the scariness of that truth for a bereaved little brother. .. in his time.
We walked towards the playground and I saw it. .. right at the edge of the playground .. facing it. .. And I felt a rush of her pride surge through me. I think she wanted me to see it. That she was there… that she would be there watching out for her brother.. her bubbas … her baby charlotte and this new baby that she brought to us. ..
It was then the tears fell. 4 kids on the playground.. playing tag and her bench was base.. Even in death.. even just a memorial to her carved out of wood seemed to draw kids..
.. the tears fell then. Steady but silent. The anxiety I had been feeling completely gone.. in its place just sadness.. Just a emptiness, a longing for my missing daughter.
I can’t believe she is gone. That a fucking wooden bench is it.
Somehow though in that snapshot of time there was something more.. like she wanted to show me.. hold my hand proudly to make me understand so much that I never ever will in this lifetime.
But now.. right now..I am swallowed whole. Kneeling in her room.. begging her to come to me again. To just come back..
..come to mommy sweetheart. please
just come home.
..until there is a cure..