Two days in the books of school for my “not supposed to be the oldest”.. It still doesn’t seem real. Like a fog that he is in kindergarten. Because Jennifer is in kindergarten .. so he can’t possibly be. .. Because if he is.. well then where is she?
I know. I know the answer but apparently the mind and heart can do incredible things to protect themselves.. because some parts of me still seem to be content in denial. Like if I close my eyes and just breathe I can go back. I can pretend its not real.
Every morning I face it again. Every morning I re-remember. .. one is missing.
I thought it was just then.. that fleeting first moment of opening my eyes. .. But I was wrong. It seems it is bigger and integrated into more areas of me than I even knew.
Jonathan seems to be doing fine with all of it. He is wearing Jennifer’s uniform shirts since they are the same for boys and girls and that gives him relief. And our friend that she asked to decorate her bag did his tote bag too.. His request was it be just like Jennifer’s.. exactly. We talked about how that wasn’t possible but she would do her best. He is very happy with it.
The rest for him seems to be normal first year jitters and struggles. But not related to Jennifer.
Nicholas though. He is not feeling the same. The first day he stayed close to me and very quickly asked to go home. We followed the kids to their classroom. Jonathan’s is right near sissy’s bench. So as he was complaining to just leave I asked if he wanted to go to her bench. He did. Very much he did. He looked over all of it. I watched him touching all of it.
I hadn’t cried at all. I was watching all these parents being normal. With tears saying goodbye. Noses pressed up to the window trying to get a peek inside. And I was overcome with a bitter jealousy. That should be me. That would have been me.
But it wasn’t.
He is going to school. He is not dead.
I was a total wreck for over a week when Jennifer started. I cried everyday.. a lot. I missed her. I worried about her and I was struggling to survive just being apart from her for so many hours. She made me a mommy, we weren’t often apart from that day forward. But now this forced daily separation was happening and I was pretty sure I couldn’t handle it. ..
Twisted perversion of her getting cancer. I got her back all day long.. the thing I had been trying to figure out how to make happen.. Only to lose her now for all my days..
Jonathan is gone for hours of the day. I can’t protect him from hurt feelings or being left out. I miss him. But he is not dead.
It seems that has changed the very core of me.
He is not dead. I get to pick him up and pack his lunch. I get to tuck him in and make his breakfast. He is not dead and pretty much anything short of that seems pretty damn nice.
I wish Nicholas could feel that way too. I think he blames the school for his sister dying. Today we stood at the back of the morning assembly and he was obsessively and nervously walking around to get to a place he could see his big brother. And when the kids started walking and he lost sight of him he ran to me concerned that he couldn’t see Jonathan.
They sang the school song today too.. He told me he hates that song.
I just hope once he sees how Jonathan does ok at school. That he is safe. Whole. Alive. That he finds comfort and peace in that. That he can release some of the hatred and blame he places on the school.
When I walked over to her bench to grab Nicholas I couldn’t help it. The tears immediately started to fall. Because she IS dead. She is gone. No more wake ups for her. No more fights over doing her hair or reading bedtime stories. No watching her run off at school towards friends and away from me..
Just a bench. That’s it. That’s her school presence now. A few pieces of wood pieced together with her name carved into it. There is a never was a second grader missing. From my life every moment of every day. And from this school.
Do any of these kids know? Do they remember her? Do they walk past her bench and remember her brown eyes and long hair? The great friend she was? …
Please don’t forget her. Please let her name be spoken. Not just to me and my kids but to others too.. Please remind your child.. have them remind the other kids. One second grader is missing. Remind other parents.
Maybe I feel more like Nicholas than I realized.
please. please. please.
Let her be more than a bench on that campus. please. please. please.
oh buggers. .
i don’t know how this happened
how we got here
..until there is a cure.