I just logged on for the first time in month to write to you. And the last time I wrote was December 7th, the day before you died. It sort of embarrasses me that this is what my letter writing has become – twice a year, on two of the hardest days. There was so much that happened along the way that I wanted to write but I got stuck. Me being stuck seems to be a recurrent theme over the last five and a half years. Stuck in this world between moving on and enjoying life and this world of suck. But that sounds more depressing than I want it to. Because it really isn’t a total world of suck – it’s just that a loss as catastrophic as the one that happened when you died is just something you don’t recover from. No matter how good I am at faking it.
But this brings me back to us – you and me. I really struggled this past December. At first I thought it was the 5 year anniversary thing but then I noticed that it never got better. Typically once we get back from Montreal and we get around to the holidays I find myself in the upswing. I never really found the upswing in 2016. Part of it has to do with Ethan and his concussion. I’ll tell you about that some later. But most of it has to do (I think) with you turning 10. It’s just gotten under my skin and in the darkest spots of my mind and not left me alone. Not only can I not picture you as 10, I am still surrounded by you at 4. All the photos are stuck at 4. Your clothes which still hang in Ethan’s closet and in the drawers of the play room. They are all 4. And 10 is so very different. It’s incomprehensible to me. And that is why I have been stuck. Stuck in anticipation.
So many opportunities have lent themselves to me writing to you but I just couldn’t do it until now. I thought I would write when Ethan got hurt. I thought you would understand the fear and the pit in my stomach when I rushed to him and he looked at me and had no idea who I was, when he had no idea what the word “momma” even meant. Or when I was sitting in the MRI room with him and he was in the machine. And when I knew that I would never be strong enough to live through this again. That if anything happened to Ethan my ability to go on would cease to exist. And the fear that comes with that and the ongoing balance I struggle to find in my own head.
And then I thought I would write when I was out with Christianne and about the bartender we had. He was an artist and showed us his work and talked a lot. When he was talking about his art he mentioned that he was trying to live up to his name. His name was Jake. I told him it was a pretty great name and a lot to live up to. And it made me remember when Daddy and I picked the name for you. We wanted a name to be strong and stand alone. Jake was our pick – not Jacob but Jake. And if you were a girl it would have been Jade. Anyways, the whole moment was pretty special and when I went to the bathroom, your Jack Johnson song was on. I didn’t cry but came close. It did make me feel like you were there though. And that things were going to be okay.
And I guess lately what I have realized is what I always used to tell you in the morning after bad nights. Nights of seizures and no sleep for you and nights of fear for me. I would always say that things were better in the light of day. And usually they were. It was the anticipation of what was next in your night and the anticipation that it might lead to something worse that made them so horrible. But once morning hit, it wasn’t so bad. You and I would have our routine and all would be good.
This birthday of yours is like that. I think the anticipation which started in December had the best of me for a long time this year. But I think that you brought me out of it. I think that hearing our Curious George song is a clear way for me to know you are there. And I think that your boldness in staring me down at the cemetery has made even your cranky and miserable mother believe again. Letting me get so close makes me feel so good and I really do believe it’s you when I see the cardinal which luckily has been frequently.
And what really helped me believe again was yesterday. As I stomped through the aisles of AC Moore pissed off and muttering under my breath like a crazy lady because they re-arranged everything and I couldn’t find the two things I needed for the event prep, out of nowhere came our song. Jack Johnson again. And then I turned down an aisle and everything I needed was there. You are everywhere. And I need it and appreciate it.
And while tomorrow is hard day. It’s really just another day and shouldn’t be any worse than others. I’ll focus on your ridiculously easy birth. And your gentle and amazing manner. And all the good you brought in this world. And I will be grateful that because of you I am a better version of myself.
Happy Birthday my little peanut. Welcome to double digits.