While the rest of the world is watching as our nation inaugurates Barack Obama as our new President, I sit here sad and lonely as I mark the one month anniversary of Alexander’s passing. The past few days have been really tough for me. I go through the motions of life but I feel like I stopped living the moment I walked into the hospital on December 20, 2008, and saw Dan’s face. It was at that moment I realized my baby was gone.
I know the pain will ease in time and I’ll learn to live with it. I just can’t believe he’s not here with me watching the inauguration of the man he helped elect. Last November, when we went to vote in the election, Alexander went into the booth with me. I was holding him and trying to balance him while I was reading the ballot questions. Before I knew it, Alexander had reached down and pushed the button for Obama. Alexander loved pushing buttons and didn’t realize the importance of what he was doing and I just smiled.
Dan is back at work today.
Neither of us is having a good day.
I had another dream about Alexander this morning. He and Dan has been outside playing before coming inside to get ready to go to an event. Alexander looked so sweet climbing the stairs and I just smiled as father and son went upstairs to change clothes. The dream felt so real that I almost called out to Dan to remember to change Alexander’s diaper. Then I remembered there was no diaper to change because there was no Alexander.
I miss Alexander so much that sometimes the pain is unbearable. Today was another one of those very weepy days for me.
Dan is planning to start back to work next week and decided to go into the office for a half day today to see how things would go. Since he was going to be gone for most of the day, I had lunch with a couple of friends. After lunch, I went to visit Alexander. We recently bought a silk flower arrangement to put out at the grave which I took with me today. The ground was too hard and I wasn’t able to get the stakes in the ground to secure it so we’ll try again tomorrow when Dan goes with me.
When I got the mail this afternoon, I just bawled. A friend sent photos of Alexander from an event we attended at her house. He looked so happy that day. In the mail were so many reminders of Alexander. I got a credit card from Babies R Us early last year because you got 2 for 1 points every time you shopped at Babies R Us or Toys R Us. I figured I had a lot of time to shop for Alexander over the years and gift certificates always come in handy. Seeing my earned gift certificate in the mail only made me sad and teary especially since it expires just after the 2nd birthday he won’t be here to celebrate. This weepiness is probably a holdover from a couple of days ago when the anesthesiologist’s bill arrived which also made me very upset. I know the doctors did everything they could to try to save Alexander but it’s still hard to see these bills which just serve as further reminders of my loss.
I have made a couple of changes as I try to figure out my new normal. As I receive baby centered catalogs or I can remember catalogs that I’ve received in the past, I’ve contacted them and asked to be removed from their mailing lists. I also called my cleaning service today and asked that our weekly cleaning be switched to a different day because it’s just too much of a reminder of my routine with Alexander. I can’t do anything to erase the pain I feel but hopefully these small changes will help ease the pain just a little.
As I look through Alexander’s website and see all the photos, I realize we’ve been selfish in dealing with our grief. Alexander had a very happy life but it wasn’t just because of Dan and me. There were lots of people who loved him and those same people are also mourning his loss. My usual, normal self is to reach out and help others, and I wish I could this time. I can barely handle my own grief that I just don’t have enough in me to be able to provide comfort to any one other than Dan. Maybe in a few weeks or months, I’ll be in a better place. Until that time, I hope everyone understands and knows that I’m not intentionally keeping them at arm’s length, it’s just too painful to try and process anyone else’s grief at this moment.
I did accomplish a very normal thing yesterday. I managed to get all the laundry folded and put away that I washed. We’ve had two HUGE laundry days in the past few weeks but have never put anything away before it was all dirty and needed to be washed again.
When I woke this morning, I heard a voice in my head say “Stay Strong”. I don’t know if that was stay strong for what I’m facing now or because there are more bad things to come for me/us. Either way, I don’t know if I can be strong.
We had several visitors yesterday. They were all planned so it was ok and we spaced them out enough so that it wasn’t overwhelming. The last visitors brought us dinner and it was nice to just to have a casual dinner with friends. The evening didn’t focus on Alexander and how we’re doing but he was definitely part of the evening as we were able to comfortably weave memories of him in the conversation throughout the evening. I thought I was doing ok yesterday but when the last of our visitors left, I broke down crying. I looked around our house and seeing the pictures of Alexander just reminded me of how much we’ve lost.
I recently received a prayer book. I know some people find comfort in their faith when faced with a tragedy but Dan and I weren’t religious before Alexander’s passing so praying to a God that took away my precious son offers me no comfort now.
I had another dream about Alexander. Dan, Alexander and I were attending a lavish party at someone’s home. There was food everywhere and the house had every luxury one could imagine. We’ve never been to anyplace like this so I’m not sure where we were. I only know we were all happy just being together. Whenever Alexander visits me in my dreams, it always make me feel peaceful (and a little sad when I wake) and I welcome his joyful visits.
I awoke early this morning from another restless, dreamless night. Seeing that it was still before 8am, I decided to stay in bed and try to sleep a little longer. For the first time, in a while, I did have a dream: Dan and I were at the hospital and trying to make plans when I walked over to look at Alexander’s body. I saw it move. Not believing it, I waited a few seconds and saw more movement. I went to get Dan to show him and when I returned, Alexander was sitting up in the bed. He smiled, held up his arms and said Mommy. As I walked over to him, he kissed me and gave me a hug. I know it was only a dream but I felt like my little boy was communicating with me, letting me know he is ok and sending his love to me.
Dan was meeting a friend this afternoon so today was my first time visiting Alexander alone. As I neared the cemetery, the gates loomed larged and I wondered if I’d be able to enter. I did, of course and the visit with Alexander was very emotional. I talked to him about all sorts of things.
I see Alexander every day all through the house and I talk to him in my head.
Yesterday, in addition to our daily pointless pursuit, we had a real errand to run. We visited a couple of memorial stone places to get an idea of what we wanted in a headstone for our family plot. At the first place we visited, a friend was passing by on the street and stopped to say hello to us. The second place seemed to have more to offer or at least had more on display. Who knew there were so many options available when purchasing a headstone. We’re probably not going to do anything for a while but both Dan and I have some details we’d like to see.
One thing we both wanted but the cemetery won’t let us have is a headstone and a small bench. We figure we’re going to be visiting Alexander a long time and it would be nice to have a place to sit. But again, we’re learning about all sorts of rules. Our cemetery only allows you to have a headstone or a bench (but not because) because of the ease of grounds maintenance. They want everything lined up so it’s easier when they have to mow. If they let us have both, then next thing you know everyone will want a bench and a stone making maintenance less neat and tidy.
It’s not the outcome we would have liked but can understand it. So, I guess it’ll be chairs on the road when we go for a long visit with Alexander.