I’m going to start this post with a poem I found today. This is number 15 of 15 of a group of poems called “Old Growth Forest” that Chris seems to have written almost exactly one year ago. Sometimes I feel like I got extra time with him and I am thankful for each and every day. If there is someone you are missing or need to make up with, or at least make a first move, might I encourage you to do so. Anyway, here is the poem:
Day one. I died today
and woke up in a forest.
I can tell that it is old
an age which cannot be measured in years,
evidenced by the thickness of the tree trunks
and by the depth of the green leaves.
I don’t remember how I died
it happened so quickly
I felt no pain. When I woke up
the memory faded faster than
a dream before the morning sun.
I feel more alive than ever
reborn through death,
as I lay on my back
in this old growth forest
I put my hands on my chest
feeling the rhythm as my heart beats,
my lungs expanding with new breath.
Everything is different here,
the sights, the sounds,
love and fear,
I am ready to start my journey
through the green that surrounds.
If you know me well, you will not be surprised that I am writing about Mother’s Day a few days late. I’m pretty much late for everything. Chris, on the other had, was pretty much early or on time for everything…except when I was picking him up.
Over the years, Chris, Austin and I had developed routines where we would call or text on holidays or special days, but we would often get together on another day. We loved each other every single day and holidays often seem so stressed and manufactured, so we were fine being together other days.
Even birthdays. When Chris and Austin were little, they received so many gifts I actually mostly stopped buying them stuff. Same with them. We would try to buy gifts we thought were meaningful rather than just to give something, and often we wouldn’t give a gift at all. Just dinner or something. Mother’s Day just was always so busy and expensive so the boys would wish me a Happy Mother’s Day and we would get together another day, so I thought maybe Mother’s Day wouldn’t be so hard this year.
Well, I was wrong about that. My friends took me for breakfast. They ate a ton. I ate toast. I swung down to Hidden Falls for a little while then tried to take a nap. I kept seeing all of the Mother’s Day posts and people sent me nice messages. Austin went to Tapestry with me, and it was nice to be with our community.
And then I got home. And I cried and cried.
And then Monday came around and I can’t even remember much of the day, to be honest. And Tuesday. And now it’s Wednesday. And I’ve been doing the things I need to do. Calling Social Security and the bank to let them know Chris died. Starting to pack Chris’s things.
I haven’t yet really been able to listen to music or wear jewelry. I’m not really sure why that is. I can’t look at pictures of Chris too much. That just breaks my heart.
I have so many random thoughts swirling through my head today.
Thinking about how incredibly happy we were as a family…Chris, Austin and I. It’s like we had all found our place and we were enjoying life so much. And to go from that joy to this incredible sorrow. It’s disorienting.
Here’s our trip to Chicago last summer with Tati, my foreign exchange daughter from Brazil…
And time as a family with Chris and Austin’s dad, Tom. The boys even brought Tom to Tapestry on Easter. They all had a great time. I served communion to Tom. We all enjoyed the food. Chris was radiant that day. His smile and his love were so huge. Here is Tom with the boys at Austin’s high school graduation in 2015 and Chris and Austin’s birthday lunch at Perkin’s about two months ago so it would be easier to bring both dad and grandma.
And we had the opportunity to travel to a lot of places together…road trips to Ohio, WI Dells, Yellowstone, college tours. We traveled together to Mexico, Guatemala, on a cruise with Grandma Faye two summers ago to Canada.
We were so in love with life and with each other and we were so happy. And Chris and Austin had grown into a beautiful relationship as brothers. Sure, they argued from time to time. Chris was just like that. And he drove Austin nuts sometimes. And he encouraged Austin to have fun and get out and bike more and explore. And they loved each other very much.
March 7th, I think it is, it International Day of the Woman. Chris sent me this text that day:
“Thanks for being you, happy womens day. Another one of those days that should really be everyday, or at least a whole month.”
And I’ll end with a poem from Chris’s poetry book that he dedicated to me. At first this book was going to be titled, “Open This Book to a Random Page.” It was dedicated to me from the beginning. Then he renamed it. But today I opened this book to a random page and this is the poem I found: