With Mother's Day looming tomorrow, I've been trying to keep myself occupied so that I didn't have to feel that empty longing in my heart for Calvin. I've tried to ignore the little nagging thoughts in my head that were telling me to go to his grave and remember him. Not that I don't remember him, I think about him every single day but the thoughts in my head were telling me I needed to focus, to think about my son, to make time for him and only him in my day today. As awful as this may sound, I don't think I went to the cemetery last year. Calvin's marker hadn't been installed yet and I don't think I could bear the thought of going to my child's grave on a day that celebrated motherhood. I'm pretty sure it ate me up inside...it always does when I think I should be going to see him and then I avoid it because I feel like a spectacle crying at his grave. Today Shane and I went together, just the two of us in the cold evening air to stand by our son's resting place. I felt uncomfortable. I felt it because I wanted to cry but didn't want to bring Shane down, because I didn't want to spoil our evening out by crying just before we went home. But my heart hurts. Not that all consuming hurt from a year ago, but kind of a hollow echo in my soul, an emptiness that I'm always aware of but learning to live with. Calvin has become a fleeting moment in my day instead of the centre of it, the focus of how I'm feeling and I feel guilty I suppose. Guilty that my life carries on without him. Guilty that I don't weep all the time anymore for him, guilty that some days I push thoughts of him away because I don't want to feel the pain. Part of me feels that a "good" mother would visit her son's grave every day, make sure there are fresh flowers and little decorations to tell the world how much he was loved. Part of me feels I should have an area in my house, a shrine, dedicated to his memory, a reminder of the pain and emptiness we live with. Part of me feels guilty for wanting to live again, to feel happy and experience joy. There is great guilt in healing.
I know that I have come to a fork in the road, a path that branches off in a new direction. I could easily continue along this path of darkness that I have walked for the last eighteen months but some spark inside me is fighting to stay alive. I no longer need to be medicated. I have conquered my addiction to painkillers and am finally drug free after months of weaning slowly off the pills. I have fought my way through withdrawl, through insomnia and the feeling of having the creepy crawlies all the time. I have managed to beat back the blanket of numb that has cloaked me since my son died and I am learning to live with the awareness that Calvin is missing from our lives. I am pursuing happiness again, actively making conscious decisions about where I want to go from here. I don't want to live under this dark cloud anymore. I don't want to spend my days inside, drugged out of my mind and letting life pass me by. I'm craving social interaction again, days out with friends, doing things with my girls, making memories with them instead of being focused on my six days with Calvin. I've come to realize that this time with my daughters I will never get back. I will never have the chance again to redo the things I should have done with them while I mourned the loss of my baby boy. I can't go back to last summer and take my girls to the beach. Mindful of these things, I stepped outside my comfort zone yesterday and bought a swimsuit even though I detest the extra weight I've put on since detoxing. Reminding myself that it's not about me all the time has become my latest mantra, something I say to myself to stay motivated for the sake of my daughters, to step outside my cocoon of comfort. So why am I so sad? Why is it that I'm feeling guilt over feeling better? Maybe part of me feels like it's a betrayal to Calvin, that denying him to be the focus of my life will make him disappear. Maybe I'm afraid of reaching that point where I feel nothing when I say his name, no sadness, no longing for the sweet baby boy who I will never hold again. Maybe I'm afraid of losing him all over again.
In any case, the dreaded Mother's Day is upon us again and despite my best intentions, I have to face the day without him. I am glad to have had my son, even if he lived only six days, even if Mother's Day fills me with melancholy for the life I wish we had had. Some whisper tells me that somewhere he is proud I loved him enough to let him go. And that it makes no difference that I am learning to live again. Somewhere I imagine he smiles....
I love you Calvin.
Maybe This Year Will Be Better Than the Last*
3 weeks ago