Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Grief, changes

Heading towards the first anniversary, I said we were not the cake and candles type of people. Yeah, go ahead, cue the laugh track. Last year Monkey changed her mind from previously conceived cupcakes to brownies sort of last minut-ish. Specifically so that we wouldn't have to make frosting. This year she insisted on frosting, to write his name with, and the date. And candles. (We didn't buy these candles for the occasion-- they were left from one of Monkey's birthdays. And yet, here it is-- happy birthday on A's cake. Um, actually, Monkey's reaction merits a longer description. I'll be back with that, later in the week.)

The weekend was ok, mostly. I spent some of my alone time with the Cub on Saturday morning asking him who I love the most in the world, and answering with all three of their names. Sometimes just the firsts, but more times the whole nine years-- first, middle, patronimic, last. Rinse, repeat. I think it was the convergence towards the end of the long form names, but the Cub found that hilarious. He laughed and looked at me expectantly. And I did it again, and again. That felt nice. And yet sad. Like maybe I was sneaking this in, being a little furtive.

Brownies came out well. Despite the projected great freeze, the weather was tolerable at the cemetery. I found nice flowers at the store (though as I was standing there considering whether to supplement with a bunch of small off white roses, eventually deciding in favor, a woman doing her own flower shopping proclaimed from behind "yellow and blue-- looks like spring"; apparently she wanted to register her approval of my choices, but sheesh lady, you have no idea; and besides, there was green too, and I thought they looked manly, so there). And did I mention the brownies were yummy?

So yes, the weekend was ok. Until a somewhat profound realization and the attendant complete breakdown Sunday night (actually, the clock said it was Monday by then), the kind that leaves you weak-limbed and exhausted at the end. I realized that besides the familiar missing, which, though bone-deep and abiding, I could almost call civilized, there is a whole other, much more ruthless and savage, side of grief lurking in me. I still want him. And ain't that a bitch, what with him being dead and all.

I am just now coming to, I think. I had grand plans for yesterday, and a list to go with. But in the morning I found myself still wrung out and exhausted, mentally and physically, and not much got done. Instead, I spent the whole day regaining my footing, partially by slowly, slowly, a drop, a word at a time writing about it at Glow. Visit me there too, if you will.

There is a common theme here, see? Surprises. Unexpected things that pop up, still, three years on. And yes, you can totally say that "DUH!" you've been holding in now. I know, I know-- grief is simultaneously about constancy and change. This is why it can get us, years on-- it finds new ways to say the same old thing. I guess I was just due for a refresher.


Beruriah said...

Love you, Monkey, Cub, JD, and A. Wish I could have had one of those brownies. They made my normally anti-chocolate taste buds water. It's not a happy birthday, for certain, but it's good we remember. It's a part of life.

Your name thing with Cub reminds me of something I do, that sometimes comforts me, sometimes makes me feel awkward, and sometimes makes me sad.

I sing Baby Man a little song often when I'm putting him to bed, before the shma, that I made up, and ends with a line, "you're one of the ones I love the most." I don't mean too really, but almost always in my head that's followed up with "but you're the one who's not a ghost."

Anonymous said...

Not a happy birthday, but a day of birth that should have been so, so happy. Three was hard, so hard. Not a baby anymore, a child, a should-have been child. Four was easier. Wondering what five has in store.

Magpie said...

Grief is a strange animal. Thinking of you.

Miryam (mama o' the matrices) said...

popping up to wave, and admit that I'm reading along, with not very much to say. But we're thinking of you.

I know the fierce, brutal grief from those days when I grieve for the children that mine aren't, or that I hoped they'd be. Leaves me limp, after - and it must be only a faint echo of what you feel.

sitting here with you. Listening.

janis said...

Remembering with you, nodding, sighing, and thinking what else I could do but wait till I die and see what's next.
I've never had brownies with frosting, incredible?
Thinking of you. xo

Tash said...

Yup. Surprising. Perhaps that is theme for three years? Expecting, and yet not expecting what is actually felt?

And JEEBUS what is with the freaky flower people?! I announced at Christmas that I didn't want lilies in my Christmas arrangement because I hate them (they remind me of death), and the whole store seemed to go quiet.

Remembering, Abiding, and of course raising a brownie in his big, long, wonderful name. Thinking of you all.

loribeth said...

(((hugs))) Grief pops up to surprise me at the most unexpected times & places.

The brownies look fabulous!!

Virginia said...

Ah, grief. It comes, it goes, it rears its ugly head and then runs away......if only we could track it in some linear fashion. But that's now how it works. It just is...whatever it is. Even, for me, after 6 years. (Six! How can it be?)

Ya Chun said...

wow, three years. big hugs to you.

Two years is coming up this weekend for us. I am trying to ignore it until it gets here, but it is pressing and pressing on me.

And I plan on avoiding an 'HB" candles. Not much happy about it.

And I love that Monkey and Cub are so 'into' their bro. You've done good.

niobe said...

I meant to say it over there, but I'll say it here instead: your post at Glow was all kinds of gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

For some reason this year I was hit hard on the 7th anniversary due date. Maybe this year I had more space to breathe and grief found the opening. I was hit by the intense animal ANGER grief, first time for that. Probably not the last surprise.

You have such a good feel for the words to describe it. I wish you didn't need to, I hope your February is easier.

kate said...

I am sorry i missed saying Happy Birthday to A. So here it is, a few days late. Thinking of you and sending (((((hugs))))))

Brownies look very yummy!