I've gone a little backwards and I've been kind of running off the rails lately.
The other night I drifted off to sleep and about an hour into what might have been a good restful sleep I "suddenly" remembered that Brian was dead. In my sleep I had actually "forgotten" it and for just a split second when I woke up "remembering" I thought I had dreamed it and that it was not really true and then when I realized it was it was like hearing it for the first time all over again. It rattled me so badly until I could not go back to sleep for hours.
How in the hell does that still happen?! How can I live in the midst of this horror with it never leaving my mind day or night and suddenly have it hit me like it is all new and I am hearing it for the first time??? How? I mean it was absolutely just like it was brand new - almost 14 months later. I don't understand that. I really don't. But it is unnerving.
And I have been a mess ever since.
And this entire week - I have done little else but hide and sob. I have been thinking about all of them but most especially missing Paxton again. I have just been remembering him and all that he was; how sweet he was; how much he loved really simple things - like his little hot wheels cars. How he didn't really care all that much about lots of toys or complicated toys with batteries or remote controls or things that made noise or had motion like most kids. He was a very simple child. He had every toy known to man but what he loved was his plain simple little cars that he pushed around himself. He even played with them in the bathtub. He had robotic cars that made engine noises, honked their horns, had flashing lights and ran by themselves, But in a minute he would sidestep those and opt for his hot wheels. He had racetracks, computerized games and toys, books, movies, tents, telephones, a motorized tractor, a swing set, a trampoline, musical instruments, a bicycle, a motorized car that he could drive himself - literally everything a child could dream of. But what he loved were his cars. He watched cartoons but only loved the ones that had lots of songs. He loved music and different sounds and he paid attention to voices, accents, inflections and tones and used them even when he didn't have words. He loved all animals and had absolutely no fear when it came to animals. He would have walked up to a grizzly bear with his hands outstretched. He loved to dance and sing and he understood things that were so far above what he should have known. Brian brought him over fishing for the first time just weeks before they died and he thought Paxton was going to be so excited to catch his first fish. Brian cast out and got a bite and handed the rod and reel to Paxton and helped him reel the fish in. Paxton saw the fish struggling on the line and he knew he absolutely knew that it was hurting the fish and he started screaming: NO!NO!NO!NO! and turned away refusing to look.
A couple of years ago there was a huge community yard sale and a lady there must have had a half acre of toys for sale. Brian and Kara came and brought Paxton and Brian set him down right in the middle of all those toys and told him to get whatever he wanted. There must have been over 300 toys there and he picked up two little cars and a school bus and went back to his daddy for him to pick him up. He was ready to go. Out of 300 toys - two tiny cars and small school bus was all he wanted! He was always just satisfied with the smallest simplest things and happy with whatever he had.
I have typically had very little patience with children and have not wanted to babysit anyone's children in years. Raised mine and half-raised a few of other people's and I was kind of over it. But it was definitely different with him. Although he wore me out I wanted as much time with him as I could get. Sometimes I was glad to see him go home simply because my body could not keep up with his energy level and I was exhausted but I wanted him with me - always. I never turned down time with him no matter what until my sister got sick. I had a love for him that even I did not understand. I could not hardly go two weeks without seeing him or I was in withdrawals.
I have never been so broken over anything in my entire life as I am over the loss of that little boy. Broken. The joy has gone out of my life. I miss him so bad every single day until I could scream and cry all day every day. I don't give in to it because I am desperately afraid I will go past the point of no return. I don't. But I so could. I stand strong fooling the rest of the world but the truth is I'm a mess.
It is good in a way that I am able to hold up and function – but in another way it is not so good because I am laughing when I want to cry and going to my job, cooking and doing laundry when I really just want to go to close all the blinds, stay in my pajamas, never comb my hair and pull the covers up over my head.
Sometimes I am proud that I am able to keep going and other times it feels like it is choking me to death and I want desperately to just actually do what I really want to do and stop pretending that I’m okay. I want to give in to it and just scream to the top of my lungs. “I want my children back- NOW! I can’t do this anymore!”
And I suppose that I am a pretty strong person – or I used to be. But what most people may not realize is that what makes one strong is a long history of surviving many difficult circumstances. And though it’s true you are made stronger or at least you are able to appear stronger – the down side is that there is also a “cumulative effect” from all of that hardship. And inside you live in fear that at some point there is going to come a time when your mind and your body just say: “No more.”
What very few understand about that appearance of “doing well” is that though I may not react like a lot of people might that does not mean that I don’t feel the same things. They just stay quietly inside like a cancer that hasn’t been diagnosed yet. No visible trauma on the outside but all the while it is silently, methodically destroying me from the inside out. All of the sadness and devastation that anyone else would feel – is still there and I absolutely feel every ounce of it. Most days I literally feel like I'm choking as I stifle the urge to cry and scream because I will never see my son, my daughter in law or my baby again.
Brian was always such a delight to me. If you have children then you know they are all different. He was the only child that I had that would come to me and openly talk about whatever was on his heart. When he was a preteen, he would come to me at night and ask me if we could talk and we would sit up way past our bedtimes while he poured out his heart to me. He used to talk to me openly sometimes in tears about his puppy-love heartbreaks. We talked about God and spiritual things and he shared with me his dreams and aspirations and he often confided to me his deepest fears in life. Nothing went on in his life that I did not know about because we talked. As a child and even a teen, he was mindful, respectful and kind. As a general rule, he went where he said he was going and came home when I told him to be home. He was kind and loving and conscientious. Then at seventeen he made some really bad choices that affected the rest of his entire life. And I watched as life beat him down and changed him from the happy, carefree and funny child he had always been to a nervous, worried, anxious young adult in a bad marriage that destroyed his trust and ruined his life for the next 18 years until Kara came along.
Kara – I am also so brokenhearted over her and so terribly sad for her family. she adored both her mom and dad. And I used to envy the type of close relationship she and her mom shared - more like best friends than parent and adult child. And she loved life so much! She was beautiful, young, talented and energetic. She had a beautiful voice and loved to sing Karaoke and used to dream of singing professionally. And she worshipped that baby and he was the light of her life. I have seldom ever seen anyone that enjoyed being a mother more than she did. She treasured every moment with him. She thought everything he ever did was adorable and she carefully observed and recorded almost every move he made. And she loved my son. What more could you ask for? Though she was younger than he was by eleven years, she thought he hung the moon. She was the wife I always hoped and prayed he would someday find. She was the one that I hoped would make up for all of the hurt and disillusionment that he had with his first marriage. She was proud of him and she thought he was way more brilliant than he actually was! I used to laugh at the fact that she absolutely thought he could do anything. If he’d told her he was planning to build a rocket to the moon and was going to start a shuttle service on weekends – she would have called me breathless with excitement at what he was going to do and ask me if I realized that he was going to be famous some day! I believe she loved him with all her heart and even though she was young and talented and absolutely beautiful – on her wedding day she confided in me that she never thought she would ever get married and still could not believe that he actually wanted to marry her…
And that baby – number ten counting my step-daughter’s two sons –was the absolute light of my life. I was so young when most of the others came along and I had not really gotten over the trauma of three teenagers yet. So I could never fully enjoy them like I should have which makes me very sad. So when Brian told me they were expecting a baby – I admit I was less than thrilled. I had five grandchildren before I was forty and all were born to very young parents. I loved them. Oh my, how I loved them but I worried. Non-stop. So much so that it stole much of the joy out of having them. I worried about what, up to that point, irresponsible kids would do with a baby. I worried how they would take care of them. I worried how on earth they would afford milk and diapers and clothes and medicine and the bazillion other things that a baby needs. I worried how on earth I could help them when I was at my financial breaking point and they just kept coming. I had done nothing but worry about them and I was just about “babied out” by this time and the last thing on earth I expected was for a baby to come along and wedge his way into my heart like he did. As a matter of fact a few years back when I was without a cat and begging my husband to let me get another one I laughed one day and asked him “Well what would you rather have a cat, or a puppy or a baby?” thinking of course, that I had him on that one. His answer that stopped me dead in my tracks was --a baby! I almost fell out of my seat. “And why on earth would you say that?” I asked baffled. And his smart answer? “Because I figured that would be the one thing you absolutely would not want!” I just cracked up. He had me. So no, I did not expect for him to melt my heart like he did.
When I think of him --I want to sit in the middle of the floor with a lap full of hot wheels cars and a pacifier and sob till my heart bursts. I want to scream and rage at the unfairness of it all and the waste of such beautiful lives. In some ways I want to be okay again and in other ways I don’t want to live another day because so much of the joy has gone out of my life. I cannot imagine that I will never see him run or play or hear him laugh or sing again. Though I had managed to live fifty eight years without knowing him and only had him for such a short time, he made such an impact on my life until I cannot imagine now having to live another day without him. The sadness and devastation is at times, almost too much to bear. Most of the time, I just feel like I am dead inside. I’m functioning but I don’t know how or why. So I may look like I’m doing quite well on the surface and I’m glad that I do – but the honest truth is I know I will never even be okay again.