Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Lie to me!

This morning, I had to go back for my normal 6-month dental checkup.  I walked in, plopped gracelessly into the exam chair, and said, "If I have any cavities, please just lie to me today and tell me that I don't.  I'm kind of done for this year."  The technician laughed, then reviewed my chart and said, "We did two fillings last time!"  She read some more.  "It's been a year since your x-rays, but since you had cancer this year..."

"Yeah, let's skip that, please.  Seriously. LIE to me.  I don't want to know."

My teeth were fine.  Or maybe they weren't.  I'm honestly unsure if she took my request to heart or if my daily ministrations were adequate enough to stave the inevitable decay of my teeth.

I have a cold.  I started getting it on Thursday night. I realized, as I struggled to fall asleep last night, that I haven't had a cold since Connor had his last cold.  I don't think I am entertaining any irrational ideas, like this could kill me too, but maybe I am in the deepest of my subconsciousness.  It's just another reminder in a world crowded with reminders.

Halloween is upon us, and that was always hard - finding a costume that would work for him and not make him uncomfortable; going to the block party where inevitably, there were people who didn't know us and I felt like he was on display; one of us keeping him home so that the other could take the other munchkins trick-or-treating.

The boys and I went to the pumpkin patch with Lee's parents this year, and they selected a white pumpkin for Connor, because "...he's a ghost now..."  Okay, boys.  We carved them yesterday, and then Tucker "got sad" at the reminder.  We put their pumpkins together which made him feel better.  He spoke again yesterday about wanting to be dead so he could be with his brother.  He's also started being very sad to the point of tears every time he has to say good-bye to a pet.  Mind you, these are not our pets - they are family or friend pets, and all that is happening is that they are going home, or we are going home.  But it occurred to me that these dogs are snuggle friends for Tucker, and he frequently snuggled Connor.  I hate seeing him cry each time he and whatever dog he's attached himself to are separated.

On the flip side, Drew doesn't mention anything at all.  He also handles separation from animals with aplomb.  Being 8 seems to suit him.  He runs around in Connor's old winter pajamas, which fit him well, but it's painful to see those again.  The last things he wore were pajamas.  I should have just gotten rid of them all.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Why I Love People

Lately I've been feeling like I've become a little inarticulate, and a little like a caricature.  Like I was saying too much of the same thing over and over and it was losing it's efficacy.

Then, today, when news broke about something people would know I would want to know about (yes, the Black Cat Foo Fighters show) I started getting inundated with messages.  Emails.  Texts.  Voicemails.  Calls.  Facebook posts.  Facebook messages.

People sent me something to make sure I didn't miss out.  But the thing is, while I can't go, I am NOT missing out. I am filled with gratitude for all these people who made sure I knew.  You're awesome Francesca, Scott, Rob, Jen, Steve, Kristan.

And so are the rest of you.

But I'll say one thing.  UVA had DAMN WELL better beat UNC at football this weekend.  Seriously.

Update - our line buddy from the National, Gary, just texted me to make sure I knew, too. I love people.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Videos...old and new

So this weekend was FIVE DAYS LONG, but we survived it and are headed into the regular week mostly unscathed.  I planned to watch a movie from our large DVD collection each night that Lee was gone, but I never managed to get to it tonight.  I ended up watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on some premium channel while I folded what felt like 18 loads of laundry.  Harry Potter is like the Foo Fighters of books for me.  I adore them, they make me feel many things, and I desperately wish that I could share them more with my kids.  But Goblet of Fire is where we've drawn the lines as parents.  The death of Cedric Diggory, a peripheral character whose demise signaled the final step into the dark for the series, is not one I am prepared to face with the boys yet.  I have told them that when they have read the book, they can watch the movie.  Drew is close, but keeps getting sidetracked by all the other books that pass his eye.

I can tell you that the sounds made by Cedric Diggory's father are exactly right near the end of that film.  It's never failed to bring me to tears.

While I was doing this, I recorded a video and posted it to youtube.  It's a fundraising participation for SavingEliza.com, where you sing 2 lines of a sing and donate and challenge others to do so.  The donation goes to a clinical trial for those afflicted with Sanfilippo Syndrome Type A.  The trial needs to be fully funded, so Eliza's family has been fundraising like mad for months.  They've been featured on the Today Show, virally online - they're everywhere.  They're close, too.  Eliza's father and I went to high school together, and it's been hard for me to follow this year what with my own troubles, but you just can't hide in your cave forever.  So I made the video and sang Tucker's favorite song, "Beautiful Boy" by John Lennon.  I sang "Before you cross the street, take my hand.  Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." which is spectacularly true.  I hope you can help out.  Somehow, Connor managed to inspire people to donate over $10,000 to the Arc of Northern Virginia.  I hope I can inspire half that much, though my expectations are not grandiose.

In any case, I just went to see how many views my video had.  (Spoiler alert, as of now, we're standing tall at....NO VIEWS), and there they were.  Old videos of Connor playing with toys, standing up at school, and working in a gait trainer.  His eyes fully focused, even happy at times.  God, I just miss so much of him.  One if my many laments is that I lost my baby with my eyes.  All my children are adorable - but Connor was the most like my physically.  He had the loveliest shade of gray and green mixed together, and naturally, the most luscious eyelashes.  Boys.  Why do they get the lashes?  More to the point, if they don't care so much about lashes (the way that girls do) WHY DO WE BOTHER?  But I digress.

Tomorrow is another appointment with a less-regularly seen physician.  I'll have to tell him about Connor, and about having cancer for a few weeks.  And discuss mammograms.

Tomorrow's going to ROCK.  I think I'll plan ahead and watch "Not Another Teen Movie" tomorrow night.  I'll need the vapidness and the laughs from that old video.  Company is welcome.



Wednesday, October 01, 2014

8 Months

Today, the calendar tells me it's been 8 months.  It's such a strange feeling: sometimes it feels as though it just happened, and the shock washes back over me like that one rogue wave the comes up high on the sand where you built the castle, thinking it would last much longer that was, but gets wiped out by chance.  Sometimes, it's feels as though it has been forever since I snuggled him, or fed him some food that he enjoyed (black beans were a major favorite).  Like he's been gone for years.  How did that big void get filled with other "things" so quickly?

Earlier this week, I was working on a letter game with Tucker, where he has to identify the letter on the card, tell us the sound it makes, and then a word that starts with it.  He had the letter, "a", which he correctly identified and produced the sounds for.  But he was stumped on the word.  I gave him a clue, "The people in heaven are..." and he promptly and confidently said, "Brothers."

The interior me was gulping for air.

The exterior me said, "Well, of course, but I was thinking more of their special wings and halos."  Eventually, I had to give him the word, angels.

This week is Drew's birthday.  He'll be 8.  In one more year and 2 days, he'll be 9.  In two more years and two days, he'll have lived longer than his older brother.  When he was born, we survived the first 6 weeks of his life watching him like a hawk, desperate to notice anything that seemed to echo Connor's behavior that was most likely a descent into his condition.  It was harrowing and exhausting, and ultimately unnecessary.  Now I worry - will he be thinking about his age as he gets closer to the age where his older brother died?  I will be, but I'm Mom, I'm inclined to overthink things.  I feel sorry for Drew as he's an oldest by accident, and has to be our guinea pig for so many events and occurrences.  We didn't worry as extensively about Tucker as a newborn.  Will I worry as much in 4.5 years when he is about to turn 10?  What memories of Connor will Tucker have by then?  We talk a lot about him to help Tucker remember, and Drew too (though Drew's memory is sharp and long, and I don't think it will be as difficult for him).

Aw, crap.  As Pastor John said at the service, sometimes, it just sucks.  This?  It sucks.  Every single day.