August was unbelievably hard. I don't think there was one day that wasn't a difficult struggle to just keep one foot in front of the other and most of the time it felt as if I couldn't put that foot ahead of the other one.
But I did.
We have had new neighbors for a few months now and I must say that they are a bit eerie. It is like they are mirror images of us. K, our neighbor, has a boy who is just a few years older than Asa so they get along great. K's brother, who she was close to dare I say even as close as sissy and I were, died of cancer three years ago at age 41. He too had had cancer 16 years previous to the bout that took his life. Trina had been clean for 16 1/2 years. K is very close to her parents and they are pretty much always at her house. Again, remind you of anyone? Yesterday mom and I stood in K's driveway with her mom and we all just cried together. The whole family understands what we are going through. K and her brother D were adopted at birth which, again, is just one more thing we have in common. They have provided us with the most comfort of anyone. They truly understand it and keep saying "I don't have an answer, I wish I did." Plus they understand that everyone if different, everyone grieves differently, every person had a different relationship with their loved one that died. There are things that make me cry that don't make mom lose it and vice versa.
Yesterday, Tuesday, was hard. It was the day we went to the party store to get Asa's stuff for his birthday party. This was always a fun production as the five of us (mom, sissy, me and the kids) would always go together (which is not unusual as we were a group package and if one person went somewhere the five of us went) and have a great time. I knew this was going to be a hard one though. It is Asa's first birthday without his mum mum. The last outing the five of us had before sissy died was the last week in December when we went to get the stuff for Valentina's birthday. Sissy treated us and bought everything for Valentina's party. It would be the last thing she ever bought her Vali. So all of this combined added up to a very emotional trip to the formerly fun party store. Josh went with us so it was still five of us and it was pretty funny to initiate Joshua to our party store chaos. It wasn't until we were driving home that it hit me what we had just done. I sobbed the whole way home while Valentina was thankfully oblivious to everything and just talked and jabbered wildly in the backseat.
Sunday is Asa's birthday. I'm dreading it. His first birthday without his beloved mum mum. He hasn't been very excited about his birthday, in fact he's hardly talked about it so I'm sure it's weighing on him too. But the worst is coming up, Halloween. I break down every time I think of it so I try not to think about it.
The changing of the seasons is also difficult as it is very real, very tangible evidence that we are, in fact, going forward without sissy. How is that possible? How can we live without her? How can we continue LIVING without her? I know for a fact that a large chunk of me is still in denial because I have long periods of time where I think sissy was really just a figment of my imagination and that she was really never here at all. I know that must sound callous and horrible but it is how I honestly think of things sometimes. My life right now is just so raw and real and EXHAUSTING that I think this is all I've ever had. Then I have moments of memories so clear or dreams and I'm hit all over again with the worst, hardest punch of reality that I'm literally breathless. I wake up some mornings crying. Literally, I will wake up and tears are streaming down my face. The grief finds me even in my sleep and can't even wait for me to wake up.
Next month is also going to be hard. We are not only coming up on Halloween but October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Ugh. I hated it last year and hate it even more this year. Personally I don't need a fucking pink ribbon to remind me that not only is breast cancer here but it has stolen one of the most important people in my life from me. And even worse is when people are so anxious to show us the things they have bought or are wearing or are doing in Trina's name. Seriously, what do you want? For us to say "oh thank you, that was so kind of you, it warms our heart that you think of Trina and want to honor her memory"? Sorry, you're not going to get it. This brings us absolutely no comfort and quite frankly I don't give two shits if you buy ANYTHING pink ribbon related. If that comforts you, fine, do it but don't come to me and expect me to be grateful to you. YOU didn't lose your sister and do you think some pink ribbon item will endear you to me? The only people who I wouldn't mind seeing/hearing about pink ribbon stuff and are exempt from this rule are:
* Everyone at infusion/oncology. Heidi, Robin, LucyAnn, LeAnne, Bev, etc.....
* My best friend Amanda (which goes without saying since she wouldn't be showing me anything anyway)
* Anyone who flew across the country at the drop of a hat to be with me the week sissy was in the hospital.
That's it. Those are the only ones who will escape my wrath should they be feeling brave and start telling me all the wonderful Breast Cancer Awareness things they are doing/buying. Like I said, if you want to, knock yourself out and buy, do whatever the fuck you want to but don't come to me and expect anything in return because NOTHING you do or buy can change our life.
So there you have it. This is what is going on right now. Well, that is the shit that is going on right now.
There are good things too. Asa loves school and has made many friends. He's such a great kid and I'm so proud of some of the mature choices he's made. His first day he told me about his new friend Nicholas. Then every day after school Asa would tell me that Nicholas had made a "red choice" and had to sit in the blue square. Asa has been in school over three weeks and there have been maybe two days that Nicholas DIDN'T make a red choice. Last week Asa told me that he wasn't friends with Nicholas anymore since he made a lot of red choices. I told Asa I was so proud of him for choosing to be with good kids and have nice friends. I also really like his teacher.
Valentina is in pre-school twice a week for 2 1/2 hours at a time. Basically it's a glorified daycare with some Jesus stuff thrown in there but she loves it. She also spends one day a week at Grama's. Between dropping kids off, picking kids up, soccer practice, soccer games, errands, etc.... I feel like I live in my damn car. But I'm thankful to have a car that runs.
K's mom put it perfectly yesterday. She said she has happiness from "here up" and motioned from her head up. Her heart is broken and will never be the same. She will never have the same joy, the same sheer bliss that she had before her son died.
So mom and I are trying to enjoy our happiness from "here up" and we do.
But it will never be the same.