Sunday, April 12, 2015
The sense of what should have been and what is missing has hovered over my afternoon like a dark storm cloud, finally descending on me as I took a brief walk with my dogs.
As a family, we should have been gathered somewhere eating pizza and laughing at Ethan mimicking my dad, who wouldn't hear it and would have no clue what we were laughing about, or wielding our cumulative sharp wit at one another and innocent bystanders. We should have split a couple dozen chocolate-covered, cream-filled Krispy Kreme doughnuts or a big chocolate cake, and sung happy birthday.
On Tuesday, my mom will observe her birthday. There will be no celebration to speak of, because it would also have been Ethan's birthday.
My son, had he lived, would have been 25.
Ten years ago, I would have imagined a day filled with promise. A bright young man with a college degree and a wife, or at least a fiancee on his way to living his dream.
Five years ago there was still hope that the addiction had released him. He had an apartment and was being treated for the seizures caused by his drug abuse. I didn't know he was still using, and that jail time and a horrible automobile accident weren't all that far in his future.
Just two years ago, he was living sober and there was hope that somehow he'd manage to stay that way. Then he lost his support network, alienated the people who would have helped him stay clean, and withdrew into a spiral that left him alone, finally dead of an overdose.
So there was no celebration today, and won't be on Tuesday. My mom who once delighted in sharing a birthday now has an especially painful memory instead.
For the last week it seems the harder I have tried to run from the reality of what will be, the harder it has stalked me. I'm like a mouse being toyed with by a cat. I'm not really getting away, no matter how busy I make myself.
Today, I decided not to run. To sit down by the computer and once again give in to the tides of grief that I've been avoiding fairly well; to return to therapy, as it were, because I know that facing the pain, wrestling with it through words, helps me in the end.