Davy was killed one year ago today. I remember when he first died, when I was counting the time in days, then weeks, then months. I couldn't comprehend a life that no longer included my son. I was dreading when I would be counting it in years ... and here I am.
2018 was the hardest year of my life. I walked around in a fog of disbelief for months. I guess as a way of protecting myself, I was numb. It's funny how your mind can do that, isn't it ... just go numb so that you don't have to deal with something too painful to process? Sadly, the numbness doesn't last forever and you're forced to mourn. I didn't want to grieve for my son! I wanted my son here ... with me! Parents aren't supposed to bury their children!
I spent the first six months trying to make things easier for my daughters and trying to find ways to make sure Davy's babies remembered him. I knew all the holiday firsts without him would be difficult, and I was right, but it really hit me on New Years Day when I went to the grocery. I swear, every family with a son was shopping that day. I didn't see any daughters ... just sons ... and it hit me like a ton of bricks that I would never be able to do something as simple and mundane as shopping with my son ever again. People go shopping with their kids every day and don't think anything about it ... until the day they realize they will never be able to do that again.
Memories and pictures of Davy still make me cry. Sometimes I can hold back the tears, sometimes I can't ... even now ... a year later. The girls and I will never be the same people we were before Davy died. I can see it in my daughter's smiles. They aren't as bright as they used to be. There is a sadness in our eyes that a smile can't mask.
Losing someone is always difficult, but never more so than when it's your child. I liken it to losing a limb ... you can learn to live without it, but there's never a moment that goes by that you aren't aware that it's gone. It's a poor analogy, but it's the only thing I can come up with that is somehow relateable as to how profound and constant the loss is.
I know the heaviness in my heart will lessen and the pain won't always be this acute, but it will always be there. In the years to come, I may not cry as often, but I will cry for my son for the rest of my days. My daughters will cry for their brother, and his babies will long to know the man they know only from pictures and stories. Davy was not a giant man, but he left a gigantic hole in the lives of everyone who knew and loved him.
So here I sit, alone at my kitchen island long before the sun comes up, sipping coffee, and missing my son so badly I can barely breathe. But I like this time alone. I need this time alone. I need to have a time when I have no one to take care of and nothing that has to be done. I can sit here in the silence and pray and think, sifting through memories, and remembering a time when I could hold all three of my kids.
We're having a cookout and bonfire tonight in memory of Davy. The girls and I are spending the afternoon and evening with friends and family, doing two of the simple things he loved. It's not a gathering to mourn the years with him that were taken from us, but rather to celebrate the 24 years we got to spend with him.
Nothing cuts so deep or is slower to heal than losing a child. Actually, I don't know that it ever heals ... I think it just scabs over and quits bleeding ... but it never really heals.