It's only one more day. One more day without him. One more day without his smile, his laughter, his dirty socks in the couch cushions, empty Dorito bags in the bathroom (yes, the bathroom).
Eight years ago my world was changed for all eternity. My sweet son, Robbie, gone.
I remember the moment I knew something was wrong. It was in the air as I walked up the steps. It was goosebumps on my skin as I stood in the doorway. There are so many things I remember but don't want to, and so many things I don't that I wish I could have back.
So now I have a new normal. Dreams sometimes bless me with his presence, younger or 16 year old versions, but never older. Last night I cried while watching a show, flashing ahead to future views of the characters' lives, children, laughter, playing, together. I will never know what he could have become. I will never hold his babies in my arms, snuggle them, kiss away their boo-boos.
In the week leading up to this day each year, there are always nightmares. Always. This year's were particularly, painfully detailed and real. I'd spent the days beforehand congratulating myself on how well I was dealing with the upcoming death-versary. Translation: 'Tamp it down, tamp it down, waayyyyyy down!'
I know better. I do. Yet...it was the only way I could manage things.
That is part of this new normal. The knowing of ways, of options, to manage the grief that never goes away. It ebbs. It hovers. It is always, always here, ready to descend when most and least expected.
I never make plans for this, the 16th of May. I've learned to try to change things up, do something not done before. Today it was an early workout at Greater Lansing Crossfit. Though I give myself permission to change/cancel/add to the agenda as necessary, this morning I did more than I thought possible. One hundred pounds for floor presses, six rounds, followed by as many push ups as possible in one minute. I'd planned on eighty-five. My partner pushed me, and I did more than I thought possible.
That makes me chuckle. Every day I do more than I think possible, because, well, living with my beautiful boy no longer walking this earth? More than a Mother can imagine. Every. Single. Day.
The lesson I learned years ago in this journey is simple. This is only one more day. One more day without my Robbie. Today I will watch for signs. I know he is around, watching me, checking in when he feels my need growing.
Only one more day, followed by one more tomorrow, and then another, and another, and another.
Yet, it is also one more day to love my daughter, to be loved by my husband, to sit on the porch and drink my coffee watching my equines in the pasture, to read another book, to write another story, to listen to someone else share their needs.
So, I will embrace this day, and the next, and as many as I have in my future, until I leave this earth and wrap my arms around my boy again. He would expect nothing less from his Mother. He will accept no other options.
If I can, so can you.
Embrace this day, and treat yourself to a decadent ice cream treat in honor of my boy, my sweet son, my smirking, messy room, kind, handsome, beautiful, beautiful Robbie.