September 1st. Or as Elijah still mistakenly calls it sometimes, the “oneth.”
Let me tell you 458 days, or 15 months, feels like a lifetime ago. I’m still not sure how I’m going to come back from this when I know you don’t. The physical pain in my chest whenever I think about that morning has not lessened. The ache is just too much. I can’t even process it most days. I’m just busy trying not to be a complete asshole to my kids because my emotional bank is pretty much full from the moment I wake up and remember my reality. The grief and sadness fills the place where all my emotions go and there’s not much room to add to that part. It’s all so much.
There has been 15 months without hearing Noah’s beautiful giggle, seeing his sneaky fingers causing mischief, going through the pump feed ritual and fighting with the stupid pump errors, and 458 days without his puckering lips giving me a kiss and a squeeze. Oh how I miss those. We worked so hard on his ability to pucker and it was a milestone we welcomed long after kids typically do it. He could purse those lips out so far and it was slightly lopsided because of his facial palsy but it was the cutest thing I ever did see.
I’m at a point where I feel like I’m struggling more than managing. Every day seems to be a battle and I some days I win and some days we all lose and this grief process is fucking awful. You can’t avoid it. You have to work through it. If I’m being honest, we’ve spent a long time avoiding as much as we can and it’s starting to show. You don’t get over it, you just have to go through it but most days I just can’t. It physically hurts and I need to be able to function for my other kids so we have become master compartmentalizers and keep on keepin’ on.
So 458 sleeps have come and gone and you should be entering grade 2. Maybe you would have had the same teacher as Elijah. Today you would have watched Oliver learn to pedal his bike with no help. A few days ago you would have watched Bennett roll his way around the room. Tonight you would have watched Charlie laugh and horse around when she should have been sleeping. Tomorrow would have been your last day of summer vacation and day off with your Dad. Right this second I would be listening to your little sleep sounds come through the monitor. Things should be so different. Alas, I sit here thinking back to the anticipation of sending you to school and knowing you didn’t even get to officially graduate Kindergarten breaks my heart. You were so close. You owned K. You’re now forever a kindergartener.
And as I get ready to face sleep 459 on the 1st of the month, it’s no easier knowing I won’t see you when I wake. Again.