Three years have passed since the day that Aires took his last breath. I can say this and it feels like it was just yesterday that we were waiting in the hospital waiting room for the doctors to come and say that he was gone. And yet I can also say that there are days that it feels like he’s been gone for an eternity.
I clearly remember many things at the hospital, the nurses who were all exceptional, the doctors two of which I could have physically harmed, the smells, the sounds, the friends who came as an army without me asking. At the same time, all of it is a blur, I know that I said and did, heard and experienced things that I do not remember at all. Mostly I remember going around the entire time just screaming inside. I remember the constant loud scream inside.
The one thing I completely remember is the moment Aires passed. We walked with him until he went into the operating room with both his team of doctors and nurses and the team of organ transplant doctors and nurses. I didn’t want to be in the room when he actually passed, I had seen enough to be traumatized for a lifetime, I didn’t need to have that memory as well. It was just his body there anyway, his spirit had been gone from his body since the accident itself. So we waited in the waiting room for the doctor and nurse to come tell us that he was gone. We waited for what felt like hours, but it wasn’t, maybe an hour or a little over. There was a huge storm going on outside, at around 10:20pm the lightning and thunder was right on top of us, it was loud, the wind was intense and the thunder shook the room. I remember feeling him leaving, angry, oh so angry. I know it was 10:20 because I looked at my watch, something told me to do it. When the doctor and nurse came to tell us he was gone, they told us that he survived about 20 minutes after they disconnected him from the machines. I asked what time he had passed, and they told me about 10:20.
I also remember and never again want to feel the kind of loss, anguish, being lost, not knowing what to do next, and the most agonizing desperation. I didn’t know how to go on, I didn’t know what to do next, I didn’t know how I could even be able to go on without Aires. It felt like the world had ended, and yet I wasn’t allowed to have it be that way. I had two little boys depending on me, I had to go home and tell them that their father would never come home again. I had to be strong for them, whether I could do it or not wasn’t important, I had to do it! If I didn’t have those two little boys waiting for me, needing me to carry on, needing me to be there for them, strong for them, show them that it would all be okay somehow, if I didn’t have those two little boys, things would have been very different.
I can say that everyone who tells you that the grief doesn’t go away, it just becomes part of you, is correct. Three years later, I grieve no less, but I grieve differently. I’ve learned that the grief will always be with me, it will always be in the background, always lurking around. But I can live with it and still laugh, still function, still do fun things and enjoy things. It’s a conundrum to understand until one experiences a very hard loss.
I saw this the other day and saved it:
“I have learned what I wish every person on this earth would learn before it’s too late. That life is fleeting, that love is a gift for a finite moment, that we should soak it all up and savor the little pure moments of beauty. That you can long for someone’s arms more than you long for your own breath. That not being able to talk to your person is far from just lonely… it’s an empty and dark hole that seems impossible to escape.”
I’m going to say that given what has happened to us, we are doing okay. Josh still doesn’t like to talk about it much, he deals with it internally. He has told me that talking about it is not going to bring him back, is not going to change anything, so he only talks about things with me when he needs to get something off his chest. Jake continues to see a therapist on and off as he needs to do so. His feelings are much more present, he has a lot to work through, I do believe he will be in therapy on and off all through his life. I’m teaching him to recognize when he needs to go back to see the therapist, and to ask me to go back. I want him to know how to do this on his own when he’s older and on his own. I continue to push things deep down, only allow a thing to come up here and there. I don’t have the time, or the energy to deal with my feelings, my anger or anything else that requires a lot of emotional energy. I have to keep going, life doesn’t stop and the boys need me to be here for them. Like I keep saying, they will soon be gone, and then I will have plenty of time to deal with myself.
I am tired, all the time. I am stressed, all the time. I forget things, things that I never used to forget. Birthdays, big days for friends that I should remember and ask them about. I forget to check in on a friend who isn’t feeling well. I forget everything, my brain is on overload, it doesn’t stop, yet forgets half of what’s going on. I’ve started to give myself a break, it is what it is, I know nobody expects me to be who I was. I hate that I’m not that person anymore, but then again, I will never be that person again. It is what it is.
In a week we’ll be going back to see daddy. When we’re in Anna Maria we talk to him more, since we spread his ashes in the water down there, we feel like we are with him when we are down there. We go in the water and we talk to him. This is an example of the kind of what grief does to people. We will never be able to talk to daddy again, but because his ashes were spread down there, being in the water makes us feel close to him. This is missing someone to the max. Everyone deals with loss differently, this is how we do it, this is one way of how I keep daddy alive and next to us. There are many others of course, this is one that is very special to us though.
Tomorrow is the first day of the journey that takes us to year four, not much will change. We will all get older, we will go through school, activities, vacations, ups and downs, teenage moods, discipline, happy times, sad times, exhaustion, stress, pride, joy, and forever memories.