Thursday, October 19, 2006

After No Tomorrows

The last good memory I have of my son, was my being too damn lazy to get off my arse and put him to bed. So, instead of being a good mommy, I grabbed him and cuddled him on the couch for an extra half hour. He didn't fight it as he normally would, instead, he just burrowed in for more. When Boo came passing through the living room, I mentioned it was past Bug's bed time and insinuated he was a lousy father for allowing his son to stay up so late. At 8:29 p.m. my husband reached into my arms and took my son from me, as I smothered him with kisses.

After that, all my memories are akin to those from a cheap dimestore horror novel. And hours later, the Redneck mommy was born.

I didn't know what to post this weekend, it being the first anniversary since his passing. I didn't even know if I wanted to say anything at all. After all, how many times can you write you miss your son before even you get the point.

Enough! I get it! I miss him! Move on already!

But as I've discovered, moving on is not always so easy. This past year has been torturous, hard and somewhat miraculous. I have discovered more about myself and my family than I have ever known before.

Some of it good, a lot of it not. What amazes me, is the unrelenting love I still carry for my Shalebug. Shale was my life while he was here, and somehow, in death he has managed to shape every decision, every choice I have made since then. Little bugger. Of course, I needed an outlet to vent my grief, anguish and ultimately, love. So I bought a computer. Thank you, my most beautiful Mac baby, I love you. And I started surfing the net, looking for other parents who have been through what I have been through. I didn't find many. But what I found instead, was what ultimately saved me.

I found you.

At first, I lurked. Then I started commenting. And it wasn't long before I launched Redneck mommy. With every comment, every post, I healed. I grew stronger. Yes, I stumbled this summer, but who wouldn't? But I've picked up my pieces, my life and carried on.

And that is what I've learned this year. That I can do it. I am invincible. I am Supermom. (Just kidding. If anyone is still reading this drivel, I apologize.) I've learned I am a lot stronger than I realized and that love doesn't die just because your child does.

Don't get me wrong, I still panic at the thought of living to a ripe old age and not seeing my Bug again. What if I don't remember him? Worse, what if he doesn't remember me? What if, what if, what if. I've learned there is no such thing as a what if. There are only what are's.

I ache at the thought of not hearing his laughter ring out. Of not being slobbered on, shit on or puked on. But thankfully, Nixon, the World's Greatest Dog. Ever, stepped in to help out in that department. My kids, Fric and Frac, they've banded together like merry little thieves and wrapped themselves tighter around my heart.

All this love and missing has done one thing: expanded my heart. I want to love the whole damn world. ( Them's some good happy pills you've prescribed, Mr. Small Town Doctor.) But seeing as how I'm too damn poor to support the whole world, I'll settle for one. After all, I am not Madge or Brangelina.

Ultimately, that's my tribute to my son. Not the tattoos, the piercings or the posts. Just the simple ability of being able to love harder, longer and larger. That's what his life, death and the year since has brought.

So this Oct. 21st, I urge you all, to grab hold of your kids and drool all over them. They might fight you, squirm and wiggle. The older kids might roll their eyeballs and think you've lost what little of your mind you have left, but do it any ways.

Because that's another thing I have learned.

Sometimes, there are no tomorrows. Only the moments at hand. Enjoy them.


Blogger J. said...

You know, I've been sitting here for a few minutes (okay, more than a few) trying to figure out what to say.
There are no words though. Not really.
I'm just past the one year mark of losing my Mom. It's been a rough year, full of changes, full of my fuckups, just working through the grief. And it was my Mom.
This was your child. I've thought of taking my grief and magnifying it times a thousand, to maybe walk in your shoes.
Those are some well worn shoes you have there, my friend. I can't even imagine the pain. Only a glimpse of it, and dammit, it's a crippling thing.
You've done well. So much better than 'well'. You are a strong woman. And things will keep changing, growing and getting better for you and your family.

For someone that didn't know what to say, I wrote a book in your blog. Heh.

9:54 a.m.  
Blogger mamma said...

My heart breaks for you and your loss. And I am in awe of your strength, your quiet dignity, your resiliency. I will be thinking of you and your family this weekend. And I promise to hold my kids just a little tighter.

10:01 a.m.  
Anonymous dreadmouse said...

My little girl is only 8 months old and she's already got my heart clasped tight in her chubby fist. She owns me like I never thought somebody could.

If something ever happened to her I don't know how I would survive. I might be able to get through it, eventually, but it wouldn't be pretty.

I think you must be far stronger than I am. And my daughter is going to get a huge hug tonight... but she gets that every night.

10:09 a.m.  
Blogger Tuesday Girl said...

I really don't know what to say, but that I am sorry you had to go through this.
That I am sorry anyone has to.

My prayers are with you and your family.

10:43 a.m.  
Blogger Mrs. Chicky said...

Yep, you did it. Now I'm crying. I don't know which hit me harder, your words or those pictures. Probably both. I don't think there are enough words in the universe to express how brave and amazing I think you are. When my mom died two years ago I told myself that I would not miss any opportunities to tell those I loved how much they meant to me. Unfortunately, I have not lived up to my promise to myself so I thank you for the kick in the ass. My heart is with you this weekend.

{{Giant Hugs}}

10:49 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First I'm so sorry for your loss. (I've lurked for a bit stumbling onto to you inadvertantly). You have moved me to tears and left me at a loss of what to say. You have reminded that every day is a gift, to keep that gift close to you as you never know when that gift will be gone. You are awesome and I commend you for your strength your courage your everything.

11:05 a.m.  
Blogger Crunchy Carpets said...

Another one joining the ranks of not know what to say or how to say it.

I cannot bear to imagine what you have been through.....

And thanks for sharing the memories of your wee man.

11:56 a.m.  
Blogger stefanierj said...

Hear that sound, like tinkling glass? It's the itty bitty pieces of my heart falling all over my keyboard. I knew the anniversary was soon, but I didn't know when.

T, you've saved *me*. You showed me what a strong person can face down and that it's okay to be overcome with grief and anger and loss, because it means one has loved fiercely and passionately. You don't let me get away with passing by moments of great joy without experiencing wonder and gratitude. By sharing your experiences, you've made all of your readers stronger, more compassionate and more likely to stop sweating the small stuff already.

You are a treasure, and I thank you for sharing your heart, broken though it may be, with us.

((Plus, you have pierced nipples and multiple tatoos. So you've also shown us the sexier side of pain.))

12:02 p.m.  
Blogger Thumper said...

How many times can you write that you miss your son? Not enough. You're not missing a loved pet (and God knows I write about them EVERY freaking year) you're missing a giant chunk of your soul.

You get to write about that as often as you want and need to, and bit by bit we get to meet your Bug through the things you tell us about him.

I'll tackle my 23 year old and give him a bug hug. He'll understand.

12:08 p.m.  
Blogger Chelle said...

De-lurking to say that I think you are a phenomenal woman. My sister lost her son to Acute Myeloid Lukemia four years ago. He was just fifteen months old at the time. I wish with all my heart that my sister could have expressed her grief as well as you have done; I truly believe that doing so helps the healing process. I wish you peace and joy in the next phase of your life and in the lives of your family. And I believe with all my heart that you WILL see your Bug again.

12:42 p.m.  
Blogger Lindsay said...

I have been sitting here with my curser on the top line of this comment box not knowing what to write...
I am so proud of you for your growth and strength... I have no idea if I could be like you if roles were reversed.
I am so sorry for your loss, I wish I could turn back time for you...
Thanks for posting this and letting us all know that you are still healing!
I have your family in my thoughts and prayers as this anniversary approaches.
Take care

1:33 p.m.  
Blogger Fidget said...

I knew thetime was creeping ever near and I knew I would bawl uncontrolably over what you would say. The only comfort I can offer is that I will be lighting a candle for your Shalebug on the 21st. Much love and prayers

2:01 p.m.  
Blogger bubandpie said...

That image of you cuddling on the couch with your Shalebug is going to stay with me for a long time.

2:38 p.m.  
Blogger My float said...

I can't even fathom what you've been through. All I can do is say that I got up straight away to hug my little son who has been driving me to distraction lately but what you said rang true - sometimes there are no tomorrows. Lots of hugs to you and your family at this very difficult time.

3:52 p.m.  
Anonymous reluctant housewife said...


Thank you. Thank you for blogging, for being so strong in the face of such unimaginable loss.

Thank you for reminding us to enjoy today.

4:43 p.m.  
Blogger Mrs. Chicken said...

The next time I want get Emmie out of bed to sleep with me, sleep with me she shall.

Grief is so unique to each person. So terrible and so life-changing. I cannot pretend to understand your grief. What I understand is that you suffered a terrible loss and you are still standing.

I admire you, I ache for you and I respect your ability to push through for the sake of your husband, Fric and Frac, and for your Shalebug.

When my father died my brother told me he believed my father was now sleeping, and that when he woke we'd all be together.

I think about that a lot.

Thinking of you, T.

4:50 p.m.  
Blogger Old MD Girl said...

T, I admire your strength. If you can take this past year, you can take anything.

5:11 p.m.  
Blogger Daisydee said...

I am not really sure what to say. I won't say I understand but I know that loss is terrible and tough.

I think you are one of the strongest people I have ever met. Since I have no kids yet I will light a candle for Bug.

Love you lots!

8:25 p.m.  
Blogger jellyhead said...

Hi T.

You can tell us you miss your Shalebug until the end of time.

I hope this weekend is filled with love.

XO Jelly.

10:24 p.m.  
Blogger L-Girl said...

Hard to find words to say to your post. Your strength is amazing. You've made it this far, and with "a little help from your friends" and family, hopefully the next year will brigthen a little bit more.

3:53 a.m.  
Blogger cinnamon gurl said...

Wow. I just came over from Mrs. Chicky's looking for the 60-foot-tall woman and I find this, like I was just clotheslined by a two-by-four across my chest.

So I'm a total stranger to you, but I want to say what a great tribute to your son, loving more and encouraging others to do the same.

6:26 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for reminding us to appreciate all those that we love.

9:47 p.m.  
Blogger B.E.C.K. said...

It's so hard to know what to say in a medium such as this, that relies on typed words alone. A gesture would be much more appropriate, because words are just pathetically inadequate for the sorrow you and your family have been through. I honestly don't know if I would be as strong or as graceful as you under the same circumstances, and I continue to be grateful for your sharing your feelings and experience here. I wish I could just give you a hug. I often think of you when I hug my son -- you have no idea. Please know that tomorrow I will also light a candle for your beloved Shalebug. Much love to you...

10:14 p.m.  
Blogger Abandoned in Pasadena said... was our one year anniversary on Oct. 15th that our 21 month old great granddaughter, Haliegh died, so I know how you are feeling and I take every opportunity to hug everybody every chance I get and to show them I love them.

6:52 p.m.  
Anonymous ellen said...

I'm glad you kept him up. And he is too. Love to you and the family-

5:45 p.m.  
Blogger Kerri. said...

I just came across your blog (via Major Bedhead) and this is the first post I read. The words to describe how your post made me feel haven't been created yet.

You are an amazing woman and I am honored to have found your journey.

9:15 a.m.  
Anonymous Roxylynn said...

I know that this last year has been the hardest one you've had to face. I know that you hurt, but I cannot pretend to know the depth of your pain. I'm so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family always.
Thank you for your words. They have made me appreciate my daughter so much more, even when she is being a temultuous toddler.
Thank you for who you are and for being apart of my life. I value you and our friendship more than words can express.
I love you.

10:50 a.m.  
Blogger Meena said...

I don't know what to say, but I feel I must say something. I just found your blog after reading your post on Mom-101. My heart aches for what you have been through. I am so sorry. You sound AMAZINGLY strong, I am in complete awe. We really all do need to remember there isn't always a tomorrow. Thank you for your sharing this beautiful post. I wish you continued strength, peace, and happiness.

5:59 p.m.  

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