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I have felt the need lately, to sort through all of my pictures on iPhoto and put each one into a “Noah” folder. I’m not sure what I will do with it, but I need someplace to go when I need to see him; remember him. I’ve thought about making one of those photo books with his photos in it, but haven’t decided yet. I just need a whole bunch of him everywhere I go so that I can feel near to him. Otherwise, I panic.

So I sit here looking at all of them, trying to tell myself with each photo that he really is gone. That there will be no more photos of him anymore. That this is it. This is all I have of him anymore. I keep my little log of memories about him and carry it with me wherever I go so that I can always remember. I replay his smile, his giggle in my mind so that I can keep him close. I cannot yet watch the videos of him…I know it will just be too painful.

There are so many things I “need” to do also. Thank you notes that get out from under me. As soon as I write five, it seems like ten cards come in the mail. So many people to thank – so many touched by Noah’s life – so many who are eager to reach out, do anything for him and for us.

Then there is all the school registration and getting Zoe all set up and ready for high school that starts on August 13: so soon! We move into our new place August 11 and thank GOD for friends and co-workers like Jennifer Edwards, Linda Ruth, Donna Fletcher, Kim Lewallen, Karla Bronson, Patti Duda, Margo Willet and my sweet friend Isabella Zaniletti for packing all of my things and getting me ready to move. Thanks to them, I have not had to go back to that apartment right across the street from where my little boy drowned. The actual moving will be done August 11 by another group of amazing souls.

Still, there are many tasks that only I can do. Calling utility companies and transferring service. Setting up trash and lawn service. And at some point soon I know I will have to return to work. Which seems so daunting it just hurts. How do I go on with my life with this huge, horrible loss haunting me? I can barely function as it is in the real world. Lunches with friends, trips to the store, even walking the dogs is so exhausting. This morning, an older gentleman stopped me and asked if I had a son. It turns out he was trying to figure out if a door-to-door magazine salesman was legitimate, but I didn’t know how to answer that question. Yesterday when we enrolled Zoe, the well-meaning school counselor said “So you’re an only child huh?” and I just broke down. Jason had to explain what happened and it was awkward for a few minutes. It is these kinds of questions and statements that scare me: what points will they bring up that I haven’t prepared myself for? Those words: ONLY CHILD haunted me the rest of the day until I finally broke down in a crying and sobbing panic last night.

That’s why i had to go through pictures of him last night. it seemed so unfair to dismiss him so quickly and call Zoe an “only child.” I know no one meant to hurt our feelings. It was not said to be mean or callous. How could this kind woman have known what we have endured? Still, it felt like a stab right to my heart. The “real world” is so very painful.