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so i have a home now. one i can actually go to. there were so many wonderful people who helped me move. they made it so that i didn’t have to go back to the apartment across from the pool where my beautiful son lost his life. there were about 15 people who moved my friend Isabella and myself to new homes across the street from one another. then, the next morning, Sinnamon and Tracy spent their entire Sunday helping Zoe and i unpack, organize and hang pictures. which was good because i was paralyzed at the prospect of doing it all again. i probably would have just left everything.

it has all been SO difficult. seeing all the items that surrounded our little family. the coffee table where we played Sorry and legos and colored. the dining room chairs where i had to remind him to sit on his bottom. his framed art, his Cars bicycle…all those boxes in the basement that i can’t bear to look at. i still look around and wonder what happened. everything is bewildering and i am stunned and paralyzed by all that makes up my environment, my life…the thoughts and memories in my head.

today would have been Noah’s first day of first grade. my babygirl Zoe started high school today. i no longer have a little kid. no more school supply lists, lunch boxes and notes to teachers about Noah’s dietary needs. no more trying to keep his breakfast from staining his fancy new school clothes, courtesy of his loving Nana. no before and after school care. no big sweet hugs from my little boy as i send him off to learn about the world. just a huge space and lazer-like focus on getting Zoe ready.

it’s cooler outside today and it makes me just as angry as when it’s sunny and warm. every day is just another day without my son. another day with no relief, no escape from the pain and heartbreak of this loss. another day of just getting by and hoping that time will heal. but i don’t feel like I’m healing. i feel irreversibly altered. twisted. broken. just like so many others, i have always said that losing a child would be the one thing i could never endure. “just put me in a padded room if that ever happens,” I used to say. “throw away the key.” because how could i ever begin to try to live with that kind of pain?

and now here i am and i’m not far from wishing for that room. people keep telling me that it gets better and i know i’m not supposed to give myself time restrictions…but WHEN exactly is it supposed to get better? and what does “get better” mean? because if it doesn’t mean that I get my son back then that’s just not “better” enough. i hear people say that i’m strong but i don’t feel strong at all. i feel shaky, volatile, crazy, indifferent to anything to do with the business of getting on with life. i miss him desperately and the slightest things set me off: all the gluten-free cookbooks, breakfast cereal, waffles. the extra toaster that was dedicated to his food only, so as not to risk cross-contaminiation of the wheat that made him so sick. It’s these little things that punctuate the pain, especially today, as Noah’s friends start first grade without him in their world.

all of this hurt swells up inside of me, making me feel like a shadow of who I used to be. just one year ago Jason, the kids and I took a last-minute vacation to the beach to stay with family and play in the sand and surf. my mother was still alive, in recovery from her last surgery. he hunted shells like a pro and dug in the sand. i’m so glad that i insisted on taking that vacation so that the kids could see the ocean for the first time. they both loved it and loved spending time with Skip and Linda. Noah would practice his “Ringmaster” skills on the back porch for hours and he loved the boat ride where he and Zoe got to go tubing. i spend hours just staring at the photos from that trip. he had such a great time. here are a few of my favorites:

Having him in my life…this sweet little angel calling me Mommy…that was a heaven my heart yearns for endlessly. Now that my heart has known and lost that heaven, a part of my heart will forever dwell in hell.

I will end with an attempted video dedication to my little man: Johnny Cash | You Are My Sunshine

Mommy misses you, Bubbers. XOXOX