Slow, moment by moment. That is what I will do today. I do not have expectations and I feel somewhat hollow. My efforts will be in celebration and joy with those I can touch. I will reflect throughout the day, at times breaking down, but other times able to fully smile.
This is one of those hard days.
Where the old me and the new me sit side by side and bicker.
These are days when it is all too easy for me to lost in “what used to be”.
Today is another test of my strength, character, and grief.
Who will win?
I do not know.
But, I sit here at 6:30 a.m. and try to devise a plan for approaching the day. I have put things into compartments — arrival, chit chat time before dinner, dinner, after dinner clean up, presents…..
Imagining myself in each compartment/situation and feeling the emotion right now in prepare stage…. crying it out, longing for my son to be there, analyzing all the things he is missing. Having a hell of a good cry before I even start to get ready for the day.
This is the new me.
This is how I have to operate now.
Not only for me but out of respect for my mother, my brother, my sister-in-law. Thinking of my children, my grandchildren, my nephews.
I do not want to be a blubbering mess in front of all of them today. Not because I am concerned with appearances….because I am concerned with survival and healing. We all lost Fred. We all grieve his absence. We all know how bad this sucks.
But for me, Fred’s Mom, I can show some strength and progress today.
I can pass on a little bit of hope in an unspoken way.
If I tear up, I will smile at the same time – showing that it is good memories I think of….good memories that the family is all a part of with my son. If I break down, I will excuse myself, and I will let it out. I will use it to be stronger for the next phase of the day.
I will allow good memories to happen around me and for me to be a part of them. Fred will be in that house today because he is present in all of us. I will be ok and another tomorrow will come, this holiday will pass, and my worry lines will deepen a little more. I still struggle with my faith. I still struggle with reasons and guilt. I still struggle with grief.
Next holiday, New Years and the fact that Fred will not be starting a new year. Next holiday, birthday and the fact that Fred will not be celebrating another year older.
The just keep coming, the commemorative events.
I have to be ready and have a plan to get through.
I need to stand tall and strong for myself and my family.
I need to show my children, my Mom, my brother, that when bad things happen we can survive it.
I need to bathe in the pools of hope.
I need to be ok.

~Leslie Beery, The Surviving Project