Thursday, September 06, 2012

Back to school

Thomas would have started grade two this week. On the first day of school, I lay in bed and told him about the day that would have been. The special breakfast I would have cooked, the way we'd have walked to school together, the treat I'd have made him to snack on after school while he told me about all the adventures he'd had as a big boy in grade two.

Then I got up and carried on with my day. I don't remember what I did, I just know it was painfully ordinary.

Back to school pictures, which began popping up on Facebook back in mid August as children of my American friends headed back, reached their agonizing peak this week. The annual assault.

I would have done it too, of course. Thomas all dressed up in his first-day best, smiling at the camera as he headed out the door to grade two. I would have sent the picture to his grandma and his Auntie Kathy. And his bubby and nonno too.

I would have.

Ha. Would.

It was wearying. My last grief-frayed nerve about to snap on Tuesday, when a new friend e-mailed me and asked how I was coping with the onslaught. She barely knows me. We've met once. But she has been a staunch supporter of Thomas' Random Act of Kindness Day since a mutual friend told her about it a few years ago, and she has a rare kind of sensitivity that I'm discovering is like a cooling balm on a sunburn.

A blissful salve on time-worn grief.

It didn't occur to anyone else. And nor should it, really. I'm not the centre of anyone's universe but my own. At seven-years old, my grief is seasoned. And besides, I don't tell people that eleventy-billion milestone pictures coming at me for two solid weeks eventually starts to erode the stitches holding my heart together. So how could anyone have known?

But thank God for that one friend who did think to ask. It's all I needed.

All the bereaved moms I know say the same thing: every once in a while we just want someone to acknowledge our loss. Not all the time and not out of guilt or obligation. But maybe once in a blue moon; just a quiet nod to the ongoing agony of loss that ebbs and flows as life marches on. Especially as life marches on.

Because grief marches in place.


Pipsylou said...

Grief can feel "well seasoned" and then one situation can send you reeling back, huh.

No fair.

loribeth said...

"Agonizing peak... the annual assault." So true, Kristin. One or two photos here & there, I could probably handle... but day after day, to read update after update & see picture after picture (and entire album after album of back to school pictures)(and they are STILL rolling in...)... to hear conversation after conversation focused on back to school stuff... it IS wearying to deal with, even 14 years on.

I thought that maybe, since we were away right up until Saturday night, it might not be so bad... but Monday morning found me sobbing at the cemetery, and it was sooooo hard to get up on Tuesday, get ready for work, and then drive right past the high school with its "Welcome Grade 9 students" sign where Katie would have been headed that very morning for the first time.

This is a great post & I was so glad to see something from you pop up in my Google Reader. : )

Lollipop Goldstein said...

Such an incredibly powerful post.

Michele said...

As we prepare for Bobby and Maya to start 3yo preschool at our parish school, I am achingly reminded that I *should* have a child going into PreK and I *should* have twins going into Kindergarten... It does hurt. Oh so much.

Senidng hugs...

Illanare said...

"Grief marches in place" - yes it does.

Sending love.

Scrappy_Lady said...

Sending our love, too.

I almost didn't post ours, having thought of you prior. I thought about it most of the day, but then realized that you would really not want me to skip it.

So good of that friend to have reached out to you. Know that you were likely on the minds of many of your friends, me included, even if they were not as thoughtful as that friend.

gailcanoe said...

I'm visiting from Mel's weekly blog roundup. This post really hit me hard. Although I never suffered a loss, I often wonder what would have happened if we'd gotten pregnant 4 years ago on our first try and what life would be like. Too many sad moments dwelling in the coulda, shoulda, woulda parts of life.

jhl said...

I actually thought a lot about you and my fellow BLMs before I wrote my short post on the first day of school, and spent a lot of time trying to decide whether I should post it. And how I should post it. Should I couch it in terms of loss? Or should I talk about it in terms of my experience of the situation, which was, while colored by loss, not ABOUT loss?

I finally went with the short post that was about trust, and have not posted pictures or videos of I. going to first grade (because I don't generally post many pictures of my kids online anyway), but still worried about how it would affect my fellow mothers of lost children.

I don't know ... my heart will always be ambivalent about the way I write these things. But I don't ever forget.

George Cazacu said...

I miss school. Even if it isn't so easy to take care of a kid in second grade, you can feel again those strong feelings from the times you were pupil.

Cei care doresc sa faca economie atunci cand se hotarasc sa achizitioneze o imprimanta, pot sa aleaga dintr-o lista considerabila de imprimante second hand, dintre care o multime sunt la oferta.