I’m driving home tonight. The funeral was Tuesday. I came home Wednesday, and promptly left work, which I’m not even sure how I went there. On Wednesday, my love came to me, because I was scared. I was holding my breath, and wondering how I could walk back into my house as if nothing had happened. He has listened to me cry and rant, and held me when I thought my heart would burst out of my chest.
Because nights are hard. And mornings are hard. And I wake up in the middle of the night, and I think I need to tell my beautiful nephew something that I should have told him on our last phone call, and I just can’t tell him anymore. And I’m looking for signs everywhere. My magical thinking looks for messages in the sky, in a song, in a Dodgers baseball game. And I take this picture as I’m driving home tonight, and I look at the sky, and I think I see a boy there… and it’s just a cloud. But I see him. I SEE HIM DAMMIT.
My parents came up on Friday, and my Dad went to work sweeping, fixing, doing what he needs to do to not completely fall apart because his first grandchild and grandson has left him just way too soon. My Mom and I eat cake, and sit by candlelight, and they are so not like me…their grief is completely private, and theirs…but mine. Mine is like raging fire in my heart, and I want to look at the lady at the checkout and say, ya know, my nephew just died, and how are you even asking for my pin number right now? Don’t you understand?
My Mom and I are play-fighting over who should carry their bottle of water today right before the baby shower, and she is grabbing it, and I am grabbing it, and we are kinda sorta yelling but not really, and then I start crying. I’m just crying. Because he isn’t here, and I can’t tell him that last thing that I think he needs to know. And then I get mad, because it doesn’t even matter anymore. He can’t reach out and call me. There is something about being that person for someone, even if it’s only once in a while.
And, just last month, I got a notification that he left Facebook, and I thought it was weird, because he already left Facebook, so why am I getting notified now? And, how come Mumford and Sons still makes me think of horses galloping, and how come today I looked up at a sign in a window, and it said NAVY INSURANCE. What the heck is that anyway? And, how come yesterday, my son says that on the way home, his friend’s dad radio was playing Wild World…? A song that is so old, but played by my sister as her son left for the Navy?
My heart knows he is okay. He was a believer. He’s okay.
But my head. I can’t shut my head up.
I ran yesterday. I worked out today.
I don’t know how to love a broken sister with a lost son, and I don’t know how to stop crying. At random times. At daybreak.
And I come home, and my teenagers are watching Walking Dead, and it’s really loud, and they start to go to their rooms. I ask them to stay. Because I need them near me, and I put on headphones, and I type, and they eat candy at 10pm, because they can.
I can’t listen to the music. Not one more time. If ever again. But then, P!NK’s Great Escape comes on, and I am a mess. On the floor mess.
If I knew that price of admission to loving this boy was that I would lose him and have all this sorrow, would I pay it again? Would I gladly sign up for sleepless nights, tears that stop and start again at weird times, and would I again drive him to LA, and listen to his rantings about his new venture, and how he was going to make a new career move…would I do it?
I will never know. I will never get that chance. But I think I would pay it. Knowing that I would miss his laugh and his yelling at me, and his great big heart, and knowing as I do in this moment that he will never again try to convince me that I should be a cooler Mom to my kids, and that I need to let them go a little bit? I would pay it every time. Even knowing that I would have to say goodbye, I would pony up and pay my last dollar, because of baseball and the Navy, and listening to his wedding on a beach in Malibu via telephone, and watching him playing with Jolly, and running the motor boat…These are things I would not want to miss, even though I feel cracked in two.
Grief is grief, no matter who has it. It’s a thing, man. It’s going to be with me for a long time. And someday there will not be a hole in my heart, and I will wake up to Matt showing me signs that he is continuing on his journey.
Until then…I never knew how much love he left me until he was gone. But I’m gonna look for a way to pass it on for the rest of my life.