Just checking in…
I’m sure you have lots and lots going on right now. I figure that you are still going through an orientation kind of period, where you get to learn about all of the amazing options available to you in the afterlife. Kid A likes to remind us about the things you planned to do after you were done being sick. Did you learn to speak Arabic yet? For some reason, the thought of that always makes me giggle. السرطان لا يزال يمص حتى ولو يمكنك التحدث باللغة العربية الآن. In case you haven’t gotten around to learning it yet (like me with my Pimsleur Spanish lessons), that says “Cancer still sucks even though you can now speak Arabic.” At least according to Google Translate it does. I sure hope I didn’t just write something offensive.
I talk to or text with your mom and dad now and then, and I also see their posts on Facebook. They miss you something fierce. Everybody does. And your brothers and sisters are still figuring everything out, too. Hell, I can’t even say this silly little prayer to you without crying. And now I just said “hell” in a prayer. I am not very good at this, dammit.
I loved, loved, loved when you gave us a tour of “your spots” when we drove through Washington, D.C. this summer. We don’t normally even drive through the city (we go around), so I knew something was up. And then Sheepdog got turned around in the same exact place that I got turned around when I was driving to my 25th high school reunion just a few weeks earlier. Once was “whatever,” but twice couldn’t have been just coincidence. Then I looked back from my seat and saw Kid A happy-crying as she whispered, “Braden is here.”
Thank you for that. It was amazing.
I worry about Kid A sometimes. She still marks your symbol on her wrist every single day. Then she traces “Come What May” in your handwriting over top of it. She wants to get it tattooed, but I am making her wait until she turns 18 to do that. Sheepdog offered to take her across state lines to Alabama (mostly because he is also campaigning for a new tattoo… you remember the biohazard one he wanted you to get because of all of the chemo?) but I put my foot down. Yes, I am still a rule follower. And yes, I am still putting my foot down about stuff. Tattoos are FOREVER. But I guess that you will be with her forever too, so I get it.
Over all, she has been handling everything pretty well. She has the distractions of her senior year to keep her busy. We hardly see her at home. But I worry about her most when the busy stops. And every once in a while she will say something that gives me pause.
Like when she said, “I am afraid to get close to anybody because the people I love die.”
And honestly, I didn’t know what to say back. Because – technically – she is right. You died. Everybody dies. Some die later and some die sooner, but we all die. It is one of those yin/yang facts of life. Yet, we can’t guard ourselves so closely that we never let anyone in, either. So, I hugged her and let her cry about you and I reminded her that she can’t let fear dictate her choices in life. We keep encouraging her to do more counseling and therapy. And she has been trying hard to do fun things and meet new people this year, so I think she is going to be okay. But I will continue to keep an eye on her just in case.
And maybe you can keep doing your surprise drop-ins, too. In between your Arabic lessons, of course.
I miss you, Kid.
crying in my coffee….this experience for you was “momma boot camp” – tough, exhausting, “never been there before” area of parenting….SO tough.
i DO know that if we pay attention, we can see the little “visits” that our lost loved ones are paying us…it’s so good that ya’ll pay attention… :-)
prayers for comfort….
Thank you, Lisa. The comfort prayers are much appreciated. I searched on Amazon in the beginning for “what to do when your daughter’s high school boyfriend gets diagnosed with leukemia,” but there was nothing. We’ve been making stuff up as we go along ever since.
So well written Stacy and with such insight. There is a seventeen year old boy who was recently given only months to live after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. He is a senior at Robert C Bird High School. There is a site where they are requesting people send cards to him. Maybe you and Ellie, unless it would hurt her too much, could write to him and give him some comfort with your experience. I will share the post on FB and it will be your private decision.
Sent from my iPad
Thanks, Pop (and Mom). I got the link. Thanks for the info. We will certainly send cards.
Stacy — thanks for writing it all down. As we put our sweet cat to rest on Monday all I could think of was how would Jared handle yet another brush with someone (yes, Mr. socks was a someone) he loved dying. We talk about Braden all the time and we all miss him. Mostly Jared doesn’t come home to “hang out” anymore. When asked why he will tell you it’s because “my friend no longer lives here”. There’s no reason to go to Taco Mac anymore. :)
Sending you and Kid A love today. Hopefully Mr. Socks is up there giving head-butts to Braden. They loved each other too.
Rose, I really am sorry about Mr. Socks. Of course he was a someone. And I’m sorry that Jared is struggling. Tell him I’ll go to Taco Mac with him. I may be no Braden, but I can buy beer!
You are a beautiful writer Stacy! Again, sorry for your family’s loss. He must have been an amazing kid! Cancer definitely SUCKS!! Hope he still comes to your family on occasion. That is always a nice feeling when you know a departed loved one is close by watching over you.
Thank you, Susan.
Stacy — Thank you for your incredible writing ability. You brought peace to us all six months ago and you have done the same now. Family and friends have been blessed with your presence.
Grandad Walt, you are very kind to write such sweet things. All I know is that writing about Braden keeps his memory alive and it helps me to deal with the incredibly unjust loss. Nobody said life was fair, right?