Everyday things that hurt

I hate setting the table for dinner. I never used to hate setting the table. I know Nathan will always be a part of our family as we all carry him in our hearts and in our memories, but when things come up that make me count or recognize the number of family members present physically, well that just hurts. There are supposed to be five places set at our table. Five. Not four.



I played in the basement with the girls yesterday afternoon. I wouldn't have been able to do it, but I got out of the house yesterday afternoon for some me time. Julia had all of Nathan's Hess trucks out. It was very difficult for me to play with them. Nathan really loved those trucks. I have to admit they are really cool. And I closely associate them with last winter's hospital stay in NY. That is where he accumulated a lot of them. So not only were they toys that Nathan really loved, but they also bring up bad hospital memories. Julia has been so starved for a playmate and it was encouraging to see her want to do something other than play computer games or watch TV, so I settled down and we played a little game with Nathan's toys. It was tough at first, but got easier. And Julia and Lauren both smiled and laughed a lot.



Susan was fortunate to have a nice dream one night about Nathan. I share a bed with her, so I know that her nights aren't usually good like that one. I hardly ever remember my dreams. Over the last few days/nights I've come to the realization that I'm having a recurring dream. These are the ones that I eventually become aware of. They happen over and over again until I begin to be aware of them and the longer they replay the more I tend to remember. Yes, it is a bit like one of those Star Trek eps where the crew is caught in a temporal loop and finally realize it once the deja vu feeling becomes overpowering.

Each night I wake up and I have dreamed Nathan's death. It is strange though, because the details are all wrong. I won't go too much into the details because it is really pretty terrible, but things are different than they really happened. For example, in my dream it is nighttime instead of morning. Strangest of all may be that in my dream he dies on Susan's birthday.

This is a dream I could do without remembering and one that I wish would stop replaying each night.


Hanging In

I've gotten a few emails lately from people checking in on me. All of them have noted my lack of blogging as of late. There are several reasons I haven't posted much. First and foremost is that there just aren't any words. It is all too overwhelming to capture. There is also a practical reason for my infrequent blog posting. I don't tend to spend a lot of time in front of my computer unless I'm working, and I haven't really worked for a couple of months now. I'm easing back into work today and in front of my computer. Most of my blog posting comes when taking work breaks, so perhaps the pace will pick up a bit now.

It is impossible to answer the "How are you doing? No, I mean how are you really doing?" questions. I normally say something like, "As good as could be expected", "We are getting by", or the ever-popular "Okay". Nathan died two weeks ago yesterday. I really am glad he isn't suffering anymore, but in general I don't think my pain has subsided at all (and I don't expect it to have subsided yet). Mostly I just miss him. And "miss" in this context is such an inadequate word. I walk around with this terrible sense of wrongness. And I still feel a lot of guilt/pain/confusion/etc over the decisions we made and care we gave over his last few weeks (If anyone remarks in the comments about what a great job we did or about what great parents we are, blah, blah, blah...then I am likely to disable comments forever on all posts to this blog.
That is the last thing I want or need to here from anyone.)

Yesterday I did some basic putting toys away in the basement. Our basement triples as my office, a playroom, and a guestroom. Over the last few months it had gotten completely out of control. I wept as I sorted toys. I would remember playing with a particular toy with Nathan. Or I would pick up something I know he had an attachment to. The worst was when I ran across his wallet laying on the floor. He received cash gifts over the years and had a good chunk of change saved up. In June it was obvious that if he was going to enjoy that money it was time for him to spend it, so he took his wallet and we went and bought Playmobil toys. He had five or six dollars left after the shopping spree. I'm sure no one is ever really ready to "go through their loved one's things", but I know I'm not anywhere close yet based on the exercise of just sorting toys in the playroom.

Today is Julia's first day of kindergarten. She is adorable and excited. I think she will thrive in school. I know she needs the routine and the activity. Our home environment hasn't been all that healthy for her as of late. I was really happy taking her to the bus stop, but also sad that Nathan wasn't returning to school. Julia had always counted on her big brother showing her the ropes of the school bus. I feel bad for her a lot. There are so many things I want to just be completely happy about sharing with her, but so many of those things have to be bittersweet because of Nathan's absence.

I'm not really sure how Julia is. I try and give her lots of opportunities to talk or work things out, but she generally avoids the subject. I noticed her erasing Nathan's saved profiles from computer games they shared. She just shrugged and said that he didn't need them anymore. I was worried about that trend, but she has done some things lately that I find encouraging, like including Nathan in pictures she has drawn of our family. I want her to grieve and to do so age appropriately, but I don't want her to try and forget about her brother. I'm sure she never could though. What a terrible thing for a child to deal with. I don't know how to act based on my crazy emotional state. What sense can a child make of it?

We have been flooded with cards and letters and just a whole lot of love. I can't thank people enough for their support. It really is amazing. Thanks to everyone who was at Nathan's memorial service, especially those that traveled or held down the fort at home so that others could travel. I'm still a bit in shock over how many people came from great distances to show their love and support for our family. Many thanks.

So...I'm here. I'm hanging in there. I'm doing as well as can be expected. And I'm okay.