The one year anniversary is two days away… There are only two days left to remember that this time last year was filled with happiness, summer plans, late night conversations in the back yard, early mornings full of quick breakfasts, hugs on the way out the door, retelling of football stories from his senior year, happy banter and joking about differences in politics… a hippie, environmentalist, democrat mother loving her redneck, big truck driving, republican boy…

Tomorrow morning I’m going up to the cemetery to place flowers and make sure there are no branches and things that need to be picked up.  I want it to look nice for the people who will be visiting this weekend.

My mind is like a game of ping-pong… my thoughts move back and forth between hoping Rin is having fun in Hawai’i to the internal countdown to Saturday night at 11:50pm.  Rin’s plane lands Saturday morning so we will leave for the airport early.  I want to hear all the good things about her trip, the fun she had, the new memories she made, look at pictures that she will treasure forever.  At the same time that internal clock will be ticking – for all of us.

I know the feeling of my heart being ripped out of my chest, torn to pieces and shoved back in my body – the loss of a child is a loss like none other.  I don’t know what it feels like to lose a sibling.  I don’t know what Rin’s pain is like.  Losing the one person she was counting on to be there with her through her whole life – her big brother, a protector, a pest, a friend, a confidante.  I don’t know what it is like to go from watching her brother make those adult decisions first – paving the way for her – and now she is all alone.

I worry sometimes that I get too caught up in what my loss feels like, what my pain is, how I feel like I can’t handle it – and at the same time here is my Rin feeling her loss and pain.  Grief feels selfish sometimes.  I don’t know how she does it… I think we are close, we talk about nearly everything, but I know it bothers her to see me cry.  Sometimes I can hold the tears back so she can release hers.  Sometimes I can put mine on the back burner because I know she needs to vent hers and needs a mom to catch her.  Sometimes we can cry together.  I don’t know… I feel like I have no clue what I’m doing…

When I don’t know what to do I pretend.  I feel like I pretend an awful lot – pretend things are ok.  See, my house is clean, clothes are washed, and I am out of bed – therefore I am ok.  I pretend like life is ok, that I am ok, that we are ok.  “Fake it ‘till you make it” is the motto of the day.  It is sometimes only late at night, or if I am up before everyone else in the morning, or when I am alone that the walls come down.  Those are the times I will go into his room and smell him.  Touch and hold his clothes, hats, old school work.  Those are the times where I allow myself to remember, hope and wish for just one more second with him.  Giving him one more back rub after a long day of school or after a game.  One more second to feel his soft hair when he was trying to let it grow – or the stubble just after he shaved it.  Wishing he would walk through the door, tracking in mud and calling for me to come look at his truck caked in mud from a day of four-wheeling.  I could spend years telling you all the amazing things this boy did… They may seem like trivial things that a lot of people do, but you wouldn’t understand.  This boy did them differently; he was amazing because he was mine.  Every parent probably feels this way, but mine was special because he was mine.

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