So, I went back to work

So, I went back to work… I had found myself nearly immobile with grief in the summer and stuck in my head all day.  So, I found a job and went back to work.  I figured if there was someplace where I had to be every day, some place where I was forced to think about something other than my Roo it would help.

 

I didn’t finish getting my Bachelor’s degree, again.  I’ve been working towards getting that degree for nearly 20 years now, but I just couldn’t focus, couldn’t care about school… so I went back to work.  It’s what I know, it’s drawing a paycheck to help my family, it’s customer service and it’s safe.

 

I sometimes think that Roo would have chided me for not finishing, but at the same time I hope he would understand.  It feels sometimes that I have taken the easy way out, but I just couldn’t do it anymore – day after day feeling like I was under water with no way out, trying to force thoughts and concepts onto paper… thoughts of Roo overpowered everything… this way I am at a place with people who didn’t know him, I can create a person that can pretend everything is ok.  I can bring a picture of just Rin and people won’t realize there is not you….

 

I breaks my heart – I want to put a picture of you up, I do!  But I can’t bring myself for people to ask me who you are… I am too weak to try to tell your story to people who are only trying to be nice, but really don’t care…

 

So, I went back to work… I tried to run away from my mind, but I bring you with me wherever I go.  You are always with me.

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Daily Prompt: Elicit

via Daily Prompt: Elicit

It’s the littlest things that make me catch my breath… the sight of Rin wearing your sweatshirt, Joe bringing home eggnog before Thanksgiving thinking it will get used, but he forgot that it’s you who guzzles it down so quickly – not us… the smell of you when the door to your room is opened telling me that someone has broken the seal to the past – even for just a moment…

 

It’s being in the middle of a conversation with someone who didn’t know you and I drop a little nugget of you in without them knowing – how it hurts my heart they don’t realize the treasure I have shared with them…

 

It’s the holidays… the damned holidays… it’s the coming together of family when family isn’t complete… it’s the pretending that I’m not breaking a little more inside without you while waiting for you to come through the door, larger than life, with some fanciful and outrageous story to tell…

 

I guess it’s almost everything that evokes, extracts, elicits memories and yearning for you.  It’s not the same, Roo, without you.  Nothing will ever be the same…

Moon Pie

Moon Pie

Roo would have 20 this month… twenty…two decades…  Roo would have been…

Those words “would have been” stab at the heart like bolts of lightning.  The passing of time offers different words…speaking in a past tense… I try to pull the words into the present by force.  I didn’t know what to do.  Do I make a cake?  Cupcakes?  His favorite dinner?  I couldn’t do any of those so I bought a Moon Pie.  He liked Moon Pies.  I wanted to mark the day, but struggled with causing heartache for Rin and Joe.  It sounds crazy now, they knew what day it was and I think they were thinking the same thing.  We tip-toe around pain with each other…I almost hide my own.

I placed a small rock at his grave in the dark of the night.  I can hardly speak when I am there, but I had to place something physical there.

When I was alone I ate the sickeningly sweet Moon Pie and thought of him.  Oh, Roo…

I couldn’t bring myself to write on here.  I needed time away.  The step-mom just had a new baby boy the first week of September.  I don’t do newborns.  They trigger all things Gem.  I can’t believe she had a baby boy.  Jealousy, anger, and resentment swirl around this boy’s birth.  It’s not his fault he was born into the world of “After Roo.”

Loss creates these new worlds with titles – After Gem…After Jim…After Roo.  It’s like a train of tears that bleed into one another.  Each one colors life differently until everything is tinged with loss.  Morning coffee is no longer just coffee, but “morning coffee used to be accompanied by making sure Roo was awake”… “morning coffee used to be listening to his truck leave the driveway”… morning coffee used to be … different.

Silence

Silence

Daily Prompt: Silence

Silence

Life happens even when it’s silent.  Sometimes the silence holds the biggest changes.  Sometimes the silence is weighted…heavy…shoulders stoop from the pressure bearing down.

Silence is life devoid of you.  Silence is proof of the past.  Your room is silent…abnormally silent.  There is silence there because there was once sound…the past was filled with sound…this room housed sound.

Sound coming from tvs, radios, phones, the ceiling fan whirling created sound…the creak of the door in the morning, the clattering of backpacks, shoes, and books in the afternoon.  The door shutting as the work of school was done and there were better things to do with friends.

Sound of trucks, tools, friends, and Friday nights.  Bantering back and forth with your sister over bathroom time.

All these things held sound…your sleeping was sound…your anger was sound…your concentration was sound…

Now the silence is heavy, throbbing with absence it radiates from the places where you should be.

On nights like this

On nights like this

Daily Prompt: Moon

 

It’s a hot night.  Nights like these remind me of late night football games.  Packing Pixie Sticks and Gatorade for you to have during the game, grabbing some folding chairs and heading to the school.  We would show up so early, but always had the best seats.  I would rather be an hour early than five minutes late.  We would haul our things down to the field and set up as close to the field as we could.  The purple and yellow flag banners barring us from getting too close.  We would sit and wait…my ears straining for the sound of cleats on gravel.  The gym door would open and a sea of purple, gold, and white would spill through the door.  Helmets, pads, and excitement would roll out.  Freshman year…you were so excited to be playing.  All arms and legs, you looked so scrawny compared to the older boys.  That didn’t stop you, though.  You played your heart out.  Sophomore year…you were so happy to no longer be a freshman.  You were then a “seasoned” player and I remember you coming home and talking about those “freshies” who needed to learn this and that.  Junior year…finally you were officially an “upperclassmen” and you were starting to really come into your own.  You worked out all summer before your Senior year and by the time football finally rolled around again you were ready.

 

It’s nights like this that remind me of those late summer football nights…  The game starts before the sun sets.  The most beautiful sunsets would be the backdrop to a great night.  Watching my boy play the sport he loved, with the friends he loved.  I would take as many pictures as I could while walking up and down the field with the other Moms cheering you and your team on.  I didn’t spend much time in the folding chairs we brought down, but Oh Man, what great nights those were…  You were so proud to be a part of that team and I was so proud to be your Mom.

 

It was a small team; 1A football plays with 8 man teams.  You played a lot, you liked defense the best… After each game the team would circle on the field and the parents and friends in the crowd would meet you all out on the field.  Your coaches would talk about the game and plans for next practice.  I loved seeing you there with your friends, surrounded by the small community who loved every person on the team.  By the time the coaches were done your eyes had found mine in the crowd.  Every time you would come over and give me a big sweaty hug with your lopsided grin covered in grass stains and dirt…every time.  I would hug you back and tell you how well you did and recount a great tackle or two.  Then you would talk to Rin and your girlfriend…

 

By the time the game had ended the sun had set and the moon had begun its dance across the sky.  You would shower and change, we would pack up our chairs and head to the car.  We would wait in the parking lot, watching boys come out one by one.  We would make dinner plans and head for home.  You would come home tired and hungry.  Eat and head for bed.  Some nights you would sheepishly ask for a back rub.  I loved it when you would ask me.  I would grab some Icy Hot and rub your back.  You would tell me about your day, the game, your girlfriend, what you were planning on doing for the weekend.  We would talk about whatever, music, trucks, video games…it didn’t matter.  What mattered is we were together and chatting, laughing, planning and hoping together.  You were so tall your feet would hang off the end of the bed…the room smelled of Icy Hot and you.  You have a birthmark in the shape of a truck on your back and small freckles on your shoulders…a tan line from your sleeveless shirt…your hair is still slightly wet from your shower…sometimes your shower was so long your fingers would be all pruney…

 

On nights like these with the NFL playing preseason games on T.V., warm nights and the crickets chirping in chorus that I think of you playing football and being so happy.  Football season last year was so hard.  We watched, but it wasn’t the same.  We rooted for the Broncos because that’s your team.  Everything reminds me of you.  Warm days and nights, cold days and nights, rainy days and nights…every day and every night.

Red bags

Red bags

Daily Prompt:Ghost

 

Those damned red bags

Sitting in my closet

On the shelf

The maroon

Red screams

Each bag holding secrets

The sadness haunts them

Quietly

Waiting

To be visited

Waiting to be released

 

Those damned red bags

Imprinted with

The Mortuary address

I can never forget

That place

I’ve been there

Too many

Times

 

A brick building

On the outskirts of

Town

The quiet chime after

Crossing the threshold into

Tears

Pain

Finality

 

The fake plants

Squatting on the counter

Pretending to be

Growing

They too are

A façade of

Life

 

The muted greys

And browns of color

So as not to disturb the

Eyes

Trying not to be too

Bright

 

Those damned red bags

Those ghostly red bags

Sit in my closet

The echoes of

Yesterday

Screaming into

Today

Carry

Carry

Daily Prompt: Carry

I carry a piece of Jim’s soapstone in my pocket on days when important decisions are to be made.  This last year I have added one of Roo’s pop can tops.  My brother’s ring is carried on my left hand, my mother’s ring on my right.  I carry Roo’s thumbprint around my neck, always.  I carry the names of my loved one’s tattooed under my skin.    My stomach bears stretch marks – evidence that I loved them before the rest of the world met them.  These are tangible things that others can see of the things that are important to me.

In my head, circling day after day, are the important lived experiences of those who are most important to me.  In my head are memories so vivid I can almost reach out and touch them – memories revolving around what made you smile, made you angry, and made you laugh…  I can smell Roo all sweaty after a football game… the smell of Jim’s mechanic shop on a hot summer day – the tang of grease mixed with orange citrus hand soap before lunch… the smell of Gem after a bath – lavender and milk baby lotion.

I carry things that are most important to me even when it is painful to carry.  To put them down would be denying that these things happened, denying that these things have shaped me, somehow denying their existence.  It’s as if not carrying them is forgetting them.  My arms carried them when they couldn’t yet walk.  My arms carried them when they were tired.  My arms carried them when they wanted to play.  My arms need them as much as they need me.  Even when they aren’t here to need me I still need them and my arms ache with emptiness.  My ears ache with the absence of their voices.  Sometimes I will indulge my ears with listening to old voicemail’s from Roo.  They are voicemails asking if he can go to a friend’s house or letting me know he has made plans to go somewhere.  I will indulge my senses by watching and re-watching videos from football games, graduation, and times with his friends…  The memories replay in my mind so often I don’t have to watch the videos, but my ears and eyes ache from the absence so I will submerge as many senses I can in him.  It is all for naught.  I cannot touch him, I cannot make new memories…no matter what I do…I cannot will him here.  Pictures, videos, voicemails, clothes, pop tabs…I gather as many pieces as I can, but they aren’t enough.

I fear that this will happen again, so I take so many pictures of Rin that she gets frustrated.  She indulges me as much as she can, but it is often too much.  I take the pictures under some made-up excuse because I don’t even want to tell myself the truth – that I’m scared.  I take mental note of Rin’s outfit every day before she leaves the house because what if today is the day something bad will happen – what if I need to file some kind of missing person’s report – what if?  I fill up flash drives of memories that were lucky enough to be caught on camera and there they sit – waiting for when they will be needed.  It’s gruesome in a way, but it satisfies something within me.

The smallest, most trivial, most “normal” things have come to hold the most value in my life.  Watching and witnessing how someone takes their coffee, drinks their milk, puts on their shoes, and constantly misplaces their keys.  These small things hold so much value when they suddenly become a memory and can no longer be witnessed.  When a new reality that doesn’t include the ability to witness these things is forced upon me then these things become priceless.

I carry the memories, the fears, the tentative flickers of hope…the names, the scars, the love…  I carry them on and within myself so they will be with me always…

“i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)”

~ e.e. cummings