In the beginning of 8th grade Ian worked hard to make sure he got placed in a higher level math class. He and I met with the counselor at the start of the year and she asked him why he felt like he should be moved up. I can remember he sat up tall and confidently spoke about how he applied himself the year before and he was ready to grow and take on a challenge. He was so articulate about the steps he would take if he fell behind. I of course was the proudest of him and pledged that if the class got tough I would put all the resources in front of him to help him succeed.
The class was harder than we both imagined. By December, the struggle was was obvious and Ian needed extra help and fast. After the holiday break, I signed him up for after school tutoring, but that didn’t seem to do much good. So in early spring I found a private tutor. One that any 14 year old boy would respond to. A smart but very cute young woman. I was excited to see Ian get his confidence back in math, and well Ian never fought going to see Colleen.
The week before Ian died he had a big test that he had been preparing for and Colleen was helping get him ready. I knew he was working hard and I could hear how confident he was about it. He was at his dad’s that last week, so we texted about the test:
Since the day that Ian died, my thoughts are completely and neatly packaged in two time zones. Before Ian’s suicide and after. The two worlds are impossible to vacillate between and being stuck in the after, my efforts are dependant upon keeping the before as crystal clear as possible. And then there are days like today, where I encountered a bridge between the two time zones. A precious precious bridge.
In the fog of grieving and missing half of my heart, I forgot about the test…of course I forgot about the test. But last week with the buzz of all the kids heading back to school that math test was knocking the shit out of the inside of my brain and I had to find out. I emailed Ian’s principal from his middle school, they’ve been so kind and responsive with all my little requests.
Ian, today my heart and literally my whole entire being is beeming with pride. For the first time since you died I could FEEL you there with me, watching me stand up at my desk, punch the air and yell out FUCK YA!
I’ve been searching for you, for the feeling of you near. Even though I can’t take you out to dinner or buy you something extra for your camera kit, I will still tell the world that I am the proudest mom of the coolest kid.
PS: I texted Colleen, his tutor, after getting the math test back. She will forever be a part of Ian, and I hope that he is forever a part of her.