I want to tip toe quietly into this first holiday season without Ian. My idea is that I can try to walk through it softly so as not to disturb any of my old holiday memories of him. In reality though, I’m wearing my old 1980 moon boots and they are caked inches thick with mud, tar and sludge. These hypothetical boots aren’t quiet, clean, or soft.
Do you remember celebrating your “firsts” with your babies? That first year filled with all of the first holidays and first birthdays and celebrations galore. You know the ones…the ones they make Christmas Tree ornaments for? Or that you can go out and buy a special printed onsies for? One that says something funny like “I’m the pumpkin to Mommy’s spice” ?
For those of you who have experienced catastrophic loss, you know what I am talking about with this season of second firsts. The first birthday, the first mothers day, the first Christmas are painful daggers to the heart reminding us that our loved one is absent from our lives. Time doesn’t stop for grief. It just keeps tick tocking away.
But I do have a choice on the eve before our First Thanksgiving without Ian. I can choose to be thankful and full of love for 14 amazing years I spent with Ian. I refuse to let his suicide erase just how grateful I am. When I say 14 amazing years, I mean AH-mazing! I told myself when he was born I was going to hold on to every moment I could with him because I knew in my heart that someday he would grow up and give his heart away to a girl. So I had to make every minute count.
Now, I don’t mean hang on to him like a crazy helicopter mom and never let him leave my sight. What I mean is I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. Even the minutes that he didn’t know I was watching. I can still hear him laugh out loud from behind his closed bedroom door at one of the youtube videos he was watching. I can still remember reading texts saying “ilysm” to his friends and feeling a sense of pride that he could express so much love. I saw everytime he looked over to me from the outfield and gave me a wave or a smile. These moments, undocumented by most, hold me together.
Today my choice is to be thankful, that I had a boy that taught me how to love, and to hold on, but not too tight, and how to listen to our own hearts. And especially in this moment I am thankful he let me take all these selfies with him. I can’t tell you how lucky I feel that I have these.