Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Night Before What Could Have Been...

Today I could have been spending my time feeling the jitters... checking and re-checking to make sure I had everything ready... agonizing over "just the right outfit"... and then sitting back and staring with pride at my little boy on the eve of his first day of Kindergarten.

Tomorrow would have been Gavin's first day of Kindergarten at the Phoenixville Area Kindergarten Center.
And I am not handling it very well.

Actually, let me rephrase that and give myself some credit.  I'm actually "handling" it quite well - but, as many grieving Mothers might understand, I could easily cross the line into the dark side and let it consume me.  But letting this grief consume me is not a choice I'm allowed to make.  Why?  Because in doing so, I would take innocent casualties down with me.  Ed.  Brian.  Hope.  Family and friends.  And that would be a bigger tragedy... and one that would not honor Gavin at all.  

So, to get through tomorrow I came up with a game plan to stay busy.  

Yesterday we spent the day as a family and Ed came up with the great idea of going Miniature Golfing. Brian had so much fun...

He even, believe it or not, got a HOLE IN ONE!!!!  He's a natural like his Dad.
And today... I had some "me" time.  While Ed and Brian took off for some fun, I spent a couple hours slowly (and aimlessly) going up and down every aisle in Babies r Us with Hope.  I marveled over how much has changed since I shopped for an infant and I made a list of all the things I needed... and just plain wanted because I couldn't resist the cuteness.

Then, when I got home, Ed took us out for a Sunday drive with the top down.  
We always wanted to do that with Gavin, who would have absolutely LOVED it, but never did.  He was our resident daredevil.  But Brian suddenly has taken over that role - he thought the entire ride was "SO COOL!"
I even have a plan for tomorrow.  I have my first session with a grief counselor at DuPont (Gavin's hospital where he lived...and died).  And Brian will be spending time with Miss Jenn from Child Life - the wonderful woman who helped us the day that he came in to say goodbye to Gavin.  She was the one who created the invisible string with Brian that hangs on Gavin's closet door to this day... and who did Gavin and Brian's handprints side by side for us.  She's going to work with him simultaneously while I'm with the bereavement counselor.  I'm also hoping to stop into the PICU, where Gavin spent his final days, to say hello to the doctors and nurses that mean so much to us.  Brian and I have some donations for the hospital as well, which we'll be delivering, and then we plan to spend the rest of the day doing whatever we want.  Lunch... the toy store... a playground... who knows.  We'll be busy.

But tomorrow and what could have been... what would have been... what should have been... will not be far from my mind.  I was so looking forward to Gavin starting Kindergarten.  I couldn't even believe it was really happening - my little boy attending a mainstream school.  I couldn't wait to take his "first day of school" photos again like I did last year...
...and to capture him with Miss Sara, who was planning to go with him every day.

Tomorrow marks the start of what I know will be a painful month for me.  The start of Kindergarten... Gavin's 6th birthday.  But really the "firsts" will never end.  And the "what could have beens" will always follow me.  

But the "what was" follows me, too.

And what was - that was something really great.

And the what is, following Gavin's death?  That's just remarkable.

Happy First Day of Kindergarten to everyone at the Kindergarten Center.
 And to Gavin, I will always be so proud of you and how far you came.  And I continue to be proud of all you continue to accomplish from where you are.  I miss you, Bugaboo.



15 comments:

  1. (((HUGS))) Oh how I can relate. May tomorrow be gentle.

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  2. Tomorrow would have been my daughter Emily's 1st day of Kindergarten as well. She passed away 3 1/2 years ago at the age of 18 months. This is just tearing me apart. I will bring in donations of school supplies to the classroom she would be in. My youngest son still goes to that school, and was in that Kindergarten as well, so the teachers already know me, and one of them knew Emily. It is good that you have a plan and are keeping busy on that day. I will have to be at the school anyway, so I thought I would do something positive to honor Emily. Thank you for your blog. It really helps me work through my own grief. <3

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    1. This is just nice. I sometimes read the blogs and I listen to all the other people criticize each other. I'm sorry both of you have to deal with something so horrible as the loss of a child and I'm glad that you both choose to do so with love and integrity. Carry on, stay strong and stay real. It is all any of us can do.

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  3. Kate - your openness and strength never ceases to amaze me! Please know your raw emotion and continued positive outlook have an effect on your readers. I have faith you will survive tomorrow and the next few weeks ahead. Sending love and light.

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  4. I'll be thinking of you tomorrow. You're never far from my mind.
    Tiffany

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  5. Well said. Every day a lot of grieving parents make the choice not to be consumed by the darkness. It is not easy and your strength is inspiring. I went through the "night before" two weeks ago. My oldest son should have started his senior year, something Tyler had looked forward to immensely. I appreciate the fact that you write so honestly , it lets many of us know that we are not alone in this pain.
    Amy

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  6. Love and hugs to you, momma. My thoughts and prayers will be with you, as always. Your writing is beautiful and honest...thank you.

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  7. Oh Kate. I just love you so much. Prayers for a gentle day tomorrow. Thank you for continuing to share your journey with all of us.

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  8. I think spending some time with a grief counselor is such a great thing to do for yourself. I hope tomorrow goes even better than you can hope. Love the plans for Brian as well.

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  9. Thinking of you and praying today is easier!

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  10. Dear sweet Kate- I made it almost to the end of this lovely post and then just lost it. Burst right into tears. It's not fair! I don't know how you do it, but you are such an examle of Grace. I wish you the best and look forward to meeting Hope in December. hugs to you. -Wisco Momma

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  11. Man, it's a marathon this grief. You just have to keep pushing yourself over each hurdle that crops up.

    My heart is with you.

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  12. Hang in there today! DuPont Hospital and the Child Life people there are terrific, and hopefully will be of some comfort to you & Brian.

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  13. I agree that I so appreciate the honesty in your writing. I lost my son 6 years ago and sometimes I wonder how I am still here...you put the words to what we grieving mothers feel...we do our best not to let the darkness overtake us. Only people who have experienced this can truly understand how it feels.

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  14. I think it's a fantastic "me-time" idea to see a grief counselor. Bravo.

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