It's been two years and six months and a few weeks since Gavin died.
It's been a long time - and it's been the blink of an eye.
When I think about all that has happened in the time since my world came crashing down, I can get easily overwhelmed...
On the heels of losing my Father... I lost my son and, with him, the hopes and dreams and aspirations that I had for his life.
I lost part of my identity which was wrapped up in his care and needs and happiness and health.
I was unexpectedly pregnant and thrilled about it which was, obviously, emotionally challenging.
I was pregnant and grieving and parenting a little boy who lost his brother and trying to support a man who lost his son.
I lost people - Gavin's people who were in and out of our house on a near daily basis. Therapists and aides and teachers - all of whom became part of our family. Some still are! But the steady stream suddenly stopped - leaving an absolute void.
I look back and wonder (a lot) how I did what I did in those days, weeks, months - even the first year - after Gavin died. How did I give a eulogy? How did I not lose Hope (literally AND figuratively!)? How did I give speeches and hold a giant fundraiser and continue to write?
I lost some friends and experienced a betrayal of epic proportions that I never saw coming.
As this blog grew and grew, things got weird. I would get emails - lots of emails - on a daily basis. The majority of them were lovely and thoughtful and encouraging. Many were people reaching out to ask for help or advice or tips. But boy... did the meanies, the judgers, the unsolicited advice givers - did I mention the meanies? - come at me from all angles. I even got obnoxious, hateful comments on my blog. (You wouldn't believe what people say to me - it's pretty shocking... when it's not so ridiculously funny) I finally had to start blocking people and monitoring comments, which I hated to do. But guess what? This blog is a chronicle of my children's lives... which means it's not up for critique or attacks or nasty comments. They will read this someday - and that is one of the main reasons that I started... and continue to write this blog at all!! I feel so, overwhelmingly grateful that I have Gavin's entire life in writing. How special it will be for Brian and Hope to read this someday and get an idea of what our life was like with Gavin... and what it was like in the days and weeks and years without him.
I really have wondered, as I look back at all that happened and all I accomplished, how I managed to do it all. And I think I know the answer. Adrenaline. You can never be prepared for losing a child - even if you know it's coming. And you can't predict how you'll act - what you'll say or do... especially when you have thousands of eyes on you. I feel like Ed and I were both carried by adrenaline in order to get us through the days leading up to Gavin's death... the actual goodbye... the organ donation... the viewing and the huge amount of people there... the funeral - decisions - all of it. I believe that people showed up expecting to see us wrecked - or showed up here expecting me to not show up at all or be whatever it was they "expected" was normal for a grieving Mom. It's hard to explain the adrenaline - but it got us through. It got me through for a long time. I expected to crash - there's always a crash in extreme cases like this. It didn't really come. Then I got worried and thought it would happen after Hope was born and be the worst kind of post partum there is. That didn't happen, either.
But it did happen.
I noticed it about a month or so ago... and I'm still in it. Call it what you want - a crash, a slump, a funk... stuck. Maybe all of the above. But suddenly I feel it. We are happy in our new home and I show up for everyone and we play and read and do homework and dance. But I'm stuck in grief - I feel it. I don't care to be anywhere or do anything other than stay here, holed up in my new house, and play with Hope or listen to Brian's stories after school or eat Ben & Jerry's. I've had no motivation to write or decorate the new place or make plans or put on makeup or take the amount of photos I used to take or even get out of my pajamas some days.
I haven't been me... and I know it.
I will be honest - with the blog posts so few and far between and with me being so unmotivated in general - I really thought that many of you would dwindle away. But you didn't. You're all still here. Even when it's boring you show up... and it's clear you still care about our little family.
No matter what happens down the road, it will be a very cool thing to tell Brian and Hope about the days when I wrote about our lives... and how so many wonderful people were rooting for us along the way.
I'll get through this. There's no predicting how one's grief journey will twist and turn. I am desperately missing my son and my father and I'm not expecting very much from myself during this time. The laundry can wait - the writing can wait - the kids and the Ben & Jerry's can NOT wait, but they get a pass.
Soon I will be myself again - or maybe even a better version of myself - okay, maybe not - but basically what I'm trying to say is this: Thank you for your patience and understanding and for not forgetting Gavin.
He was pretty unforgettable...