Over the past few days, I've found myself on the verge of tears again.
They come at such odd times, in the quiet moments when no one is around. Or when the big blue eyes of my youngest child look up at while nursing. Or in the moments when my husband shares good news about his job or our new home.
The tears threaten to overtake me. They threaten to ruin sweet moments of peace and joy. The grief comes bubbling up and, often times, its hard to control.
Twice in the last 2 days, I've had to stop what I'm doing because the tears in my eyes have made it hard to see. Twice, I've had to allow the tears to come and pull myself together to get on with my day. Twice, out of nowhere, the grief has struck and threatens to swallow me whole.
It's been a while since I've cried about Joshua. I've learned to live with the pain of losing him. I've learned to accept that he is gone and that I will never see him grow. It's a burden I carry, but it's a burden that I have learned how to deal with. I don't like it, but I've learned.
But then, I look at Luke. I see how beautiful and perfect he is. I see what a sweet temperament he has. I live for the moments when he grabs my face, opens his mouth as wide as possible, and tries to swallow my cheek whole. I see my older children interacting with him, and it hits me. Joshua should be here. I should have experienced these things with him. But I didn't. I didn't even get to hold him without tubes or wires.
All I have left of Joshua is some "dust" that used to be his body and some pictures. I have a few memories of holding him, smelling his sweaty little head, calming him when he cried, laughing at his grumpy growls. But that's it. No first smiles, no first time rolling over or sitting up.
I should be planning his 2nd birthday party in a few months.
It's not how it should be. Not. At. All.
And then I think about my dad. He would have loved Luke at this stage. He would have loved seeing Hannah and Caleb interact with him. He would have laughed at the many times that Hannah reminds me, "Mom! Lukey has mouse ears! He's so cute. I just want to keep him forever!"
My dad loved my children.
But he's gone too. He will never get to see them grow. He will never get to teach Luke to call him Pepo. He will never get to play grandpa sleeping monster with them. I will never get to show him our new home- a home in a neighborhood that he would have been so proud of.
All these things hit me at once. The tears take over. I am reminded of my reality. The reality that death is a part of my life. I'm reminded that I must carry this burden and continue to live with it. I'm reminded that I have to continue to allow the tears to come and then move on with my life.
I miss them. I miss my son. I miss my dad. I long for the day that all of this will be over and I will never feel this pain again. I long for the day that this burden of grief will be lifted.
Until then, I just continue to do the best that I can. One day at a time. One tear at a time.