I had lunch today with a fellow grieving mom and while we laughed and shed some tears over our greasy, food court Chinese food, I laughed at the comment she made the night before about Alejandro’s grief…
“That sneaky grief”.
Ah yes. That sneaky grief indeed!! I should have seen it coming. You would think that, just as a trained meteorologist knows the signs of an impending storm, I too would know the signs of the fury that grief would unleash on me again. But this time, the storm took me by surprise. It wasn’t on me. I may be a rookie but I know that when it comes to me, if I have too much fun for two or three days straight, the depression will hit. I know that too much rowdiness and fun in a crowd will send me into a corner to drink my adult beverage. I know that when I talk about Joaquin over and over and over again, desperate to keep his memory alive, that it will hit me like a ton of bricks that he’s really not coming back.
So why didn’t I see the signs with Alejandro? He had been “happy” for way too long. And then one day, his storm blew through. And it was too late. All I could do was help clean up the mess it left behind. I should have seen the signs. The distant look in his eyes as he stared up into the sky. His little hands sneaking a picture of his brother away underneath his pillow. His words, “Sometimes I have thoughts. Why did Joaquin have to die so fast?”. The Sunday afternoon nap.
Not wanting to get out of bed because he “just feels tired”. And then finally, the quivering lips and those big fat tears.
Oh those tears. They broke me. They kicked me all over again. It knocked me down.
But I swallow the tears. I breathe deep. My focus is up above. I stand and hold him up. And finally a smile. He loves me. He knows I’ll wipe those tears away. And as my mom distracts him, I sneak into the bathroom and I let it knock me down again. The tears flow. I cannot breathe. My cries go up above. I fall and when I finally walk out, my mom is there to hold me up. I smile. I thank her. She grieves but I love her. She wipes my tears and crawls into his bed.
Grief may be sneaky but I have all the tools to fight back and clean up the mess it leaves behind. And for that – I am grateful once more.