At work today, during conversation with someone, I was asked how many kids I have. We had been talking about family fun and moving and all sorts of things and it was just a natural part of the conversation, I said I had 4 boys and I smiled as I said how great they are and how much I have loved having all boys and the craziness that comes with that dynamic. We chit chatted some more and they went on their way and I went back to my office.
As I sat down and smiled it occurred to me that I had just done something that I hadn’t done before …. I had remembered Willie and had thought of him with happiness. Remembering him and feeling happy that I had him, not just sad that I have lost him. To be able to look back and be thankful that he was with us, for however short a time… and not just focus on the pain of having him gone now is a big step.
But tonight I find myself again sitting with my thoughts and missing him. The missing is palpable… like how you miss someone who has gone away for a week…missing him like you do with someone who is going to be back soon and you can hardly wait. Missing him with a feeling like it’s not permanent. I want the simple things, like walking in the house and seeing him sitting on the couch… playing some game on his iPod or listening to music or telling me to get out of his room when I go in to ask him how he’s doing. I want him to ignore me and shrug and glance up at me again and give me that look like “what? you can go now” when he wants me to leave him alone. I want to hear his laugh again like when he was, for those very brief moments, himself again and not the angry and quiet teenager fighting mental illness.
I see young men on the street sometimes that look like him and I used to look away and try not to see them because it hurts so much. But now sometimes I stop and stare and blur my vision a bit and pretend that it’s him and think what it would be like to see him again and for just a moment I push away the reality that he’s dead and I let myself see him as if he were there, walking down the street… and I let myself “have” him again, just for a moment. I know it’s a horrible game I play on myself but it gives me a second or two of not having him gone… even though I know he is.
Life goes on without him but it’s wrong and it hurts.