Not sure what to title this yet. "Call it what it is: Grief" or "The difference between Postpartum and Just Depression" or maybe "The elephant in the room sucked out all my air"!
Here we are again. September 16th. Three years ago I walked out of Bradford's room after putting him to bed. I had heard the phone ring but knew Brandon would answer it. So when I got into the living room he told me to sit down. He didn't have to! There was no sugar-coating. But like all horrific things in my life the truth of what has just happened is always the last thing to come to mind! When my aunt had to tell my sisters and myself our dad died, I was stunned. I actually thought when she said I have some bad news, something had happened to someone else. No matter that I had just seem him wheeled out on a stretcher to the ambulance 30 minutes prior!
Back to Sept 16. Then he said "Jodi is dead." My mind automatically went to a friend of ours. Then he said, "No, Rena. Your cousin Jodi." I fell apart. Like Humpty Dumpty, I still have not been completely put back together again.
2007 rolled around and I was 3 months after having a miscarriage and already 6 weeks pregnant with Berkeley. So I chalked my grief at the time up to postpartum! 2008 I was 4 months post delivery, so postpartum again, right? Nope! 2009 and I am still grieving. Combine tomorrow with next week is Mema's birthday. The first birthday since she passed away in January. I have felt tears ready at a nano-seconds notice for a week. My therapist says simply notice what you are feeling. Then you can deal with it. So here I go...
She was 5 foot tall and barely 100 pounds. Strawberry red hair and she was a force! Don't dare reckon with her! She lived life fully. She had three beautiful daughters. It is easy to forget some days that she is gone. It's harder to remember some days that she is not here. We were polar opposites in some ways and exactly alike in others. We were each others arch rival at times and sweet friends at others. She taught me to live in the present every day. Don't worry about tomorrow because yes even at 30 tomorrow may never come. She survived being a premature baby at just over 7 months or so, in 1975. Pretty unheard of back then. She survived her car going off a bridge when she blacked with her oldest two girls in the car with her in her mid-twenties. She survived a faulty defibrillator! But she did not survive that white suburban that decided to run a stop sign.
I am thankful that my constant memory of her is riding on the back of that motorcycle, a sunny day, her red hair flowing behind her, smile on her face, loving life, so care-free. I am thankful that some day I will make it through the town of Waco and past the Lacy Lakeview exit without tears and tightening of my chest. I am thankful I will some day make it through the month of September without feeling like I will fall apart. I am thankful she was my cousin. I am thankful I had the privilege to learn from her. Lastly, I am thankful for all those childhood memories that will carry me through my tears. And maybe, just maybe someday I can ride on the back of a motorcycle again.
“Um, mom?” My son lifts an ornament out of the box and shows it to me. Tucked inside the glass frame is a photo of a little girl with a missing front too...