One more day. And then the next. On Monday begins a settling period. This weekend marks the end of the “held breath” part of the year, Christmas, the anniversary of Andrew’s passing, Mother’s Day, his birthday and Father’s Day. A 6–month span of checking off significant days, waiting for them to pass, hoping they will not turn into unrecognizable, bed ridden, tear stained moments.
In March, I wrote about milestones and the significance that we place on them. They are stark reminders of what is present and what is missing. June marks another missed milestone in Andrew’s life. Tomorrow is his 14th birthday. Fourteen. He was supposed to be graduating grade 8 right now. He was supposed to be growing patchy facial hair, (still) playing video games and spending time outside with friends in the pool or on the soccer field. But instead, we sit here, checking off the hard days like they are a transaction. Trying to manage daily life with huge emotion and keeping it all balanced.
And all of this is compounded with the ongoing discoveries of the mass residential school graves beginning a couple of weeks ago. I am not sure if it is my connection to education, my own children’s Indigenous heritage or my perspective as a mom who also lost a child from a preventable event, but this has hit very very hard.
All this to say that there is a real paradox between checking off the hard days (“phew, I made it through another one”) and giving meaning to everything that Andrew is and represents. Maybe reconciling the 2 is more of an emotional toll than just leaning in. Is it ok to treat parts of grief as a transaction? Or should every part of it be met with gravitas and meaning?
Happy Birthday, Andrew. We love you.