Every morning, I make coffee. I am completely in love with my morning cup (or three), and I don't know how I could start the day without it. But since Ty died, I have had a very hard time making my coffee in the morning. And, every day it tastes absolutely terrible. Gross, in fact. I might have to go out for coffee in the morning from now on...
Since we moved to Pawling, three months after his original cancer diagnosis, Ty and I started a coffee ritual. Ty's legs were so weak but his upper body was strong (at the time), so I often let him sit on the counter in our new kitchen so I could do what I needed to do without him feeling left out - not even for one second. One of the most important of which was making coffee. Ty and me, we were two peas in a pod. We did EVERYTHING together. I can't tell you how lonely I am now. For the first time in so long, I am having a hard time explaining my grief. I don't even understand it myself. I can go hours and hours thinking I'm just fine, and then it hits me like a swift kick to the ribs out of nowhere. The simplest things can trigger it at any time, and God does it hurt. So much.
Here he is, my Ty, helping me in the kitchen.
I always liked to tell Ty that he was putting the love in my coffee (or as Ty would say, "putting the wub in my coffee.") When he was strong enough, he helped me scoop the coffee into the coffee pot and flip the "on" switch. When he got too weak to sit on the counter and help make the coffee, I would pour a cup and bring it over to him on the couch so he could help pour the milk and sugar in it (the "wub"). When that became too clumsy for him to help with, I would bring my coffee over with a spoon so he could add the love by stirring. And when he wasn't able to stir anymore, even with my help, I had him blow on my coffee so I could have some "wub" in my coffee. He never let me get a cup without it. It's the same with cuddling up at night. I don't think there was a night where I didn't hear him whisper, at one point or another, "I want to snuggle you!" God, I was the luckiest woman alive.
|Ty on the counter in Daddy's hat, with Blue Lollipop lips, January 2011|
Now I'm left to wonder... what is my future going to be like without Ty in it? I can't stop looking for him everywhere. Especially on the couch. This damn couch that we bought for him when we moved here. I wish I couldn't sit in his spot like I am right now, because I wish he was here instead. I wish I didn't have so much room in my bed at night. I wish I didn't look in my rearview mirror and see Gavin instead of Ty. I guess I should be embarrassed to say it, but it's TRUE. I don't love Gavin less, but Gavin used to sit in the car seat behind me, and Ty was always diagonally across so I could see him the easiest. It's not fair for Gavin, when you consider that he is the youngest and otherwise more worthy of my attention in that regard, but when Ty got sick all of that changed. Like a screetching record. Everything normal became abnomal. Everything happy became a sad reminder of the truth that was our lives.
What is our future as a family going to look like? What should I do with all of Ty's amazing "stuff." What do we do with his bedroom? Who will hang the first ornament on the Christmas tree this year? Oh, God, Christmas is going to be pure hell. Ty has hung the first ornament on our tree since the day he was born. How will we ever survive that holidays?
|Ty helping place the first ornament, December 2010|
I don't even have the heart to let Gavin wear half of Ty's clothes. Do you know how hard it is to put one of Ty's shirts on Gavin now that he fits into them? It's torture. I'm trying so hard to be practical and normal about this, but there is nothing normal about a five year old boy dying. I just can't do the right thing for poor Gavin because it all makes me so sad. But, how much stuff can a person save. I have boxes and boxes and boxes. When is enough enough? I think probably never.
Before I allow myself that pity party, though, I should tell you that Gavin is doing so well. Thank God for his school where he is doing so many fun things (like pumpking picking with Grandma and his class)!
My biggest fear is that Gavin expects Ty to come home. Ty spent so much time in the hospital over the years, that there are times I worry Gavin just thinks he is away for a while. We tell him all about how Ty is with God in heaven, but still, how much can a three-year-old boy understand. Today he pooped on the potty and told me he wanted to save it for Ty so he could see it when he got home. Heart... Spoon.... This happens a lot. But it's only been a week, of course we need to give Gavin time. He's just a baby.
There are two other things that happened with Gavin worth mentioning. First, on the day Ty died, Gavin TOTALLY knew something very sad was happening. I came downstairs early in the day because I heard him in absolute hysterics. Poppa told me that he mildly scolded Gavin (and it was justified, of course), but barely in a way that should cause him to react so dramatically. Gavin could not get a hold of himself. I'm telling you he was crying so hard he couldn't catch his breath. I just scooped him up, and rocked him, and I told him "it's okay, I feel the same way. Sometimes you can just be sad. I feel the same way, today." That -- in an nutshell -- comforted him completely.
The other thing that has happened is that Gavin refuses to say his prayers at night. Isn't that weird? He gets upset with me every night and tells me he doesn't want to say prayers! I try to convine him to do a shorter prayer than the usual and he still says no. Then I ask him if we can just say goodnight to Ty, and goodnight to God, and he always says okay to that. Kids are so much more intuitive than we realize. There is so much going on in that little head of his, I am proud to be his mommy. I hope he will be okay. I know he must be so upset over Ty, he just doesn't know how to express it.
The last time we bathed Ty -- after he died -- I had taken off all of my jewelry because I wanted to be so incredibly gentle with him. I hadn't done that since he and Gavin were tiny infants, and it was as if I was coming full circle. Before that, I was wearing so many religious and "good luck" bracelets... it's like they were all part of the healing ritual for Ty. Now that he's gone, I can't bring myself to put that jewelry back on. I can't bring myself to even say the "Hail Mary" because I changed the last verse to pray for "Ty's healing" instead of "Our Sinners" and I get so mixed up now. The funny part is that when we had a family prayer at our home during the first prayer chain for Ty, I heard my mom saying the Hail Mary with the group, and she had habitually changed the ending to address Ty as well. Like mother, like daughter.
Our prayers didn't keep Ty here on earth with us... but I do feel the power of prayer helping me get through the toughest days of my entire life. I've said it before and I'll say it again... "people are good and kind." God help us.
good night, Ty