"Maaa-Meeee?" Gavin said waking me up this morning.
"I wuv you."
"Oh, thank you. I love you, too."
"I wuv you more!" Big smiles all around. What a way to start the day, right?
A new donor gave some very kind feedback on the foundation website today. "He must have been one amazing little boy." When I read that, all I could do was smile and think, "amazing is an understatement." It makes me so proud to hear that kind of feedback. To know that it is obvious how special my angel baby was and is.
I know I don't need to remind you about his magnetic smile, but I can't resist. Here he is, waiting for Max and Ruby to take the stage (yes, there was a live show that toured in 2011, we even have the soundtrack and I can sing every word because Ty loved it so much). This was one of Ty's greatest days. He was pure beauty and happiness through and through. "Special" doesn't do him justice, either. He is greater than that. I am so inspired by his strength, his perseverance, his courage, his love for life and his unending smile despite it all. He suffered beyond belief. He hurt more than he didn't for over two years. His little body was literally destroyed, but you wouldn't know it when you saw him smile. It could make warm rosy cheeks emerge on the coldest, grumpiest of grumps.
Gavin fell asleep in the late afternoon the other day. He passed out right on top of our ottoman with his shoes still on. Inside the ottoman we store our throw blankets, so I had to move him to open it. When I did, he awoke very cranky and I told him not to worry, that I was just getting him his nana blankie. I didn't see it in there and immediately remembered it was Ty's nana blankie that I was looking for, not Gavin's. Of course Nana has knitted blankets for Gavin, too, but he really doesn't have one that he connects with. With that, I almost panicked when I couldn't recall whether or not we cremated Ty with his favorite blue blankie. I've been getting so worked up lately and my mind is playing tricks on me. I can't even believe it was a question in my mind! Of course I remembered soon after. We did not cremate him with nana blankie because we wanted to always be able to hold it and smell it and think of Ty. Instead, we covered him with the pure white nana blankie that she knitted for his baptism before he was even born. I haven't had the courage to snuggle with Ty's nana blankie since I packed it away safely. I miss seeing that soft, blue blanket all over the house and in the backseat of my car.
I had a similar panic recently when I saw a photo of Ty wearing his slippers. They are gray sock/slippers that he wore constantly since he couldn't walk. He got compliments on them wherever we went, too. I left Gavin and ran upstairs to Ty's Captain America room immediately. I opened his closet (which is always painful for me, because it is filled with the pillows on which he last rested his head. The sheets. The batman blanket that we used in his stroller. The towels we used after we last bathed his beautiful body. I don't ever take these items out to touch them, but I might rest my hand on the pillows or towels for a moment. It's just too painful.
I stood there with the doors open and thought about the day we lost Ty, letting the weight of my loss and the magnitude of my grief consume me for a while. I looked up, and there they were. Next to his "The Who" tee, his red fedora, his Reefs and his cut-off shorts. I turned them inside out and buried my nose in the slipper to catch any shred of a scent - even his stinky feet smell is the greatest smell I could ever imagine. It was there, ever so slightly, and I am so grateful for that. I also discovered that there is an outline on the suede bottoms where they had gotten dirty during the days where he could walk with assistance. I can see the shape of his footprint, his little toes. I am so glad I found them and had a chance to cry over him in peace (and not in my car for a change).
I've been doing this more often lately. Gasping and panicking over the thought that I may have misplaced something very special that once belonged to Ty. I think it is because his physical presence is slowly disappearing from this house. The bulletin board is getting covered with more and more pieces of new artwork that Gavin brings home from school. Gavin is growing out of the clothes that Ty used to wear, too, and I'm buying all new clothes just for him. The pantry is filled with less and less candy and snacks for Ty. Stuff like that.
I have been doing okay. I found a small sparkley star sticker on the floor in the toy room today. It was one that Ty picked out for Gavin after he completed one of his daily oxygen treatments. He always picked out a blue one for himself, another one for me (any random color) and for Gavin a red or green one. It was a ritual that he never tired of. I love finding his reminders at very unexpected times like that. It is painful to imagine that they will get fewer and further in-between as time goes on but I know that is inevitable.
Yesterday the Taylor Swift song, "Ronan" was going through my head all morning. I sang it outloud with a quiver in my voice and tears in my eyes whenever I was alone. Then, that afternoon, I played the Pink song "Beam me up" about a dozen times on my phone and cried my heart out. It is just so incredibly powerful. It makes me feel at peace about Ty, but it certainly doesn't help me miss him any less. Nothing can do that, and that's okay. I don't ever ever ever want to stop missing him. I don't ever want to feel all that I feel for him any less. I keep busy, I am living my life, and I am okay doing it this way. If I have to pull over to get through a song on the radio once in a while, that's okay with me because stopping what I'm doing and thinking of Ty is so important. He will continue to do great things in this world, and I hope to be a vehicle for some of those great things. I want to make him proud by honoring him in any way I can.
I have mentioned a bunch of times that Lou and I read one entry from our Project Treasure box each night. We were both happily surprised by tonight's letter. I am pasting a quick excerpt below because it is such an incredible example of how far and deep his story has traveled:
"...I am the CEO of Project Treasure. It just so happens that I have also followed Ty's story for the past year. I have prayed for Ty, cried for Ty, and smiled many times at the goodness you shared through his blog.... so when I saw your name come through on a Project Treasure order, it brought me so much joy. I hope it's something that encourages and comforts you."
It is. Thank you :)