Gavin had a playdate yesterday. This is a very rare thing and I was so happy to watch him hugging and playing with his little friend. It was simply adorable (until we came downstairs to find popcorn covering every inch of the room. Popcorn fight when we weren't looking!!).
He had a lot of fun. At one point I heard his friend ask, "Do you have a sister?"
Very easily, Gavin answered, "No. I have a brother. Just a brother. But he died."
"He died!?!?! MOM! Did you know Gavin's brother DIED?!?!"
It was all a very sweet and innocent conversation. My friend handled it perfectly. I handled it... okay, I think. Thank God for sunglasses. It just reminded me, so intensely, that Gavin has lost so much, too. It is painful to imagine what his little mind makes of all this.
Gavin usually seems so very fine with all of this. He's so happy, in general. He is so little, even the few times where he is sad over losing his brother, his emotions are fleeting. But what I need to remember is that they are sitting just beneath his very young and sensitive skin. That he realizes much more than we may think and that he MISSES HIS BROTHER every single day. Last night, that became even more obvious.
I was laying with him at bedtime and he was scared for me to leave the room. I was talking with him about how we can turn on his nightlight, and how I'll be right outside of his room. I would never leave him alone and he can always come get me if he gets scared.
"Did you ever leave me a long time ago?"
"What?!? No! I would never leave you!"
"Yes, but remember? A long time ago when you and Daddy left at night?"
"Oh, Gavin. We didn't leave you alone? We would never do that! Sometimes we left you with Nana, or Mely, or Grandma - but that was only because we had to go with Ty to the hospital. And we ALWAYS came back. We would never leave you forever!"
"But why did Ty have to leave to heaven forever?"
With that statement, Gavin burst into beautiful, genuine tears. He wailed out loud for an eternity. His pain was so real and so incredibly sad, and finally, so obvious. I tried to tell him that Ty is always with him. That he is in his heart, and that he is watching Gavin every day. I told him that Ty is so proud of him.
"No! He's not here. I don't want him to be invisible anymore!" More hysterical crying. More loud sobs. His poor contorted face showed such a raw sadness that I haven't seen in Gavin, maybe ever.
All night long I relived our conversation as I tried to sleep. Memories of Ty and Gavin rushed in. Panic struck as I thought about Gavin getting older without being able to imagine Ty getting older. I was sick over it and I simply couldn't sleep. Today and every day, I envision Ty playing with his little brother. I can vividly imagine my big, five-year-old boy with the coolest hair known to man, running around the yard with Gavin. Building Legos with him. Encouraging him to ride his bike or follow him down the big slide. I know exactly what Ty looks like and it isn't hard to imagine that beautiful boy standing up on his own two feet - full of health - running, jumping and playing. But I will never know what he looks like at six, or sixteen. How will I imagine him running alongside Gavin as he grows? These thoughts were making my head spin as I laid in the dark all night.
All I ever wanted was to see these boys grow up together. My babies. I am the luckiest saddest mom in the whole world. After my sleepless night, I was so happy when my Gavin walked down the stairs with his incredible bed head and gave me the biggest, most delicious good morning hugs. Today I will hug him and kiss him waaaay too much, I will tickle him until he screams, and I will let him wear his costumes wherever we go. Because these lazy days of summer are numbered and soon he will be back in preschool for another year. Every parent knows how fast the time flies. Bereaved parents know this even more. But for us, there is also a strange phenomenon where an entire year can blow by without the precious love of our life, yet it feels like time was standing still the entire time. How is it even possible that so much time has passed without Ty here with us? It's actually so impossible that I am in disbelief.
One day at a time, I guess. I guess that is how it happened. I wake up. I get through each day. Some are good, some are horrible. Today is another day and today I vow to have fun with this guy :) I think I may need to wear a super hero costume, too. He always makes pretend that I'm old "Aunt May" from Spider-Man. Never Mary Jane, never a super hero of my own. Today I might have to insist on being someone cooler than Aunt May. Like Wonder Woman ;)