Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Cemetery

WARNING: What I have written in this blog may be a little upsetting to those who find comfort at the cemetery. It is not intended to belittle the importance and comfort many find at the cemetery and with visiting Austin's gravesite (or anyone else they have loved and lost). It is simply to let many who find no comfort there know that this is ok too. 

The Cemetery... to many the cemetery is a place where they find comfort after someone they love has died. It is a way many feel connected to this loved one.

To Me... the cemetery does not bring comfort. As I look at Austin's headstone and the ground in front of it (and now my father's, who is buried next to Austin) all I can see is the area of ground that was dug up to place the coffin in the ground. All I can think of is that Austin's body is in the coffin buried in the ground - in that rectangular area. This is not how I want to remember Austin.

Where do I "feel" Austin's presence? Where do I find comfort? 

Lee Brice has a song, "I Drive Your Truck" which pretty much sums it up... "Momma asked me this morning, if I'd been by your grave. But that flag and stone ain't where I feel you anyway... These days when I'm missing you this much I drive your truck..." (in my case, it's Austin's car).

Yesterday I came out to a dead battery in my Pilot, so I had to take Austin's car to work. Austin was with me on my drive to work...every time I'm in that car I remember Austin. I remember going to look at the car - he loved it! I remember watching him negotiate with the seller - it brought a smile to my face. I remember him letting his younger brothers help him change the brakes  - I can still hear the clanking in the garage. I remember Austin and me driving the car the next day, as we went to lunch, and hearing a "clunk" - one of the brakes wasn't screwed on completely (oops!). I remember holding my breath that we'd get home before the brake fell off  (we did!).

This is where I "feel" Austin's presence.  He's all around - everywhere I look I "see" and think of Austin. I think of the life he lived. I think of the love he shared.

Sometimes I feel as though I "should" go to his gravesite - because that's what others do. That's what brings them comfort. And that is what they should do - because that is what is healing to them. But for anyone else who is feeling a little guilty for not finding comfort there, you're not alone.

Although Austin's body is in the grave at the cemetery, his life is all around me. It is the sites, sounds, smells, and memories that keep me close to him - the way my drive to work, in Austin's car, brought me close to him yesterday. The way "hunting" for the perfect Christmas tree with Austin's brothers did last week-end. That is what brings me comfort and a smile!

On a side-note: I do chuckle, because although my father passed away two-and-a-half years ago and Austin was almost five-and-a -half years ago, the grass at my dad's grave is greener than Austin's. (My Dad loved gardening!)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

"Deja Vu" After Five Years!

Yesterday was five years. You'd think I'd have this thing figured out, but I don't, and probably never will. I thought the five year mark would be easier, but it wasn't. It was actually more difficult than four, and I have no idea why - even my husband mentioned this. Maybe it was the "deja vu" feelings that kept me company all day...

"I'm going to miss that smile..."

Yesterday morning I woke to the words "I'm going to miss that smile, I'm going to miss you my friend..." running though my mind.

Deja vu - this is the song that I heard on the radio the day Austin died and it stuck with me. In fact, the slide show we did at the funeral was to this song.

The sun was out, the day was beautiful...

Deja vu -  just like five years ago.

As I walked into the building and spoke with my students and coworkers "they have no idea what today is...*" feelings came over me and stayed the rest of the day...
(*I have a new job this year and very few people know about Austin, and no one knew that yesterday was the anniversary of his death.)

Deja vu - just like five years ago when I walked through the rest areas on the Mass Pike and NYS thruway, thinking, "They have no idea that my son just died." 

The only thing that wasn't "deja vu" was my thinking of and missing Austin.

...that is an everyday occurrence that I will cherish for the rest of my life!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Shocking Pen

I have no idea why I can never find a pen. I buy a bunch of them, put them in the drawer, and they disappear. It's not like I find them laying around somewhere else, they are just gone. Well, sometimes I find twenty at the bottom of my purse, but then they disappear too. I either have enough to use a different pen every day of the year, or can't find a single one anywhere.

The other day I was sorting through one of Austin's boxes and found a mug with pens. I set it on our kitchen counter so I would think of Austin every time I grabbed a pen. Little did I know his favorite pen was in that mug. As I grabbed the pen and clicked the end to open it a memory flashed through my brain....

Austin loved playing tricks on people. He loved magic tricks and mischievous tricks. I've always found it a little more challenging to find stocking stuffers for the boys when they get older, but know I never go wrong with a little prankster type item. One year Austin received a shocking pen. The type that when you click the end to open it actually gives you a shock - kind of like the shock when you put your tongue on the end of a 9-volt battery. Not that I've ever actually done that. Well, ok, maybe once or twice. You have to check to make sure they're still working, don't you? 

Austin loved the pen! He took it to school, excited to "share" it with his friends. Little did we know it would be considered a "dangerous" weapon. I can picture him now offering it to his friends in home room. I guess the teacher wasn't impressed and confiscated the pen. He sent it to the office, and soon after Austin was asked to visit the principal. Austin came home from school that afternoon not too happy that he'd lost his favorite pen. As he shared the story I was torn between being a responsible mom allowing him face the consequences and being the bad mom laughing at what happened. I took the middle road - outside I  responded, "I guess you now know the rules and know not to bring a shocking pen to school," while inside I was rolling in laughter picturing what went down....

According to Austin, he walked into the office. The secretary said to him, "The principal would like to see you about this." She held up the pen and pressed on the end. Zap! She was shocked.

Austin lost his pen to the school, which made it easy for me to know what to get for a stocking stuffer the next year - this time with strick instructions not to take it to school.

As I clicked the end of the pen and received the infamous "zap," I hollered out, then couldn't stop laughing. Austin got me again! Thank you for the memory and the laugh.

"For some, life lasts a short while, but the memories it holds last forever." 
~Laura Swenson