Today, this day, December 14th is the anniversary of my son's death. It sounds morbid, doesn't it? And I suppose it was for the first few years. I used to ache for the feel of him, for his sounds. I even had the pajamas that he died in and I kept them just to smell them once in a while (okay Susan, that is morbid but not uniquely strange). It was such a surreal week after his death. People from all over came and stayed with us. My mother had a mini breakdown (my parents had just separated in August after 36 years of marriage) and was found wandering the streets by the police. We were trying to make burial arrangements and eating a lot of KFC. I never could figure the KFC thing out but hey I wasn't cooking. We went to see a funny movie that we had wanted to see for a long time and I remember sitting there thinking "what am I doing here, I have a baby to take care of." But I didn't, so going to the movies seemed to make sense.
That was 20 years ago today. I miss him still. I wonder what he would look like, what he would think of his sisters, would he clobber them for me? I've never felt complete and never felt as if my family was complete. At holidays, I still look for him as if he has stood by and grown right along with us. I love him with all my heart as much as I have ever loved my daughters. When he died, he broke my heart and took a piece of my soul with him but, you know what, he gave me my humanity. I certainly never looked at the world the same way again. I started seeing the gray. I started seeing the complexity of life and how simple things are beautiful and how things are not always simple. I lost myself on this date also and I grieved for the person I used to be and tried to understand the person I was becoming. I missed her, the black and white girl, the absolute of innocence and goodness. I'm not that girl anymore but I like this woman better. Would I give it all up for another chance with Evan. I'm not so sure and though that might astound some, it seems to be common among parents of children that have died. Evan's life was a complete circle. It changed everyone who knew him in profound ways. It reminded everyone how precious one life can be, even a short one. It reminds me what I owe him, a life of worth, a life worth living. (Although between you and me, it still doesn't make me appreciate snow in the south, sorry Evie, your mommy is pretty stubborn about somethings.)
So today, Thank you Evan, for being beautiful, for the stars in your eyes, for being oh so frustrating at times, for making daddy get up in the middle of the night, for showing us how to be parents (don't hold us accountable though for B - I still haven't figured out where I went wrong), for your smiles and your patience as we tried to put you in the baby dior clothes, or when we flipped you over to try and teach you how to roll over. Thank you for your many coos. Thank you for Discovery Bunny - we've hung on to him for you buddy. Thank you for helping to make me the person I am today.
Mommy will always love you, sweetpea.
Susan, Evan Driscoll Hemingway's mommy.