I struggle with what to say or what not to say during the holidays. Life…
Since Ben's passing, I've often heard "oh, the holidays will be hard." Holidays? Which ones? Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day, his birthday, Easter?
Or what about July 4th, when we played at the beach and watched fireworks together? Or Memorial Day, when he sat on his daddy's lap watching the parade and was so enthralled by the floats passing us by (and slightly concerned by the loud car engines)? Or simply Labor Day, when we grilled out with friends and he laid on his blanket sucking his thumb, looking at me, grinning contently?
As opposed to any ordinary day, or moments of ordinary days. When I think I hear him crying in his crib at night, but its my imagination (or my mind re-creating reality). When I expect him to walk through the kitchen, throwing his tiny basketball, laughing uncontrollably, but he never does. When he should be watching his big sister's soccer game, squealing as he runs after a ball on the field, and I quickly pick him up and run to the sidelines.
But, Halloween? It hit me, so unexpectedly. Pulling out of the grocery store parking lot, explaining things to my girls: "So, I'm just going to say it once today, then I'm going to try not to talk about it again ok? But, I REALLY miss Ben today." Then, watery eyes -- really, Halloween? Out of the blue, my oldest daughter asks me to turn into the cemetery so we can visit him, "quick, do it mom." (She's not usually expressive about her loss.) As we drove up, I noticed someone had placed a little pumpkin on his grave. More tears, but we find our way together to stand, kneel by him, and "We love you Ben, we miss you," slips out. The three of us have our quiet moment of mommy, daughter time.
The moments of recognition are much needed for all of us. We laugh, smile, and play; we love; but then, in the moments, we cry, long for him, and just simply miss him. And, its all okay.