I had a thought this morning.
The holiday season starts on Thanksgiving and runs through Christmas (or New Years depending on your point of view). We have our own season now, a season of grief; it starts today and runs through October 13. Today is Kevin’s 22nd birthday. The first anniversary of his death is in 3 weeks.
I’ve known this was coming for some time. I thought I was ready but I’m not entirely sure I wasn’t fooling myself. Periodically I’ve had these momentary flashes where it hits me right in the gut. He’s gone. He’s not coming back. The pain in these moments is brief, but deep. I think this is my heart finally starting to deal with what my mind has known from day one.
The next three weeks are going to be hard. I still have a lot of responsibilities which need to be met. At the same time I know my mind and my heart are going to be spending a lot of time on the business of grief. I’ll be focusing quite a bit on reminding myself that it’s OK to be sad, but I must not lose sight of all I have as I mourn what I’ve lost.
The truth is the real holiday season is going to be a struggle this year too. Last year, in the immediate aftermath of the accident, we very consciously ran away. No one was in a place to deal with the emotions of the holiday season then. This year will be different.
We will pull out the decorations. We’ll put Kev’s special ornaments on the tree. We’ll have Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner with an open place at the table and at we’ll see in 2012 (I’ll probably just go to sleep on New Year’s Eve). We’ll feel our way through fitting Kevin’s spirit into our “celebrations”, some tears will flow, we’ll get through it.
Happy Birthday Kev, I hope you like your presents. I have never had any moral objections to tattoos, I just never felt strongly enough about an image to have it permanently affixed to my body, until now that is. I had a smaller version of your angel put on my upper back. I put “KEV” in place of Bubba’s initials and added the span of your physical life in script under one wing and “a bright light gone too soon” under the other. I hope you approve. Mom had a portrait made from a picture Bethany took when we were vacationing up at Lake Winnipesauke.
Everyone misses you like crazy; folks have been dropping by your FaceBook wall this morning and leaving you messages. I cried a bit this morning reading it. I’ll stop by frequently today. I love you; did you talk to my mom about that cake?
See you someday, maybe before you know it, but not too soon, not until my work here is done.