Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Darn Those Special Days!

I knew that holidays would be difficult after Eddie's death.  I expected the "major" ones like Thanksgiving and Christmas to be hard because that's when we always had our biggest family get-togethers.  But I soon learned that big or small they're all difficult.  Because Eddie died in March there was some special day or holiday every month for the next four months ... April - Easter, May - Mother's Day, June - Father's Day, July - Trey's birthday.  Each of these proved to be hard in a different way and for a different reason.

Trey had to work on Easter Sunday, so I went to church with my mother.  As I said before, church was difficult for me, and this time was no exception.  I had to get up and leave when communion started.  I hadn't thought ahead of time about having something to take to Eddie's grave that day.  All of the florists were closed so Mama and I went to K Mart and bought an artificial arrangement to take to the cemetery.  I felt bad when I got there because I hadn't gotten something alive for him.  I didn't have the desire to cook that day, but for Trey's sake I thought I should make an effort.  He was bringing Emily to the house for a little while that afternoon, so I bought a small ham and something sweet on my way home.  When Trey got there with Emily it broke my heart.  She looked so pretty and sweet in her Easter dress, and all I could think was that Eddie wasn't there to see her.  We hid eggs outside for her, and she hid them from us.  I remember saying that I didn't want to take any pictures because I didn't want any reminders of our first Easter without Eddie.  Mama told me I needed to take some anyway because my feelings would change, and I might regret later not having any.  She was right - I took some, and today they are some of the most precious pictures I have of Emily.

I didn't think Mother's Day should be hard because, after all, I wasn't Eddie's mother.  Of course I was wrong.  It didn't matter that I wasn't his mother.  What mattered was that he wasn't there to share the day with me.  Trey had to work again on that Sunday, so I went to church with my mother (I was still trying).  We went out to eat and walked around the mall after church.  I felt like I was in a fog the whole time.  I wanted to do better because I didn't want my mother to have a bad day, but I was miserable.  I also couldn't stop thinking about Eddie's mother.  I knew what losing a spouse felt like, but I couldn't imagine the pain of losing a child.  Trey took me to dinner after he got off work and gave me a gift certificate for a massage.  Even he knew how badly I needed to relax!  I enjoyed the time with him and appreciated his thoughtfulness, but I was so glad when the day was finally over.

Father's Day nearly killed me because of what I saw it do to Trey.  Regardless of differences and disagreements over the years, I knew how much Trey loved his father.  They weren't just father and son, they were friends.  Even though Trey knew Eddie was an alcoholic, he still looked up to him and went to him for advice.  Despite his drinking Eddie did his best for Trey, and they were very close.  Trey didn't have to work that day so we went to lunch.  Afterwards we went to the cemetery and Trey put a letter that he had written to his daddy on the grave.  I also hurt for Eddie's father, because just like Eddie and Trey, Eddie and his dad were friends.  They had always enjoyed hunting and fishing together and still talked on the phone several times each week.  Trey had lost his father, Ed had lost his son, and they had both lost a friend.

Before Eddie's death we had gone to the beach the week of Trey's birthday for the past 12 years.  We always stayed in the same condominiums and had met a group of people that we became friends with over the years.  I couldn't bear going back there that first summer though without Eddie.  I knew we all needed a vacation, so we planned a shorter trip to the beach and stayed in condos on the opposite end.  For the first time in my life, I didn't set foot on the beach the first night we were there.  I went out for a long walk the next day and cried the entire time.  The trip felt more like a chore than a vacation.  It was something I just had to get through before I could move on though.  The day we left to come home was Trey's birthday.  I remember him sitting in the chair in the living room looking out over the ocean as we gave him his cards and gifts.  He looked so sad and lonely and all I could think was that no one should be that down on their birthday.  This was one of the few times I actually felt anger towards Eddie.  I was mad a him for what he had done to Trey.

Excerpt from Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood by William Wordsworth ... Glory in the Flower

What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.

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