Just like clockwork, seasons change and grief cycles through. March arrived on Friday. With the arrival of March begins a seemingly endless amount of grief. March 20 Gabe should be turning 18. He was born in 2001, it snowed on his birthday, I think. I was kind of busy but I seem to remember snow falling. He was cute right from the start. Newborn babies aren’t always cute, but he was. He had a full head of beautiful red hair. We had no clue about his heart defect, just that he had a heart murmur. We were assured it would go away by his one week check up (obviously that didn’t happen!) There are so many things that March should hold. He would probably want some sort of party, and would be in the midst of planning for graduation and his next steps. Realistically those next steps probably would have been at the community college to give him some more time to grow up a bit. And that would have been fine.
But back to Clockwork. I’ve noticed that March hits me in full force. April 8 will mark 3 years without Gabe, so at this point I can see some patterns. March and April just downright suck. Yes, I said it. They really, really do. Spring is a beautiful time where flowers bloom and things grow and cute baby animals are born. My child was born in the spring and he died in the spring. Over the next 5-6 weeks there are lots of significant dates- his birthday (March 20), his diagnosis day (March 27), the day of his first heart surgery (April 4), and the two hardest dates- April 7 when he had a wonderful cardiologist check up, and April 8 just one day later. The day we said goodbye. Those days hit one after the next. Every year like clockwork we would recognize his birthday and surgery day. The week he died we went to Dairy Queen for ice cream to mark that first surgery.
So it’s really no surprise that without even thinking about it my heart starts to hurt again. It’s always hurting some-that never goes away. But it hurts on a deeper level. It grieves on a deeper level during March and April.
As I go through this month and next I will do my best to put on my brave, strong face and go about daily life. I will stay in my role of mom and wife, and be the best caregiver I can to the little ones at work. But just below the surface is a mom deep in grief. A mom who would give anything for her child to run through that door again bringing with him noise, chaos, and joy. This is the grief of a mother and this is how I live.
**The following pictures are from his 12th birthday. He insisted on decorating his cake, he loved baking. These are some of my favorite birthday pictures of Gabe**