Well, it's been awhile. I always think of things when I am not on the computer, things I would like to share, and of course, forget once I get here!
I recently had a dream with Tim in it, though I can't recall it now, and I almost think it was more of a thought of him in the dream than actually seeing him. But that reminds me of a song I want to share: I think of it as a sister song, I play it every time I get together with one or both of my sisters (we live 3000 miles apart). It's song by Chet Atkins and Mark Knopfler, called "The Next Time I'm in Town". Anytime Tim is in my dreams, I also think of this song. Sometimes when I sing it I change the words, to "the next time you're in town". As I have said before, when I dream of Tim, it is like a visit with him.
Now it's been something seeing you again
In this time we've had to spend
You've been so good to be around
I thank you for that special thrill
Keep me going on untilThe next time I'm in town
Though I won't be back here for a while
Or hear your laughter, see you smile
And I'll remember what went down
I can't tell you how or when
But I'll be seeing you again
The next time I'm in town
Now the places and the faces range
'Cross the bridge of time and change
Once again I'm homeward bound
There's one thing I promise you
And that's another rendezvous
The next time I'm in town.
When I was recently out in CT to celebrate a milestone birthday of my oldest sister (oldest of 5), we played this song and we three sisters stood and hugged and cried. It makes me teary every time I hear it, but I will play it over and over again. I think it is a perfect sentiment. And when Vince Gill comes in with his sweet voice, it just makes it even better!
So, in a week and a half, Dennis will have his PIR (pass in review, or graduation) from Navy boot camp. He turned 21 last October. I am so proud of him, and so glad he has made this step to improve his life and opportunities. And yes, when he turned 21, of course I thought of Tim as well. I wondered what he might have been doing, where he might have been doing it, what he might look like, and of course, there was sorrow that he never reached that milestone.
Through the passing of time (it has been almost 10 years now), I have discovered things. Grief changes. It changes a person, it changes relationships to a smaller extent (in my case it has been nothing bad, all good), and it changes over time. The numbness gives way to feeling again, and this is not all good, the pain is immense. Grieving can open up your heart in ways you never knew. It can also close your heart off for its own protection. It eases, but it never goes away. If you allow yourself, you can think of the loved one you have lost with happy memories, and laugh and smile about them. Thoughts of them do not always have to be tearful and sorrowful. Yes, you will still miss them, every day in every way. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of Tim in some way. And yes, you will still cry. And it is still unpredictable, what might set you off. I still try to just go with the flow.
I shared with Dennis in a recent letter that parents are not perfect. We try to be consistent and fair, but we certainly make mistakes. We can certainly have regrets, "things we have done and things we have left undone", sometimes all we as parents can do is love our children and hope for the best. But when one has died, it just doesn't seem like enough, sometimes.
Tim would be 25 now. Perhaps working, or still in school, or both. He maybe would have been married with kids already. He loved kids, he would have made an awesome Dad, I am sure. And perhaps thinking of these what-ifs is detrimental to our well-being. Just try and stop a parent who has lost a child from thinking these things! Even if they have other children to watch as they grow up and start leading their own lives! It is a normal thing to do, I am certain. I read somewhere that when a parent dies we lose our past, when a child dies, we lose our future. And it makes perfect sense. This is not the future I envisioned 10 years ago. But it is reality, and I am living with it.
I can say that after the death of one child, it makes letting go of other children a little harder at times. When Dennis started high school, from where I dropped him off he had to cross a busy street and walk a creek-side path to the school. I dropped him off, drove down the parallel road, then turned around to pass again, just to make sure all was ok. I balked at him riding his bike to high school, even though it gave me, my car and gas a break. He was so little, and I worried. Tim had had a bike accident just a few months before his death. It was serious enough for the hospital (a brake lever punctured his abdomen). But, I had to let go, and I did. Dennis joining the Navy was a big letting go, but I was ready. I recognized that it was time for him to make his own way, maybe even past time. He has been away for 6 weeks at a time, so this separation was not a big deal in that regard, though there was less communication this time around. And I accept the fact that when he comes home again, it will be to visit, not likely to live here. He is making his own way, as he should. I am anxious to see the changes in him, and I worry about him getting through all the tests and stuff, but he is determined, and he has to do it himself. All in all, in spite of our concerns and and mistakes, when I look at him, I think we must have done something right. He is a good person.