The Long Rut

Yup, I haven’t posted anything here for almost 3 months. I felt like I should, time after time, after time. And each time, I got more nervous about how to start back up. But, I feel like I need to write down a lot of things, so I’m just going to go all over the place with this…

I’m getting towards the end of what I figured would be a pretty rough period. In consecutive months, we had Valentine’s Day, then Darcy’s birthday, then Shannon’s birthday, then Noah’s birthday, followed about a week later by Mother’s Day. And to cap it off, Father’s Day. Each a day that should be joyful, but each presenting it’s own unique grief moments. If any one of them was a huge ordeal, I would’ve made it’s own post for it. Instead, I’ll just drop a line or two on each one, to summarize my feelings…

1. Darcy’s Birthday (Party) – This was the first time since her 1st birthday that we had a party. So it was very clear to think about Shannon’s presence missed. Also, because at her age we don’t have a lot of same aged children she is truly friends with…much smaller party. Easier to handle, but less going on to take my mind off it. I try not to place Darcy as having a stronger link with Shannon than Noah, but being the daughter she wanted to raise in ways that improved from her own experiences, and from Darcy never really knowing a time where Mommy wasn’t sick…it was a much more emotional day than Noah’s birthday party to me.

2. Shannon’s Birthday – It actually passed a little easier than I expected. Shannon was never a big one on birthdays, so we didn’t have any big traditions to be missed or changed. We went out with Danya and Joe to have a nice meal, but since it was a day I worked, my mind was more pre-occupied.

3. Noah’s Birthday (and Party) – It was a very nice birthday for Noah…he got to go fishing with Darcy, me, and Joe…then after getting his gifts from me, we went to a Bowie Baysox game with my parents. Complete with fireworks. His party was pretty hectic, like I remember from last year. We both shied away from “party host” duties for Noah’s party last year, so that was much of the same this year for me. There was a bit of emotion, albeit kind’ve uplifting, in that the day was forecast for storms right during Noah’s party, which was outdoors. But as the time approached, the skies seemed clear, so we went for it. And it didn’t rain a single drop. Almost like Shannon willed the weather away so he could have his outdoor party.

4. Mother’s Day – Probably the most emotional day for me. In the morning, I decided to have a private moment with the kids where laid some yellow roses in a river, and then spread the first bit of her ashes. Originally planned to do it at a local pond, but decided I wanted something flowing to carry the flowers and ashes. By happenstance, I found a park about 15 mins away that was right next to a creek that carried straight into the Monocacy River, which flows to the Bay. When we got there, I realized it was the same park Shannon had taken us to once or twice when we were looking for things the kids could do while she was at acupuncture. It was quite beautiful and perfect of a spot. Later, we spent the day with my parents and brothers and their families, letting the kids play together, getting snowballs, etc. Just a nice peaceful family moment, but again, noting that our family is incomplete…

Also, that was probably around the time I started getting into one of my emotional funks. I go through these in cycles, where I start re-living the course of events, examining every action or lack of action, every word said, every decision…trying to figure out that there must be SOMETHING I could’ve done better or should’ve done. Realizing that, as a parent, I never let my kids have a final goodbye with their mother. This is what really has been haunting me of late. The kids don’t really say anything about it, but I just can picture something that will haunt them emotionally…they both saw her go in the ambulance, and that was it. Noah never had his chance to give her a final kiss, to hug her one final time….

And then there is Darcy. Darcy was with Shannon in the bed when I found her. I always thought she truly just never realized what was going on, but a few weeks ago, she out of the blue tells me “I was playing with Mommy…and then Mommy died”. We ended up having a 30 minute conversation where I re-assured her that Shannon did NOT die there in front of her, but the long and short of it is, it seems like Darcy has some scant memories or recollection that may provide a clearer picture of what happened that morning. I don’t want to pry it out of her, but I hope what I think I understand of the situation is the correct assumption: I think Shannon and Darcy were playing together, and something happened that caused Shannon to lose consciousness and develop the breathing difficulties. Why do I hope that is truly what happened? Because if her last conscious moments were playing with Darcy, I can think of few more beautiful moments to truly leave this world on. It would mean in her last moments alert, she was enjoying her children.

So now, we only have Father’s Day left…oh, and the 6 month mark. But really, I expect that for awhile after Father’s Day, it’ll be like any other day to me. A constant battle of sadness and guilt vs trying to establish a new normal. There are a lot of summer activities I am planning for the kids (Not so much vacations, but things like putting up the pool, the fire bowl at night, sitting on the porch before bedtime and just sitting, backyard camping…), things I wish Shannon could be here to enjoy…she loved the spring and summer weather. But in another way, that is the best way to honor her memory. Do the things with the kids that Shannon would love to do. That is how her spirit can live on through them.

The Long Rut

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