Changes are coming. I am going back to work. Somehow, some way, the stars have aligned and the job I left almost a year exactly before Dylan died has opened up and I am returning on Monday. Exciting news and devastating all at the same time.
I am so excited to go back to a job I loved and was always a little sorry to have left behind. I am excited that hopefully this will help us make our dreams a reality a little sooner. Pennies saved will accumulate faster toward our hopes and dreams of owning a piece of land where we can sink our hands and feet into the soil to heal our souls. We need land where we can create a memorial garden and basketball court for Dylan. We have had plans for some time to be able to buy land in the country. Dylan had already stated his intentions to stay home until that happened, to live with us for just a bit to be able to enjoy the basketball court Drew had promised. Drew still plans to fulfill that promise, so we will be able to spread Dylan’s ashes there. I am so unsettled by the fact that my son – who always fought so hard not to be crammed in the boxes created by society – is sitting here in our home in a different sort of box entirely. And I truly don’t know how far my healing will progress until I am able to set him free.
I am devastated about going back to work, because I feel like I am leaving Dylan home alone. Crazy I know, because he was 17-years-old. He spent lots of time home alone. But guilt is pecking away at my conscience because I am leaving him behind in a house that will be empty, lonely and silent. Painfully silent… silent like the crash site… silent like the morgue… silent like death. Locking the door behind me on Monday as I leave behind a quiet, empty house will break my heart.
I haven’t been able to write for a while. Looking back, it has been over a month. My words just haven’t seemed to come together coherently to form anything worth sharing. Yet, it seems so many things worth sharing have happened.
Dylan’s birthday, while difficult, was made bearable by my husband who gave me a huge project to do that day. Before I realized it, the day was gone and Drew had helped me create something incredible that spoke so loudly of the things Dylan and I used to do together without fail. I also received a surprise care package from my sisters just so I would know that people remember.
Labor Day marked the 6 month anniversary of my son being given his wings to soar with the angels. Again, a day that should have been horrible, Drew made bearable… with yet another project. We totally rearranged the layout of our home and made several purchases that were a LONG time coming. Before I realized it, the day was gone. We again, had created something incredible together and I was overcome with gratitude and grief all at once. I was overcome with gratitude for my husband, who sometimes I just want to grab by the neck and choke because I think he doesn’t understand what I am saying. And then he does these amazing things that salvage a day when I am prepared to allow it to cripple me – and I know he does understand me. I was overcome with grief because it was so obvious when we were done that day that we have a gaping hole in our lives.
Drew was ever watchful of me that day. As soon as I started to melt, he said, “He’s still with us. He’s already picked out his favorite spot on the new couch and he is ready to be a part of it all.” What I wouldn’t do to see him kicked back in that recliner, intentionally aggravating me by putting his stinky, sweaty feet on the new furniture after just taking off his basketball shoes. I know he would just be looking at me with that grin and shrug and say, “What?”
Those who don’t know me very well, would never know the personal struggles I face on a daily basis, because I don’t let them show. I can be doing absolutely fine and then grief, like a brick wall, will knock me to my knees and suck the air from lungs. Usually it is something totally random that will trigger it. Like the fact that a few weeks ago I saw these really cool sweats while I was shopping, and I automatically started looking for Dylan’s size because I knew he would love them. And then I remember. Sometimes it’s Isabella, who is still ever questioning when Dylan will come home. It is always the same conversation, with her asking, “What’s that mean?” or “Why?” or “I want him to come home.” Eventually she will stop when I tell her, “You know Dylan loves you, right?” Of course she knows. I hope she finds a way to hold on to that love forever, because he loved her fiercely. When she woke up from her anesthesia following her dental procedure and said, “There was Dylan.” I knew he was there watching over her when we couldn’t. I even asked her to repeat herself to make sure that I wasn’t just hearing what I wanted to hear. And she said it again. And then went totally limp and said not another coherent word until we got home. She is so excited to go back to daycare and be with her friends everyday. I know that even though it is hard for me to let her go, it is what she needs. In my selfishness after the accident, I locked her away from the world with me, and that was unfair. She is this beautiful little social butterfly who needs to spread her wings and me preventing that out of my own parental paranoia needs to change.
I received another letter recently. It was from one of Dylan’s cornea recipients. Ironically enough, it was from a mother of 5 children. She had been fighting an eye infection, went to bed one night and when she woke up in the morning, she had lost vision in one eye. She had recently decided to register as an eye/tissue/organ donor, not knowing at the time that she would be in need of a transplant herself. With Dylan’s cornea, her vision is consistently improving. Hopefully the improvement continues. Her letter was handwritten on beautiful sunflower-covered stationary, and was so simply eloquent, and heartbreaking, and heartwarming, and a testament to true gratitude. And yet again, this letter was a reminder to our family that in the midst of our devastation, we have been able to provide another family hope. Hope is healing.