The body is an amazing thing.
Yesterday I had a full-on bedtime mommy meltdown. Now granted, I was the only adult around and Aaron had ripped off his diaper not once, not twice, but THREE times so he could pee on the floor and play in it. After the last time, when he was still naked and dripping with not-water, and while I was trying to clean the mess off of the floor, he jumped onto my back, grabbed two fistfuls of my hair, and pretended I was one of those quarter-fed mechanical bulls you see in movies but never in real life. Also, he didn’t give me a quarter.
While Aaron was giddy-upping, Rachel was screaming incoherently about why she couldn’t use her bathroom—too dirty she said, and she was probably right—and that she couldn’t use the hall bathroom until I moved something for her (I found out later there was a rubber shark in the sink. She apparently doesn’t like rubber sharks). Somewhere in the middle of all this I started a volume-increasing chant of “AraronstopJustgivemeaminuteRachelgopottynow,” until finally that came out just a teech too loud for the neighbors one block over.
Eventually the kids went to bed, but I stayed up well past my bedtime for an extra-long victory lap during which I felt not at all the victor.
This morning it started all over again: The kids’ developmentally normal behavior and my (fairly rare) inability to process it without losing my temper. I snapped at my mom, at myself, at the kids, and likely the dog, too, but I don’t remember. After I dropped the kids at preschool, I sat at the kitchen table and struggled to figure out what was wrong with me. True, Andy is on one of his “50%-away-from-home” trips, and yes, we have a lot of remodeling going on, but those things didn’t really explain the depths of my I-need-a-Klonopin-NOW type of mood.
I got on my computer to work and the day’s date jumped out at me from the corner of my Mac: May 22, 2014: He died 19 years ago today. He would have been 20 this October.
Every year for as far back as I can remember, this has happened. Yes, I knew it was May. Yes, I knew the day was near. But I had no idea it was The Day.
Or so I thought.
My body—my forever-his-mom heart—somehow just knew. We are amazing creatures, humans.
Tonight during bedtime Rachel wanted to talk about Heaven. Some of her ruminations were hilarious:
“Mom, are there computers and cell phones in Heaven?”
“No, Honey, I don’t think so.”
“Well then how do people know what they’re supposed to do? Does God just tell them? Wouldn’t He need to leave a voicemail?”
Others were heartbreaking and beyond her years:
“Sometimes people go to Heaven even though it’s not their time to die.”
I held her tight.
“I don’t know why, but I’m crying a little,” she said, but she didn’t need to tell me: I already knew.
She has no idea. But her body, too, must just know. Sixteen years apart, having never met and, indeed, not even knowing of his existence, she knew. She’d had a bad day, she said. Things felt rough, her body was tired.
I know what she means.
These days are hard… the anniversaries, the birthdays… they come, like clockwork, yet I am always, always, taken by surprise.
6 thoughts on “Just Like Heaven”
Jamie, this post has a tragic beauty about it: beauty in your words and your family, and tragedy in the suffering that sometimes steals up on us and worms insidiously into our days. And I know exactly what you are talking about in the type of day you have once again lived through. Thank you for being bold and confident enough to take us through it, for our sake.
Thanks, Tim. Your support — though through the internet it may be — means so much to me. I pray that we all have fewer of those days.
Hi, Jamie, Such Days colour all our lives and our beliefs about human relationships, language, and even political and religious ideals, as I have tried to express here: https://northernlightbooks.ca/dir/stories/where-the-roads-vanish
I pray that you are finding healing in the self-knowledge that comes through writing.
Oh Jamie. I so feel you. It is incredible how our bodies just KNOW. It was four years ago on the 10th that we lost my mother in law to an aggressive 9 week battle with lung cancer. Every year since, The Day is such a hard day. Praying for you, friend.
My friend, I know all about The Day. It is a sneaky, horrible, thing: wheeling round the calendar to clobber us year by year. I am so sorry. I honor this day, and your Jeremy, with you.
I’m so sorry that you know, but I’m so glad to have you here with me.