- Kathryn Patterson
It's Been 3 Years... Now what?
"Are you sitting down?"
No hello, or how are you. "Yes, I can sit down. What's wrong?"
I sat on a chair in the store. I remember nothing about the chair, only that I was sitting when I heard the news.
Eddie - our eldest son. Dead.
I remember we talked about how my husband heard the news, and we talked about telling the other kids.
I left the store without purchasing anything, and the rest of the day, even the next week, went past as a blur. The birthday tea party, Christmas, New Year's Eve, my birthday, the private memorial service - everything went past in a blur, as I learned to live without getting phone calls from Eddie, learned to live in a world with no Eddie. We discussed death with the other kids, and let them feel whatever they felt. We packed up Eddie's stuff - pictures, school papers, ... - and put it all away in storage.
Now, the anniversary of his death approaches, and I wonder what to do. I know that grief is a strange thing, and I have a narrow walk to go on. On one side, I fear that no mentioning his death, not acknowledging the event, will be disingenuous. It happened - Eddie died.
But on the other hand, I don't want to linger over his death. Sadly, I know several people who lost children, and I have seen the effects of lingering. I know people who constantly think about their dead child, wondering what that child would be doing now if only he/she hadn't died. These people spend their life in a sort of fantasy, daydreaming about the dead child, talking to the dead child, and living for the dead child. That's just not me. I think I'll do things a bit differently. I am thinking I might use Eddie's death as a day to write down Eddie stories, so my other kids have something to remember his by other than his death. Or maybe I'll find someone who needs help and lend a hand. I don't know. But I do know that life goes on. In the end, that's what counts.