20 months. 40 years. even mother nature knows we belong together.

Diddy,

Yesterday you would have been 20 months old. I am getting better and better at knowing what you’d be doing as each month marker comes along. I never wished to be more blissfully ignorant about anything than I do about all things babies and toddlers. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t get lost in thought imagining all that you would now be able to do. For starters, I hear you talking in two or three word sentences. “Diddy is fly.” “Momma is sleepy.” (But also fly.) I see you completing block puzzles, or pointing to your favorite things when we read: like Lowly the Worm in your Busytown books, or to the moon on each page of “Goodnight Moon”. I picture you proudly helping Momma with little tasks like, “Go get your jammies.” “Put your trucks away.” In addition to all the innocence and wonder you were robbed of, I am also tortured by the things I can’t envision. Mostly by the fact that I can’t picture what you look like anymore. Every so often when I’m somewhere in between asleep and awake, I see you. Only for a flash…before you turn into the baby I last kissed at 20 weeks and 1 day old. I have every inch of you at that age memorized: from the top of your soft head, to the tips of your teeny toes. But I want to see you now, at 20 months old. I want to see you without trying. I want to hear you without straining. I want to hold you without imagining. I want to kiss my 20 month old son and have you kiss me back – with as much teething-induced drool as possible. Instead, I can’t even say for sure what you look like. Because you died when you were just 20 weeks old.

On top of your ‘should have been’ 20 months old day, I turned 40 years old. How it’s remotely right that I have already lived for 40 years, when you didn’t even get to live for five months is so far beyond my comprehension, I nearly puke every time it passes through my consciousness. Alas, in honor our “Secret Society Club” I wanted to do something special to pay tribute to this particular 12th. It met the criteria of being something new, it is also something that will eventually become old. I finally got (the most preciously radical) tattoo. In turn, “your place” on Momma is now officially reserved forever and ever. Just as it should be. No one else will ever call the nook of my arm all the way to the crest of my shoulder their own. All who look will see my Sweet Boy has staked his claim. They will see your name. They will see a symbol of you in fight and in flight. They will see a peaceful warrior transitioning to a warrior at peace: as he passes through the faintest rainbow…and heads straight to the highest layer.

The only tolerable part about October 12th was the weather. It started out cloudy and chilly. A perfect backdrop to stay in bed a little later than planned to see if it would be the day that squeezing my eyes extra-tight would transport me back to my old life. If even for one day. No such luck. When the rain began to strum against my bedroom window, I was convinced the world was as sad as me; so I decided it was safe to face the day. I got to the gym and back before the happy-ass sun decided to come out and toy with my mood. However, it turns out Mother Nature is in my corner after all. And she’s manic too. A few hours later the skies reverted to a dark grey, opened up, and dumped out an unyielding and unforgiving rain. It was a true shit storm. And it made me feel much better. However the greatest birthday gift (outside of you back in my arms) came moments after when a faint rainbow emerged high in afternoon the sky. It was there momentarily. But it was there. You were there.

You and I have always had our very own secret society. Nothing will ever change that; not even death itself. Tattoos and rainbows aren’t needed to prove our love. Our love far supersedes markers and magic. It transcends the parallel universes in which we exist. It is the rare kind of love that truly does last forever and ever. Of this I am sure.

That being said, you must wonder why there are times I’m overcome by such extreme sadness that I stand in the shower just so the water can drown the sound of my sobs and the screams of your name. Or how there can be moments when I’m overcome by such anger that to prevent myself from breaking things, I bury my face into your blanket and scream…to no one at all, that I just want my baby back. I miss you so much that parts of me I never knew existed hurt. And I miss being your Momma (the way I should be) so much that the parts that don’t hurt…are simply numb.

I am doing my best to navigate these unchartered parenting waters of being a Momma from so far away. I am terrified more often than not. I am sad. I am lonely. I am mad. I am so very, very tired. But I am also without another choice. So I push onwards. And I hold onto hope that in the process, I am not letting you down.

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I miss you. I love you. Worry not, little one – Momma is right as rain.

Stay with me, Sweet Boy.

xoox,

Momma

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Stupid people scare me more than zombies…or ganstas, so there.

Diddy, Cancer is stupid. And people are stupid. I try to ignore the stupid people of the world the best I can, but as it turns out, I am not good at it. I guess because I’m still human. I wish I were a zombie. Then maybe I wouldn’t be bothered by stupid, ignorant people. I would just rip their hearts out and eat them, perhaps making them feel a fraction of the pain I feel on a daily basis. Auntie Kupa would be jealous; she would rather be a zombie too. Sometimes the stupid people of the world say stupid things like, “Oh, I know how you feel, because when my mom died….we ALL have the flu this week – you can’t imagine the chaos…my son had his tonsils out and it was tortuuuure…my boss made me have the worst week of my life”. Please hold on a minute while I rip out your brain; as it turns out you’re not using it. Thankfully, your good, pure, kind Daddy is here to talk me off the ledge “…everyone else’s life has not stopped just because ours has…that IS a crisis to people who still live in our old world.” I am not ignorant. I am aware other people are suffering to make it through each day. In fact, I know there are even many, many other moms and dads who have lost a child. But guess what? They didn’t lose you, Paxton. So there is no comparing or justifying. You are you, and you are mine. Therefore, nobody else knows the depth and breadth of this pain. This pain is my own, this sadness is my own, this loneliness is my own. I would never tell another bereaved parent, “I know how you feel.” Because I don’t. I understand some aspects of their heartache, but simply put, no two losses are comparable. It’s something that goes without saying amongst we “bereaved parents”. A certain understanding exists between the moms and dads pretending to live without our beloved children. Grieving Parent Street Code – I guess. (Admit it Diddy, it makes you smile to learn your Momma has turned out to be a little bit gansta.) The silver lining of today is the rainy gloomy weather. At least I have that going for me. First of all, it’s mid-January and 50 degrees…which is helpful in supporting my case that the world is truly becoming more fucked up by the day. And the rain adds just the right dirty, muddy touch to help express how I feel, without me having to say a word. I was even able to take a break from the tears on my way to work this morning. The rain strummed on my windshield, and the fog muddled my vision just enough to cry for me a bit; so I let it. Then I arrived at work, where I have to put on my fake, half-smile. Today especially sucked because I was trapped in a conference room filled with people who I can’t, and won’t, let into our world. When I’m at work, I have to use all of my strength to push the sobs creeping up my throat down to my tummy. I am better at containing throwing up than I am at containing sobs. But, I don’t want to push down the sobs anymore – just because the stupid people in the conference room wouldn’t get it. I want to drop to the fetal position and kick the shit out of the stained, blue, itchy carpet and tell everyone, in between sobs, that I am the one who needs inpatient treatment – not the kid who is there because despite loving America, proving so by saluting all things red, white & blue, is trapped in shackles and, therefore, can’t run from the bad guys who are chasing him. I wonder how different this world would be if we all acted the way we felt really felt instead of hiding everything behind our lip gloss and faux professionalism? I’ll bet it would be a complete mess; but at least it would be a TRUE complete mess, versus a FAKE and insincere mess. Truth be told, I’m not much different than my student who was ‘committed’ (again) today. Everything I say – or think, but don’t say (not because I’m trying to be polite, but because I’m too damn tired) is far from normal. I realize, and own, that I am filled with extra, spicy anger; but it goes beyond that. I don’t think about normal things anymore. No matter the conversation, no matter who it’s with – all I think about, as I lose track of what I’m supposed to be listening to, is why you got cancer. I play the game that I am so good at playing: it was the eye drops I used, the supplements I took, the physical therapy I made you go to at far too early an age. It was the changes of formula, the (way too much) Karyo syrup I (accidentally) gave you for his (non) constipation. I made you too hot from all the blankies, let you cry too long, laid you on his side instead of your back. When you were misdiagnosed; I didn’t push the doctors hard enough; I let the shock suppress my instincts to question and challenge. Mostly, I fear I simply may have determined your destiny long before you were born by choosing your name – Paxton. Daddy insists there is nothing I did other than love you just exactly the right way. He reassures me ten times a week that we did everything we could have possibly done to save you. He insists, repeatedly, the outcome would have been the same, no matter what. I still don’t believe him. (Somehow, your sweet Daddy keeps loving me all the same.) Everyone tries to pacify my “guilt”. I guess I have little credibility due to being the irrational, traumatized, broken-hearted Momma. I don’t need credibility though. I just need you back. That’s all, really. Goodnight, my love. Should you run across zombies or gangstas, tell them you are my baby; they will protect from the stupid people. I will look for you in my dreams. Stay with me, sweet boy. xoox, Momma Gangsta Love