Some days I have this ability.. I am not sure if the ability is a good one or a bad one.. but it is an ability.. to block it out. To block the bad, to seriously feel like nothing is wrong in the world and that being able to go Ganee's with little sun burned faces for a cookout after a long day at the poor is a very real possibility. Never mind the fact that this was 16 years ago. I can believe that Little Dustin is just in Thomasville doing his thing, skating, hanging out... I can believe that Deanna is in Mathews, working at Food Lion, living with Anita, finishing up school and they will be here soon. That is where I left them, that is where they should be until they get here.
Then other days, I can be rolling silverware and actually hear my mothers voice in my head saying "she's dead" I can feel the sadness in Craig's when he uttered "We lost Dustin". Those were the exact words. I remember them like you would remember a brand imprinted on your heart with a red hot cow pokey thing. I imagine a cow remembers the pain of that the rest of their life, the exact feel, the smell, the burn.. I don't think they forget, but I bet some days they can make themselves forget they have a burned SF on their hind quarter, forget that moment in time happened, forget that something shifted and everything about them had suddenly changed. They belonged to a new group, they belonged to the cows of South Fork, they had a mark that showed it to the world. (I know you are trying to figure out what South Fork cows have to do with how I feel, I don't know, I haven't the foggiest idea, I just type the words that come to me) I can be a frolicking cow sometimes, I can forget that brand was placed on my heart not once but twice. I can forget that I belong to a group, a group of parents who day in and day out try to through life after the loss of their child. Only for a little while.
It's a trick you play on with your own heart, let it be free for awhile, let it laugh with friends, let it sing a song, because it won't be long that it will remember the brand is there and with every beat a little sadness pumps through your body. Yesterday was one of those days. I was mindlessly wrapping silverware, I remember I was thinking about something, I couldn't remember what after even though I tried, I heard it. I heard my mom. I heard those words. Tears sprang to my eyes as I remembered Deanna was never coming home, then Dustin.. I quickly brushed them away and continued my shift.
I actually not only finished my shift, I came home and took Charlie on a promised walk in the beautiful spring like air, I went and met what can only be called the best people on the beach..(maybe the world!) The Truszs and John. I laughed, I didn't fake laugh, I laughed. I enjoyed the time we had together (even if I did get called a stupid ass or a dumb ass or something of the sort for attempting 17 miles alone, with no water, no gels, and no breakfast.. I deserved it so there's that). I didn't fiddle with the brand like I sometimes do, like an itchy scar that you just can't quit messing with because you know it is there. Sometimes the brand just burns no matter where you are, and your eyes betray you, your laugh falls flat, your words don't come out correctly, because the brand, it is burning. What I am realizing is that a shift is occurring, over the winter that brand would not stop burning, it would not stop aching, the thoughts of what had happened and the sadness and grief would hang around my head like a bad cold; now all of a sudden the brand isn't so forth coming when I am out. Maybe it wouldn't have been all these months if I had forced myself out of the house, I don't know and there really is no point in reviewing it, it is in the past, I can't change that. The point is I didn't allow the brand to change my day, I lived my day and then last night after everyone was home all safely tucked into their beds, or snuggling with their puppies, I let the brand burn. I let the thoughts come to the forefront.
I am not sure pretending that everything is "ok" and that picnics, birthdays, vacations, graduations, marriages, and babies will one day happen is really healthy. I am not sure I care. If that is what it takes for me to stop this damn brand from taking over my entire life then so be it! The brand isn't going away, it will be there always and forever, that part has been accepted. Yes I have accepted that neither of those children will ever walk through my door again. Yes I have accepted they are in heaven together and probably much happier than I am. Yes I have accepted they have died. I am not completely delusional, but if it takes believing for just a little while that things are just as normal for me as the Jones so that I can actually live the life that is still here in front of me I am not sure there is any harm in that.
Now that I have completely confused you with cows and brands and whatnot, I will close by saying this.
I ran walked 10.85 miles on Saturday, I worked yesterday all day, came home and walked Charlie another 2.5 miles and the only thing that really bothers me are my ankles and my arches... How in the world is that even possible?? I also managed to actually do something in the exercise department for 6 days in a row. To me right now that is a WIN! I am some how getting there, I am not giving up, I am not giving in, the brand may be there but the key is learning to work around it.
Here's to a good week for all!