It is 3:45 am and I can't sleep so I will write another post. I have deliberately put this towards the bottom of the blog as once again; it is pretty raw stuff. It's hard to believe that it has been one week since our son has passed away. While I know in my head that this awful event has occurred, I now feel as though I am in a dream - going through the motions. When I reflect on the past 7 days, everything is a blur and yet when I can focus on an event, like the service on Saturday, I view it as though an observer - like it has happened to someone else.
But everything around me says that this happened to me and my family: the beautiful bouquets of flowers that fill each room, the gorgeous plants, the food that fills my fridge, the pictures that I still have up of Josh, the gifts that friends have given that I have yet to open and the large box of cards that are waiting to be read. I am still overwhelmed by the love being shown us as we received two plants, two flower arrangements and one box of goodies just today.
But I don't want this to be me. In fact, I feel a bit angry at Josh for making this me. Whereas I felt at peace after the private viewing which was on Friday pm, at least enough so that I could comfort those who came to the public viewing on Saturday, I am now feeling that this matter is completely unresolved and even more mysterious than ever. Tyler has been looking at Josh's computer and has been able to create a pretty good timeline of what he was doing that night. Two things indicate that he had been thinking and perhaps planning this - for how long, we do not know. But the clues were so subtle, I would've had to put on my Sherlock Holmes hat to find them. So once again, as a mother, I think I should've thought of this and if I had found something, we could've prevented this.
I haven't really sobbed, like I had been doing pretty much non-stop, for the past couple of days. Instead, my stomach is knotted up and I feel a bit on the edge - like at some unknown time, I could really lose it. Gillian has found a short video that she took on her phone of Josh with Biggie. He is speaking on the video and I can't bring myself to watch it for fear that this will be the moment that the dam will break lose.
So I keep busy - the days go by pretty quickly. I am reading the posts on the blog several times a day; in fact, I have been working on a post that describes the whole hearing process that we went through with the County. It is an important post so I am spending my time on it and of course, it is being read and vetted by everyone, including our in-house counsel, my wonderful sister-in-law, Ona. Emily is getting emails of pictures, a slide show to music, original digital art, etc that we marvel at and discuss putting on the blog. She has forwarded personal emails to me and I have finally looked at this tonight and responded to some.
Every idea sounds good to me: so far, I have thought that Tim and I should help Tyler and Emily and keep Huck, their very cute, but high-maintenance dog. Lauren is planning to run a marathon by the anniversary date of Josh's death and while in the past, I thought that people who ran marathons were a bit loco, I am now ready to sign up and run it with her. Josh's best friend wants to get a tattoo in memory of Josh and this sounds good to me too; although it would have to be in place that can be hidden by work attire, as I have yet to see someone within my work environment with one. We have dear friends that might be looking to relocate back to this area and since we will now have a big empty house, I am thinking that they can live here with us. Tim tells me to calm down and not make any big decisions for a couple of weeks - he is probably right.
We went to dinner tonight in celebration of someone's birthday and it was suggested that I make a quilt with Josh's T-shirts - this sounds like a great idea too as I have made a few quilts in the past. However, this would mean going through his room, which I have not done yet. I mean to do this with Tyler and Bryce (Josh's best friend since birth - literally) before they leave, but when I think of this task, my stomach goes queasy again. It may have to be done by myself, with no one around as may be this is the time the dam will break. When I am speaking of the dam breaking, you must envision crying that will escalate to wailing.
Tomorrow, we are meeting my parents at the cemetery to choose a stone for Josh. We love the place where he is buried as it looks more like a park than a cemetery as they do not use tombstones to mark the grave, rather the marker is flush with the ground. Many people have bought vases that are attached to the marker so there are fresh flowers everywhere. The trees should be flowering soon and people have put wind chimes on them so when there is a breeze, you hear a bit of music. There is also a pond in this "park" - it would actually be a nice place to go running. It is divided into sections which have their own label, such as Garden of Serenity, Garden of Reflections, Garden to Time, etc. Josh is in the Garden of Prayer which is comforting.
What kind of grave marker should we get for him? This is just one of the many questions that had to be answered since his death - do we want burial or cremation, what clothing should we bury him in, what music did we want for the service, who would be the minister, what casket, do we want a grave liner or a vault, what pictures should be used in the tri-fold and DVD that the funeral home provided at the service, what plot should we choose - it is like planning an event like a wedding in two days. I can't tell you how difficult it is to do this while feeling so completely and utterly emotional. I am so appreciative of Todd, Tim's brother and Jim, our dearest friend who was with us at all of these meetings. We could not have done it without their suggestions and guidance. They know us well and could almost predict what we would want.
Now I am thinking a bit about the future. When I meet someone new and they ask "get-to-know you" questions like: "how many children do you have? What are their ages and what are they doing?" Do I say, I have four children, but one is deceased? Can I say this without crying? What about when I go back to work and people offer their condolences the first time we speak? Will I start crying then? Will this be the time that the dam breaks? My stomach starts churning, just thinking about this. Unchartered territory and I cannot predict how I will feel or act. This makes me nervous.
But I suppose what really makes my stomach go loopy is the thought of an empty home when our Lauren and Gillian go back to UVA and Tyler, Emily and Huck go home to Georgia. Tim and I will be here alone (with our two doggies), but no Josh. Just thinking about it makes me cry - I think this blog will help as it will keep me connected to people and is a way to express my feelings. It has certainly helped me already - we'll see.
I have other posts that I plan to write - one being on the goodness and generosity of all of you. I also want to write a post on what I have learned from the teens that I have met and spoken to in the past few days. These young people have changed my life and whereas in the past, I was concerned about whether or not these teens were capable of being leaders in the future, I now have absolutely no doubt. Their networking skills alone will enable them to get more done in a short amount of time that any of us adults. I envy those who work with our teens as teachers, counselors or coaches - no wonder you love your jobs. These young people are absolutely fantastic.
So while never being one to enjoy writing, I am finding the words flowing from me. I appreciate so much the thoughts and prayers and love that continue to flow to our family. May Josh rest in peace and may God give each person in my family true peace as well.