Just typing that title sends chills down my spine. This day last year, Nash died; this day my life was forever changed. This day a part of Todd and I died as well. Thinking back to Nash’s life makes me happy and sad. I was such a different person then. I was never happier. I cannot express that enough. It’s not a dramatization or feeling I think of now when I look back. It was 100% the happiest time in my life. I would tell Todd on a nightly basis how perfect our life was, how good we had it, how lucky we were. I wasn’t one of those people who realized what they had once it was gone. NO! I absolutely knew! I spent every damn day smiling, daydreaming, thanking God…this is not an exaggeration! To be at the peak of happiness and receive a call that someone is doing CPR on your everything, followed by the longest drive to a hospital…only to see my lifeless baby on a gurney…felt like being slammed into concrete from 1000 stories high. I dreaded this day more than any day.
Todd and I had planned a party for close friends and family. We knew we would do this months ago. We couldn’t let the day pass without acknowledging it. Family and friends have helped us through so much, why not lean on them again? However, once the day got closer…I canceled the party. I may have wanted friends and family before on tough days, but so far in June, sad to say, they had felt like a burden, people I had to fake smiles around or explain things to. I didn’t want my friends and family around staring at me…I felt like I had been faking it for a full year, and I just couldn’t do it anymore. This day was all mine to wallow in and wallow was what I planned on doing. Once I canceled, Todd seemed down. I asked him if he was upset and he said he wasn’t, that he understood, but at the same time he felt family would help him, distract him. Over the next couple of days, I thought hard about it. I have been a ridiculous person to be married to this month, hell, this year. I’m moody, agitated, sad, careless…if Todd needed the party, who was I to deny him that after all he had been doing for me? I told Todd that when the day comes, if I want to be alone, I’m locking myself in our room and gave him strict instructions to not let anyone come up to talk to me.
In the beginning of the day, Todd seemed to be right. We were so busy picking up stuff for the party and cleaning the house that I barely had time to think about it. Then we went to the grocery store, and that’s where I fell apart. The weather was almost identical to the weather this day a year ago, blue skies, warm. As we shopped, I looked at all the people picking up groceries and smiling. Walking down the aisles like it’s just your average day. When we left the house for the store, I looked at the time and it was the same time the sitter said she had laid Nash down for his nap. When we were checking out at the grocery store, I looked again…only an hour into the almost three hour nap she claimed he had. I started to cry. I felt frantic. As I looked at all the smiling people, I thought to myself that this is how it probably was the day he died. People smiling, shopping even…I wanted to yell at them all that my baby is dying in a house by himself minutes away and you are shopping instead of helping him!! Another hour went by and we were at home. As I watched the time, it killed me to see just how long he was left. It really sank in.
I watched a show once where a person had been killed in eight minutes and the defense attorney said that it was a very short time to suffer. The opposing lawyer, in her closing arguments, made everyone stay silent as she ran a stop watch for eight minutes. It seemed like an eternity! When she was done, she looked at the jury and said, “Do you still think that eight minutes is a short amount of time to suffer?” That is exactly what the day felt like to me, except instead of eight minutes it was hours. What makes it even harder is knowing how many people love Nash now that didn’t even know him until he passed…hundreds, thousands. Many within a ten minute drive from the sitter. Knowing that if any of them knew now what I didn’t then, the sitter would have had thousands of people in her driveway to get him; hell, he wouldn’t have even been there for that matter.
As people started showing up to the party, it did act as a distraction. A fake smile at first, and before long an unforced one. I still found moments to hide and cry and talk to Nash, but for the most part I socialized. Seeing the fifty or so people at our home, close friends and family, made me thankful to have them, blessed even. Once it was dark enough, everyone started handing out lanterns. It was kind of chaotic as people tried to light them and send them off. I had no planned words to say, but I felt the need to say something. Even though I knew everyone there loved Nash, I didn’t want in all the chaos, for people to forget what we were lighting them for. I wanted to say something but felt like I was choking back tears. I had to though. I yelled, “Make sure when you release the lanterns…” I paused to think of what I wanted to say. I wanted to say, remember these are for Nash and the day my baby became an angel. Or, make sure you think of Nash as you release them. All I could choke out was, “Make sure when you release the lanterns…you tell Nash you…love him.” One by one in our front yard on one of the most beautiful nights I’ve seen, my family released their lanterns and I would hear, “We love you Nash” with every release. I held Crue in my arms. I can’t explain how beautiful it was.
Todd always says when he is in our yard that it has a plantation kind of feel to it. An older looking house on almost three acres with fields and trees all around. I feel peaceful out there always. This time though, we stood in the front yard of Nash’s home releasing lanterns, saying, “I love you Nash,” and watching them float to the sky. I held Crue in the middle of the crowd. He had been sleeping and I was thankful for that so I could take in the moment without worrying that he would cry. I looked down at him and was surprised to see his eyes were open as he watched the lanterns float to the sky. The glow covered his face..he watched and watched as they drifted further out. He watched until I could barely even see them, and then he drifted back to sleep. That moment meant so much to me. Looking at Crue and thinking of Nash. I treasure making memories with Crue and this was my favorite so far. Earlier that morning I had written Nash a letter…
June 19th, 2015, marks one year since your passing. So many are worried about your dad and I on this day. To me what hurts the most about June 19th isn’t surprisingly the fact that that is the day you left us. Yes, that hurts more than I can put into words, but what June 19th means to me is that it’s been one year since I’ve held you. One year since I’ve seen that smile. One year since I’ve met your gaze. One year since I last snuggled your warm little body to mine. One year since I’ve heard that adorable laugh. One year down and many more torturous ones ahead. You were my world then and you continue to be my world now. I never in a million years dreamed I would lose one of my children one day. Had I know what this day would be, if I would have had a warning…I would have never left you there baby. It shatters my heart to think of you alone, going through something everyone fears, dying, and knowing you did it alone, without your mommy and daddy. Without anyone. Oh Nash, I wish this would have never happened. I don’t want to be this mother, I don’t want you to be that baby. I want to go back to the time when life was perfect and amazing and you were a part of it. I want you to know that even a year later, I think of you every second. Even though your brother is here, it does not take my thoughts away from you. He has helped me and your daddy in more ways then I can ever explain, and there are moments I look at him and know you sent him to us. A lot of people, myself included, think there are many similarities between the two of you looks wise. What gets me the most though, is that I feel a connection between the two of you. There are times when Crue has these wise beyond his years eyes. When I’m crying, he looks at me in a way I can’t explain, almost like he gets it. He is a part of me, of your daddy, and of you. Even though you are not here physically, you are still very much a member of our family. Not many can say they have two boys, one here and one in heaven watching over all of us. I try each day to look at it as a blessing. It’s hard baby, hard to be here with out you. Hard to keep living in a world that has lost it’s magic. Crue has brought a little of that magic back each day and I feel the need to thank you for that. June 19th……..the end to such a magical life, and the beginning of something magical in its own right. Love you Nash, I’m still here baby, missing you.