The After Party

It is so hard for me to believe that summer break is officially over and my boys are back in school. Somehow, August is nearly over and we have a 1st grader and a Pre-K student. The new school year always seems to create a fresh start for my boys; new haircuts, new clothes, some new friends, a new grade level, and a new teacher. Honestly, all of the positivity in the air has been good for everyone in my family; even me.

Preparing for this school year has kept me incredibly busy and now that school has started, our schedules are crazier than ever. All of this “new” brings on an incredible array of emotions for me. Although I am incredibly proud to stand by and watch my children grow, learn, make new friends, and experience new things, I can’t help but to have a small amount of sadness. I suppose some might argue that it is the same sadness most parents feel as they watch their children grow-up. Yes, I suppose it could be that, only, I was not that type of parent. But now? Now, I know that this is an altogether different feeling. I had plans…so many plans. Plans to finally have one-on-one time with my 3rd child. Plans to be that mom and be involved in every playgroup imaginable. Plans to have 3 boys wrestling after school.  Now, I am trying to learn what it’s like to not have a wobbly toddler around, to re-learn who I am, and to mold myself back into motherhood as a mom of 2 school-age children. Time will help.  It has helped.
Four months, soon to be five, have passed since Christopher died. We are now officially at the “After Party”; the time after the dust has settled, when visitors stop visiting, and calls stop coming.  As the grievance counselors predicted, nearly all of our loved ones have gone back to their normal routines, as they should.  Nothing has changed in their immediate world.  Alternatively, people whose lives Christopher impacted daily are learning to live without him.  Instead of simple play dates with Chris, the kids discuss what they’d like to do if he were at the park.  Or, what should have been a typical daddy-out-of-town training for this army family, my inquisitive 4 year old asked me very bluntly if daddy was with Christopher in heaven. (I did my very best to stay calm)
Thankfully, I have “party-goers” with me at this after party. Because of the support, the tears fall less frequently. I can usually manage to talk about him or about his death without getting terribly emotional. It allows me to inform and educate others about Sudden Unexplained Death of a Child, SUDC, and spread awareness of this little known cause of death.  A good friend who has been a big help after losing Chris hesitantly, with love, offered a song to me: Ronan by Taylor Swift. She said it had been on her heart for a while and that it constantly was a reminder of Christopher. If you haven’t heard it, the song is a tribute to a 4 year old boy who lost a battle with cancer. Knowing it would be a trigger I didn’t listen to it immediately. Despite the heavy flow of tears, it was beautiful to listen to. I love hearing that people still think of Christopher. That, moments, people, sounds, or smells make people feel close to him. I love knowing he is still in our hearts.  We are beyond blessed to not be at this party alone.

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