It was a little relief when your first anniversary was over. We had made it through all "the first ones" without you. I of course knew this wasn't it, but maybe it would be a little easier to relive holidays and other special days with one year under the belt?
It worked with a busy travel schedule around the globe and little vacations throughout the summer, and then bang! Right there was school start once again. Right there was my birthday, and the grief came to say hello once again.
I did better this year than last when I hardly could make it in to your school without being a complete mess (Dear Jacob). I was able to take Sarah to her school without crying every five minutes. But I had the urge to find you. I took Friday off to make it a long birthday weekend, and first on my list was to climb Flagstaff. I found you in the butterflies and in the stillness of Walker Ranch where I often feel like the only human soul in universe. The sky was clear blue against the black mountains and green grass. I sat at the amphitheater where your ashes are spread, and talked to you. It was our own conversation, and one to only be shared between mother and son. Between you and I.
Jacob, I am getting faster on the downhill! I felt so good going downhill and feeling the wind against my skin and my face. I felt like flying! I hope you get to experience that as well.
And then I went to your school. I went to sit on your bench. I went to sit under the big tree. I went to hear the sound of your classmates on the playground. I went to look at the door that was your entrance to this school. I cried. Sad tears since there will be no more school starts for you. Happy tears because you had the most amazing teachers and friends at this school. In fact, three of your favorite teachers made your memory bench happen. They wanted you to have a permanent place at your school, and how lucky am I, that they made it happen. As I was sitting on the bench, I texted two of your teachers to let them know where I was, and I was thinking how incredibly lucky you were. You made a forever imprint on some of those teachers who I today call my friends.
I thought about you and I running in the annual school run. You loved it so much that we went around and around despite that stroller of yours being a tad heavy. I thought about your last teacher, and how incredibly positive she was about all your strengths. Not once did she see anything you needed to change or improve. What a beautiful refreshing gift she was to both of us in the endless IEP meetings we endured together.
After I had my moment on your bench, I was ready to go home. I felt ok. School start means I have to visit at your elementary school, probably for years to come. I am also hoping to meet with some of your teachers throughout the year, bring a coffee, and simply sit and chat about you on your very special bench. One of my absolute favorite things to do.
This past week reminded me that grief will come and sit with me when it wants to. It's like a force I can't avoid or fight. I can keep it under bay for a little bit, but it will always win. It will always find me. It's something I will have to face head on. Grief and love go hand in hand. It goes back to one my favorite Winnie the Pooh's quote:
Sweet Jacob, I love you to the moon and back,