|Since You've Been Gone
Author: summerkid PM
I kept my sunglasses on the entire day, I was too afraid that I would have to explain why I was crying so much. I had so many other things on my mind, the two tiny hands attached to mine were the reminders.Rated: Fiction K - English - Family/Hurt/Comfort - Brittany P. & Santana L. - Words: 2,034 - Reviews: 31 - Favs: 54 - Follows: 8 - Published: 11-26-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7584464
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I sat there staring in front of me as people spoke softly, kindly and passionately. I stared ahead of me because that was where you were. I could only see the world half clear, my eyes her otherwise occupied with tears blurring the rest of my sight. I kept my sunglasses on the entire day, I was too afraid that I would have to explain why I was crying so much. I had so many other things on my mind, the two tiny hands attached to mine were the reminders.
I had to explain to our children why you weren't coming home, why you were never going to dance with them around the living room ever again and why they'd never hear your laugh in the kitchen in the morning. I had to tell them that you were in heaven, even though I had long ago stopped believing in anything remotely religious, but if you were one of those few that made me believe in anything. I had to tell them that you loved them and always would no matter what. I had to explain to our children that you will always be their mother and that I will always be there to love them enough for the both of us.
They sat beside me during the funeral, I didn't let them come to the wake because I thought they were too young and it was so sad. My mother offered to watch them for a weekend, to let me have alone time, but I couldn't bare it to not have them around me, they looked so much like you did when you were their age. The three of us laid in bed for three days straight, we watched your favorite Disney movies and even some home movies, staying completely silent so we could hear your voice.
The kids were at school, it had taken your mother physically getting them out of bed and driving them herself to get them back into the swing of things. I was standing in the kitchen by myself. I remember I was going to make coffee, but it smelled like mornings with you, and I stared at the machine for a while almost willing it to become invisible. Eventually I became way too tired and before I knew it I was crying into my knees. I sat on the kitchen floor with my legs pulled tightly to me, and I just cried.
Things seem to pop up out of nowhere, like feelings and memories, it happens more than we realize. But regardless of how used to this, it still shocks us or surprises us, catches us completely off guard. That's how it was our first Christmas without you.
It was a few weeks before Halloween, another holiday that only reminded us of your absence, and Quinn called to see if I wanted to come Christmas shopping. I remember thinking, my mind scanning over a calendar in my brain over the days, weeks, and months that I had lost since losing you. I had completely forgotten about our plans for getting the kids bikes this year and that new dance game you said they wanted but I knew you were totally going to play. I also forgot that we usually shop with Quinn so when she asked all I wanted to do was look to my left and ask you why I forgot.
Luckily, with the kids being so young, they still had that sparkle on Christmas morning. They woke me up by snuggling up to me in bed, trying to tickle my sides and my feet and under my neck that their persistence made me laugh. Their little hands tugged me down the hall and towards the stare case, bouncing up and down at the sight of the tree with gifts piled below it.
It's hard to describe that feeling you get when you are sitting there watching your children open presents on Christmas. You want to chuckle along with your person, significant other, lover, soul mate and point out how excited Justin is about his race track set and how Gabby puts on her play dress shoes on with her socks still on. You want to nuzzle into your wife because outside looked cold and you can only imagine how it feels. And that moment, the one where you are sitting on the couch, legs tucked beneath you and coffee in hand, watching your children compare gifts and play you don't get to sneak back into the room and grab that secret gift you'd been hiding for over a year in your side drawer. You don't get to have your brief five minutes of being in your own loving world while the kids are in theirs. Instead, you continue to sit there, sip your coffee and quickly wipe away that tear that trickles out of nowhere before the kids see it and you smile.
When Justin started the third grade he had to do a family project. I remember reading over the directions at the kitchen table wondering how to help him with it without it becoming so sad. Even though he was five when you passed, he still remembers you so well, probably because I tell them how much they are like you. He asked me some questions and I answered them to the best of my ability.
I remember going to his parent teacher conference, you would have been so proud at the way she praised him. She told me he was one of the smartest kids in the class and that he was one of the kindest of children she had ever encountered. I think I cried on the way home because all I kept thinking is that he definitely got that quality from you. Then, she handed me his family project and I grinned as I read the cover he had made himself, 'The Pierce-Lopez's', and then stick figures below the title.
I opened it and found a picture of all four of us and it took everything in me to not burst into tears in front of our son's teacher. It's different when I see our pictures in the house, your parents or my parents and even anywhere else because I remember how I felt in them and how I feel about the memory. It's different because in that moment I was reminded that my children lost you as their mother and they have their own feelings from those pictures. This was sad because it was through our child's eyes.
I turned the page and read about how he loves his sister even though she picks on him sometimes and how I make the best French toast. My eyes blurred as I read about you, how he missed you and talked to you in his dreams every night. I inwardly sobbed a sigh as I read in his messy handwriting how he wished you were still alive because I was so sad and that even though I love both he and Gabby I'm missing the piece that makes me bright. Something about an eight-year-old being able to put things into words as deep as longing, death and sorrow stirs something deep inside.
When people die, other people offer their platitudes in a variety of ways. Some send food, some cards and notes of poems and words written by authors from long ago to say something they can't verbalize. Some send pictures, flowers, offer hugs and kisses on cheeks and sometimes they cannot think of anything because they don't know how to deal so they get books on grief.
I read that usually kids who lose a parent at a young age, especially a girl who loses her mother, would most likely become a troubled teen. So, when Gabby started High School I was nervous because I thought that she was going to act out all her teenage angst I was sure she'd saved over the years and let it pop off. To my surprise, though I probably should not have been, our daughter joined the Glee club, the Cheerleading squad and the dance team. She studied hard and by the end of her freshman year she had made the high honor roll all four quarters. She graduated, with honors, ninth in her class. You would have been so very proud.
When our babies had babies, well, it made me feel old. But it's the best feeling to be able to spoil kids rotten and then not have to discipline them. The only thing was that I had to explain to Bryce, Connor, Joshua, Emily, Sara, Jess, Griffin and Michelle why they never met Nana B. They had seen her in pictures but they never actually spoke to Nana B, they couldn't quite understand this. So I told them that there was a time that you smiled and made everyone smile and your laugh cured everything and your hugs were magic. Specifics, with children anyway, after so many years seem unimportant and I'd rather share the wonderful things than the sad day that took you away from all of us.
I watched as our grandkids got older, some of them looking like you just as our babies did. Gabby had been staying over the house for a weekend because I was sick. She sat with me on the couch and we watched reruns of some show on the television. Her head rested against the back of the couch and when I glanced over at her I swore I thought that she never looked so much like you. She asked me if I missed you as much as I did the first few years after you passed away.
I remember I jerked my head back slightly, I didn't know how to explain it because if anything, the more days that passed by, the more I missed you. I told her that and she made that face you used to make when you saw those ASPCA commercials. Gabby asked if I ever thought about dating after, when I was still young, but I shook my head and shrugged my shoulders.
I took a deep breath, because I was going to explain to her something I never said out loud before. I took her hand and squeezed it lightly before I looked into her blue eyes, shaking my head side to side. I told her that when you died, a piece of me died as well. But, I couldn't let that show as much as I wanted to because I had her and Justin to take care of and worry about and love.
I explained to her that when you passed away I had to figure out what to say, how to describe to our children what had happened and why Mommy wasn't going to be at dinner, why Mommy couldn't read a bedtime story, why Mommy isn't there to stop me from embarrassing Gabby and myself during our 'sex' talk and why Mommy couldn't be the one to catch Justin drunk for the first time. I had to worry about how to tell Gabby about her period, explain to Justin that girl's are to be treated with respect or he would meet the wrath of my fist and vicious words, I had to explain to the PTA bitches that I was Justin's mother and that his 'birth' mother was dead.
But the thing was, the thing that made me miss you more with each and every day, no one ever explained to me why you weren't coming back. No one explained to me why you weren't going to be there beside me in the morning when I opened my eyes. They never carefully told me that you were not going to be there to hold my hand at the movies when I get scared because of the previews. I was not sat down and explained why my best friend, my wife, my best of me was never coming back to me.