I'm trying very hard to hold on here.
But I remember that Mother's Day four years ago so clearly. Mama Roberto's Italian Restaurant. The pink t-shirt I was wearing. Excusing myself from dinner to go stand outside because I started coughing and couldn't stop. Is that when it happened? Or did he die while I was enjoying my chicken parmigiana? I still can't set foot in that place...and I doubt I ever will be able to again.
I want so much to replay the happy times. But the happy times seem so far away and fuzzy around the edges. Like a dream that you know was good...but you just can't remember the details.
The details of the bad, however, are crystal clear. Why is that?
I look at my beautiful boys here with me and I try not to think of that other life...the one we could have had. It's just too painful. Because the razor sharp images of all that went wrong spring to the front and center and demand attention...when all I really want is one or two good memories of what was right. Like the thought of Mama Roberto's, the details only seem to bring guilt and sadness and unanswered questions. It was a lovely lunch. But unless I concentrate really really hard, that is not what I recall.
I know I'm not supposed to wallow. I KNOW. But Baby Alex brought such happiness to my life once upon a time that I can't help but want to feel a slight glimmer of that again. That's not to say I'm not happy now in my life. I mean, look at my boys...of COURSE I'm happy. It's just a different happy. It's the happy that came AFTER. I just really really really miss the happy that came BEFORE.
I'm rambling. And I apologize for it. There are just so many thoughts and feelings that bleed into one another during these few days each May that I can't compartmentalize...can't quite make sense of. Mother's Day is it's own special hell each year. Smiles and brunch and homemade gifts from smiling children I adore alongside trips to the flower shop and cemetery to visit dead children I long for. How did this become my life? I still can't quite believe it...can't wrap my mind around the horror of everything that happened to us. I see us on that Mother's Day in my memory and I want to scream at us. I'm not sure what I would say, though, because it's all so complicated now.
Yes, I would love to find the uncomplicated happiness that came BEFORE. But that will never happen. There will always be a footnote to explain that I was happy "even though"...or I was happy "despite."
So I'll never go to Mama Roberto's again. I'll miss it, but I think I can be ok with that. In fact, looking at my little family, I'm sure I can be happy with that.