Yesterday marked six months since Holden’s gorgeous soul left his young body. It was a hard day. We were tidying up (in the Japanese and allegedly magically joyful way), putting away the decorations, tossing the wilted poinsettias and gathering the crackling dry boughs and pine cones from the mantle. For some reason this was even more painful than setting them out had been. The open, clear space created in their absence would normally have meant a fresh feeling of opportunity and potential for the new year but instead it created a powerful vacuum that squeezed my chest with a longing that has become so familiar. I had thought perhaps the vortex was losing some of it’s pull. I was wrong. The inside of my ribcage felt like a chandelier in an earthquake. Clattering and swaying. I wasn’t sure how things would shake out.
Wrapping these sentimental items in tissue and bubble wrap then packing them away in their dark blue utilitarian plastic tubs jolted me with it’s significance. It’s heaviness. How could we tuck him away so easily? Put him on a shelf until next year. The cute little teddy bear stocking with his name on it in purple glitter glue that we’ve had since he was born (which, by the way he insisted on keeping even though we offered to get him a more grown up one) and of course the unopened gifts. Stab. The tree ornaments that he made all through school, so achingly sweet. I can picture his little hands working earnestly to create them. The proud Christmas tree made of jigsaw puzzle pieces, it’s layers of glue painted dark green and zig zagged with gold twine, dotted with coloured beads. ‘Holden – grade 1, 1999’ printed in pencil on the back in his careful hand. The triangle shaped reindeer head built with tongue depressors, pipe cleaner antlers and the red pom-pom nose and my favourite, the silver clothes-peg angel. Stab, stab, stab. All I can say is yesterday felt like trying to walk with your shoes on the wrong feet. It’s still possible, but doesn’t feel right at all. Something was missing or dragging behind or just simply wrong. I hate the 3rd. Of every month. I seriously loath it. But the 6 month benchmark combined with the newness of the year weighted the day more heavily than I was prepared for. It landed on me with an unexpected thud. I had actually begun to feel like in some ways I was emerging from the inky blackness of the tunnel. Nope. Get back in here lady. We’re not done with you yet. Continue Reading →