december 23 | a secret

I feel bare. I didn’t realize I wore my secrets as armor until they were gone and now everyone sees me as I really am.
— veronica roth, insurgent


There are no secrets. I am an open book.

I spill my words and rip my heart open for all to see that I am flesh and blood. There are no tricks, no smoke screens. I will just as easily show you my dirty bathroom as I will the dressed up ready for a date photo because that is real life. 

Masks? Oh yea, I do wear masks. Those are what get me through the day. Walking through the grocery store crafting a story in my mind, wishing the cashier Merry Christmas, paste on the smile, walk quickly to the car before the tears release. That's not false living through. That's survival. It's not a secret that wearing masks are essential. The secret in that is to know it, acknowledge it. 

I've lived my grief openly since day one. It has been exhausting to write it, to express it, to wrap words around the inexpressible. But just like anything else in my life, I reach for words so that I can understand it. In doing so, there is a balm that somehow, maybe it is tangible for someone else. And that is a balm ... on some days ... and on other days I just want to live my grief regardless of who it helps or who it hurts. 

Here is what it is like right now, in this moment, tonight, December 23rd, at almost nine o-clock at night while orange and lemon slices dry in the oven and I ignore dishes and I close myself off from the people in the house. He wants to make plans for next year and I can't think about it because I don't know how I will feel when the time comes. I don't know if the anxiety will be so huge that we will have to cancel the plans, lose the money for the plane tickets and the hotel room and I hate having to guess what my anxiety will be like two months, four months, six months from now. It makes me stressed to think about stress. 

I told him that the answer would just have to be no. I can't count on being able to go and do things. I can't promise that i won't freak out and not be able to get on the plane because if the plane crashes with both of us in it then our children will have lost so much more when they have already lost more than they can bear. Yes. That is how my mind is working right now. I have so much fear. Whenever they get in the car, I am counting minutes until I know that they are safe and are where they are supposed to be. In March, I am supposed to go to Charleston ... but Charleston is where we were heading when we thought we were going to him but we wren't because he was already gone. I don't know if I 'll be able to go. How long will this fear be with me? 

I feel Noah with me now. The past two days his presence has been strong. He's a little pissed at me. He wants me not to be so sad. He wants me to live well. He reminds me that revisiting those first moments is not serving me well ... but those are the only memories I have ... and how can those be the only memories that I have of this wonderful boy's life? He is here whispering in my ear, "Mamasita, go on with your life. It's what I want. It will make me happy." I don't know how to do this. 

I swing from thinking that i will survive to thinking this is going to destroy me ... moment to moment, minute by minute. I am in constant sorrow at how my children are having to bear this grief. I can't take carry it for them and it crushes me to know how much they are hurting and I can't make any of it better. 

Then there is his love, his Atlas. She has my heart because she has his heart. It makes me just so sad to not be able to see them grow in their love, to create their lives together. It was a mess of emotions that swirled around me when Noah moved to Florida with her ... this new love that I didn't really understand yet and I hadn't gotten to know her. I was trying so hard to ground myself in trust, in knowing that I had raised this young man well and he would be fine. All the future times that we would be able to have together with him, with them, with each other are all gone now and I am stumbling through how to be present for her and feeling like I am failing in that all the time. 

This man of mine is so patient with me and loves me so well ... Noah was cut from the same cloth, so much like his father, a provider and protector. We are strong and I have no fear for the entity that is us but we are suffering, it is painful, so very painful. 

That's what life is like right now. in this moment. I hate feeling fragile but I am fragile. I hate that the grief overflows so often; I worry that  others will tire of it. I have a great fear that I will lose people in the muck of all of this. Fear. I haven't lived my life fearless; I've lived my life in spite of fear. I guess that's what I'll keep on doing soon as I figure out how to do that.