She hopes when she is able.
She longs every moment of every day.
She breathes only because she must.
She wishes it were different.
Some say the second year is harder than the first. Even writing the "second year" is hard to type. I can't believe we are in the second year of not having Griffin here. It's not fair. I have found myself asking more and more these days, "why Griffin".
The hospital has a memorial service for the children that have died. It was Griffin's time to have his leaf placed on their tree that will be there forever. I remember sitting there feeling brave, feeling like I am not going to cry. I am going to go through these motions because I was there to represent Griffin but thats it. I looked around and saw such sadness in so many faces... and I kept my brave face. The father sitting in front of me, under his sunglasses I saw one single tear trickle down his face.. that didn't break me... It wasn't until they ask you to say your childs' name in front of everyone. The moment I said "Griffin Engle"... it was all over. It was real, I couldn't continue this idea of me just "representing" Griffin with a brave face. Saying Griffin Engle, I had just acknowledged his life and his death. I wasn't representing anymore, I was there because my son died and I was surrounded by people who also lost their child. Reality is harsh, and is something you can't escape.
As the seasons change, most of you that know me- know that means going through the bins of the clothes in storage that I have saved for the kids. Of course, there are the clothes that were Griffins' that Everett is now ready to wear. As I went through the clothes I could remember Griffin wearing them. A little plaid button down shirt reminded me of his first day of Universal Pre K. I remember snapping pictures of him with his buddy Michael, even holding his hand because they were so excited...
Little did Griffin know he was going to make the best little buddies in that class that were going to be by his side until the day he died.. literally until the day he died.
Then there is the navy blue shirt with red numbers on the front.. I remember Griffin being hot one day and just running right into the sprinkler fully dressed.. one of best pictures of him was captured this day... the pure joy of a child just loving something as simple as a sprinkler, his smile was priceless.. a child who's biggest worry was that he didn't grab a towel to dry himself off. A child who probably never heard the word cancer before. A child who the only time he spent in the hospital was the day he was born. A child who deserved to live a long, long life filled with the simple pleasures of a sprinkler.
Or the matching shirts with a dump truck on them that he and Everett would wear to make their mommy happy. Or the multi colored Tie dye shirt he was wearing the night that he and Grace were throwing playing cards up in the air (like "52 pick up") and laughing so hard.
I am a planner, I like to think ahead, I like to be prepared and I like a good deal. I have clothes that were bought for Griffin for when he was older. Clothes he will never wear. Clothes I don't even know I will pass to Everett.. as it's a reminder that Griffin never wore them.
I know they are just clothes and I am rambling.. but something so simple.. going through hamey downs is a gut wrenching experience. I held up a shirt to show Adam and it instantly brought him tears. When Everett saw our tears, he asked me why I was crying. I told him I miss Griffin. He then said: "Don't worry he is coming back after his surgery".. and then quickly asked "what was wrong with his head?". So I found myself reiterating that Griffin had cancer and that he died and wasn't coming back. He was in Heaven. Doesn't get any easier reminding this little boy of the truth...
I am asked all the time, how I am able to do what I do with Griffin's Guardians? The answer is quite simple. "I have no idea". I have no idea how I even get out of bed, how I spoke in front of 250 people at the Gala, how I walked back into that hospital to meet with a social worker to discuss Griffin's Guardians helping more families with a child with cancer.. and going into the exact room where Griffin and I would meditate... repeating over and over " I am strong, I am brave, and I will beat this".
Maybe those words were meant for me... Maybe it was meant for me to have a meeting at the hospital and be brought into this special room to remind me.. Maybe 2 years ago when I taught Griffin, " I am strong, I am brave and I will beat this" maybe that was meant for me... for my grief.... the difference is saying these words with a broken heart.... but maybe they were meant for me.....