Old and New
Garrett cuddled up with our dog Milo – one of the last pictures I took of him before he died.
Normally, I would want to start out the new bloggy year with a reflective post looking back at 2012 and some ideas about how I can be better and more productive and generally awesomer in 2013. I would talk about resolutions or share my “one word” for the year, or get all sappy and sentimental about how hard-but-good life is and how the trials in my life have inspired and grown me. I might even be super industrious and round up my favorite posts of the year from other blogs are talk about the best movies I’ve seen and books I’ve read.
But never mind that I’m terrible at keeping resolutions and can never remember what good books or blogs I’ve read (and never mind that I’m usually so behind the curve that I’d only be recommending stuff that everyone else is ALREADY reading). I can’t write a typical New Year’s blog post because 2013 looks to me like a smolding, stinking wasteland.
My two-year-old son died in November. Actually, he was murdered – a victim of abuse by a trusted friend. One morning I dropped him off at a neighbor’s house, just as I did every day, and went to work. By one o’clock that afternoon, when I arrived at the neighbor’s home to find paramedics kneeling next to my baby’s motionless body, my whole life was changed. By ten o’clock the following morning, Garrett was gone. Forever. And it felt like my life was over.
I didn’t know how to share this. I mean, I mentioned it on my Facebook page (which is only loosely connected to my blog) and the news spread fairly quickly among my family and friends. But on the blogosphere, what could I say? It’s not as if I had a large following of people who would miss me if I just stopped writing, so I just stopped writing.
Then there was the complication of Garrett’s death being the focus of criminal investigation (which is still ongoing). I’ve been cautioned against speaking with the press, and I felt this instinctive need to spin a coccoon around myself, to keep myself safe from accusations and suppositions and twisted words. (FYI, it didn’t work.)
More than anything, I wondered what on earth I could possibly say about this situation other than the fact that is utter and complete shit. People keep telling me, “I can’t imagine what you’re going through.” At first I was all gracious and stuff, saying, “Oh, I wouldn’t want you to.” But I’ve changed my response. If you are a parent, you CAN imagine what I’m going through, you just don’t want to.
Losing a child really is as awful as you think. It is unfathomable, but not unimaginable. It’s so easy to imagine the horror that most people just don’t let their minds go there.
See? I’m kind of a total downer right now. I don’t have any “Chicken Soup for the Soul” insights about grief and family and love and childhood. I don’t imagine this blog being helpful to anyone at all.
(Except maybe to me – and that’s why I’m here.)
2013 scares me. We’re expecting a new baby in just a couple of months, and that means I not only have to continue to live and breathe for myself, I have to care for someone else. I’m often convinced that I am a complete failure as a wife and mother, and that Garrett’s death is proof of that. I didn’t know he was in danger. I didn’t protect him from evil. I let him down, I let my husband down, I let our whole family down.
The old year may be over, it may be time to let go of grudges and regrets and forge ahead into a bright new future, but I can’t do that.
Maybe someday, but not today.