It Hits You Like a Tidal Wave

Sometimes, you think you’re doing great.  I’d even go as far as to say I thought I was having a good day.  I went to work, I came home, I worked out, cooked dinner, did some homework with Chase, took a shower…   I went to clean up some toys in Tanner’s room (we let Chase play in there, although Tanner’s room is still Tanner’s, Chase knows he can go in there and play with Tanner’s toys).  I went in, picked up some trains, and then decided to sit in the glider.  I guess that was my mistake – the glider, but I just really wanted to remember.

I sat there and started rocking.  Remembering what it was like when Tanner first came home from the hospital, our brand new perfect baby that we had waited so long for.  I remembered sleepless nights with Tanner on my chest, rocking him back to sleep.  I remembered sitting in that glider after that horrific trip to the pediatrician, when he told us it was likely a sinus infection that caused Tanner’s eye to bulge.  I remembered knowing in my gut something was wrong.  I remembered reading to Tanner, in that glider, the same book over and over – Thomas’ Big Race.  I remembered singing to him, the “Tanner Jayden” song that I had made up and always ended with “I love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck”…

Then it got even worse.  I opened his changing table drawer.  I held his shoes, I put my fingers in his socks (he loved to put his socks on his hands – probably because of the neuropathy he had from his chemo).  Then, I pulled out his blankie.  His favorite blankie is with him, but he had two backups.  One is in my bedroom, and I sometimes sleep with it.  The other, there in his changing table.  I took that blankie and held it up to my face and breathed in and breathed in and tried my hardest to get even the faintest hint of Tanner.  I think the corner of the blanket has a little drop of pediasure on it, which Tanner always had a sippy cup of…

So I sat there, holding his blankie to my face and wishing.  Wishing for things that can never be.  Wishing for my family, my heart, to be whole again.

Chase and Andrew walked in then, and Chase started playing with Tanner’s old Fisher Price DS video game type thing.  Andrew sat in the other chair in Tanner’s room and I saw it on his face.  It’s so hard to sit in there, but it’s also so necessary.  I imagined how different it should be and how Tanner, who would be 6 now, should be in there.  I wondered if he would still want the Thomas the Train stuff on his walls and if not, what would he want? 

And then it was bath time, pajama time, and night time for Chase, so back to busy and reality for us.  The reality of what’s (or who’s) missing.

We all get so busy running around, getting things done.  It’s good because it keeps us focused, keeps us moving forward, always getting these tasks done.  Sometimes it’s important to just sit down and take it in, allow yourself to get lost in remembering, or get lost in just watching, listening.  Sometimes you have to stop doing and just be, even if only for a few minutes.  You owe it to yourself.  No one is superhuman. 

The wave of grief may have knocked me down for a few minutes last night.  But the water always recedes.  The ocean of grief is always there, and three years later, I’m still learning to swim.

Missing you always, my Tanner.


Tanner’s Momma


Tanner loved his Thomas the Train
January, 2011

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