Tuesday, May 1, 2012

(Life) Revisions

The morning of Aimee's death, when the sheriff's deputies were asking questions as part of their investigation, I found myself making verbal revisions, shifting from present tense to past tense automatically. I'd say something like: "She wears--wore--these shoes all the time."  My brain had begun the hard work of understanding the world without my sweet, sweet wife.
I stumbled through that awful day with too many verbal revisions. Aimee is gone. Aimee did those things in the past.

At night, after the boys are in bed and when I do most of my private grieving, I sometimes have little breakthroughs. Last week, when thinking about all the things she won't do anymore, I realized I don't have to say "I loved Aimee." This isn't a necessary revision--I still love her in the present tense, just as I still love my father even though he's been gone for nearly 23 years. If grief is the cost of loving, at least love doesn't have an expiration date.

Yesterday was Max's birthday. I struggled; I spilled over with tears and frustration and all sorts of awful heartache after the boys went to bed. I miss Aimee--again in the present tense--and love her dearly. The way I love her has changed, but not the love itself.

And that, even in the blackest moments, keeps me going right now.


Another revision I should mention:

The "buzz bomb" from my "Culture Clash" post was actually called an "Overlord". Thanks to Janae for setting the record straight.

It still was less than spectacular. (Sorry, Jason)


Lane said...

The first family celebration was bound to be rough. Sometimes it's probably all you can do to just remember to breathe.

Aaron Polson said...

Lane - I was prepared, but it was so busy... Maybe I did forget to breathe for a while.

Lane said...

If you need extra hands to get things done, don't be afraid to ask. I know neither your mother nor Aimee's parents live near you, but I bet there are plenty of local people who would be happy to help you with all those tasks that can drive even two parents to near insanity. You can even post what you need on your blog and I would bet the locals who read it will be happy to come lend a hand. Aimee had plenty of students and parents of students who admired and respected her so much and who would love to have the opportunity help out in any way, if for no other reason than to say, "She was special to me, and I'd like to pay it forward."

You might set up a small network of a few people who you can call on for "emergency help." (Emergency being anything from car trouble to a birthday party to grocery shopping to needing help getting your lawn mowed to a teething baby...the list is endless) A network of emergency helpers is almost a necessity.

And remember: with young kids, even an all-together experienced parent can only do about a fourth of what they think they should be able to do. I used to estimate how much time something should take, then multiplied that time by the number of young children involved to get a realistic ballpark of how long anything would take. It's also unrealistic to think one parent can do the same thing as two parents in the same amount of time. Things like celebrations won't be quite the same as they were before simply because you don't have same adult to child ratio. To reduce the stress, you can either simplify the plan or call in reinforcements.

It WILL get easier, but it's going to be frustrating at times -- maybe most of the time. If you can remember just this: It doesn't have to be perfect for kids. They don't want or need perfect. They really just want to know you love them. If you can manage to communicate that much, that's what counts the most.

Cate Gardner said...

A painful, but lovely post, Aaron.

Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

Like Cate said. Absolutely lovely.

Anonymous said...

My son sent me your blog yesterday. I spent the evening reading it. Thank God for men like you who can put thoughts in writing. I am so sorry about the loss of your wife. I lost my husband to suicide. He walked in our back windbreak and shot himself in the chest with his own deer rifle. Devastating. I have on my fireplace mantle "Just Breathe". It happened in 2008. Forever was a blur and I was numb and just now feel like I am feeling again. There are so many things and decisions that I don't even remember doing but I did for my children. Just as you are. My children are grown, married and I have grandchildren. Don't know how you have done it with little ones. Thank you for sharing and being so brave.