Today we should be celebrating the fine young man Darrel had become at the age of 16, and talk with great optimism about what may transpire in the many years ahead of him. Instead, I can only remember our far too short time together, a journey of a life that could have been, and the "what ifs" that never have, and never will go completely away. Some days it can be quite challenging to live in the present when someone so very important to you exists now only in the past. To let these emotions continually overpower you can leave you unwilling and/or unable to help yourself or those around you, but to attempt to compartmentalize them is both a disservice to the memory of your lost loved one, and to the person that you have become after suffering such a loss. Physical scars are easy enough for the World to see, but it the emotional ones that lie not so deeply below the surface that are usually the more formidable to endure.
I have previously mentioned that it is bittersweet when these emotional scars bubble over, especially when I am not in a private setting. This happened again over this past Easter (like with most people, holiday times can be a wee more touchy for me) while I was at Work. A co-worker showed me a picture of his father and himself doing a silly Father and Son kind of thing. He then asked if I wished I had a son to do something like that with...I was simultaneously so angry (not necessarily at him, but at cards Life had dealt me) and overcome with sadness at the same time. He knew immediately that he has chosen his words poorly, and proceeded to avoid eye contact with me for the remainder of that shift, just to be on the safe side (which was probably a good idea). Darrel was taken from us almost 9 years ago now, but a stray word, thought, or image still has such an incredible power over me. Though it pains me at the time, moments like this are strangely comforting to me, as they show that even though I've suffered a great loss, I have not lost everything, or myself.
There have been several new developments and changes since I last posted. The legal process to reach a Separation Agreement with Rebecca is ongoing at its almost snail-like pace. It is most unfortunate that there continues to be delays and roadblocks, as the matters remaining seem rather straight forward to resolve, at least from my perspective. Neither of us have any desire to turn back the clock and attempt to reset our relationship, and other events have now made that quite impossible to happen even if the will was there. Hopefully these issues can come to a conclusion in the near future, so both Rebecca and I, along with Kira and Lauren, no longer will have the uncertainties that such a situation creates hanging over us any longer.
Kira has successfully finished her first year at Brock University, and has been back in Fergus for about a month now. It is wonderful to have the three of us (five if you include the two dogs) together under the same roof again, even if it is only until mid August. Lauren only has a few weeks until she graduates from high school, and is already anticipating starting in the Fall at the apprenticeship she received at a company in Guelph. I'm sure Darrel would be as proud as I am of all his sisters' accomplishments.
I now find it more difficult to come to terms with everything when Darrel's birthday comes around than on the anniversary of his passing in September. May 26th meant something to everyone in my family when Darrel was with us. There are happy things to recall about each of the seven birthdays he was here with us....the excitement before, during and after opening his presents...eagerly awaiting the end of the Birthday Song so he could finally blow out the candles...the mess made while eating the cake...and of course, the privately (well, sort of) counting of all the "Cash Money" he had received too. While both May 26th and September 9th are dates that stand out (not that I'll ever need any kind of reminder) on the calendar, his birthday, with no song to be sung, stomps on my heart a bit more. The fact that my son isn't with me is more front and centre on a day that I know should be unfolding quite differently. September 9th rips me apart too, but until 2007, it held no significance or value to me personally. I can not forsee any possible new good times to be associated with May 26th ever again.
I am not the same person I was 16 years ago, when Darrel was born...or 11 years ago when I heard the word neuroblastoma for the first time...or 9 years ago when I held my son for the last time...or 2 years ago when my marriage collapsed. Everything that has happened, and will happen will help to define who I am, but does not dictate who I MUST be. To deny any part of my past is something I will never do. To break off all communication, or to lock the doors on anyone who has been close to me for reasons I'll never understand is something I will never do. My life is a combination of all the decisions I have ever made. Of course there are regrets, but that does not mean I can not learn and evolve from them to make a better me. That is what I strive for, and I believe it is what Darrel would hope and expect his family to strive for as well.
Happy Birthday Darrel
Love and Miss You Little Man
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