Bottm line, I am not ready for my son to be gone. Now that I’ve got that out, let us move up from there.
Seems a redunt statement, the one I wrote above. Actually, it is redundant. Of course I’m not ready. Is anyone ever ready to say goodbye to their child? Brian’s grandmother wasn’t ready when her daughter, his mom, left this earth at 59 years of age back in 2007. Even with all of her suffering from disease, she had been an integral part of her family unit. She lived with her mother the last several years of her life and was again melded into the routine of her parents household (sans her father who had departed previously, answering Heaven’s call in 1981). Brian’s grandmother, Granny as we called her, had aclimated once again to having her daughter around, in and out and there. So even her daughters suffering, though painful as it was to witness, became a part of their life. And loosing that influence, that continual option for relationship, had profound significance for Granny.
Same too is our loss of Cole. He was reintegrated into our daily lives after taking his brief two year stint away from us while serving as a United States Marine. We had bid him adieu the day he reported to his new family, the military, and the Bent 3 learned how to operate sans his presence. But when he came home after his brain tumor surgery, we reaclimated as a family unit of 4. The Bent Four—daily.
There is no easy way to face having Cole’s life not with us. For even as I turned the calendar from October to November (just this morning), the calendar my beautiful cousin made for me with custom photos of family events the year prior, it reminds me of what we were doing, Cole included, this month last year. I flipped the calendar as I waited for my coffee to reheat in the microwave and there the story unfolded. Crystal Cove, Laguna Beach, last year with the family. And I had to face that Cole is not here. Brian caught wind of something inside of me and said, “what’s wrong?” I tearfully could only answer, “he’s not here!” So Brian went to look at the calendar, “but there are no photos of Cole on this page?” “I know. But he was there.”
The most difficult task within this journey of mourning is…I honestly cannot finish this thought, for I cannot pinpoint what is most difficult. But flipping the calendar and remembering our times together is hard. Next year, when I flip the calendar I will remember my sorrow in rememberence, but this year I remember the tangibility of him.
It is a strange new reality for us Bents. Living as three, especially as our lives were so encompassed on being four. Even Cole’s service dog is a reminder for me of the void present without my son, as now after five months of not seeing her rightful owner, she has attached herself fully to me. I don’t want her attached to me (though I am now equally fond of her), I want her attached to Cole! Esther, who has been holding down the fort of our home during the week while Brian and I work in San Diego, is out of sorts. Though she, in her fast approaching 18years, doesn’t necessarily need her brother every minute of every day, hates that he isn’t here and feels the silence of our new life too profoundly. The silence overwhelms.
It is as if our life is confused. Unsure and a bit wayward. Which actually brings me to my title, Going Straight.
After 43 years of being a naturally, very curly haired individual, my hair has gone straight! What the heck? Rivka with straight hair? Seems impossible! Yet it is true. I get out of the shower and my hair air dries without so much as a curly root. As weird as this phenomenon is, it really pays tribute to the strange new life we are grappling with daily. A nod to the function within the non-functioning. What? Does that even make sense? No, it doesn’t. Functioning doesn’t even make sense to any of us right now, yet functioning we are. Differently, confused, and even chaotic though not as chaos would normally present itself. It isn’t cacaphony, it is melody within tumult. We are functioning and moving forward in many ways, yet life is not quite right. And my hair reflects the phenomena of the effects of this disruption to our family unit.
Don’t take my presentation the wrong way, having straight hair is a dream come true for me. I have always felt my Creator mistakingly bestowed the wrong coif to me at the onset. But having it now, and only in this last month (as I painstainkingly dealt with unruly hair the entire time in Europe and Japan this past summer thanks to forgetting my voltage converter), is strangely odd. Yet the oddity I embrace as all of my life, our life, our Bent 3 life, is out of place, strange, and unfamiliar.
So let’s just called it what it is, unnaturally natural, and raise a glass to going straight. Cheers!
Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6