Monday, December 5, 2016

Why Yesterday Was Different From Today

Was yesterday really that different from today?
When I woke up yesterday morning I did what I do every morning.  I stretched and yawned.  I disturbed a grouchy growling dog as I got out of bed and slipped into my sparkly purple slippers.
As I passed by the faded, used to be white, little swivel club chair that we picked up at an auction 15 years ago, I lightly brushed Joe's gray and black scarf, which is now permanently draped over the back of the chair.
I scuffed my way into the kitchen, filled the teapot and waited for it to sing its one note teapot song.
While I waited for my tea to brew, Trader Joe's decaf green, I settled into my fireside easy chair and browsed around on Facebook and Instagram. I skimmed through my e-junk-mail, deleting practically everything along the way.
After tea, for me and coffee for Ross,we fed, watered and walked Rico.
Then, we went out for a bite to eat.  I smiled and said thank-you to the woman who held the door for us.
After breakfast, we did a little Costco shopping.  Customers were noticeably grouchy in the warehouse.  There was a lot of impatient huffing and puffing.  I heard a passing comment about   "those people being so rude".   I'm not sure if she was referring to a specific segment of the population or just the couple with the three rambunctious children.
One woman was darting in and out of the cart traffic muttering about how everyone should obey the aisle rules and "stay to the right!"
I was happy with the purchase of my large, gorgeous, fresh pine smelling $15.99 Christmas wreath, but I was glad to get out of the madding Costo crowd.
When we got home I passed the rest of the day with my knitting and catching up with Jen on an hour long phone call.  Ross read through his 12 inch high pile of magazines and watched some History Channel or PBS WWII thing.
Oh, there are some slight variations to the way we spend our yesterdays.  On Monday, Wednesday and Friday I go to an Aerobics class. Some days we have appointments, sadly these days mostly medical.  We might attend a weekly or monthly community social group meeting.  There are occasional family visits or a rare get-a-way, but mostly our yesterdays are day in and day out reliably, peaceful routine days.
Today, though,  is not the same as all of the other days.  Today will always be different.  It won’t ever  be peaceful or reliably routine.
Today, I lingered in our darkened bedroom, uninterested in Trader Joe’s green decaf.
I briefly tried to talk myself into going to the Monday Aerobics class, saying, “But you’ll feel better.  You know you always do.”
I knew, though, that there was no way I could muster a polite thank-you to the woman holding the door for me.  I did not want to have to make my mouth curl into a smile, a smile I did not feel.   I’m sure my arm would feel much too heavy to raise and my hand too clenched to be able to manage a cheerful wave to my Aerobic’s classmates.
No, today is the day, this fifth, 5th of December day, that I find the courage to rip off the bandaid of polite smiles and cheerful waves and expose the raw wound of my grief.
I will sit and stare out at the grayness of the day and feel all of the aches of my heartbreak.
I will wonder why it happened.  I will question how it could be.  I will shake my head in disbelief that he is gone.
I know I will never understand, for there cannot be any acceptable explanation.
After five years, the pain has not lessened.  It's just that on all of the other routine and peaceful yesterdays,  I have become more skilled at hiding the ache and suppressing the screams.

Joseph Christopher Deak, died on December 5th, 2011 of stage IV colon cancer. He was 36 years old.   I am his mother.


  1. Nice write up
    today will always be better

  2. And you should have this one day to remember. Not that you don't remember on the other days. But this day, yes, you're allowed to wallow in grief and not be polite to people. I doubt anyone would think otherwise.

  3. One BIG virtual HUG for you. I know your pain. It's been longer for me - 2003 my son passed at age 25. At 5 years, I was still grieving hard and hated the holidays and dreaded "the date".

    I wish you peace. It's hard I know. Wish I had the right remedy for healing. Takes someof us longer. Just be kind to yourself.

  4. Grief is just so hard. There are so many days that can make us feel like this. But the anniversary of the death (I actually don't like calling it that because the word anniversary, to me, implies something to celebrate) I wish I knew what to say. But I don't! Just so sorry for the loss of your Joe. And offer you a big virtual hug!

  5. I'm so sorry for being so late to reply to this. I saw it the day you posted but didn't have time to adequately read it/comment on it and then in a (senior) moment, I totally forget about it until today.

    I think you should be able to "handle" the day the way you want to and nobody (not that anyone was based on what I read in your post) so try to persuade you to "live" it any differently. Everyone grieves in their own way and I can't fathom grieving a child (my worst nightmare). You realizing you needed to do what you needed to do to get through the day was the best thing for you.

    I read somewhere that the 5th anniversary of a death often hits people worse than perhaps the earlier years of a loved one's passing. I know that it was the case with my mom's 5th year passing (but again nothing like losing a child).

    You will always be Joe's mother and he will always be your son. Nothing will tear that apart.