September 2013, Labor Day weekend
Potawatomi State Park
Sprinkling your ashes into the wind...
My heart will always belong to Door County.
I will meet you here every time I visit.
Our DC memories are golden.
And so here it is almost a year later. Just a few more hours to go. I believe you died at 3:00 AM when they resuscitated you. But the time of death states 5:00 AM or something like that. The fog had already set in long before you actually left us. All day today I kept looking at the clock and remembering exactly what was going on one year ago. The initial call that you were in the ER and then ICU. Not necessarily a reason to freak out. Of course it was never on my radar that you would actually die. The phone call from my sister that said she talked to your doctor and it was a 24 hour game of chance. Her voice in my ear through the phone lines telling me to, "JUST GO." "GET THERE." "GO." My shock and surprise. My lack of being able to move my legs. Just letting my friend take the kids and telling me what to do next. "I'll pick up Lauren at school. Call them now. I've got the kids. You pack. You call your husband." Her hands in my face as I crumble on the stairs and agonize over the fact I'm usually so good in these situations. What has become of me? But when your Mom's life is on the line you just don't know how you will react. Please God, I don't even believe in you, I question you always.....don't let her die. Show me that you are real. I swear I'll make a deal with you right here, right now. Don't do this to us. Pack clothes. Move from room to room to room and break down every two seconds. My sister calls to ask if I'm packing funeral clothes. I say yes. I hear her wail on the phone line. I want to die. This can't be happening. This is not my life. This is not real. Get in the car and drive for what seems like a thousand hours. My Aunt keeps calling to ask where we are. I fluctuate between you won't die, you won't leave us to contemplating what life will look like without you.
And here we are. A year later. I'm still breathing and living and functioning and laughing and crying and missing you like crazy. I still don't get it. Still don't believe in God. Nope, haven't found him or the light. Still angry, bitter and jealous if your mom or dad are still alive. But I hide it mostly. I have this number in my head of what is a good long number to live to and if your loved one hit that before dying, I secretly have a hard heart to your sorrow. And then I feel like shit for feeling that.
Some days are normal. Some days I need to run fast and hard and do the hill to shake off the feelings that want to possess me. At the top of the hill I summon the hawk and question and cry and reason and still.........it's just me. Still breathing. Still a mother-daughter-sister-wife-friend.
I miss you so much I can't even explain it. I miss calling you on the phone to tell you about all the kid stuff. To ask you questions I already know the answer to. Just to hear your voice. Hear your laugh. I can still smell you. We sold the house but in my mind it is still ours. I can tell you where to find anything in that house........I know what fills every closest and drawer and I know what the bed feels like when I lay next to you. When I feel you breathe next to me at night. The kids slept in the other bedrooms. It was always me and you together in the king size after Dad died.
And what a number your death has done on the mourning of Dad. It's like I lived through that all over again. But it's not the same. I told you after Dad died that I was so thankful it was him that went first, not you. You agreed. I needed you to see my babies. To smell them and love them and bathe them and kiss them and have your amazing love impact them. I keep you alive as best as I can.
I'm so sick of rising above. I'm so sick of digging deep. I keep telling my bestie and my sister that there better be a crazy good reason for all this. That something will rise from this wreckage. That I will "get it" someday. That some sliver of understanding will make it's way into my life.
I haven't written for so long. But all of these words were always inside of me. I've been in prison not letting them out. It's slowly been killing me. But I knew the moment would present itself and all would spill forth.
We are doing the best we can. We have good days, great days, amazing days and shit days. Days that feel like an eternity just to get back to bedtime again so sleep will ease the ache a bit. But somehow we are doing it Mom. Overall I think you are so proud of us and how far we've come. And what is a year anyway? Nothing really. Just a marker on the calendar. It doesn't mean a damn thing. Time goes on. Life keeps on life-ing away. There is no time limit on grief. This wound is still bleeding. No scab yet.
You taught me everything I know. You gave me your best. I love you today and I'll love you tomorrow. I'll love you forever.
The Kushman Family Forever.
Theresa Ann Collard Kushman
January 19, 1945 - September 12, 2012