Papa’s Boy

Papa’s Boy
by Kim Shute

It is the all consuming nature of grief and loss that feels so debilitating. I can’t runaway from it no matter how hard I try. I try walking until my legs fall off, but it is with me. I try having a constant stream of people I love flow in and out of my house, my long days, but the tears keep seeping out, other times crashing out like waves. I don’t have any damned vices because I am so scared I will never come back if I introduce them, even one drink terrifies me. Each day is filled with the weight of a hundred years, the worst years, the years of Normandy. My stomach can barely receive the food I gift it. I hover between thinking I have a stomach virus and am returning to my old friend bulimia. That is just me.

Then there is the part where I still have this job, the only job I was ever clear I had to do, the one I felt called to, being a mother to one very special someone. The special someone who misses his father in a way I can only imagine. I never loved my father or even liked him the way Gabe feels about Rick. Gabe had already begun to pull away from us both, it is the time for that, we had heard, fifteen going on sixteen. I would do anything to take way his pain and give him back some semblance of a normal life of an American teenager. But reality does not work that way much to my motherly chagrin. I want to be there for him without driving him mad with what I think of as support.

But then it happens again I have my own feelings about missing his father, my husband and best friend. He was there and then he was gone. Now my bathroom has only one toothbrush and my room houses only one dresser. Sometimes when I am putting away clothes I hear the metal clank of his belt buckle, the one he could rarely find when he was alive. His shoes are still everywhere because I don’t dare change Gabe’s environment yet. I know it cannot remain for years and be considered healthy, but for now it seems to bring him some comfort. Other times when he catches sight of those engineering plaid shirts it reminds him and brings him crashing back to his grief and deep missing.

Everyone tells me Gabe is great and will be fine. I can’t help but worry. His father will never be at a wedding or a college ceremony or the birth of a child. Will he always wish for more of him as I do in this moment and every moment since I stopped the aggressive treatment? I know wishing my life away is wrong, but this agony feels like an uneven match for my natural resilience. I keep writing and expressing, but it seems not to relieve any pressure or pain. Staying in bed all day and night is simply not my style, but neither is moping.

I am left wondering day in and out, where did he go? If energy does not die where is the animation that made my husband? If he is out there somewhere why is he not coming back to me to kiss my tears away and tuck my crazy wild hair behind my ears and tell me it will be OK. I can’t help but wonder what I have done to deserve this turn of events. Part of me thinks I must be being punished for wrongdoings, but why drag my baby boy into it? He did not do anything except love his papa and understand him in ways I never could.

Facebook keeps doing this 2015 in review for users, I don’t dare. Probably most of the year was pretty good until the end. Now it is the time that feels like my life was ripped to shreds, broken into shards, smashed to bits and I have no idea what to do to mend it. I have never wanted science to work so hard as I do now on time travel. I want to turn back all the clocks I can find and change one thing that might have made the difference.