I turn the corner and realize we are walking right through the boys clothing section. My stomach turns. I reach out and run my finger over a folded t-shirt as we pass. Nearby a mom is holding up two pair of shorts for her son. That should be me. My eyes scan the familiar area as the weight of my heart grows. I easily spot 3 things we should be buying.
You’d think I would know better. That our path through every store would be precisely planned so as to avoid exactly this moment. Yet, there is a need deep within me to feel this pain. Call it voluntary torture of the soul, but for just a moment that melancholy sadness soothes me.
As we walk the school supply aisles, I can’t help but glance into the other mother’s carts overflowing with number 2 pencils and plastic folders with brads. Our school supplies are purchased, but my list is incomplete. While other mom’s complain their list never ends. I would give anything if mine were longer.
I think to myself, “Please, let me spend more money. I just want to be spending more money right now.” Every part of this goes against the natural order of things.
My pain and longing goes unnoticed by everyone around me. Though I know Cameron is saying, “I see you, Mom. I know.”
My daughter is entering 1st grade and will do so in the same classroom he should have sat in. This is a milestone year for us because it was the last grade my son entered. Soon the trail he laid out before her will end and she will begin blazing her own path. There are so many emotions in that idea.
While we know her teacher and the classroom, “Meet the Teacher” was an event. Stepping through that door was our first emotional hurdle. She confidently laid claim on the room as I knew she would. My eyes searched for remnants of him. He may not have physically stepped foot inside the newly built school, but the things in that room were a part of his daily world. On Thursday, they will be a part of hers. The last school things they will share in common.
My eyes stopped on the little photo of him in the corner. His smile shining brightly. I know he is proud of her. A part of me wonders if she will remember how proud he was.
I would give anything to turn back the hands of time. This may be the second year of our loss, but that doesn’t mean the pain softens. The hole he left behind will never be filled. It will always exist with the same level of intensity. It just goes unnoticed by everyone else. I’m nauseous all over again.