Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I miss the laughter

For fifteen years, my marriage and relationship with II has been characterized by laughter. We have an odd, sacarcastic, sometimes biting humor, but we always spoke each other's language. We passed this sense of humor onto our children. In fact, it was the first thing I knew S noticed about our family that made him feel safe and welcomed here. We laugh together. We tease, gentle and stop immediately if someone is offended instead of tickled. There are times we simply break out into a spontaneous food fight (no one is allowed to throw the first handful of food except mom cause she'll only throw it if she's willing to manage the mess that will ensure).

Three years ago, we lost the laughter for awhile. It took longer than I wanted to find that laughter again. There were so many days that I was just numb and not able to push through the pain of betrayal to be the laughing wife and mother I always was. Yet, we found that laughter again just the same. Micah was so much a part of helping me find that laughter again. Micah was Austitic. He laughed constantly, loudly, and rarely appropriately. However, when you saw that big toothed (or back when the dentist was only able to fix his second round of bottle rot by pulling all his teeth it was completely toothless) grin, you had to laugh. Micah never understood the world. He tried, oh how he tried. But, this world escaped his understanding. So, the craziest things would bust out of Micah's mouth and the only response you could give him was to laugh.

When he first came home, I meant to record these Micah-isms. Even then, I knew one day he would stop providing them. I thought I had so many years left to hold him, and I got so lost in the daily struggles of his behaviors that weren't nearly so endearing and cute. When he landed in the PICU, I remembered that I never wrote down all of those silly, crazy things that used to pop out of him and leave you shaking your head, or busting out laughing.

I miss the laughter. I wanted to buy a video camera and I just never did. It wasn't until after he was gone that I realized...I bought an iphone this year. It has a video camera. I have precisely one 60 second video of Micah. It's all I have to remember his voice, most moreso his laughter.

I try to laugh now. I try to play with the kids and to live our lives as if all of our hearts are not broken and bleeding. I still cannot bring myself to eat at the table as a family. The kids have actually asked that we do so. Years of the every mealtime battle to keep Micah growing, every day where I coaxed and cajoled him and when he would finally eat, he would choke and I would have to try to teach him what it meant to chew and swallow. I look at the dining room table and it's like a knife to my gut that he's not there. So, we eat in the living instead now.

I try to read bedtime stories and I miss as much as I hit. I read to them at other times during the day, but at night I remember that Micah's favorite was Susan Boyton, that he loved Barnyard Dance SO much that he used to sit and recite it to J as if he were reading it. I miss even his screams. Mostly, I miss the laughter.

Instead I rejoice that I have finally passed the threshold that I can answer the stupid question of how many children I have without falling apart into tears. I'm not still sure when the roller coaster ride of grief instends to let me off. I just know that walking back through spring has been excruciatingly triggery to me, and I miss the laughter SO MUCH.

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