I returned home from work yesterday, putzed around, let out the dogs, and felt scattered. I walked into rooms and forgot what I had intended to do in them. I stared at myself in the mirror, thinking of Patrick. I walked onto the front porch and unfurled our flag, which was twisted and soaked by the day's wind and rain. I stared at the perennials making their way upward after a long winter. I sighed a lot.
And then the sun came out.
It was faint at first, forcing its way out from behind the clouds and eventually lighting up the neighborhood. Patrick, I thought. I looked at the clock. 5:15 PM. Patrick. He's dying. Now.
The sunshine lasted about 20 minutes. Not long after, I found out that Patrick had died around 5:30 PM.
It was devastating. Like a child, I flung myself on my bed and sobbed, clutching a pillow and not caring if the neighbors could hear me. I haven't cried that hard in a long, long time. I miss him terribly. I am heartbroken for his family. But I believe he's now in the best place he can be, probably amused that he actually made it there after all.
My boys arrived home not much later after a day with their father. Their hugs meant the world to me, and they probably felt suffocated by my need to keep hugging and kissing them. Their happiness and sweet, silly personalities were exactly what I needed to properly celebrate Patrick's life. Pat was such a kid--a little boy, in so many ways. And he loved my boys and always asked about them. So I watched them with a full, happy heart as they hopped around with their light sabers and capes, tossing Lego pieces into piles and skipping and jumping (they never just "walk") from room to room.
Later, Ian left for his shift at the bar, his second job that he's held for more than a decade. He knew the bar, Pat's favorite, would be crowded with firemen and other mourners--and it was. I stayed home, boys tucked in tight, and savored the quiet with the dogs as a candle burned on the mantle. There was nowhere else I wanted to be. Renee and Mary had offered to come by and hang out, if I needed company. I didn't, though. I wanted to be alone and accept it all quietly, listening to nothing except the pattern of my own breath.
I am grateful to have ever known Pat, to have loved him and to have been loved so much by him. I miss him. But I can still talk to him, and now he can't interrupt me. I miss that, too, though.
Life goes on. The next several days will be ceremonial against a backdrop of blue and bagpipes. He wouldn't want it any other way, and he deserves it. In the meantime, though, I'll continue to live in the moment. I am the proud mother of two sons. I don't want to miss a minute of this one life I've been given with them.
So, I leave you for now with a clip of my goofball, Nolan. He's four--well, almost five. He's as much like his brother as he is different. And some days when you look at him, you'd never know he was his father's son. Since I know there's no chance at all he's anyone else's son, I find it amusing that he is so...himself. My older son, Sean, is very much like his dad in many ways. Nolan? He barely fell off the Moira apple tree. I love them both more than anything in the world. I love being the mother of these little boys--the engineer and his sidekick, the little spaz.
Love others for who they are and tell them you love them--now. Now is all we've got.