I am kind of in denial that this is Anthony’s birthday week. As long as I don’t look at the date, I’m fine but today I did for some reason and it sucks.
He should be here, he should be getting on my nerves, Ariana and I should be passive aggressively fighting over who gets to love him more on his bday and Stacey should be complaining about how much the bar tab is gonna be. Those are the things that should be happening today. Instead I’m avoiding everything and trying to figure out what is for dinner and reading book after book that tells me I need to move out of my grief as fast as possible.
The truth is that I do not want to move out of it. I feel like Anthony deserves to be mourned and moving out of it means that life is fine without him, and there is nothing fine about the gaping hole in my life where Anthony lived for 22 years. I think 22 years of life deserves more than 17 months of grief. But there is a difference between where I am right now and where I was a month ago.
A month ago, I was not just grieving but I was in a dark cave with no way out. Well, there was a way out but I didn’t want to take it because it was God’s way and I was so angry with Him that I didn’t want His help. I felt like God had let me down and then to top it all off the Church let me down. It’s a very long story but that is when I lost my shit and deleted all my public social media. In that cave though, there was no hope, no light and no air. I felt like I fell in that cave when the shock of everything that happened wore off. I was just walking along and suddenly I fell in a hole and was trapped in a cave of despair. I never saw it coming.
Shock is a weird thing and when it’s gone life hurts more than you imagined. For me it did anyway. My pain always manifests as anger and I was angry on top of angry and getting angrier. I needed a break so I took one. When I did, I finally looked at my life and saw the total devastation left by Anthony’s suicide. I saw the state of my house, the state of my health and the state of my own soul. It was not pretty. I needed to do something to clean things up and to get back to a place where I could be well.
It isn’t anyone’s fault. I didn’t “do too much” or talk about Anthony too soon after his suicide, it is just how grief goes. It is how loss is. I can talk about Anthony all day, every day and be fine, it isn’t the talking that is difficult, it is the living that sucks. And I have not been living since the moment I knew my son was dead. I didn’t even know how to live beyond that and I am having to learn what living is in the aftermath of the worst day of my life.
I have spent my time reading, writing, getting my kids set up for the fall. My two middle sons are starting community college in August, Dan starts a new job today and Gabe got is driver’s license. So we are moving forward but in no way does that mean we aren’t still terribly heartbroken and in a lot of emotional pain. Moving forward is almost as painful as staying still. Moving forward without Anthony is unfair and we all talk about that every day.
In two days Anthony should have been 24 years old. Last year I had all these intentions to honor him and celebrate his life like I had done since the day he was born, but this year I am just leaning into the suck of it all. It hurts like hell and I hate every second of it, but this year that is how I honor Anthony, by acknowledging that life without him is devastating.
The thing is that in doing that, God has shown me hope, light and given me air to breathe. I keep trying to give up on Him, but He refuses to give up on me.
Happy Birthday Anthony. You are my sunshine.