August 24th is coming up. Six weeks from yesterday. Some days it feels like a ticking timebomb hanging over me (literally, I picture a giant bomb wired to an old fashioned ticking alarm clock and a giant calendar) (living inside my head is plain weird, y'all).
Mostly though, it feels awkward.
An entire trip around the sun to come back meet myself again. It's like a weird sci-fi story in which a part of me was forever rooted to that moment in time (I can still see it in vivid detail, and feel the hospital gown at my throat and the scratchy white sheets and how hot and thirsty I was and the pain the pain the pain). The rest of me though, that was pushed onward and now I come full circle to where I was before, only time has passed.
Still, I stand rooted there, watching it play out over and over and over. That day still flashes through my head and I still hold my breath waiting for a different outcome. It never changes though.
Gabriel was born. Gabriel died. The world never stopped moving, no matter how much I pleaded, and I was carried along with it. Or at least part of me was.
And back again.
How do you mark that passage of time? Gabriel deserves acknowledgement. His existence deserves acknowledgement.
But it's not celebration.
Because he died.
But it's not total mourning.
Because he lived.
I don't know what we do in six week's time, less a day.
There is no grave to visit - his box of ashes remains on our mantle, never far from me when I'm home. There is no memorial or marker. Sometimes I wish there was.
What do we do? Sending up a balloon feels . . . odd. Baking a cake does as well. In some ways, a dinner out and a toast - an acknowledgement of him and of how life continues, feels the most right - and yet, who wants to sob in public? Who wants stilted dinner conversation or to pay good money for food that tastes like ashes in your mouth?
I'm taking the day off work. DH is not. It's bad timing - as it was when it all happened last year. I don't begrudge him choosing to work; he'd rather. He doesn't begrudge me staying home, I'd rather.
I wish I knew what was right for us. I think it will be time for my new tattoo. I'm not sure where yet, but I want this footprints marked on me. I want to visibly carry him with me everywhere.Maybe I'll find a quiet place and I'll take the outfit I bought just for him, the only one not packed away in the spare room. And I'll take Winnie-the-Pooh and I'll finish reading the story to him that I started the day before he was born. I like to think that he would want to know how it ends.