Today was the first day that I have had to explain to a total stranger, (who had no prior knowledge or could guess), who Jack is. My family and I all have window decals on the back of our cars, they say “In Loving Memory of Jack Everett Hughes” with his birthday and angelday along with his little hand and foot print. When I was finishing up at our schoolyard habitat planting today a women was helping me carry things back to our cars. She saw mine and said “Oh, that’s so sad, who is that?” and I told her, “That is my son, he died in May”.

Of course her reaction was one of compassion and sympathy, which I appreciated, but I was caught off guard. I didn’t expect it to hurt in my chest as much as it did because I thought I had been doing ok. But it still hurt, it actually felt like a squeeze…

I get really caught off guard by how strong my emotions still are, and how raw they feel. Another example I can think of happened this past Thursday night. We were at our Board of Directors meeting for work and it was the first time I had seen everyone since returning to work. I wanted to express my gratitude to everyone for being so supportive of my family during the loss the Jack. When I began talking, I could hardly bring my voice above a whisper, and to keep from crying, I began shaking. I shook so hard, I have never felt that way before. All I was trying to do was say thank you! When I was done, I excused myself and I went to the bathroom. I cried so hard because of the feelings I had. Even that night when I thought about it more, I cried again. It is almost like your emotions are like tidal waves that woosh you off your feet and carry you until you are grounded again.

When I think about this Tuesday, and I try to get my mind to wrap itself around what would have been happening at this time, had Jack not died, I feel like I go numb with pain. I think I am still in some level of shock over him being dead. Even holding him in his urn doesn’t cement the idea in my head. Honestly, a lot of the time, I feel like I am just waiting for him. Just waiting to see him.

For some reason I am also going through a weird nesting phase. I have this urge to get rid of all of my stuff to make space. Space for the baby who isn’t coming home, who is already here, everyday….

The sadness doesn’t seem to dissipate. It just grows and transforms into something else. One day it is guilt, one day it is depression, etc. etc. I just keep waiting to feel better. I keep pushing through all of these moments and wait for it to get better.

~EH

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