This day 5 years ago I remember more vividly than our wedding day or even the birth of our 3 children. On this day, 5 years ago, our sweet son Harrison passed away. All day today I have watched the clock and remembered how the day 5 years ago unfolded along with the days and weeks after.
At 8am this morning I thought about how 5 years ago I kissed both boys good bye and left them with our babysitter. I didn’t know this would be the last time I kissed our 5 month old, Harrison.
At 4pm,the most difficult time every year, today I was watching our kids play in the backyard blow up pool. I intentionally left work early to assure by 4pm I would NOT be working. Because 5 years ago at 4pm I got a call from Jason and learned they had been trying to reach me. My baby needed me and I was on a conference call at work. So I have vowed for the rest of my life I will not be working at 4pm on June 5th.
I continued to recount so many details throughout the day. Right now it is 7:30pm, this is the time I had to walk out through a crowded ER without my child. I knew the crowd was caused by us. After being there three hours and just holding him until they told me I had to leave. The hours passed feeling like fleeting seconds. I had to walk out without him. I remember wanting a secret door where no one could see us. I wanted to be invisible.
I remember Bennett choosing to ride home with cousins and I was alone in my car with my thoughts for the first time. I lost it. Little did I know in that moment, this would be my new normal. I could not be left alone with my thoughts. It was too painful. This symptom lasted many years!
Then I would get home and realize I had a house full of family and no food prepared.￼ I vividly remember the physical pain in my breasts as my body ached to nurse. While it was painful, the pain reminded me I was Harrison’s mother so in some sick way I welcomed the pain.
Oh the memories go on and on. It still hurts.
I also remember all the kindness we received. All the friends and family members that gathered and carried us through. Our neighbors and dear friends collaborating and hosting a huge post funeral lunch for the family. Neighbors mowing our lawn. My sister in law, Liz, handling the phone calls from the morgue and helping me with decisions I didn’t want to face, like choosing a funeral home. Nieces, nephews, and neighbors entertaining our 2.5 year old, Bennett. Meals came for months from some people we knew well and even acquaintances that just felt the urge to help. I think we would have starved without the meals. I was not capable of grocery shopping or meal planning. Daily tasks were exhausting.
I remember my sweet high school friends taking Bennett and I to Deanna Rose. It was my first outing a few weeks after he passed. It was such a wonderful distraction. I avoided looking at all mothers of infants in order to avoid a breakdown in public. I remember feeling numb and in a fog but I knew I was with people who loved me. In the end I was exhausting and a wonderful break. It also showed me I can do it. I can be in public.
Today, I have thought about how Harrison should be starting kindergarten in the fall. He and Alex would have been together last year at Montessori in the same classroom. Bennett would be looking forward to having his brother in the same school building next year. Jason & I would be deciding if we should request a Kindergarten teacher or let the school place him.
I wonder if he would know all his ABCs and numbers. I wonder what this COVID crisis would have been like with one more kiddo in the mix. 😬🙃 I think the boys would likely share a bedroom with bunk beds. We probably would still be living in our old house and the boys would get the big room. This would also be the summer he would no longer have to wear his leg braces to bed. (He had club feet)
I wonder if he would like sports, art, and/or music. I wonder if he would like reading about dinosaurs, wild animals, or princesses. Would his favorite color be orange like Alex and Bennett? Would he fight over the orange plate like Alex and Bennett. Would he dance with his sister and pretend to be Christoph or the Beast. Would he take karate with Bennett. I often look at my kids and imagine, Harrison, alive now as our middle stair step. I always imagine it messier, louder, more expensive and full of love.
So today 5 years later, I will still morn his loss. I miss him terribly and hate that I never got to watch him grow up. I am also so thankful and appreciative of all the love and support we have from our family, friends and community.
I love you sweet boy.