Next month, on the 21st, it will be two years. To a toddler, that may be a lifetime, but to an adult, it is an election cycle. And yet, thinking about the amount that has been packed into that brief stretch is like thinking about how, in one second, light will travel 186,000 miles, or how one teaspoon of a neutron star would weigh six billion tons. They are things that can be known, but not comprehended. Not really.
Lately, I have been having more of my “Gus and Zoey Moments” than I used to. These are moments when I think of them and feel the floor drop out from underneath me. When I think of them and feel sad. As the second anniversary of their births and deaths approaches, I may miss them more than I did after the first one. I may. It’s hard to remember.
Maybe it is because we are now within a month of their anniversary. Maybe because Ben and Ellie’s growth provides reference points for what Gus and Zoey might have looked like, or acted like, or been like, if they had only, simply lived. Either way, they are more present to me these days. That might have been a nice thing, but it means that there are moments when suddenly, Ellie and Ben seem like my other children. And I don’t know how to explain that to them or to my own heart: Don’t worry. It’s only because the anniversary is coming up. It will be like this for only one month out of the year. The other eleven, you guys come first.
Maybe that sounds crazy. If it does, then here comes the crazy on top of the crazy:
In those moments of connection to Zoey and Gus, and wondering about them, and imagining them, I miss Ellie and Ben. I have to: in that universe, my other children never were and can never be. So when those moments with Gus and Zoey end, and I feel myself being pulled back to what is in front of me, I cross a space where I have lost them all. I am leaving a place where I have Gus and Zoey, and not fully back in the place where I have Ben and Ellie.
I am in this in-between place for the briefest measure of time—what is shorter than a nanosecond?—but the experience is so distinct and definite, the tinge lingers for seconds or even minutes afterward:
For just a sliver of a moment, I miss all four of my kids. And why shouldn’t I? There is no universe that can accommodate them all.
And if that sounds crazy, then here is the crazy on top of the crazy on top of the crazy:
Sometimes, when I feel I can only hold one set of our children in my mind, and not the other--or worse, when it seems like because I cannot keep all of my children, I cannot keep any of them--it feels as if our only constant child is our dog.
What are some of the "crazier" thoughts, ideas, or feelings your loss can bring up? What does the anniversary of your loss trigger for you? What are some of the ways you cope with it?