However, I was hit out of the blue yesterday. It was an explosion of emotion that popped out of me like a jack-in-the-box: a severe grief I had not anticipated. The trigger…Jessie’s birthday party!
It was the morning of her celebration (though she won’t actually be 2 until the 19th) and I was fastidiously pulling things together for the festivities—I had plenty of time to spare and it was a very low-key event so I had little reason to stress. Yet, when I discovered that the dress options I had in mind for Jessie were dirty, I lost it. I started crying. I was a mess. But this was uncharacteristic for me to care about something so insignificant. In fact, I was frustrated with myself for being so frustrated.
As I cried out in angst, I heard myself say, “I can’t do this without my boy!”
That’s when it hit me.
I wasn’t stressed about Jessie’s attire, I was grieving. I was grieving that Jessie was having a birthday party but her brother wouldn’t be there to celebrate her. I was grieving that we will never have another birthday party for Jud. I was grieving that Jessie will be turning the age that Judson will always be—two! I was grieving that Jud’s buddy Jake would be at the party, but the two of them wouldn’t be playing together. I was grieving that I didn’t make a party favor bag for Jud, though he’d have loved the Lightening McQueen pens we gave. My tremendous grief had been lying undetected until triggered by an unrelated, insignificant matter.
Unfortunately, because I had not been prepared for this outflow of sorrow, and because it emerged at a very inopportune time, I had to stifle and stuff it. I scrunched “jack” back in the box. I have learned this is usually not a healthy way to deal with my grief, but I also knew that lovin’ on Jessie without a cloud hanging over the morning was of higher value. So I put the lid on it. I closed up my grief box and instead, focused on all the joy found in my Jessie Girl!
And fortunately, she had a fabulous birthday party, unhindered by my sadness! It was great!!
Nevertheless, I’ve had to take the lid off again today, reopen the box, and let “jack” out for a second time to deal with the hurt inside. And though I must continue to live in a world without my Jud Bud, Jessie’s birthday party served as a reminder that my future will not be void of sweet memories.