Today marks the four year anniversary of Mr. Loco’s accident. I took over his blog as a way to share what was happening and as a place to share how I was feeling. Over the past year, I have thought of so many things I wanted to write but had a hard time putting words down when I had a quiet moment. There are many partial blog posts just hanging. Sometimes I just can’t find the right words. Sometimes it is just a sentence or two. Sometimes I talk myself out of posting. Maybe over the next year I will finish them.
The month of February is always tough. The freshness of a new year which is one of my favorite things quickly turns to thoughts of February. The build up to the anniversary is probably more stressful than the actual day, well actually the string of days because I try to keep us busy. February 21st is when he had his accident. February 23rd is the official date of his death. February 24th is when he donated his organs to help five other people. February 29th is our wedding anniversary. On a regular year, we joked that we could celebrate February 28th or March 1st. We held his memorial on February 28th.
I feel like I sometimes teeter on awkward to begin with and February just cranks it up a few notches. Facebook memories are great and tough all at the same time. There is the day we went to the train park and had an awesome and sunshine-filled family day. There are pictures from when we hung out on the back patio after we each had full days at work. We talked about our days while Baby Loco played. There are pictures of us eating chocolate chip cookies. I think things like those were the last time he ate my chocolate chip cookies. Mr. Loco sent me flowers for the first time WAY BACK in 1993 on Valentine’s Day. I posted in 2013 when it had been 20 years and Facebook reminds me of his sweetness. There are pictures of Baby Loco wearing a Wonder Woman running headband that Mr. Loco got me for Valentine’s Day. It came a few days late. There are pictures of Mr. Loco and Baby Loco eating, snuggling, and obviously loving each other. It is a build up today where there is nothing. I spent the day with Baby Loco at the hospital only to receive the worst news of my life. I look back at my memories and there are years of posts. There are years of Mr. Loco comments. Then February 21, 2014. There is nothing. All of the years following are blog posts remembering Mr. Loco and play dates I hosted with friends but the silence of 2014 is there and it is heavy. Today I was sure to post a few pictures of Baby Loco so that next year I see that smiling face first as I scroll through because February will still be hard and that smiling face is the biggest bright spot.
Four years ago, I could not even imagine making it through a day or a week let alone a month, a year, 2 years, 3 years and now 4. Time really stops for no one. The earth keeps spinning. People keep doing all of the things they do. Things do not slow down in moments of crisis. Sometimes it felt like we were standing still and everyone was moving around us in fast forward. Now we are mostly moving at the same speed as the rest of the world but we use the pause button frequently.
Grief is always there. It doesn’t go away. You don’t work through it and find yourself on the other side. You are always swimming in it. You just find better ways to swim through it. You learn a few new strokes. I’m still learning and I am doing my best to help Baby Loco navigate her way through the grieving process.
Baby Loco is five years old now. She was just 16 months old when Mr. Loco died. I know he would adore her as much today as he did when she was a toddler. She is a lot like him. She is kind. She is a good listener. She has a big laugh. She is interested in learning ALL THE THINGS. She wants to know how things work and why and who came up with it. She is quick to say “Let’s look that up.” She is funny. She is clever and she has those big blue eyes. Mr. Loco lives on through her. I’m lucky to witness this on a daily basis. I wish I could just stay home and hang out every day with this amazing person. She is a delightful human.
Her grief is ever changing as she gets older and understands more. She asks more questions and I tell more stories. She is surrounded by pictures of her dad and I do my best to incorporate traditions and talk about him so she has a sense of her dad. I want her to know his kindness and love, always. Baby Loco asks to look at pictures on a regular basis and I am so thankful that there are loads of pictures of her with Mr. Loco. TAKE PICTURES. She hears my stories but she also sees those things through photos. Just today, she asked to look at pictures of her Mr. Loco and Chuckles. We spent rest time looking at pictures and talking about her dad. It was sadness and sweetness and laughter mixed with tears. He is missed. He will always be missed.
So, four years. What are things like now? What is going on? What’s with all of those half-written blog posts? Four years feels like the longest time ever and a blink of the eye at the same time. Grief isn’t an all-consuming thing but it is always there like an open tab on your computer. Sometimes you make the choice to click on the tab and other times you end up there when you least expect it. It can be something someone says, hearing a song, ending up on a street that brings up memories, or hearing a turn of phrase. It can be seeing something in the store that would make a perfect gift. It can be pictures of father/daughter dances. It can be paying the bills, taking out the trash, or fixing the toilet. Grief isn’t easy or convenient. Grief doesn’t wait for you to have a moment.
This past year did bring us together with the recipient of Mr. Loco’s heart. It has been a wonderful experience. That is one of those blog posts that has been started numerous times. I haven’t been able to put thoughts and feelings into words. It will come in time. I seem to go in bursts. Just know that it was a gift to hear Mr. Loco’s heart beating strong and to see joy brought to another family by way of his strong heart. It is also wonderful to see Baby Loco have another set of adults who enjoy her and care about her. It is like she has another set of grandparents. This girl seriously deserves a bit of extra love. She is so appreciative of the people in our life. I am as well. That is another blog post as well.
Four years. How did we get here? I am sometimes amazed that we have continued to chug along. Life is hard. Mr. Loco is so very missed. He is so very loved. His memory lives on in so many other people. He would be so amazed by Baby Loco. He would be so appreciative of the people who reached out, the people who helped, the people who continue to help, the people who cheer Baby Loco on, the kind words, the helping hand, and all of the love. He would see your excellence as a little ray of sunshine in an uncertain world. That is what we see as well. Thanks for the excellence.