September 23, 2003 10PM

// April 16th, 2010 // From the forthcoming book "Losing Steve: One Mother's Journey Through Grief"

Yesterday I felt as though it was time to move on. It was almost a physical feeling, like the initial numbness of my grief is beginning to wear off. I felt a good, though temporary, sense of the burden of these past months lifting. I loaded up the CD player with some Jesse Cook and old Fleetwood Mac albums and started to putter around the house, tending to some long overdue tasks as I hummed along with the music. I got more done in one day than I have in a long time.
This morning after my bible study I was still feeling energized and ready to attack the new day. I turned on yesterday’s music and got to work again in the living room, singing along to Mystery to Me. As I was clearing off the end table to dust it I came to the stack of condolence cards that have been sitting by my chair since Steve died. I wondered where I could store them and decided to put them into one of his bedside table drawers. I picked up the stack of cards and started reading, weeping just a little. I am especially touched when I reread the ones people personally wrote in reminding me of a special memory they have of Steve.
Then I came to the card we made to pass out at his memorial. On the front is a close up picture of Steve leaning out the passenger window of a truck during one of many trips to Ocotillo Wells. Above the picture we printed “Don’t cry because it’s over…” and underneath “Smile because it happened!” I smiled a little as I ran my finger over the image of his face, then flipped it over to see two more pictures. One is of him in his ridding jersey out at the desert, scrunching up his face because of the sand in his beard. The other is one Nett took during a day trip just the two of them took to Los Coyotes. He is standing in front of their Jeep holding its tie rod that had bent into a wide “V” shape as they were four wheeling over some boulders. On his face is a stubborn expression, like he fully intends to bend it back into a straight line. Jeremy captioned this picture “I can fix it!!!” And Steve did fix it, just well enough to hobble all the way home.
Seeing these pictures of Steve in his prime, doing what he loved the most, made me cry harder than I have cried in weeks. This recovery business is quite a see-saw.

Once again I can hardly believe he’s gone, although it is getting easier to remember him healthy.
I miss him every day, every hour. Sometimes people tell me sympathetically, “Oh, he’ll always be with you in your heart”, but I’m not sure they understand. It’s almost a curse, torture. Those memories are there constantly, always hovering about my head carrying with them the heavy sense of absence, always reminding me there’s someone missing. Those memories are impossible to avoid. It seems that everywhere I look around our home, or around this town he grew up in, I bump into him with a sharp pain.

At the same time though, I am beginning to feel a sense peace carrying him in my heart.

~From 2010~
At the time this was originally written I did feel as though those memories were, in a way, torture. Every time I saw a picture of him (and I never removed any from the walls or photo albums) it was like a blow to the chest. I left them hanging but avoided looking at them. It just hurt too much!

It took awhile, but now I remember my son without crying. I smile when I look up and see his picture hanging with the rest of the family pictures. I can laugh when I remember his antics. I enjoy a good trip down memory lane.
I was told it would get better, and it did!

Peace be with you!
Debbie

2 Responses to “September 23, 2003 10PM”

  1. Amy Ketchum says:

    Mom,
    I enjoy reading the ‘current’ paragraphs you add occasionally to the posts. In the ‘past’ posts, I can feel your pain and grief. But in the current stuff, I can feel your recovery and peace.

    It’s great to read full-circle, I think it gives a sense of true recovery!

    Love you!

  2. Debbie Haas says:

    Thanks Aim! As I write the past I don’t want anyone to think I’m still “there”. God is SO good! He brought me all the way out of that darkness!

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