Funny the World...


May 14, 2000

We used to call them "David moments" after David died. Those moments that come after the first rush of grief has subsided and life picks up where it left off, with that one big hole left in it. Suddenly there’s a memory and you’re blindsided, doubled over with the pain, knowing moments like that with David will never come again. You get it cried out and then take a deep breath and plunge back into life again.

We’d gotten through most of the bad "David moments" by the time Paul died. Then, of course, we started having Paul moments.

And then there were times when we didn’t know if we were having a David moment or a Paul moment...or maybe just an "oh poor me" moment. The thing about grief is that eventually the moments start coming at longer and longer intervals. I hate that part. It means that you’re learning to live without that special person in your life. He’s still there, living in your heart, but you’ve learned how to cope with his loss in your life. You’re continuing with the process of living. That sucks.

BACK: Paul, David, Tom
FRONT: Ned, Jeri

"How many children do you have, Bev?"

It used to be such an easy question to answer. "I have five children." How many do I have now? Do I say I have three living children and two dead children? What kind of a rotten answer is that to give someone who is trying to make polite conversation? Nothing better for a conversation stopper than that. But it doesn’t feel right to say "I have five children" because I don’t "have" two of them any more. They’re lying together out in that damn cemetery and I’m still having "moments." But it also doesn't feel right to say "I have three children." Usually I just say "I had five children" and hope that nobody notices the use of the past tense....or worse, asks "what are they doing now?" "Well, three of them live here in Davis, but two of them don't do much but lie around..."

What brought this all to mind, of course, is that it’s Mother’s Day. Hey! Whoopdeedo! Last Mother’s Day came right after Paul’s funeral. We were partied out, grief-ed out, and totally drained. But we couldn’t not do anything to mark the occasion. So we decided to meet at "David’s place" and have a private picnic to honor the moms, and grandmothers. David’s Place is one of several monuments to dead Sykes children here in Davis (there's also a tree in the park and a plaza downtown). It’s an all-weather shelter for the local Art Center, built with funds donated to the center after David died. I don’t want to sound sarcastic. It’s a lovely thing to do. It’s nice to have people who care, and nice to have memorials to our dead children. I just hate sitting there knowing that the whole reason I’m sitting there is because our youngest child crashed his car into a telephone pole.

This Mother’s Day seems totally frazzled. Walt and his brother are going to "do something" with their mother. Our #1 child is somewhere in the area, having arrived from Boston for a wedding last night, but she doesn’t know if she will be able to join up with us tomorrow or not until Monday. #4 child lives too far away to come just for Mother’s Day, admittedly not really a big event around here once the kids got too old to bring me breakfast in bed. #2 child is going to accompany me to San Francisco to see Steve Schalchlin sing at a Baptist church. I'm a recovering Catholic who has never been in a Baptist church, so it should be interesting. We will then go and do something with my mother. Then I’ll come home and shop for groceries because on my way to the supermarket today, I got hit with a "David and Paul moment" big time and had to come back home again and cry it out.

The week after Mother’s Day is the 4th anniversary of David’s death. The last time I saw him was Mother's Day 1996.

To paraphrase the Christmas card Paul sent out the year David died, "Happy f*cking Mother's Day."

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created 5/14/00 by Bev Sykes