I hate this day. I hate going to bed the evening of the 23rd of each month. I hate waking up the 24th of every month. My motions and routine are clouded by continual flashbacks of August 24th. I can see the events of that day play out in my mind. Every step I take this day, of the last eight months, I am constantly questioning life.
What if we would have left earlier that day? What if we would have been later? What if I hadn’t gone to work? What if Dan had not been at school? What if I wouldn’t have changed Toby’s outfit at the last minute that day? God knows I have idea why I decided to change him in the first place. What if?
Luke is at the “why” stage of his toddler years. The last few days have been a constant barrage of questions. As he was quizzing me on the way to daycare this morning with sequential why’s, my mind drifted. I thought, if I could have a day with God, I would probably sound just like Luke.
Why did you take Toby? Why could he only be here for 12 weeks and 5 days? Why did you give us this perfect, healthy, beautiful, happy baby and then take him away with no explanation? Why couldn’t you let me tell him good-bye? Why did you take Luke’s little brother? Why do you keep placing circumstances right in front of Dan and I, that to us, seem like nothing but slaps in the face? Why do we have to live our lives without him?
Why? Why? Why? Why?
The months of March and April proved to be an emotional roller coaster. Things happened, but provided no answers for why Toby died. His headstone arrived and was placed at his grave, unbeknownst to Dan and me. While it is beautiful, just as we hoped. Seeing his name on it, bring so much emotion and sadness, it’s exhausting. The emotional wounds re-opened, the trauma resurfaced.
I am, we are, dreading the month of May. It will begin the months that will overlap with the time that we had him here on Earth.
With the weather getting warmer and the time changing, I have been trying to run again in the evenings. It hasn’t been going well. I go about a mile and my legs get very heavy, my hands start to sweat. I stare at the ground directly in front of me and I hold the tears in for as long as I can. Until I just give up. I shouldn’t be running alone. He was with me, in the stroller, right in front of me – staring at me while we ran. I would talk to him, ask him if he saw the trees or the birds. Tell him what was around us or how far we had gone. He would smile at me. I would smile back. Now the space in front of me is empty. It’s a constant reminder that I will never see him smile again.
I pray. Every. Single. Day. He is smiling. I pray, that he sees Dan, Luke and me smile and that he knows behind each smile is a wish and an ache that he is was here with us. This constant ache in my heart that no amount of joy will ever take away.
Toby, we miss you more than any words or actions could describe.
God, why can’t you just bring Toby back to us?