As I was getting ready this morning, I couldn’t help but to think of Luke, my heart was a little heavy. Special occasions of any kind can serve as triggers because they’re so memorable, just the date on the calendar…you know you shared it with your person, it cements the time they’ve been gone, or the reality that they really are gone. We remember special occasions because they’re suppose to be, well, special. My last Easter with Luke, he was in the hospital, I don’t like thinking of him in the hospital but I actually have some pretty fond memories of him & I there, and Easter was one of them.
I put together a small Easter basket for Luke (just some goodies in a gift bag) and I treated him like he was five. I snuck into his hospital room and said “Luke, I just the saw the Easter bunny!”. I had his treats behind my back and I couldn’t help but to laugh, still trying to maintain character and seriousness that I had indeed seen the Easter Bunny. He gave me that look, the look that said I love you but you’re ridiculous. I miss that look. I had to have fun with his Easter surprise in an effort to take his mind off of the situation. He hadn’t even been diagnosed yet but we were scared, uncertainty is brutal, and he was so ready to go home.
I decided he needed some personal items to remind him of me, make him smile, even when I couldn’t be there. What grown man wouldn’t want a stuffed bunny displayed in their hospital room? I can’t remember what it said, exactly. ‘Hoppy Easter’ or ‘Some Bunny Loves You’. Either way, I found it hilarious and the look he gave me only made me laugh harder. He was a worry wart, if he were here now he would tell me “I told you so” or “with good reason”, and he would have a valid point but I was still trying to keep his spirits up. I think on this Easter, even if it was just for a few minutes, I succeeded. He really did keep that novelty Easter bunny displayed on his table. I love that about him. He was a good sport even though he hated to be fussed over.
I guess that memory triggered more, I just kept thinking of the time I did get with him, even when we were in the hospital. The “date nights” we would have, his tray of hospital food (his restricted diet stuff) and my cafeteria food, we would watch TV and he would always complain about how crappy of a date it was, but I would go on and on about how good the food was. It wasn’t really all that awesome but there wasnt anywhere else I would have rather been. The nurses never asked who I was, they never questioned me or Luke. I never wore a ring but they always called me his finance and we never corrected them. I’m thankful they always let me stay. They encouraged Luke to sit up a little everyday, so when he did I took full advantage, and would lay in his bed while he sat in the visitor chair. The nurses always thought that was funny. “She kicked you of bed?” I really was a great girlfriend. ; )
He had a window that looked out onto the parking lot and almost every time I left the hospital, I got a playful little text from him. He always watched me walk to my car. I knew he could tell I was crying and that was his way of making me smile. It worked like a charm every time. I would turn and wave…thankful that we were maintaining some sense of “us” under the circumstances. I’m thankful for those memories, for the times he let me fill that role, let me be the person I so desperately wanted to be for him. It was a bittersweet trip down memory lane.
So, I guess you could say I felt a little emotional this morning but I was still excited for the day, I still had every intention of having a great day. I had new silk flowers for his headstone in my car and I was looking forward to stopping by the cemetery to swap them out and “say hi”. Isn’t that strange? I say I’m going to visit him or “say hi”. He’s not there, I know that, this day is a perfect reminder, but I still feel he can somehow hear me better when I’m there. Also, some days I just feel more drawn to go than others. I went this morning, not to cry or be sad, I just wanted to say Happy Easter and leave something for him.
There’s a balance I’ve found now that I’ve moved past the rawness of my grief. Some people find going to the cemetery very morbid or they think it’s going to make me sad or take something away from my day. That isn’t the case, it’s the opposite, that’s the balance…my balance. I was carrying him and those memories anyway, avoiding them or the cemetery wasn’t going to take those away or make it easier. Visiting him…leaving something beautiful for him, made me feel better. Does it hurt? Of course! But it’s supposed to…how could it not?
I guess that’s it, the balancing act that grief is. Today is still a good day, even if it did start with me at the cemetery leaving flowers for someone I wish was still here.
Hoppy Easter, Luke. Some Bunny loves you. Xo – S