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Healing your body after the death of a beloved

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Living with an unbearable loss

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Moving forward into the life you create in the wake of loss

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Cleaning Out

During the first year after losing my 20 year old son Brandon (who had the brightest smile, perfect dimples, the hardiest laugh and gave the best hugs), I learned a lot. A lot about myself, about people, about God, about death, about grief, about Brandon himself and also about life. These unwanted enlightenments or lessons (or even blessings, depending on my perspective and mindset that day) taught me things that I never wanted to learn. The most harsh one being how to go on without my son.

Today, I chose to clean out Brandon’s room a little and attempt to go through a few of his things. I’m also putting a new bed in his room, due to freedoms that Winston (Blaine’s pug) took with/on Brandon’s bed.

I’m trudging right along, when all of a sudden a grief attack hits me, aaaand within seconds, I’m in full hysteria about my baby being gone.

I’m broken and mad and sad and wailing!! I don’t want this bed!! It’s not his!!

I don’t want his room to NOT smell like him anymore!!

I don’t want his room to be empty, like it is!!

I DON’T WANT THIS!!!

I DON’T WANT ANY OF THIS. ANY OF THIS THAT IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW!!

I DON’T WANT IT!

Blaine wearing a brown shirt resting his head on his right hand; Sarah next to him with her hair pulled back, wearing dark rimmed glasses and a brown t-shirt, smiling at the camera; Brandon in the front sticking out his tongue at the camera

I want my Brandon here and in his bed. I want him to be playing Xbox or watching “The Office”. I want to come in here and jump on the bed and hear him say, “Maaaa, staaaahp” while I laugh and try to cuddle him as he slides out of my grasp and onto the floor. I want to be sneaky and read his texts that he’s typing as he sits on the floor, and I’m above him on his bed. I want him to catch me and say, “Mom!! Stop. You’re so nosy!”

I want to hear him and Blaine laughing at something stupid on Twitter.

I want to hear the voices of Brandon’s friends all huddled in his room and laid out on his little bed, just talking and laughing.

But there’s none of that.

There’s just silence. Deafening silence is radiating from this space that I’m in, that used to be so full of life and noise.

So I begin to just sob.

I’m home alone, and this allows me the freedom to bellow. My soul feels desolate and broken, as I just sit on my baby’s floor and bawl.

A collection of Brandon's possessions including a pair of black and white Nike's, red hightop sneakers, a fraternity cup with an "E" and an "X" on it and a book

After a few moments, I decide to gather myself and make this dang bed in case Blaine wants to sleep in it when he comes home. I’m full blown mad. I’m what B used to call “Big Mad”. I’m slamming things and stomping around. I angrily throw the fitted sheet on and tuck it in with fervor and then throw his pillows on top of the sheet and realize that hey … that felt kinda good to throw a pillow.

Brandon had like 12 pillows on his bed for some reason, so I pick one up and throw it on the bed. Then another … and another. I’m really into it at this point. I’m tossing stuff left and right and subconsciously wondering about my mental state.

Then, I catch a whiff of Brandon on one of the pillows and snatch it back off the bed.

My baby, I smell my baby.

His precious scent that is his and his alone. I grab another pillow and hug it so tightly that it’s almost flat. I sniff it until it looks vacuum sealed. I’m taking in all of Brandon’s scent, while it lasts. This is the closest that I’ve come to contentment since he passed. This moment.

Even now, as I’m writing this, I stop and close my eyes for a second and remember how precious he smelled. He smelled like MINE.

After my sniff session, I calm down, again, and sit on this new stupid bed and playfully kick one of three basketballs that are in his room. This one is a black and blue and white one that was laying on one of the pillows on the floor. After I kick it around for a second, the basketball hits his window sill … and this tumbles out.

This.

This dang shot glass.

Shot glass laying on a grayish comforter with a blue, black and white basketball to the right of it.

If you know Brandon, you get it.

My hysterics are immediately halted as I just stare at what has fallen off of his window sill. I picked up the shot glass and just held it in my hand for a minute as my breathing returned to normal. I set the glass back down, laughed, blew a kiss to heaven and grabbed my phone to take a picture.

My baby, my darling headstrong sweetheart … still a little smart ass from heaven, and still one of the very few people that God created that could send me into a rage and also calm me down all within a short amount of time.

My sweetheart …

I miss you immeasurably. Each day that passes, passes without a new memory of you added on and that breaks my heart. Thank you for moments like these. Even in hysteria, my love for you stands strong. Always.

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