February 4th, 2016 - sixteen - wow - it's been 8 years. Not a day has gone by that I do not think of Sully. A few friends have been checking in on me this week which I always appreciate. I'm honest with them. I'm low, as is usual during this season. I let myself be low. I've learned to slow everything down, to block the calendar, to retreat. We take the day off every year as a family. We take balloons to his playground, buy tulips, make cake, go on an adventure together. And, as sad as it all is, I truly love this day. It feels like the one day a year where I let myself stop. I put no expectations on myself, no pressures to be or look or feel a certain way. I just am. I hug my kids all day and sit as close to them as I can. I don't snap at myself or Brad or the kids for running late or needing to get chores done. I just exist. And it is so lovely. I told my friend that this was one of Sully's greatest to me. She remarked that it was certainly a positive way to look at it. Yes, it is. And that's when I understood that this is how I have to choose to live all of my life, taking the stories, the sadness, and shifting the way we look at it. I think of Victor Frankl's writings and him espousing after having survived the Holocaust this beautiful reality. "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
In the past five years since I posted here, I did write a good bit more. At the five year anniversary I privately wrote to myself in response to me on this blog as I lived through each day. It was raw and unfiltered and therapeutic. Since then, I have gone on to full time employment, begun graduate school, sent my kids to school full time after five years of homeschooling, and, just this last year, we moved. For years I couldn't move, didn't want to move. I didn't want to leave my home where I had brought all my babies, where I had brought my Sully home. I marvel at how time shifts and shapes our hearts and minds. With time, I've been able to - what is it - not let go - but, understand that my heart is Sully's home. Him coming to me shaped me more than any other event in my life so far, and I see how that experience, my loving him and carrying him, and, yes, losing him, is a part of the fabric of me now. I know I can't go anywhere without him because he is in the very core of who I am. Still, I am a sentimental fool, and I couldn't bring myself to sell the house yet. Just this weekend we went and did yard work in preparation for renters, and I just loved being there. I love that home, and I love the stories we chose to write in that space.
All the house is quiet still and it is well past the time we all would have been off to school and work. I look out my new windows and see all kinds of birds swooping and flying in and out of a holly bush by the river. I am thankful for the peacefulness of this moment and the ritual of this day that awaits me. Happy Birthday, Sully, my sweet boy.