late July

It’s that time of year again.

I never wanted to know the actual date of his accident.  For many months, it was just “late July” that it happened.  It was a defense mechanism; I feared that I would obsessively count days since I had seen him last.  Also, it was somewhat unclear what day to actually figure as his last: the day he jumped in the water, or the day they proclaimed him brain dead, or the day they took his organs and let his body stop breathing?

(For what it’s worth, I count the day he jumped off the dock: July 28.)

(***edited to add: Daddy J just pointed out that I do in fact have the date wrong.  Which is no surprise, really; I’ve blocked it pretty thoroughly.  He actually jumped in the water on the 26th.  So I’ll reassign the Big Day To Get Past as the 26th, I suppose.  I guess it’s good that it’s closer and will be over sooner…)

And now, every year since it happened in 2005, toward the end of July the sadness creeps in.

I thought I was maybe coming down with something, or just overtired from waking up early with Rainbow, but it’s become clear that it’s just the late July-ness of it all.


I was watching one of Ward’s favorite videos with Rainbow the other day.  We broke it out after realizing that Rainbow loves to watch a little Sesame Street and Wow Wow Wubzy on occasion.  He shouts at the screen and laughs and wiggles from his portable crib, which comes in super handy when I am trying to get out the door with him and the eleventy-four accessories we require on road trips.  Anyway, it was kind of emotional to watch Baby Songs, but also nice to see again why Ward loved it: the babies and kids are so cute and look like they are having so much fun.

Ward’s favorite song came on, and I couldn’t remember what it was he called it.  It’s a song about different shapes, and he called it The Triangle Song.  Or maybe The Circle Song.  Or was it The Rectangle Song?

I was really sad that I couldn’t remember.  He used to ask for the video with the song title: I want to hear the Triangle/Circle/Rectangle Song!  I felt like he was slipping further away, withdrawing from me and pulling my memories with him.

It’s just a silly song, Mama. 

But you liked it so much!

Not as much as I liked you.

Oh.  Yes.

And then, earlier this weekend, I brought down one of his favorite toys that I think Rainbow is almost ready for.  It’s a hammer that goes BOING BOING BOING! with a cartoon noise when you hit something.  I wanted Rainbow to get to play with something that Ward used to play with.  I replaced the batteries and tried them every which way, in case the diagrams on the battery case were wrong, but the toy is just broken.  I guess it’s too old.

It’s just a toy, Mama.  It’s just a plastic thing.  It’s not me.

Yeah, I know.  I just liked it when you played with it, and now that it’s broken, you feel further away.

It’s just a shadow, Mama.  It’s not me.  It’s even a shadow from the past, not a shadow from what I’m doing today.  It just doesn’t matter.

No.  I guess it doesn’t.  Sometimes it’s just hard.

I love you.

I love you, too.


I have this image of him losing the material debris from this world, his wordly raiments falling off in chunks.  He’d hold on to them if I wanted him to, if I needed them to recognize him or relate to him, if it made me feel good to think of him as only a toddler who loved the Teletubbies and pumpkin pie and his pets and his toys. 

But as the chunks fall off, his actual Self shines through.

Glowing and laughing and brilliant.



11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Meghan Cobble
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 01:14:01

    “Sadness creeping in.”

    “Glowing and laughing and brilliant.”

    My prayer for you is to focus on the latter for he’s both eternal and internal.

    .mac 🙂

  2. Erika
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 16:41:59

    no words..just (((HUGS)))

  3. thisbumpyjourney
    Jul 21, 2009 @ 01:06:48

    Nice, Meghan – I like that: both external and internal.

    And thank you, Erika. I need them.

  4. Melissa
    Jul 21, 2009 @ 02:12:46

    I know the sadness and the pain. I get the same way every December. It makes Christmas and birthdays especially painful. Carsyn, my Mom (who passed last year) and I all have December birthdays. It is an incredibly difficult time. I will pray for strength and peace for you and your family. Little Rainbow is such a blessing for y’all. And by the way, he is huge! Camden doesn’t even weigh 20 pounds yet and he is almost 1! Stay strong!

  5. Erin
    Jul 21, 2009 @ 04:46:43

    Sigh. Julie, I’ve read somewhere that “biography becomes biology”…and I do believe it’s true. My “coming down with something” or feeling off time is September. The month of all the evil anniversaries. Happily, the physical and emotional effects have eased over the years, but I’m still keenly aware on some level of it being “that time.” Of course, that’s always with me. The fact that somehow, no matter where I am, I flippin’ look up and see 9:16 EVERY DAY makes me annoyed as all get out, too. I try to turn it into a positive and say a prayer for him each time I see it, but it does make me irritated. I always picture him laughing at my irritation, as it would totally be something that would amuse him. Grrr. Sorry. All that to say you’re not alone in feeling sad and off kilter.

    And once again, you write so beautifully…your actual Self shines through in your writings. Sending you many hugs.

  6. thisbumpyjourney
    Jul 21, 2009 @ 14:05:24

    Thanks, Melissa and Erin. I wish none of it were so hard for any of us. I’ll think of you both in December and September. I feel like I’m just plowing through these days (so grateful for the big boys and Rainbow for keeping me busy and forcing me to at least act somewhat chipper and energetic) and trusting that it will be better come August.

  7. Mary in ATL
    Jul 21, 2009 @ 19:07:15

    I am sorry you are feeling that funk- I think Thanksgiving & Christmas will be it for me. Over the last several years I have provided respite care for mom suring thse holidays so my dad can go duck hunting. This year I am sure he’ll still hunt but I won’t have MOM.
    I was in BB in June and stopped to see the bronze of Ward. It is breathtaking. Russ did an amazing job of capturing his wonder at the worlds treasures.

  8. Cousin betsytant
    Jul 22, 2009 @ 03:24:29

    We are all thinking happy thoughts of Wardie and sending hugs to you guys. I know that Rainbow is getting the intangible gift of Ward’s loving spirit.

  9. Trackback: mamapundit » Blog Archive » The end of innocence
  10. Jane
    Jul 22, 2009 @ 13:45:53

    The Presence shining through.
    Brilliant and loving you always.

  11. camille
    Jul 22, 2009 @ 17:57:39

    Thinking thoughts of peace and holding you in the Light, Mama J.

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