I am dreading this post.
Any of you that know Geoff and his family probably know that this Monday, April 9, is the 1 year anniversary of when we lost Kit.
The fact that this weekend is Easter is either a blessing or a curse. It might help Geoff be a little distracted and help him get through some of the rougher days. Or it might just be one more thing that Kit isn't here for.
Another mile marker.
I feel funny writing about it. It's been a weird year.
He is still very much a presence in our lives. We, both my small family here and the extended family of Geoff's mom and his sisters, talk about him often. We have pictures of him in the house. Both my kids still include him in their nightly bedtime prayers. They still go to "Grandma and Grandpa's" house.
In no way do we shy away from any conversation or questions about him for the kids, or anyone else for that matter.
Geoff is doing amazing. He has been to some bereavement sessions, and I think what he got out of it most, was that he is doing just fine. He is dealing and handling and addressing. I don't think he can take a picture or talk about football without thinking of his dad. But he has gotten to the point where he can talk to the kids about him, and answer questions. Sure, it breaks him sometimes, it probably always will. But he is standing up and carrying on. He doesn't wear his grief out in the open, that's not his style. It's a quiet thing, a private thing. But that's ok. He deals with it, and that's what's important.
In his will, Kit has left a token to each of the grandsons. Sebastian got one of his rings. Since Sawyer wasn't in the picture at the time the will was written, there wasn't anything really set out for her. That bothered Geoff. Not in a bad, I'm-contesting-the-will-in-court, kind of way. But more in a way that he wants something for her to remember him by. Something of her very own. Nothing valuable, or expensive, or something that belongs with Kathy or Dawn or Holly. He asked his mom, and she put some thought into it. What they settled on was Kit's AA coin. I think it is a perfect choice. It now resides in the box, with Sebastian's ring.
Over the past year, the milestones were difficult and sometimes odd. I know everyone has their own, and those stories are theirs. But here, Father's Day was a big one, and I think one that snuck up on us. It hit Geoff really hard and started some feelings and emotions that took months to overcome. I think it was a surprise, since it really wasn't ever that big of a deal when Kit was alive. Most years, I came up with a gift for him. We would pop over, with a card and a little something, and spend some time. No big dinners, or celebrations. So for it to devastate our little family came as a big shock. We have moved on, but it worries me a bit for this year.
The beginning of football season was another hard one for Geoff. He talked football with his dad CONSTANTLY. I am not even really convinced that Kit liked football all that much. I think he just knew that Geoff loved it and loved to talk about it. That was good enough for him. I bore the brunt of this one, since I am his new outlet. :) I don't mind.
Of course, the holidays and birthdays were difficult too. But those were the ones we expected. We prepped for that, talked about it, reviewed it, rehearsed it in our minds and hearts. It was the little stuff, the day to day stuff that caught us, and still catches us off guard.
About a month ago, the kids got on this weird kick where they started talking about Kit all the time. Sawyer, who was only 2 and a half when he died, started asking questions. Grown up questions. Like where Grandpa was, was he still in the hospital? Did Geoff miss his Daddy? Does Grandpa still love her? She would get her empathy bear (from the funeral home) that she calls Grandpa Bear, and kiss him and tell him "Good night, Grandpa. Grandma, and Daddy and me and Mommy and Bastian all love you."
None of us told her to do this. None of us has started these conversations. She did it all on her own.
At the same time, Sebastian started talking about him too. Out of nowhere, he would say "Mommy, I miss Grandpa." I would say that I miss him too. Whenever he mentions him, I always ask him "Do you see Grandpa? Do you dream about him? Do you talk to him?" Sometimes he says yes, and sometimes no, which is why I believe his answers. He has never, ever told me what they talk about. Rarely, he has cried when I asked him, but most times, he smiles.
I firmly believe Kit comes to see his grandkids. Often. I welcome him.
In November, Geoff and I, with his mom and sister, took a trip that should have included Kit. When the smoke had cleared after Kit's death, one of the first things I had talked to Geoff about was the trip. Kit and Kathy had invited all of us kids at Christmas. None of us had committed at the time, but I knew, now, that at least one of us was going. As it turned out, we were able to swing both of us going. It was not without a little bit of apprehension. I was very worried that this was going to be difficult and very emotional. For us, Dawn, Geoff and I, because we knew that Kit was supposed to be there. But mainly for Kathy. Key West was their place.
Surprisingly, shockingly, it wasn't like that at all. It was lovely. We talked about him, of course, and I think his absence was felt every day. But there was really only one moment in time, in (of all places!) Captain Tony's Bar, where tears flowed, and we all struggled. It was brief but heart wrenching. I think it had to happen. We left a note behind. Hope you got it, Kit.
I think about some of the things that Kit has missed. Sometimes, I can't believe he's actually gone. Sometimes I still expect to see him at the house, or pulling up in the driveway on a sunny Sunday morning to visit for a bit, with his Timmies in hand. Sometimes I get really angry that he went and did this to the family. We have enough to deal with, thank you very much. Lots of times, I hear a song, and I think of him. I think of things that have happened in the past year, and I wonder if they would have, if he had stayed.
I like to think we honour him, a little, every day. I don't think about the night he died, or the time in the hospital. I don't need to remember that. When I think of him and picture him in my mind, it's always alive and well. It's him being sarcastic and inappropriate. It's him and me, chatting and bashing on Geoff. It's his endless stories, full of dramatic pauses and tangents that go nowhere. It's 20 years of good and bad, infuriating and hilarious. There are regrets and guilt and happiness.
I miss him. I miss you.