The firsts are hard. Ten days ago, I “celebrated” my first birthday without Frick. Honestly, it wasn’t much of a celebration. It felt a little like I was under water, floating and watching as the world passed by. I wanted him here with me. I am still so numb to the idea that he is gone that none of it seems real—like I’m a character in my own bad movie.
My birthday also marked our first trip to Shaver without him. It was also our first stay at my dad’s house in the mountains, waking upknowing he wasn’t a few minutes away at his cousins’ and he wasn’t in the room next door. I sat at the bar where he and I shared our last mother-son breakfast and laid on the couch where he showed me the last YouTube clip he thought was funny. It was harder than I thought it would be. I went through the motions that weekend, trying to smile and enjoy time with family, but my heart is lost.
Coming home this past week, the first real week since Frick has been gone, we feel the gaping hole he leaves behind. I had my first major melt down on the kitchen floor one night. For the record, I am not a pretty crier. The next night, I cried so hard in my husband’s arms that I literally choked for what felt like hours. I’m trying to understand how this could happen, how he could be taken from us at 17. He didn’t deserve this and neither do we.
Yesterday was one of the hardest firsts yet. I was so appreciative for a normal day. I went to the gym with a new friend, and then we went to brunch and talked about girl stuff. After brunch, I came home and decided to clean the guest room and Frick’s bathroom, which doubles as the guest bath. The guest room went fine, therapeutically even. But when I started to clean his bathroom, I realized this was the last time it would ever be “his.”I would never again have to ask him to clean in preparation for company. I would never tell him to pick up his clothes again, or scrub his toilet.
I threw away his shampoo, his razor, and his soap, and then cleaned out his drawers. I wiped down the cabinets and counters and scrubbed the floors, tub, and toilet. With every stroke he felt a little more gone and I felt a little more lost.
I keep trying to remind myself that Noah would not want us to wallow. He would want us to find our new normal. But every day that he is gone reveals a new first for us to get through. It makes normal seem unattainable. I often find myself saying that this cannot possibly be our life. But it is. It’s the unfair reality of losing our first-born and picking up the shattered pieces of our life. I’m just holding on to my faith that eventually some good ones, like perhaps the first time we feel joy again, might balance the horrible firsts. We will keep moving forward, one day, one hour at a time.