Mathew passed away 13 days ago. A lifetime already. We had his memorial last Saturday and everyone came to remember him. It wasn’t easy and there was plenty of tears and laughter. We put things of Mathew’s out for people to take in remembrance of him. I hope each person got something meaningful to them. He had so much stuff. He collected what he liked and that spanned many interests.

John, Kristen and I went through Mathew’s things and sorted most of his stuff. We kept the items that were most special to us or to Mathew himself. His closet is still pretty full of things we couldn’t let go of.

I can’t speak for Kristen as she returned to Ottawa on Sunday but I expect she feels similar to us. We have good moments interspersed with many terribly difficult ones. Our house is just so damned empty and so are our lives. Even before Mathew was diagnosed with cancer our lives revolved around him; more so than the “regular” child because of his disabilities. Now, suddenly, that is gone.

John and I keep as busy as possible to keep the emotions from overwhelming us. It doesn’t always work and odd things will pop up to suddenly throw a monkey wrench into our mood. Settling affairs of a young man who lived at home still takes a while and requires dealing with people ~ something we aren’t very good at right now. It comes down to small things; like returning Mathew’s passport, looking at his books, showing his damn death certificate everywhere that needs to see it.

Walking by Mathew’s room is enough to reduce me to tears. Giving over to grief for one second is followed by my heart ripping apart again. The hole Mathew left is just so big and so awful that it can’t even be put into words.

I try to be grateful when I’m grieving. I know Mathew wouldn’t want to see us like this but it is so hard. So I start thanking Mathew for different things and being grateful he didn’t suffer longer. I’m grateful he was our son for 24 years and for the joy he brought us. I thank him for making me so much a better person than I was before he and our daughter were born (they both shaped me into a better person!). There is so much to be thankful for and I don’t want to lose sight of that. I have pictures of Mathew everywhere and whenever I see one, I say, “Hi Mathew!” as though he is peeking out at me. I want to keep looking at him, just as I like to look at Kristen’s pictures around the house. It just hurts to know there will never be any new pictures of Mathew. He will never grow one day older or talk to me again.

Our lives are changed and they can only go forward. It is so early in our journey of grief and there is no shortcut to the pain lessening.

Sometimes it is less and sometimes it is more.

I miss him so terribly.