As I cried myself to sleep on December 31, 2015 I knew that waking up the next morning was going to mean facing one of the hardest days I ever had to function through. I couldn't think about 2016 without crying. Some moments I cried so hard that I almost vomited. I hate the thought of 2016 being here.
I never hated New Year's Eve and New Year's Day before this one. I always enjoyed the holiday actually. The idea of a fresh start, new beginnings and a clean slate was such a good thing to me. In 2002 I was pregnant for the new year and just 21 days into the year I would be a mom, 2005 was the year that I closed out with a newborn and his older sister... even 2008 and 2009, which were terribly challenging years, were welcomed and celebrated. 2012 sent Hurricane Sandy and all of the upheaval that came with her and were followed by 2013 and 2014 which were so hard themselves, between moving and Mikey's disesase progressing, his stomach/gi system shutting down, admitting him to a Hospice program. Through all of that New Year's Eve would come and I'd say 'Out with the old and here's hoping that the NEW year brings so much better than was before!'
That was one of the secrets that the 'life of a mom with a sick child' taught me... we didn't know how we would deal with one day to the next but I knew that with Mikey still here then every single moment was one that we could find cause to celebrate. Matthew and I had our 3 kids here and everything would get figured out. Let's face it, we had been in the Childhood Cancer community long enough to know that him being here and still fighting was a gift. And we were so beyond grateful for it.
Since May 13, 2015 every new week, every new month is exhausting. Each one marks the passage of time since I last held my son. Since I last kissed his face. Since he last hugged me and I got to hug him back. Weeks, days and months passed but this new year happening grabbed me by the throat and just squeezed. 2016 will be the first year that I'm a mom to 3 children but only have 2 here to hug. It will be the first year that our family photo won't ever be able to be taken as a complete family, it will be the first year that won't ever hold a new and funny picture or video of Michael. It's only been 7 1/2 months since Michael died but he died last year. I hate that. I really hate it. I would relive 2015 over and over again, even with all of the heartache, because he was here for 5 1/2 months of it.
I am not happy to welcome 2016. So many people have wished me a Happy New Year. I wish I could say thank you but I just say 'you too'. Don't get me wrong, I know that there will be happy moments, there will be celebrations and parties, there will be fun times and lots of laughter and smiles. I know there will be, Katie and Timmy deserve them and I will be there in those moments and I will laugh and smile with them. I will not only be there in those moments but I will help create some of those happy moments for them, I will make sure they happen. Katie and Timmy deserve them. Matt and I do too, in my head I know that, though my heart knows that's a hard pill to swallow and deal with so right now we concentrate on Katie and Timmy's moments. Even when I'm not happy, if a moment calls for laughter and smiles I will put my mask on and laugh and smile. That mask is one I've become accustomed to rather quickly I'm afraid.
I not only know that happy moments will come this year and next year, and the year after... but I also know that we have had happy moments in the last 7 1/2 months. We have all laughed and smiled. Some people may not realize this but although my laughter has been (and will continue to be) heard across the room, unless you really know me you won't realize that it isn't the huge laugh I have always had. My smile has been (and I'm also sure it will continue to be) seen but, much like my laughter, it won't be as bright. I try, I really do. I try so hard for Katie and Timmy. I try to make sure they know that I don't love them any less because my heart is broken. I try to make sure they know that I can laugh and smile. Those smiles and laughs have been (and again, they will continue to be) lessened by the heartache of missing my favorite Michael.
I know his spirit will be with us, there are times I feel him right with us, but I don't want just his spirit there, I want his smile and his laughter there too.
Starting this foundation, The Mighty Mikey Foundation, is something that I do think will bring happiness to us and our family. It is our way of making sure that our Mighty Mikey's life is remembered in one of the most important ways possible, by helping hundreds and thousands of other kids fighting battles like his.
I read something today that I think I need to hold on to. The passage of each year doesn't bring us farther from you but closer to being with you again... I will be reminding myself of with every day and week and month and year that passses starting with this one...
My first role is mom. Mom to Katie, Mikey and Timmy. I'm trying to navigate mothering Katie & Timmy here on earth while still mothering my Mikey in heaven and making sure The Mighty Mikey Foundation helps hundreds and thousands of kids fighting mighty big battles like his.