One month today. How time flies.
The burial on February 17, while beautiful, was merely a technicality. Anthony did not die in hospice on February 11th. His accident on January 29th was what took him away from me.
I went to the cemetery this morning to visit my beautiful boy. My emotion quickly overtook me, and I laid my forehead against the stone covering his crypt. The polished marble was ice cold, yet I felt warm inside. My son was with me. His death has left us with many new hills to climb and relationships to form.
A realization hit us on Saturday…
My two sons, Joey and Louie, don’t really know each other. They are brothers, of course, however no common thread, other than Anthony.Each of them had a relationship with Anthony, unique and separate from the other. Joey and Louie, despite being 3.5 years apart, have very different lives and interests. Their father and I didn’t notice the fact that the two of them were not previously “bonding.” We simply lived our lives as a family.
All relationships worked, until now.Joey is fiercely independent and has a large life, outside of our house. Friends, girlfriend, job, activities. He as definite opinions, political views, likes, dislikes and a strong personality. Never home from dawn till dusk, I often refered to him as my “invisible child.”
Family events would come and go. Sometimes you would see Joey, sometimes you wouldn’t. I have no fear in Joey’s ability to take care of himself as an adult. He is 21 (in 12 days) and he has the maturity of a 30 year old.
Louie, at 16 is my sensitive child. He is a mix of independence and dependence. He has more needs and emotions than his older brother. Louie’s friends are plentiful and his grades are amazing. Medicine may be in his future. Louie is our dog Rocco’s best friend.
Being the youngest, and underage for things like driving and hanging out past 11pm, he spends most of his time with the family when not in school.
Anthony had a very special relationship with each of them.Anthony and Joey were my “class clowns”, always creating mayhem and fun wherever they went. Mooning was a common occurrence, their bare bottoms in the air publicly on many occasions. They were avid movie makers, producing many VHS tapes of their antics on bicycles, building go-karts and playing character roles. They were my Hollywood. Anthony was always the director. Joey was the star. I need to transfer the VHS to DVD soon.
In contrast, Anthony and Louie were the classic older/younger brother dynamic. Anthony was Louie’s protector from birth. I fondly remember Anthony would tell the family to be quiet when Louie was taking afternoon naps, “you will wake up my brother.” He watched him like a hawk, especially at the playground. Anthony taught Louie about auto mechanics and took him to the gym, commencing his love of fitness. Whenever Anthony was home, he could be found in Louie’s room playing with him on his Xbox.
Not saying Joey and Louie didn’t have any relationship whatsoever, it simply wasn’t to the same magnitude of their individual relationships with Anthony.
One month after Anthony leaving us, Joey and Louie are forced to figure out a new relationship while at the same time, mourning the older brother who held them together. Anthony was their velcro.
My two children spent their Saturday fiercely disagreeing on all subjects known to mankind, further complicating my grieving.
Listening to them argue made me feel as if we had taken 10 steps backward for our 1 step forward. I cried most of the day, thinking this argument was a major failure in our family dynamic.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
- Without this self-expression, my sons will not learn how to help the other through their individual grief.
- Without this self-expression, my sons cannot understand the other’s feelings.
- Without this self-expression, my sons won’t be able to form a lasting partnership despite obstacles in their paths.
After all the disagreements were out in the open and accounted for, Joey and Louie went to dinner with their cousin Michael on Saturday night. A guy’s night.
Let the bonding begin…