Often I look back, well beyond November 3, at November 2 and October 31.
I go over those days that I remember well, even though months have passed. I remember them accurately because they stand in stark contrast to November 3, and thereafter.
Watching something bloom, whether a flower or well-cooked pasta, fascinates me. What has me wide-eyed, is the magic of transformation, the seemingly sudden moment, when it happens.
Take the peonies I had planted in the front garden of our old house. From the sudden moment they made it out of the ground, every year the peonies held me in thrall.
I watched them day after day. Still I could never catch the moment when they grew.
The stubby little stalks with their tiny, tiny buds grew slowly at first, then they pushed upward for the sun by the inch, until, suddenly, the stalks were taller than a child, and the buds had burst open!
Yet, for all the watching, it was always a fait accompli.
Similarly, I watched Andrew for a little over twenty years and I never saw him grow.
And yet: “Mummy, I need new pants,” he would say every year, when the time came to switch from shorts, to long pants. “Look,” he’d say, pointing to the pants legs a couple of inches short of his ankles.
“Wow Andrew, when did you grow so much – in your sleep?”
What happened to the boy who used to show me that his pants were too short?
What was it that set into motion the events that led to my son’s suicide?
When did it happen?
The last time I saw Andrew, nine days before he died, to me as well as to his father, brother and sister, he looked like his normal self.
He had ice cream with his sister late in the afternoon of Monday, November 2nd. They chatted and laughed, hugged each other…
But, ten hours later, Andrew took his life.
We were woken up with the news that our son was dead. ((((((((DEAD?????
How, what, when, where, why?
And here’s the un-graspable unreality for me, being alive seconds before being dead!
In vain do I go back past the day he died, looking for answers, looking for the chance to intervene.
In vain do I do it again and again, like those who have watched the Titanic dozens of times, each time hoping for a different ending.
What is it that I miss? What is it that I am blind to?
If my spiritual beliefs are true, then Andrew has only got off the bus, that’s all. When I reach my stop, I’ll get off the bus too. So… why the unbearable sadness? Why this ungodly pain?