A Year Ago Yesterday

"Florentina & Andrew"

Florentina & Andrew

Even though I was sick and exhausted, the days leading up to the Fair, the day of the Fair and the couple of days that followed it, were blissful.

The relentless sorrow and the inability to accept that Andrew is gone, receded for a while.
Yesterday I was busy writing thanks yous, post-event media follow-up, stocking up the fridge again, making the chicken soup I would have liked when I was sick, and it wasn’t until the evening that I stopped and looked back to this time last year.
I don’t have many days left of Andrew being alive this time last year. Come November 3rd. Andrew will have been gone a whole year.

But last night Andrew was still here this time last year, and a year ago yesterday…

Even the West side Highway, the only way into the city as far as I am concerned, was heavy with traffic.

“What’s going on?” I wondered out loud.
“Obama is in town,” Hugh explained. “He’s going to the UN.”
“We are going to be late,” I worried. “We are supposed to pick up Frank in Union Square at twelve, then Andrew from his Coral Towers dorm, then Florentina from her office and be at the Tribeca Rooftop for 12:30. But it is already 11:45,” I continued, glancing at the car clock. “At this rate we are not going to be able to pick them up and be at restaurant in time. And if we are late the tasting will start late and Andrew won’t be able to stay because his Chinese class starts at two.”
“Do you have Frank’s number?”
“Not on me… I’ll call Florentina and ask her to get Frank and Andrew to meet her at her office and take a cab together to the Tribeca Rooftop. That way we can drive straight there, we’ll all be on time and Andrew will be able to be with us and still make it to his class on time.”

But I got Florentina’s voice mail and I remembered that she had told me she was going to be in a meeting until about 12. I’ll call Andrew, thought, he’s bound to have Frank’s number.

“Tigger? Hi Tigger it’s Mummy, listen there is a lot of traffic and if we come and get you guys first we are going to be so late that you won’t be able to stay. So I was thinking that if you, Frank and Nanny get a taxi and meet us there, we’ll still be able to start on time, and Daddy will drive you to your class afterwards. Can you call Frank and ask him to go Florentina’s office and you can all get a taxi from there?”

“I don’t have Frank’s number, Florentina has it.”

“You don’t have it either? I tried calling Florentina but she is in a meeting until twelve and I got her voice mail. In the meantime Frank is already in Union Square waiting for us to pick him up. What shall we do?”

“I’ll run to Florentina’s office, get Frank’s number and call him,” Andrew said, his voice picking up speed and I sensed that he was already on his way out the door.

We arrived at the Tribeca Rooftop bang on 12:30 and the children were right behind us. When I saw them, my heart fluttered and I broke into a happy smile. No matter how often I was lucky enough to see my children, I felt joy every time. How gorgeous and well-groomed they looked, Florentina in her professional yet soft looking office clothes, and Andrew in a suit and tie and with his long and lustrous hair in a neat and tidy pony tail. Not even trying to check my pride, I introduced them to the others meeting us there and within minutes we were sitting at the table.

What we were doing that day, was selecting the menu for the Windflower Ball, the fundraiser I started in 1998 to raise money for SIDS. The event, now called “First Candle Charity Ball,” was coming up in four weeks, on October 24th.

Florentina and I tasted the fish dishes, while Andrew and Frank got busy with fillet mignon and rack of lamb.
By the time the chocolate mousse and tart tatin came and went, it was time to for Hugh to drive Andrew to his class and Florentina back to her office while Frank and I stayed behind and he gave me his technical advise about the blog (this one) that I wanted to start.

I felt good. I was in such a constant state of smiling that my jaws ached.
And now I can’t stop crying and I feel such pain in my heart that I think it’s going to break and I am going to die… if only…

Oh Tigger, if only it was traffic that stood between us…what can I do to see you again?

6 thoughts on “A Year Ago Yesterday

  1. Esmeralda, If we could only turn back the clocks. You express so beautifully what I often feel. It was a pleasure meeting you and Hugh on Saturday. Stay strong…love & peace……Barbara (Debra’s sister)

    • Oh Barbara, we enjoyed meeting you too. A big hug from heart. Stay in touch, I don’t think we are too far from each other right?

  2. Dear Esmeralda,
    You didnt deserve it, you didnt know, and you have no cause for guilt. But that won’t stop you from blaming yourself as the day approaches. One year on means reliving each day as a countdown. For those of us who knew something was wrong its like minutely tracking back constantly over every event that leads up to the death. Every sign is gone over, every denial, every opportunity that was missed. If only we had noticed this and that, had done this and that. If only…
    That’s why survivors suffer. We take the blame no matter how much we did or didnt do, instead of looking at all the wider causes of suicide that were then well beyond our control. Sometimes we superhumanly think we could have intervened. It saps our energy, it makes us obsessive about the past. I see my son as a schoolboy walking up the bushtrack to the house every day, or along the roads or in the places that we frequent. The loss is there all the time. It makes us think again and again, where is the meaning in life when a big part of the life is gone. Many survivors talk of joining their loved ones as the only meaning they have left. Many kill themselves when this loss gets overwhelming.
    That’s why your dedication of Andrew’s death to the fight to stop suicide offers strength to other survivors and a way out of their perpetual grief. By acting on the belief that we see in every young woman or man our own daughters and sons, we can free ourselves from this cycle of despair. We no longer see only our own sons and daughters loss we see the lives of all those who could face death if nobody takes care of them and encourages them to take control of their lives – empowering minds and bodies. The things we could not then control in our ignorance we can control in the knowledge that by challenging the ignorance and silence that surrounds suicide we can stop it.
    So with this reminder of everything your already know and act on so well, here’s to Andrew’s countdown. Make everyday count for the hundreds of thousands of Andrews out there listening, thinking, hoping, acting to go on living.
    a hug

    • Oh Dave, I have no words to properly express how lovely it is to hear from you. On the day of the Fair, I went to the library, in front of the spot where Andrew jumped to his death. Our other friends came with me, the other mothers who had flown in especially. We sat on the floor and prayed, we said a few words, and I acknowledged how I kept going with the Fair, when many times I felt like saying why the f..ck should I, and then it was the thought of you, of them quietly supporting me, each other, that made me get up from the gutter and keep going. Thank you Dave, thank you my dear friend and fellow warrior.

      BHFM 😉

    • So well written Dave. Friday I found myself explaining the survivor “countdown” experience to a non-survivor who had no idea about it.

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