A sign from Brad in NYC...his name written on a wall in the subway
9 YEARS LATER...NOVEMBER 23, 2011
I suppose I thought (after Brad's accident) that the world would stop and I would never be able to breathe, again. Now, it is 9 years later and I am still breathing and the world continues to go on. It still boggles my mind that Brad has been gone this long. AND, it seems like just yesterday that the two patrolmen were standing at Tiffany's (my daughter) door waiting for me to appear...just to tell me that my 17 year-old-son was killed. Words no parent EVER wants to hear.
Not too long ago, a friend of my mother's was talking about someone who had passed away. My mother's friend told me, "Oh, it happened a long time ago. Probably in 2002 or 2003." I thought to myself, "Wow, Brad was killed in 2002 and she thinks that was a long time ago." To me...it seems like just yesterday. I do realize that people think I have moved on and honestly, in some ways I have. But, in other ways, my life stopped the night Brad was killed. I still think about Brad, I still collect things for Brad, I still talk about Brad, I still dream about Brad, I still cry about Brad AND I still miss Brad. Some things will never change.
I've seen some of the struggles Brad's friends have gone through and I think to myself, "I'm glad that Brad is OK and not struggling." In some ways that does give me a sense of peace. But, I've always thought of myself as "Super Mom...problem-solver" and I thought I would be able to take away Brad's pain and struggles and make everything perfect for him and that he would always be happy. I know...not realistic, though.
I think the difficult part is imagining what Brad would look like at 26 years-old and wondering what he would be doing with his life. Would he be married and have children? I think so. Brad talked about how he wanted children someday and I think he would have been a wonderful father. I think about the vacations we would have taken with his family and his sister's family and the constant chaos on the holidays. I can still picture Brad (at 17 years-of-age), diving over the couch looking for Easter eggs. (Yes, I was still having Easter Egg Hunts for my children, but no one wanted to admit it.)
Since I have been going through the grieving process for 9 years, I would like to think that I can put my pain away (at times) and help other people that are grieving. I would eventually like to become a Grief Counselor and help people the way that they have helped me. I think Brad would like that. I think he would like knowing that I found something "positive" from the outcome of his death. Grief is mostly about taking baby-steps. I've learned not to rush through the grieving process and to just take one day/one moment, at a time...
I love you Brad with all of my heart and soon we will be together, again.