We signed Noah up for basketball last night. It is the first sport he has been interested in since losing Austin.
Both my boys have always loved baseball but Noah wouldn't even talk about it this last Spring. When I mentioned fall ball, he just shook his head. He finally told me that he didn't know if he will ever be able to play baseball again because it reminds him too much of Austin. That makes me so sad for many reasons and I hope it is a phase that will pass. My hope is that someday memories are not so painful but joyous reminders of him.
Austin never played basketball so I didn't think this sport would be painful for any of us. He did coach Upward with his dad one year but that was held at our church. This league is being played and coached by the high school. I don't know if I didn't realize that when Noah first mentioned or if I just pushed the thoughts aside. However, walking into the high school last night, it was obvious that this wouldn't be easy for Tim or me.
As we entered the doors, I realized that I hadn't been in that school since losing Austin. My last memory is of picking him up early from school in November, to take him to an appointment. That desk is the same spot we had to walk up to last night to sign Noah up for ball.
I've learned to "check my emotions at the door" and have become fairly good at hiding the pain, when needed. Noah didn't need to see me break down (or anyone there for that matter) and so I had to be strong. What I wanted to do was turn around and go back to my truck, but Noah needed this, so I stayed. Tim was rather quiet throughout the practice and though he said nothing until we were home in bed, I figured he was going through the same emotions.
For me, it wasn't of the memories of high school with Austin that hurt because he wasn't a student there long enough to create many. He started his freshman year last August so he was there just three short months. What hurt the most was the thoughts of what was lost, what could have been. I was hit with memories from my high school years and what Austin didn't get to experience. Teenage boys walked past, finishing up from practice or an after school activity, and my eyes followed them, wishing Austin was among the pack. My heart cried last night for the memories we didn't get to make with him.
It still amazes me what triggers grief. It is the simple, little things - the every day moments and memories - that hurt the most. Holidays and anniversaries are obvious and you brace yourself for the pain. But what is harder is moments like last night that you don't expect. Life goes on, even though inside you are screaming for it to stop. Every day is one more sunrise, one more sunset, that you did not get to experience with the loved one you lost. You miss what you had, think back on memories you shared, but it is a different pain to reflect on what you never got to do with them. "What could have been" hurts your soul.