The mailbox is an unexpected source of pain after losing a child. At first, it contains cards of prayers and sympathy; but then, it contains mail - for your child. You expect it at first but figure after time, mailing lists will be updated and it will cease. What hurts is when you open the mailbox and are unprepared for something addressed to the one you love who is no longer here.
This afternoon, Noah checked the mail. Normally, Tim or I do this task, as we've somewhat sheltered him from any surprises. Not thinking it was Austin's "birthday week" and mail could potentially come, I let him go. He came back in saying, "Bubba got mail." I froze - uncertain of what it would be and how he would react.
Sighing in preparation, I reached out to him to take the stack of papers. On top was a large cardboard box, addressed to Austin. Inside...a razor. It was an advertisement/sales piece, I guess, containing a free razor and coupons.
I'm not sure how or why this would be sent to a soon to be 17 year old. Maybe Gillette is targeting young? Perhaps it is a mailing list from the extreme couping I once did (that Austin loved so much!). Once I knew Noah was ok and out of the room, I chuckled. (Through grief, you learn to either laugh or cry in these moments, and most of the time, I choose the happier option.)
I thought back to my sweet boy, who at only 14, was already sprouting peach fuzz on his upper lip. Remembering, I could see him bending his lip down over his teeth and inspecting the growth in the mirror. He was so proud of his moustache and already competing with his dad, who's sported a "Tom Selleck" since I've known him.
Seeing the razor, I imagined how excited Austin might be, had he checked the mail today. This was a task he did daily, coming off the bus. Shortly after opening the mailbox, I'm certain my phone would've rang or he'd come barreling into the house to announce his find. This would surely be a sign he was a grown man and he'd brag about it for days. And, I would've probably added to the fun by wrapping shaving cream as a gift for him on Friday at his birthday party.
Effortlessly, I could take these "moments that could have been" and let it sink me. Depression is so easy to give into, to just let go and give up. But, that's not what my boy would want and it's certainly no honor to him. Instead, I choose JOY...I choose happiness, even through tears...I choose laughter. I choose to remember Austin and the joy he brought to my life daily, the happiness he still brings me - as well as the laughter, even from a razor in a cardboard mailer.