I remember Brady John every day (and pretty much all day). We all have ways to carve out time for the ones we love each day, whether those people are with us or not. I visit Brady’s grave most days. I look at photos of him (my phone’s lock screen and background are all Brady). I think about him. A lot. These things have become a part of my routine. Sometimes, it’s really nice to do something special in Brady’s memory, something out of the ordinary.
Recently, I got to do two really special things in one week. I basically hit the jackpot of remembrance. First, we got to remember Brady (and all the faithful departed) at our church’s All Souls Mass, and then, just a few days later, we got to attend the dedication of Brady’s memorial brick at the Angel of Hope memorial.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve started to view these opportunities as just that, opportunities. I don’t view them (as much) as a sad occurrence, but instead a rare chance to do something outside of the routine. It’s probably because time is passing, and fewer people ask about Brady. Brady is always at the center of all I do, but there are very few times where Brady gets to be my only focus anymore. These opportunities give me a chance to make it all about Brady.
Even though I’m viewing these opportunities in a much more positive light, I still shed some tears at the All Souls Mass. During the service, the priest had us close our eyes and talk to our loved one. I don’t really think it would be normal for me to make it through that without crying. I shouldn’t have chosen to wear new mascara that day, because that stuff was all over the place. (Side note: I won’t be buying that kind again. My mascara durability need has gone up quite a bit since January. I could cry at any time.)
On the other hand, I didn’t shed any tears at the memorial brick dedication. I had a little apprehension about that, after the fact, because many others were shedding some major tears. The woman doing the speaking could barely get through her piece, and it had been many years since her loss. It made me feel kind of heartless to think “Okay… I’m happy to have this opportunity to remember Brady, and I’m excited to see his brick,” when others are sad. After that, I had to check in with my therapist to confirm that I am not, in fact, a bad mom for not crying. (Spoiler alert: She confirmed I’m not.) Grief comes in waves. Sometimes, I get slammed by a huge, rogue wave, and other times, the water is smooth and peaceful. I was having a smooth and peaceful time at the dedication, and the speaker might have just gotten hit by a rogue wave. She probably has plenty of time where the water is calm for her.
I know this doesn’t exactly fit in with this post, but I have a funny/awkward story from the dedication that I feel the need to tell. How could I make a dedication ceremony funny/awkward, you ask? I’m just lucky, I guess. Part of the program was for all the newbies to get a flower and place it on their loved one’s memorial brick. The first few names were called, and the flowers were quickly placed on the bricks. Then it came time for me and Jeff to place our flower on Brady’s. We grabbed the flower and were told to find Brady’s brick. Uh, ‘scuse me? I imagined that they would show you where your brick was, but I imagined wrong. All of the bricks look alike, so you have to read every. single. one. to find yours. After about 30 seconds of us awkwardly not finding Brady’s, we stepped off to the side to continue looking without all eyes on us. We did finally find Brady’s, and it was total perfection, but not before making things a little weird. It’s what I do best.
With the holidays coming up (a notoriously tough time for those of us who’ve recently lost loved ones), I plan to continue to find special things to do to remember Brady, and make sure others remember him too. I have some ideas already, but if you have any you’d like to share, I’d love for you to leave them in a comment below.