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Drawing by Mercy for her deceased brother, Ambrose Sullivan. She thought September was the 10th month

… could never fill this hole inside me.

Today is the six month anniversary of when David Vega killed my son, and left his body in a ditch to rot.

This is six months of screaming in my head that never stops. I am always sobbing, just not always aloud.

For six months; every breath, every lub-dub of my heart, is deliberate and debated.  I have to consciously choose to keep living because I would not dare leave my daughters in this world while they still need me here to raise them. Although, I feel utterly helpless and ineffective.

I have endured six months of questions that have no reasonable answer to them. “Is he still free?” “Why haven’t they arrested him, yet?” “You know he moved the body, right?” “What will the cops charge him with?” “Will you let me know when the trial begins, so that we can be there?” I predict the courtroom will be standing room only.

Each morning, I make my way to his shrine in my living room. I put my hands on either side of the cold, marble urn. I look into my son’s eyes in his photograph. It’s his Senior picture. He was killed just before we could celebrate his graduation. He was killed, and so every celebration we will ever have, or never have, is incomplete. Every day, I lay my trembling hands on his cold urn. I look into his warm, stormy eyes. I talk to him about his cat and his sisters. I talk to him about what is going on in the wake of his killing. I know that my pain is hard for him to watch from the other side without being able to offer me comfort.

“What did you expect, God?!” I wail at the ceiling.

Marley needs her brother more than ever now. She is growing into another version of Ambrose. She is introverted by nature. She is emotionally ambivalent to most things, even though she is also highly sensitive. She is a thinker, not a feeler. She is becoming overwhelmed by being who she is and wondering who she will become. She needs to find an outlet for all the pain and confusion inside her. Her love of anime, music, and books, are all expressions of her brother. So is her insecurity, and her ability to crawl up inside herself and hide there without complaint.

Mercy lets it out in different ways at different times. Sometimes, she’ll draw a picture for him. Most often, she will make playlists of their favorite songs to listen to together. It will always contain, “Heroes” by Bowie, “Particle Man” by They Might Be Giants, and “Heroin” by The Velvet Underground.

Six months now, I have lived in my son’s tomb. For six months, I have started longingly at the basement door, begging for him to walk through it. His arms up stretched over his head, he would walk over to me and give me a big hug and say, “Good morning, mom. I love you” just like he did every day.

As for Ambrose’s friends and family, we are still suffocated by shock. This can’t be processed because a world without Ambrose in it is unacceptable. I don’t know how I got here. I don’t know how a world without Ambrose can come into play for me. I sure as Hell can’t figure out my way here. I’m a wreck. I’m behind in everything. I am so focused on surviving hour to hour I can hardly remember that another day is going to come at me, and  that I might need to prepare for that. I can’t feel a future in front of me. I only exist in this moment. I hate this moment.

Bartending is my only solace. It’s the only time where I can be distracted from myself, and my grief. When the waves come, I can’t cry there. Not being able to cry at work has made my job a sacred place. What’s even more special, are the friends I have there who are holding my shaking hands as I navigate through this Hellscape. The Vega’s are already banned from where I work for stealing money from the waitresses. Yes, there is a special level of Hell waiting with a Vega Family placecard on the table.

To all the people who have reached out to me; Thank you, thank you, thank you. My heart is shattered, but hundreds of hands have been helping me to put the tiny shards back into a place. I will never be whole again, but perhaps functional. I have survived these past six months. Time hasn’t healed anything. Please, quit spreading that vicious rumor.

Some days I feel like I must be indestructible. If this doesn’t end me, no one can.

Other days, I have the mental fortitude of a dixie cup. If I leave my bedroom I might surely perish.

Ambrose isn’t here to share in the improvements. Money isn’t an issue anymore. I’m not crazy anymore. There are other things, too. He deserves to be here.

So, I live in his honor. I will raise his sisters successfully. I will know what to do with Marley because of my experience raising her brother. I understand why her friends on the computer are so important to her, and that they are very real relationships. She isn’t into appearances, and doesn’t want the company of those who are. Mercy has Ambrose’s brazen nature. She has his disregard for public opinion over self-satisfaction. Her joie de vivre is unmatchable, just like her brother. Mercy and Marley are both proud of inheriting their brother’s apex of portention. It is matched only by their compassion for humankind and the suffering of others. Their altruism is awe inspiring.

Obviously, that means he is still here. I am still raising him, in his sisters. I am still engaging him whenever I play music, or read Ender’s Game to Mercy. Mercy adopted Ambrose’s screen name, Ender 42, online. So, he still exists there as well. Marley is another embodiment of her brother. I see his quiet brilliance in everything she does. We will fight through this adventure together until eventually we all get to the other side; where we will inevitably begin a whole new adventure together again.

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My 3 Babies

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