Once again, today is tear stained and heartbroken. Blame it on my using Aubrey’s old mp3 player, which contains a lot of music that she actually owned, as well as Rhapsody tracks that she chose, and of course, my own tracks. I know, I could wipe it clean, and just put my music on there, but I truly enjoy my children’s eclectic tastes in music, and unlike some other parents, I don’t believe that everything sucks just because it is marketed to the twenty-something set. Besides, sometimes it’s like a surprise hug to hear an unexpected song that we would often sing in the car while barrelling up I-35 to Austin and dance lessons. However, the rain to that sunshine is that sometimes, it’s like a kick in the gut to hear a song that is fraught with heartbreak and misery.
Although “My Immortal” by Evanescence is, in my opinion, meant to be a particularly emo breakup song, I think it can also be interpreted as the pain that endures long after a person is gone from your life. To me, the lyrics translate well to ex-lovers, or grown (and ungrateful) children. My best friend often says that children are inherently entitled and ungrateful, and indeed, it most often seems that way. That’s why with kids, it’s necessary to do things out of love, not out of expectation of some return on investment.
There was a lot of this particular song in the air immediately following the exit of Isaac from our lives. It was in the heartbreak recovery (in reality, the heartbreak wallowing) playlist that Aubrey listened to, day after day. I hadn’t heard it in several months, and I certainly had not thought about the lyrical meaning in quite a while. For whatever reason today, the lyrical meaning isn’t as evasive as I wish that it would remain.
I remember so many nights of going to pick up Isaac so he could stay with us for a few days because he’d had a fight with his stepdad. Once Aubrey and Isaac started dating, he was essentially a permanent (and welcome) fixture on our sofa. More often than not, he would sleep at our house, even during the school week. Ron’s midwestern upbringing would not allow Isaac to sleep in Aubrey’s bed with her for much longer than a nap, although it never bothered me. When Isaac went with us to Feis, he and Aubrey would sleep in one bed; I was in the same room, so it didn’t really matter.
Isaac never cried, and only on two rare instances did he vocalize being scared to be at his house. But any parent that pays attention knows when a kid is frightened, lonely, sad. I would have let him move in with us in a heartbeat, but Ron absolutely put his foot down. He felt that Isaac was a distraction from Aubrey’s schoolwork (which he was), and that Aubrey’s wellbeing had to come first. I felt their needs could be balanced, but Ron rarely puts his foot down, so when he does, I usually acquiesce. So time after time, after Isaac had stayed as many days as Ron would allow, I would have to return him home, and it killed me every single time. My inability to let someone go back to a less than ideal situation is the main reason Ron refuses to be foster parents.
Our house was always the one where you could put your feet on the sofa, or the coffee table, or curl up in the chair. There was always soda in the fridge, chocolate in the pantry, and an extra blanket and pillow. That held true for any one of my children’s friends, but especially for Isaac. Other than Aubrey’s best friend, Isaac was my favorite. Parents often feel that no one is good enough for their daughter, but to me, Isaac was the only one who would ever be good enough for her. I dreaded the future of sharing grandchildren, and the inevitable difference of price range in gifts between us and Isaac’s parents, but the fact is, I could see the ghosts of (far in the distant) future grandchildren when Aubrey and Isaac were together. When they would look at each other, their love was palpable and infectious. I loved to watch them together, in much the same way that I can watch “Pride and Prejudice” a million times over. I am a sucker for a grand love story, and I truly believed that Aubrey and Isaac had a grand love, worthy of Austen or Fitzgerald. To be witness to such a thing is a privilege, but to witness its death is the most painful of curses.
Which brings me back to today. Maybe it’s the combination of the weather, publishing yesterday’s unfinished post from April, or maybe it’s just ghosts in general that had me bawling my eyes out while getting a mammogram this morning. When the tech looked confused, I blamed it on my recent hysterectomy and said my hormones were out of control. I left out the fact that my ovaries are intact and my hormones are fine. She just handed me a box of tissues and continued to smash my breasts betweeen the plastic plates.
No matter what the reason, today is a day that I truly, deeply, painfully miss Isaac’s presence in our lives.
“And if you have to leave
I wish that you would just leave
Your presence still lingers here
And it won’t leave me alone
These wounds won’t seem to heal
This pain is just too real
There’s just too much that time cannot erase”