Lying under the cover of an old hockey jersey,
His monument, only recently placed into the earth.
The marker that tells the world
Micah lies here
Micah lived these dates
Micah was loved.

Standing behind this monument,
Eyes bathed in salt water,
A heart feels freshly torn.
Images of the young man gone too soon
Fill conscious thought.
This is what life is reduced to.

As much as memories are precious
They are not tangible.
As much as pictures speak a thousand words
They cannot laugh.
As much as the good times may have outnumbered the bad
They are now the past-with no connection to the future.

A stone on his monument
Is not a hug.
A quiet word spoken to marble
Is never responded to.
A heart so torn
Is never truly repaired.

I do not think I have shed as many tears in one day as today since the day we laid Micah to rest in that cemetery.  He has been gone for over a year, my beautiful, soulful, thoughtful young man, and the wounds are as fresh as the night I held his hand for the last time.

Rather than healing like a physical wound, the emotional tears have become more enlarged and exposed as the days have gone by.  Few nights have gone by without me waking the next morning with tears on my face.  Few days have gone by without interludes of sorrow, weeping and regret.

I know that in some sense Micah will always be with me.  His amazing tenor voice can still sing in my ears.  But it’s not the same and never will be.  The reality is as cold as the marble we unveiled in the earth this afternoon.

Just as the veil was lifted on Micah’s monument, I feel like the past several weeks have begun lifting the veil on the raw nerves and emotion that have haunted me, often in the background, since Micah died.  This blog has been helpful for expressing some of those raw feelings, but they still exist after being shared, and I still struggle to deal with them.

Minor things that should just bounce off me and not bog me down have started drawing emotional responses.  Self-doubt and self-loathing have occasionally graced the scene.  I reflect more frequently on who I am, where I am, what I am doing, what I want to be doing.  In that reflection, I struggle sometimes to find pleasure in things that should be pleasurable.  I question and second-guess many decisions that ordinarily I would take at face value.

I sat in my home office tonight watching the Superbowl on my computer.  The only sound was the game audio.  The only beverage was my cup of ice water.  Snacks and treats were not on the desk.  My mood swung between a desire to just be alone, and the thought that I had few actual alternatives.

Yesterday, I worked possibly my last youth hockey game as a scorekeeper.  I have no other games scheduled.  I have not allowed my schedule to have games added anytime in the next three months.  Maybe I just need the rest.  Maybe I’m tired of spending hours in the cold.  Maybe announcing professional hockey games has jaded me.  I don’t know.  I don’t pretend to know.

Hockey still provides me with the rare social opportunity.  Working with the PWC/Cactus Cup folks gave me a crucial connection to other human beings at a time when it would have been all too easy to slip into a solitary coma.  They provided me with an extended family, friends that I really felt cared about me.  For that, I am immensely grateful.

I’m not sure where I go from here.  Forward, I suppose.  Still not sure what forward looks like though…  But hey, Cubs pitchers and catchers report to Mesa in nine days, and I work my first collegiate softball games next weekend.  Maybe that new beginning, the Spring of a new year, will give me the boost I need to really move forward.  I can always hope…