I heard the announcement for the upcoming “Mack Brady” night September 13 at the Penn State Men’s soccer game last Friday and it struck me. What has happened the past 8 months since Mack suddenly died on New Year’s Eve? This “Mack Brady” is our silly, sweet Mack who should be sitting with his buddies on the bleachers eating too many hot dogs and Swedish Fish.
I miss him. We laughed together everyday. I enjoyed him everyday. Each afternoon I stood and watched him get off the bus and walk down our court towards home. He knew I was watching him from the living room window so he would quickly pose as a mime or do a little pirouette to make me laugh. After he died this winter, I would stand in the window and watch the bus stop but he wouldn’t get off. I stood there and cried. It felt like a stab, it was so painful, it took my breath away. And, thankfully, our good friend Arnie, who happens also to be a psychiatrist, came to stay with us. I shared with him how I have a muscle of loving and caring for Mack, strengthened over years, and I just didn’t know how to not use it.
Arnie helped me learn to change some habits and form new ones. One of the key ones for me was that sweet time at 3:15 p.m. and the 45 minutes of snacks, laughing, tickling, and talking before his big sister Izzy would get off her bus at 4 p.m. and my attention was shared.
Arnie suggested that I begin to pick Izzy up at school at 3:15. This became such a blessing of time because Izzy hadn’t had 45 minutes of bus to decompress and so I began to learn so much more about her day, her teachers, and all of the little details of her day that would somehow be lost in her long bus ride. I still pick up Izzy everyday and it has become a new, fun ritual.
I will always be “Mack and Izzy’s Mom” and that makes me glad. I put both feet on the floor each morning and ask that God give me strength and courage for this day. We choose to live and love our daughter, each other, and life together. We are learning to live without Mack here with us, our love and caretaking for him continues, but with different muscles, and we celebrate his life.
This photo was taken by Christian on December 15, 2012 when the four of us visited my parents for an early Christmas dinner and gift exchange. We played a few hot rounds of Uno before traveling back to State College that night.