Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Life Out Loud

I'm missing him more than ever.
Every day...thinking of him.

It's under the surface, always there.
I move through everyday life. I'm traveling, taking classes, and generally acting like a "normal" person.
I look like I always have. (with shorter hair)
But I'm not the same.

I used to talk about living my life out loud. I have always loved social media for the way that it allows me to share the deepest and shallowest parts of who I am in a way that is so very true to who and what I am and want to be.

Throughout the last two years, I have continued to live life out loud. We have blogged and shared our story so that we could continue to be true to that ideal. Who we are is who we are.

It's been over six months.
I know and you know and everyone knows that six months is so very short.
We're not "over it." (We'll never be "over it.")
We haven't "moved on."
We haven't even really moved forward.
But we're not standing still either.
I miss him with every fiber of my being.
I think about him all the time.
Nearly everything reminds me of him.
How can it not?

But I don't always say it, or write it, or point it out....

Am I still living my life out loud?

It's not like I shared everything online. People used to tease me that I never left anything out...but of course, I did. Even though it might have seemed like I was setting it all out there, much still went unsaid, even throughout Sammy's illness and death.

But now? Now I struggle a little bit more with living my life out loud.
Now I wonder....do people really want to continue to hear about what is really inside my heart?
Even in person, I can feel the air change when I say his name, when I tell a story about him.
Do I still want to remind you of his face, his laugh, his existence?
Yes. I do.
It's all I have...

I'm not asking for permission, by the way, or validation, or even approval. It's not that I don't care what you think as you read this, but I just want you to know that I'm not writing this because I need to know. I'm just trying to figure out who I am now....

Feather on my walk to class in NYC
It doesn't seem to matter to me that we've gotten through half a year. Half a year's worth of milestones and holidays, half a year's worth of memories....that he just isn't a part of. But it's more than that, right? He won't ever be a part of the many many milestones and holidays and memories to come, either. Just...not there. 

The St Baldrick's Foundation is part of a campaign to sound off to Congress during Childhood Cancer Action Days on Capitol Hill, and one of their posts this week reminded readers that the average number of years lost when a child dies of cancer is 71. SEVENTY ONE years. I'd like to believe that Sam would have lived even longer than 79 years, wouldn't you? I can't even begin to contemplate all the milestones and holidays and memories that won't happen in those 79+ years. It feels so overwhelming.

That's a lot of years.

In honor of Sammy's disdain for popsicles, I ate one on a  hot day.
A year ago at the zoo


  1. I am a loyal reader but rarely comment. This post really resonated with me in ways that I find hard to put into words. So for now, I just want to say thank you for your willingness to share your grief "out loud." It helps me find a voice for my own or at least find a little more peace with all that lurks beneath the surface.

  2. We don't get tired of hearing even if we don't respond. We all want to remember him. His memory is a blessing.

  3. I don't know what the answers are. (I don't know if there are answers.)

    But as long as you keep writing, we'll keep listening. I know you don't need validation on that front, but I wanted to say it anyway.

    I find myself thinking of Sam almost every day -- something reminds me of him, of something you posted, of a photo you shared or a story you told. And I only knew him at the remove of the internet. I can't begin to imagine what it's like for you and your family to be carrying his absence with you. Well: I can imagine -- I just don't actually know.

    And of course you didn't share everything. But what you have shared, what you still share -- we're listening.

  4. I've been thinking of you often, especially these weeks you are in New York, for just the reasons you talk about in this post. Part of you is in public and that part of you is finding great joy not just in food, but in sharing it. And I can't help but feel Sam every time you post. Like it must be like moving through cement to find that joy sometimes. You will find your way to live your life, whether loud or muted or a combination, but it will always be with Sam in it. Keep talking.

  5. My dear Phyllis. All of us feel just the tip of your pain, as we only feel the tip of another person's love. You continue to teach us, to lead us, to make us aware. I will be forever grateful to you. And I'm ready to shave my head, if it helps. For you, for Sammy, for every mother and every child.

  6. sending you warmth and hugs, I really cannot imagine the pain you are living with daily. I look daily in my emails to see if you have written thoughts, memory's and your feelings on losing your sweet sammy, and how you and your family are dealing with the hardship each day. as I have written before, your courage and faith and love have been so strong and I myself have learned so much from your family. with much love from Israel, rochel.

  7. I hear you.

    With each blog entry I feel myself learning a little more about opening my heart to the world; the horrible parts and the wonderful parts. Thank you for being my teacher.

  8. A simple, but very heartfelt "thank you" for continuing to share.

  9. Phyllis, I have never written ,but have followed your blog. I appreciate your honesty in your grieving and your loss of beautiful Sammy. It is real and it is life. I lost my baby brother in1994 to AIDS. I remember crying .... who will remember him...who will care ? 20 years later I STILL remember him and I STILL care and I do know that there are others that remember and and still feel the loss. It is easier for me now. I can think of him and can smile and laugh. I know it is different then losing a child. Just hold on to the fact that even on days you feel alone and sad, there is a community that will never let Sammy be forgotten.

  10. Yes, we DO want to continue hearing what is really inside your heart. Your posts are bringing a great deal of comfort to a lot of people.

  11. Every feeling you share, convey, all resonante w/ anyone who must endure the death of their child -no matter the cause of death. My son, Ariel,died 1 day before Sammy. He too had 60 plus years ahead of him. Every feeling you share as you navigate the brutual trail of suffering a child's death- resonates with me and all whom face life without their beloved child. Like you - 6 months since my sons passing...I feel more broken. Pondering what would/ might have been in all the years my son had yet to live, is indeed wretched.

    Keep speaking Sammy's name...in so doing you help me speak my sons and claim my vast sorrow...
    Our children deserved more life...life is not fair. It hurts and we should say so , living out loud is tribute to our children.
    Sorry for your loss...

  12. Loud or soft, bright or shadowed, short or long, here or there, Sam is with us now thanks to you, who place him in our heart every time you "speak."

  13. Phyl, I know you too well to ever think you'll stop writing. You have always lived your life out loud and I can't imagine you ever changing that amazing and fun part of who you are. Your writing will change and while I know the level of comfort this blog has brought to your friends, and even more so to those suffering in the same way you have, at some point you may decide that it has come to a conclusion. If that happens you will find a new way to live out loud. It is who you have been, who you are and who you will continue to be. No one who loves you would have it any other way.

  14. Thank you for your writing- I check every couple of months to see what you've written. It's beautiful.

  15. It seems like I compiled this Havel Havelim ages ago, but you should still know that this post is included.

    Now that we know that the boys were murdered, we must comfort the families and friends.