The title of this post was taken from the song The Monster by Eminem and ft. Rihanna.
My jaw tightens and my teeth clamp down a little harder as I literally try to bite back the tears. I grind the inside of my cheek between my teeth and focus on that for a bit. If I just focus long enough on the physical pain maybe I can avoid the emotional pain that is right there on the surface. It doesn't work and I utter a curse as the first tear slips over my closed eye lid and quietly makes its way down my face. I fiercely wipe it away and excuse myself to the bathroom. Rewind to ten minutes before this.
Tyler's cell phone stopped working a few weeks ago and she has been begging us to buy her a new one. She isn't allowed to have a smartphone and I just didn't want to spend money on a replacement phone. Last night I pulled out an old phone of Mike's, the Blitz. It was the last non-smartphone he had and he loved it. I'm not sure why we kept it but alas here it is. I decided to go ahead and let Tyler have it. I plugged it in and let it charge. Mike had deleted almost everything in it...almost. He had left his downloaded ringtones on the phone. All of them were from NIN songs, except one. He had recorded himself doing the Tarzan yell, you know the one "Ahhhhaaaahhhhhahaaaa" or something like that. It was his voice but it sounded weird and distorted. In that moment I slide the inside of my cheek between my teeth and bite down a little. We laugh as we listen to it several times. I miss his kooky (that's a word he often used) humor. I continue to look through the phone and I find one single text message in the draft folder. It was a text that was meant for me and it simply said...
"This is fun."
I bite down a little harder. Through clenched teeth I tell Tyler she isn't allowed to delete the ringtones or the message. John looks at me and patiently asks why I'm allowing her to have the phone. I bite a little harder. Focus Melanie just focus. I offer a shrug and close my eyes...in the bathroom I let myself wonder what this simple text was in reference to. The rational side of me sees this simply as a message that was never sent. There is another part of me that wants this to be a sign from Mike that he is still watching over us. I release my cheek from the grip of my teeth and run my tongue along the grooves that I've temporarily embedded on myself. Shaking my head I gather my composure and return to my family. I offer them a weak smile and an"I'm fine." John gives me a hug and kisses my forehead. He understands and accepts me where I am.
It's the small unexpected reminders of Mike that bring on these emotions. On a day to day basis I can talk about him without crying. Most of the time I can handle it...sometimes I can't. It upsets the kids to see me cry so I try to be strong for them. Sometimes I fail.