I gaze at the stars from my bed at night wondering what my heavenly son has learned in the years since he left the physical earth. Does he sit at the end of my bed sometimes and watch me sleep? Can he watch over all those he loves in the different places they live, at the same time?
I may not have new memories of my youngest son, but I will always cherish and want to talk about him just the same. Occasionally, others will indulge me and share, but mostly, I’ve learned to remember alone. It is more fun to recall a treasured memory with someone loving my child with me.
I lost all sense of purpose during the first few years. I gradually began smiling again, but it was forced and temporary. Surrounded by caring friends, kept safely at arms-length, slowly eased some of the pain.
I began writing to exacerbate overwhelming emotions. Sometimes it helped, other times, I wept even more. Yet, I always felt connected to my child because it was always about him in some way.
As parents stumble on this isolated journey, they always wonder how they will survive. Sometimes we live in five-minute increments; until it grows to a day or perhaps a year. In an instant of recall, remembering, or just a reminder, we are jolted back to the first nanosecond our world changed.
We know when our world stopped but knowing when our world began moving again is more difficult to define. First, we are in denial that our world can continue without our child. That’s not the world we choose to live in, on any given day. Each day is foreign to us. We don’t know ourselves anymore. We don’t trust our world. We aren’t necessarily aware when our world becomes predictable again. We prefer boring but reliable, over the stark ugliness of grief.
Grief can never be measured by a clock or calendar. Nor can we say it ages gracefully upon us. It is woven within the tapestry of our soul. Invisible yet indelible all the same.
Healing unlike grief, doesn’t have to be isolating. However, it is a unique journey for each parent, each time they lose a child.
In a community of grieving parents, we all have some commonalities that forge us together. We can support each other from our personal perspectives. Broken hearts can heal when supported by other broken hearts.
Maybe our souls are a bit broken as well. They realign and seem to overcome more quickly than our hearts recover. Grief will always be with us now. We consciously search for understanding even though there is never an acceptable explanation to give us a renewed perspective on the death of a child…my child…your child…any child.
Today I am a soul, surviving the loss of my youngest son. Some days I feel like I am a soul-survivor, not healed, but still among the living. Yet, if I could see myself at times, I know I physically shake my head no. The simple sign that I am still in denial of the life I now live. I don’t know when sleep will come tonight, but I hope I dream about my son. It’s the only way I will see him now.