I lost my fourteen-year-old son November of his freshman year.
Now, six years later, my baby is a freshman in high school. And 14.
Needless to say it is going to be a worriesome season filled with memories and nightmares, fears and doubts, and oh, so many prayers.
It would be different (maybe) if the way we lost Austin wasn’t so sudden, so unexpected. My healthy, active, teenage son went out for a bike ride around our neighborhood and never came home. A viral infection (we didn’t even know he had) attacked his airway, taking him instantly.
We did everything “right” as parents, or so we thought. He had all his check-ups and vaccines. We lectured him about sharing drinks with others. Cute containers of hand-sanitizers were attached to his backpack. He religiously wore his seat belt. In the end, no amount of safety or preparation mattered. Something I couldn’t see killed my son.
Since that time germs greatly bother me. Sickness scares me. There is a lingering fear of the unknown that lurks out in this world. If my youngest now only has a sniffle, this mom is sent into worry mode.
I say this in one breath and then will tell you in another my faith has other answers. That I know Austin had a purpose in his short 14 years on this Earth, that he made a difference, and that God had a plan for him. That He knows the number of our days, even when we don’t agree with the timeline. There is a comfort in knowing where Austin is now – but it doesn’t take the missing him away.
And even though my faith is why I survive this loss, how I face each day, it doesn’t change the fear in losing another child. Even if I know his future is also secure, this earthly momma selfishly wants her babies here in the now. Eternity isn’t tangible to a grieving parent.
So, I face these next few months with bated breath.
To get through November….My daily prayers of health and safety for my son will surely see an increase. As will my anxiety, nervousness, and worries. No amount of reasoning will help this still grieving heart, fearful of living another nightmare, breathe easy until time has passed.
Though I try very hard not to compare the two, there are such similarities in my boys. There always has been. My baby is taller than his big brother was at this age but they share the same frame, the same profile, the same laugh. I can’t help but look at him and see Austin at times, which makes this season so difficult. Flashes of my firstborn and his freshman year, come pouring back at me. Some beautiful, some too painful to endure again.
So I find myself torn. Between remembering my son and living in the present. Of pushing aside the nightmares and experiencing these firsts with my youngest. To not let the heaviness of this time of year weigh on him so that he can enjoy his freshman year. He doesn’t understand why I pace if he’s late or am stressed if he has a cough. And I don’t want to be that mom but it sometimes can’t be helped.
Although this bereaved mother tries to live each day with hope, to find the joy in every situation, she’s facing her favorite season of fall with a sense of rushing. A need to skip ahead and not savor it so much. There’s too much pain laced in Autumn’s memories this year. Breathing will be easier come December, she hopes.
When she has to face the reality that her baby has outlived her firstborn.
In 2008, my world as I knew it changed forever, with the sudden loss of our 14-year-old son, Austin. The journey to my blog (and attitude toward life) was bumpy and tearful, beginning at a memorial blog for my son. I later chose to take another path, challenging myself to find the JOY in every day, despite the sadness I still felt. I love and miss him daily but I’m living my life to honor him – and celebrating every moment it brings. My goal…to find and share the joy in every day. You can find me at Joyful Challenge