- Child Loss
- Complicated Grief
- Life After Loss
- Neonatal Loss
- New Normal
- Parenting After Loss
The Cap And Gown I’ll Never See
November is when my son was born.
November is when he died.
March is when I found out I was pregnant with him.
December is when we buried him.
Mother’s Day is in May.
Oh, June….who knew you could be so hard on my heart?
I have been thrilled, to tears really, to see all of the Pre-K (and Kindergarten) graduation pictures that are filling up social media feeds in epic proportion. I really have loved seeing them.
Now-and-then comparison pictures from the day a child was born, wrapped in that white hospital blanket with the blue and pink stripes along-side awkward mortar boards that lean sideways in the cutest way ever and flowing, silky gowns in all colors of the rainbow. Big toothy grins of accomplishment from a five-year-old ready to take on a fabulous summer of endless possibilities.
The pain of possibilities ended far too soon just grips my heart in such a suffocating way sometimes. I look at those pictures…search them for every trace of what a five-year-old looks like and my mind races in thoughts that I just can’t stop coming, no matter how much I wish they would.
I’ll never see his cap and gown.
Not in Pre-K. Not in Kindergarten.
Not at the end of elementary school or middle school or high school.
I’ll never watch him walk across a stage, looking out at me to nod with his new diploma and a face that screams he’s ready for adventure.
No Mother-Son dances at the wedding.
No grand-babies to tell stories about when their daddy was little to.
I’ll never see any of that. Because all the possibility of what could have (should have!) been died when he died.
And so did my dreams of all of those things…even as unwilling a participant to their deaths that I was.
My life is full.
My heart is full.
I tend to do ‘well’ on milestone days or anniversaries or what-have you because I steel myself up in my mind.
I prepare. To the best of the ability one can when the unthinkable has changed her life.
But those things you didn’t think about needing to prepare for…
Those benign and precious pictures of the most amazing children accomplishing the most amazing things…
Those are the things that uncontrollably re-scar my wounded heart.
The cap and gown I’ll never see.