Surviving life after child loss seems impossible. Heartache and confusion filled the days following my son’s death. The heartache that I would have to live the rest of my life without him and confusion about how I would do that. A lifetime without a child seems like an eternity. Overwhelm consumed me with the thought of surviving this when honestly, part of me wanted to join him.
Yes, part of me wanted to be with him in heaven, or wherever he is now. If I’m being honest, part of me still does. I’m not suicidal. I don’t want to die. My life now is filled with tons of joy and two beautiful rainbow children. At the same time, I want to be reunited with my son, and I chose to believe that will happen when I do die.
I’m constantly straddling two realities. One where I am so grateful for everything I have and fear the day that I have to leave this world behind. And another where I can’t wait to depart so I can hold my son again.
It’s been five years since we said goodbye and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him. Not a moment where he’s not in my heart. The pain has changed over the years. Most of the time it’s not as raw as it once was. I’m able to enjoy the little things in life and feel gratitude for him and for what I have.
But this lifetime still feels like an eternity.
While I watch his siblings grow time seems to be moving so quickly. At the same time, it seems to be moving like molasses. Time is disorienting to think about. It feels like yesterday that we said goodbye and also like a lifetime ago.
As time ticks on, I find ways to survive without him. I weave him into everything I do. Bringing meaning to his short life consumes me and gives me purpose. Grief is love with nowhere to go. That makes sense to me, so I give it somewhere to go.
I’ve accepted that for the rest of my life I will be caught between two worlds. One where I want to live a long life with my family on earth and the other where I can’t wait to leave. Since I don’t want my life to end too soon, I will live the rest of my life while pouring the love for my son into things in this world.
His story will be heard. The pain I feel will be used for good and to help others heal. He will be remembered and included in our family activities. This fuels me and keeps me going.
I chose to believe I will see him again. And that his soul is out there somewhere. I talk to him and write him letters letting him know how much he’s loved and missed. I search for signs of him in everything, signs that he’s still with me. And I feel that he is.
Some may question this, but I can’t. I have to believe that he’s there. That he’s with me. My belief that he’s still with me and that he’s proud of his mommy, keep me going when part of me doesn’t want to.
Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash