No matter how long I live, I will never be able to write in words what losing my child has made of me. It’s a schizophrenic life. One of holding on and letting go, of wanting to die and dying, and one of wanting to live and living.
I live. He is brought to life. He dies, I die but I live. I want to die, I want to die, I want to die, yet I live. He wanted to live, he wanted to live, he wanted to live, yet he died. I live. I want to die, I want to live. My mind dies, my body lives. My mind wants to live, my body wants to die.
Some days I live in the past and cannot see the future, others I cannot look into the past and crave the hope that only the future holds. I am pitied for my shattered heart and admired for my strength. Neither one my choice. It’s so uncomfortable. Discomfort is what makes us grow.
While I feel like I no longer belong, I also feel everything is a part of me. I feel a kinship to every blade of grass, every leaf that dies and regrows every year. Every year that tree grows a little bigger, a little stronger, a bit more beautiful. It’s chance of survival increases every year that it dies and lives. On the outside, my body has aged dramatically since Petie died. On the inside, I have died a million times, yet I am reborn every time. Every rebirth makes me stronger, more able to survive. I feel my soul to be more beautiful. I look for meaning and purpose in the smallest of things. Nothing escapes my notice. I search for him everywhere. I find him everywhere. He is the hawk circling above me as I walk alone. He is the shadows of clouds scudding across a mountain side. I hear his laughter echoing down lonely canyons and see his eyes in a child. His voice whispers in my ear, constant reassurance. His arms hold me when I am defeated. His beautiful life makes me live, for him.
Just because he has died, my love for him hasn’t died. I know where he is, he is still loving me. Because he has died, I am no longer afraid to die, but I am no longer afraid to live. Really live, straight from my heart. No walls, no shame. No judgement, no blame. As much as my mind struggles to accept his death, my heart knows how much he lived.
I read somewhere, that when your child dies, you are actually closer to them than you could ever be when they were alive. With the breaking of my heart and the healing of my mind every day, I am finding this to be true. I carry him inside of me. The inside of my eyelids are burned with memories of him, flashes in time. I have invisible stretchmarks on my skin where I have expanded to grow into my new life and contracted to resist outgrowing him. Life is constant change. I want to be the me who hasn’t lost my child. That woman died with her son. This new me, well she lives and survives and grows and loves. She’s happy and sad. She wants to live for the son who died and the son who lives. I am that new woman. My son who lives, is the future and I want to walk into that future with him. I am carrying with me, the son who died, he isn’t left behind. He gives our future meaning and purpose. His death makes our joys so hard won, but oh much sweeter and meaningful. The pain of his death feeds us gratitude for our lives and appreciation for the Now. Sometimes, I feel Petie letting go of my hand. I know it is his love for me that is letting me move into a future without him. His love never dies. It is all we have to give and all we leave behind. It is our legacy. That’s the whole point, love is this amazing gift we give to each other. It’s a constant dance of holding on and letting go. It’s the faith in knowing that in the letting go, love can grow to fill any distance. Even the distance of death.
I may look like anyone else. I know what it is to die and what it is to live. There is both good and bad in that difference. I accept both. My sons are worth it.