Tuesday, September 1, 2009
“Sometimes we end up doing what we are capable of whether we like it or not.”
Yesterday was my eldest son's birthday. It is also the anniversary of his death. I can't quite believe it is 7 years ago since his traumatic birth. Since the day that I held him in my arms for the first and last time. Became a mother yet had no baby to take home from hospital. No child to care for. No proof in fact, to most of the world around me, that I was a mother.
But the love that I felt on that day changed me forever. And despite the fact that my son is not physically in my life, the love remains as strong as ever.
I thought it would get easier as time went on but if anything it becomes harder every year. I'm not sure why this is, although I think it is something to do with the fact that I have a far deeper understanding of what I am missing out on through the lives of my two living boys. It's impossible to picture him as being 7. For me he will always be the tiny, tiny baby wrapped in a blanket, lighter than a bag of sugar, sticking his miniature tongue out and grasping my little finger with surprising strength while his life slowly and peacefully ebbed away.
Yesterday I ached with his loss. I sat in the car and listened to 'his song'.
"And the tears come streaming down your face
when you lose something you can't replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?
And high up above or down below
When you're too in love to let it go
But if you never try you'll never know
just what you're worth
...and I will try to fix you"
I so wish I could have 'fixed' him. I sat in the car, numb with unshed tears, my chest constricted with love and loss. And then I saw it. A cement mixer. With his name on the front. Mack. It trundled slowly past me and finally I started to cry. Then a garbage truck came past. Yet another Mack. Then another cement mixer. Hello my lovely boy. I miss you so much. And I am so sorry if I failed you. Thank you so much for being in my life, however fleeting. I feel so much more love, due to meeting you. My heart will be forever expanded, because it carries you in it.
I slowly started to smile, remembering the intense peace and joy when he was placed in my arms, even though I knew his death was inevitable and imminent. That's what I have to remember, to carry on with life. That's what I have to focus on. There is no other option. Heartache, bitterness and anger will not honour his memory. In those precious moments of his life we shared a powerful bond that no one will ever be able to take away from me. My gorgeous boy. One of my greatest blessings.
Later in the day I went and bought 7 white balloons and also cupcakes. No better way of celebrating a birthday than with balloons and mini mountains of chocolate frosting. On the day that Mack was cremated our friends and family in England each bought a white balloon and released it into the sky. Ex and I did the same on the beach on Chicago. And now it has become our annual tradition. A small comfort. A simple act of remembrance.
I have much in my life to be grateful for. Did I ever think this would happen to me? No of course not. But would I have it any other way? Not if it meant not meeting Mack at all. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I would relive those hours and savour every second.
I think this post really encapsulates how I feel, now time is moving on. How I would love to have the talent to write like this (but then again, I am grateful that I can write at all). This mother buried 2 of her children, 3 years apart and I unashamedly stole the title of her post. This particular paragraph says it all really:
"Yes, it was brutal; but yes, we were capable of getting through it, whether we liked it or not. And I’m okay with just “getting through” those days…can’t really expect much more than that, you know? The trick is, getting through all the rest of the days that follow. All the ones AFTER your loved one dies. How we do that is ultimately our choice. And I choose LIFE. I choose sandy beaches and ice cream cones and long walks and good music and cold beer. And man, am I lucky to be sharing all of these things with the finest mixture of friends and family a girl could ever ask for."