When someone you love passes from this life to the Summerlands you start to count the passage of time in a completely different way. At first it is one breath at a time, one excruciatng, heartbroken moment at a time. Eventually it will be by the day, then the week, and finally a month. But that first month after their passing seems like an eternity that went by in the blink of an eye.
When Jeremy died I marked the passage of time in such a way. At first it was a week at a time, then it was one month after he died...two months...three months...six months...a year. For awhile I went to the cemetary to "see" him every week, then every month. Now I only go once or twice a year. He is not there.
The first year is horribly excruciating. It is the first year without your loved one to share life with. The first birthday without this person, the first holiday season, the first trip of the season to the beach or whatever it is you did together and enjoyed doing. The joy just gets zapped out of your life.
Nine years ago today I put my son's cold body into the ground and said goodbye for good. I probably won't say anything to anybody about what today is to me, but my heart still hurts. I do not want sympathy. In writing this, I hope that someone whose heart is aching from a horrendous loss will find this blog and know that with time, it will get better.
When Jeremy died I dreaded the holidays more than ever before because it started with his birthday around the time of Thanksgiving. Then winter comes and with the New Year the cold weather and darkness that have always sent me spiraling into some kind of seasonal depression. Finally February comes along with the hope of spring to appear soon, the time of new life and new beginnings but also the time when I can kind of bring to a close the cycle of his birth, his death and his burial.
The bulbs and seedlings are coming up in my yard now. The trees are getting new leaves and some plants are blooming. I am reminded of that never-ending cycle of birth, death and rebirth.
And I remember the young man my son was, I wonder what he might have been.
It doesn't hurt quite as much now, but it does hurt. Time took away much of the pain and even the memory of it, for which I am grateful. But I will never, ever forget.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Sunday, February 10, 2013
I'm in a department store, looking for something but I'm not quite sure what, when I hear a familiar voice behind me say "hello Mother". My heart skips a beat and rises to my throat and I turn around to see my son, my handsome boy that I buried in the cold, hard ground nine years ago, standing in front of me. Very much alive.
In that instant, I know the blood has drained from my face and my body is shaking. I can feel the warmth of wet tears on my cheeks as I stare at his face, aged a few years, but yes, this is most definitely my son! Instantly my mind tells me, this is not possible and I feel my legs giving out from under me. I cannot find my voice... I want to hug him, to hold him, to kiss his face and hear his voice.
He grabs me before my body crumples to the earth and holds me up.
And then, and then, I awaken from my dream and my heart cries out in agony. NO! NO! I want to go back, I want to hear his voice again, I didn't get to hug him!
My irrational heart will occasionally direct my brain to do what I cannot in reality do: see my son in my dreams when I miss him the most. It almost feels cruel, this dream time because always, it feels as though he as been ripped from my life once again and the ache in my heart that I am usually able to ignore now comes back with a vengence.
It was nine years ago, probably to the day, that I saw him last. It was nine years ago that he left this world.
There is a part of we humans that cannot accept the absolute and total finality of death. It is so cruel, so heartbreaking to those of us left behind. The day my son died a part of me died with him and I have not been able to recover that part of me. It's just gone. I am better, but I am by no means whole. And still I cry for the life ended too soon and too young with so much living yet to do. I wanted the world to stop as my world had, but it didn't. The world kept spinning around the sun and humankind kept living. I had to keep living, too, but sometimes I feel guilty about that. It should have been me that died first, not my son.
I am at peace now with his passing a great majority of the time. It took awhile to get to this place emotionally. But now and then, on his birthday, on his deathday, I remember and I cry because I loved him so very, very much and was blessed to have had him in my life and to have been his mother.
I miss you, Bud.
In loving memory of:
Sgt. Jeremy R. Smith, US Army Reserves
November 1981 - February 2004