7 years ago I said goodbye. I told you that it would be ok...that I would be ok. 7 years ago I thought I knew what I was in for...that I had it all sorted out and that I could control it all. 7 years ago I thought I was strong enough, that I would have peace in what we endured together from the moment I found out I was carrying you. As crazy as it sounds, I honestly thought I would be ok....that life would be ok. That I could shove feelings aside and get life taken care of and that there wouldn't be a scar...it's so absurd to me...to look back and feel like I knew what was about to happen.
I was so wrong.
Honey...I thought that if I shoved my emotions aside...put on my brave mommy face that I could endure it all with ease...matter of factly. After years of holding your hand thru your pain and rushing you to the hospital more times than I can count, after watching you endure such invasive tests, procedure and surgeries...after managing to put on my brave mommy face for you every time your cough changed to "that one" and I knew it meant it was time to go...after days filled with such fear of losing you and pain from signing forms labeled DNR in bright red...after so many long nights in the hospital crying in my bed long after you fell asleep at night...i thought i could come away unscathed. I thought I could keep that phony facade up .... that charade of lies... and I thought if i could make it past a few years that I'd find a way to not hurt...I'd find a new ok....
sweet Connerman...I couldn't have been more wrong.
I lived my life in the fight...I learned quickly how to build up high walls to protect my shattered heart...I learned to keep silent about my pain...to be so busy taking care of you and finding ways to make your day brighter...that I naively thought that was how it was going to be.
I'm sorry. I was wrong.
I kept myself so busy the week leading up to the day you went to heaven...and set up so many intentional distractions on the day and the day following, cus I thought being busy would force the time past and it wouldn't bother me. Again...I was wrong. You're always on my mind and I miss you every single day. Your name is mentioned daily in our home and you're prayed for every night as I tuck your brothers and sister into bed. Your pictures are in every room and the stories flow from my heart to anyone who will listen as often as I can... you're so much alive .... yet you're so so gone.
I sit on my bed in silence and tears are stinging my eyes as I finally digest the reality that you're gone. You should be here. I shouldn't be seeing your face on a piece of granite at a cemetery. Your best buddy Hunter shouldn't wake up screaming for you in the middle of the night...Bradyn should have had the opportunity to get to know you...he was only 2...and hell, your sister should've met you. It warms my heart how she says she has three big brothers and the biggest ones in heaven...and how she smiles when we talk about you...perhaps she has met you...
What I've slowly realized is a mom will never be the same again without her child. Before I had you I was a very different person...and being so young and being thrown into a very serious medical life at 22 changed my life forever. When you were finally born in that surgical room surrounded by more people and machines then I could count...and your precious tiny hand held mine...I had you.Every second of everyday of your 7 years I had you....and the fight you endured was never yours alone. And when you grew tired...when it was more of a struggle to take in a breath then it was to be free...I told you to go...and after one last fight to stay...and I got to snuggle close to you and hold you in my arms and kiss your cheek and tell you it was ok...I knew my life was about to change dramatically. i got to hear your very first breath and your last....and that last breath you took...stole a giant piece of me with it...part of me left when you did. i didn't just change...part of me died.
I remember watching Rick Little cover your body and carry you out of my house. It suddenly became real. Id never again see you in on the couch, or in your bed...or playing in the backyard...or anywhere this side of heaven. And part of me died in that moment.
I think I'm learning to let go of ridiculous self expectations. I'm learning to grieve however and whenever I need to. Because watching my son be buried was torture...everything we'd said and done...the treatments and prayers...none of it was enough...and i had to face that. i had to watch it like it was rubbed in my face...the inadequacy. and it was permanent. I felt like people kept trying to get me to eat or give me something to drink or have me sit down...anything to keep me from falling apart...when all I felt inside was that I too had died and they'd forgotten to bury my heart.
I'm realizing again...that grief evolves over time but is permanent. It's been 7 years now and while most days I am cheerful and speak joy over having the privilege to be your mom, I embrace the many days when I'm the same giant wreck I was the day i saw you leave. From now on you have and will be gone longer than you were here...and that breaks my heart all over again. The worst part is that I wonder how you'd be now...14 years old...what would you look like, would you be into sports...or maybe sing...what would your passions be...and who would you choose to be your girlfriend....its a loss of a lifetime. So much left unsaid and so many things left undone. so many years and adventures without you. It's another shift in grief and another milestone met...and now I fully know you're gone. I have you so close to me each day and we share a special bond that Im so blessed and thankful for...but i want you. I wanna hug you and hold your hand and kiss your sweet face and take care of you. I wanna smell you and hear your voice and I want to make memories and take new pictures with you. you should be here. and at that realization, I die a little more everytime.
So instead of apologizing anymore sweet boy how about a promise....
Now that we're again evolving ... I am going to be more authentic in my journey.
I'm dropping the facade and canning that stupid charade.
I'm allowing myself freedom to be authentic and real. not just some of the time. but all of the time. It's scary to allow myself to feel when it's really painful and ugly ... but I need to. theres so much good and theres also so much pain. I can't expect that part of my heart that died when you left to regenerate. it never will. But I can nurture every part of me that remains. embrace the love, the tears, the joy, the absolute torture, all the side effects of losing a great love. My strength will come by feeling...all of it.
So tonight as I sit in the silence, no longer surrounded by distractions and noise...with new perspective in mind, i simply ponder the fact that you've been gone longer then you were here....i let the pain sink in to the depths they need to...and I finally will lay my head back onto my pillow and cry...and know that even in the pain there is deep love...and we'll wake up tomorrow and face another day...free.