Spring has arrived according to the calendar. I’ve always been torn between whether I love fall or spring more. Every year, as each season starts, I think “surely, this is my favorite.” Then the other season rolls around, and I think, “no, this is my favorite.” This year, I have no such thoughts. All around me are the signs of new life. Trees are budding. The days are balmy with cerulean skies and fat, fluffy clouds. The nights are cool. Spring is coming.
The season comes, and it leaves my son in the past. He is there, forever 5 months and 1 day. Forever a child of summer, fall, and briefly winter. Spring will never be his season. He will never turn his face to the sun, feel the rays warm his face even as the air carries a chill. He will never delight in the first daffodils unfurling their blooms, never smell the blissful scent of the hyacinth.
I am struggling so hard to be grateful for the time that we had. Some mothers never even have that. I had 5 months and 1 day. Time seems to fly, yet the days are endless. They blur together. Thinking clearly is difficult many days. I look back and wonder how it could’ve all passed so quickly. He was here – then gone. How can his life be over? How can it be true that I’ll never hold that chubby babe in my arms again? Never brush my lips across his fuzzy head? It is such a terrible pain.
My wounds had maybe just started to scab over, and the death of my uncle has ferociously torn them open again. I’m bleeding.
Today, we had lunch with a family from Greenville, South Carolina. They lost their beloved son at 5 years old to complications of his trisomy 18. They were also faced with the decision of whether to keep going or to let him go.
It’s so easy to talk to other loss parents – those struggling with the deep grief, the questions, the what-ifs, the regrets, the guilt. I don’t have to force cheeriness, make my black humor jokes, be self-deprecating. I can just be. There’s not a lot of searching for the right words, the right questions. It’s just raw because we’ve been there – through hell. We know the unspoken words – we can imagine what the other has suffered.
Tonight, I’ve been looking at headstones and gravesites. We want to design something beautiful for James – a small memorial garden. We want something natural, something that belongs here in North Carolina, like James does. An Asheville native – he is a rarity here. I couldn’t look for too long. It hurt so much.
We miss you little boy, sweet James. I still cannot believe that you aren’t here. I remember the things that we told you, as you slipped from this world in our arms. It was so important to me that you know how proud we are of you, how strong you were, how much we loved you. I had to whisper all of those things, to make sure that you heard them one last time.
Oh, it aches tonight, little one. It aches so much.