This morning, my alarm went off. On Mondays, I teach in the vet technology program. I love teaching. I love my students. The people I work with are funny and kind and unique. I’ve always wanted to teach.
And yet, for about fifteen minutes, I lay in bed just wanting to stay there all day, in a ball, with the blankets over my head. Why not? What difference does it make to the world if I get out of bed in the morning? The world will go on. The world will go on no matter what happens. No matter the atrocities in Myanmar, the shootings in schools, the natural disasters, the broken mother bearing the loss of her only son as well she can. The world marches forward, and we go with it.
I find it hilarious that I’m supposed to just keeping getting up, keep soldiering through this, rebuild my life. Paying bills. Doing laundry. It seems so mundane and foolish. I’ve seen behind the curtain.
But I did get up. And I faced the day, even though I didn’t want to do it. And when someone asked me how I was, I answered as honestly as I could – not great, not even good, but I’m here.
I feel like my grief is supposed to go underground now. It’s been almost 11 months since he died. It’s time to move on, right?
Every night, before bed, I close my eyes, and I see his little face. I see his perfect lips and his wild brown hair and his endless blue eyes. I yearn to hold him again so desperately, and it is torture to know that I never will. I will never hear his voice again. There is no salve for this wound. There is no band-aid big enough to pull these edges together.
My soul has been cleaved, and there is no undoing it.
Every night, I ask myself, why didn’t we fight harder? Did we fail him? Did we make the wrong decisions? The questions chase themselves round and round, like a serpent with its tail in its own mouth. I hate sleeping these days, and I often stay up well past a reasonable hour just to avoid lying down, closing my eyes, and seeing the last days of his life play like a movie across my eyelids.
Grief doesn’t get better. It doesn’t go away. This is who I am now, a bereaved mother. For the rest of my days on earth, I will be a bereaved mother. There is no fixing it. There is no fixing me. Drugs, counseling, electroconvulsive therapy…it won’t fix that my son is dead. It won’t fix me.
And I won’t stop talking about him. I won’t stop because someone is uncomfortable or doesn’t know what to say. I won’t stop saying his name just because saying his name makes me cry.
I miss you, James. I love you so much. I am so proud of everything you accomplished in your short life an everything that your life continues to do to help others. Every day. Every hour, minute, second.
“Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle
Everything is stitched with its color.”