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I Am the Mother of a Child Who People Seem to Have Forgotten

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What does a mother’s life look like 15 years after her child has passed?

I learned this kind of grief never stops. It’s like being stuck in neutral for an eternity. It’s an uphill battle to find some kind of solid ground that never comes. 15 years doesn’t change the pain.

After everyone else’s hearts healed and their lives seemed to go back to normal, I realized the word “normal” no longer applied to me. This was something no one would fully understand. I would have to travel the rest of the way by myself. Unless you’re me — his mom — then you can only walk so far with me.

I am the mother of a child who people seem to have forgotten. 

No one mentions his birthday or the anniversary of his death, as if somehow throughout their silence I forgot.

I’ve had to accept that the topic is inconceivable for people and talking about it makes them uncomfortable. They think I’ll be uncomfortable.

People don’t understand that every passing year doesn’t bring more closure. There’s no such thing as closure. Instead, it’s a year I’m missing out on something with him. A milestone, a birthday, losing baby teeth, Christmas mornings, first days of school, hugs, laughing, joy, scraped knees and kissing them to make them feel better, everyday memories.

Life just sucks you along. It goes in the direction it always goes — forward. Regardless of what I want. Some days I think I’d be fine with just curling up with my grief, allowing it to deteriorate my outer body as it has already done to my soul.

I’m much more aware now of all the things in life that could go wrong — big or small. That type of fear is consuming. I’m familiar with the fact that life has the final say, no matter how low you find yourself on your knees pleading. I’m aware of the fact that it could always happen again, and at no point will I be spared from more tragedies. I can promise you that your worries you have for your children — all the million and one what-ifs — are all justifiable.

Since his death, my heart is more sensitive. I cry quickly and hold on to my other two children so tight. 

I understand on a deeper level that everyone has a battle they’re facing we know nothing about or couldn’t possibly begin to understand.

I’m that person — the one you couldn’t possibly understand. 

After 15 years, I can still replay the day he died in my mind over and over again. It’s a memory so clear — not one second of it has been forgotten. I can still smell that sterile smell of the hospital. I can see the nurse’s face as if I’ve seen her a million times. I hear a voice echo in my ears as if someone is still speaking. I remember the devastation that crushed my entire body and made me want to die, too.

I can tell you this: I’m still that same mom I was 15 years ago. My heart never healed, and I’ve accepted the fact that it never will. I’m still the one who held her child as his heart stopped. I’m still that mom who wanted to be buried along side of him. I’m still that mom who lied for days on the floor in his room, surrounded in his clothes and belongings. The one who cried more tears than I ever thought was possible. The one who chose to find some kind of life for myself after it seemed impossible. I am that mom who laid flowers on his grave, and the one everyone pitied as they watched me stand over his tiny coffin.

I am still that mom who no parent wants to be.

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

Originally published: August 12, 2016
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