I just got back from a wonderful trip to Disney with my sweetie pies: Nan and Shan.
And though this trip was a happy and fulfilling one, IT couldn't be avoided. By IT, I mean the running catalogue. This catalogue is an ever-growing list of things I will never do. Things I will never enjoy. Things which will never come to pass. This is because my running catalogue is centered around Will. He would be nearly 3 months old now. I would be thinking about his routine. I would be fascinated by his emerging little personality. I would be thinking about getting him ready to go to Miss Debbie's next week (dreading it, most likely) as I prepared to go back to work. And I would be caught up in him, just like I am right now. Although my mind is constantly peppered with these thoughts...these missed moments...these withered hopes, I know I will never get them. I will never know what color his eyes were....I would be guessing about that right now if he were here. I will never hear his voice...never hear him coo or cry or laugh. I will never spoon cereal into his little mouth or stare aghast at any of his particularly heinous diapers. I will never wear his spit-up as an accessory to a nice outfit or learn to decipher the meanings of his various different 'cries.' I will never feel pangs of guilt after leaving him with Mema or Nana for a night out with Shan.
I thought at first that embracing these thoughts would help me move through the grief process. I'd let each moment wash over me and that would be it. I could grieve that lost possibility and be done with it. And listen up, folks, because I don't say this often. As I've learned in the last few months (over and over and over again) I was WRONG. Yes. Susan Boone just admitted that she was wrong. Write it down. My inability to admit my fallability is an innate character flaw...but you love me anyway, right?
Letting each thought wash over me has lead to this....I hoard them. I hoard non-memories of my son. There: I've said it. I cradle them to me like a safety blanket. I would bathe in them if I could. Those of you who know me well know that I have a vivid imagination. And there are times when my imagination is a great gift...it has been a blessing to me in so many ways. But right now it is aiding me in my (now compulsive) pasttime of cataloguing my lost life. I can almost feel these non-existent moments. And there is a seemingly endless train of them...one leads to another which leads to another, and on and on and on.
And I would be feeling guilty about this compulsion, really I would, if it were not for this: I think this particular compulsion is okay. That is the only conclusion I can reach. On earth or in heaven, he is my son. If he were here, he would be literally filling my days (and probably nights). He would be in my thoughts at virtually every moment of each day. And death came and took him away from me before I could enjoy all of these moments with him. But does that mean that I have to let go of 'what could've been' completely? I don't think so.
Because I'm not doing anything wrong. I'm living my love for my son (in an internal sort of way). My moments of reverie are simply manifestations of my heart. I still love him all of the time. I still want him all of the time. I still miss him all of the time. I still feel that motherly vigilance "thing" (that mothers have) for him all of the time. And allowing myself to feed on that love is branching out to other areas of my life. He is making me a better person. He has brought me closer to God...I need my Creator (in ways I never fathomed) right now, and Will is responsible for that. I burrow deep down into my faith when I hurt. I ask God to be with me in this season...in all areas of my life. I am aware, after 3 months of this, that the only kind of consolation I am going to get will come from Christ. This consolation is not like a consolation prize (think: parting gift...like in The Price is Right). I mean it in the actual literal sense....the only One who can CONSOLE me is Christ. Others offer words of encouragement or help, but the only thing that even comes close to a sensation of healing and peace comes straight from God.
"Unless the LORD had given me help,
I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death.
When I said, "My foot is slipping,"
your love, O LORD, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought joy to my soul."
Which brings me back to my little man: I am a better Mom because of Will. I am enjoying Nancy Ann so much right now, and I know that the intense nature of my joy is due (in no small part) to little Will. I am going to be a better teacher because of Will...my pain in losing him is going to make me more compassionate and patient with my students--I don't know this from experience...I write it more as an invocation--a declaration of intent. The strength that I have gained through losing him is going to make me a better wife, a better friend, a better daughter, sister, niece, aunt, co-worker, etc. I am blessed by the loss of him...in different ways than I would've been by virtue of simply living with him every day as his Mommy. But whatever follows this moment in my life will be touched by him...just as it would have been if he were here in my arms right now.