The first two years after my son died, there was a constant pain in the center of my chest. That pain never let up. I knew that my heart was broken and I also knew that nothing I could ever do would fix this kind of brokenness.
In the next few years following that pain began to feel a bit more dull. In fact, it turned into an ache. The ache wasn’t noticeable every minute of the day — especially when I was busy — but at night the ache turned into a throb. Sometimes it got so bad that I pulled the covers over my head and never wanted to leave that place of dark safety from the world of pain.
Eventually I came to where I am now in my grief. I miss my son so much that it’s still a pain that can’t be explained by mere words, but I am finally beginning to find some comfort from that agonizing pain, and maybe you will be able to find some, too.
When the pain gets really bad, I walk out to Mike’s memorial garden (which is located in my front yard) and I sit on the bench located under the old pear tree. I always cry for a while. What parent doesn’t? I’ve found, though, that by recalling special moments of time I’ve had with my son I get some relief. I allow my mind to go back in time when he was a little boy playing in this very space where his garden is now planted. I picture him in my thoughts as that vibrant (often mischievous) little boy climbing trees, riding his bike, throwing his baseball, and doing jumps on the three-wheeler. I imagine I’m hearing his voice and his laughter. I think of ONLY HAPPY MOMENTS because those are the memories that bring me comfort.
For the first few years after Mike’s death I was in so much pain thinking of all of the moments that would be missed with him gone. I thought of the Christmases he would miss. The vacations and birthday parties he would miss. I thought of all of the special occasions with his wife and children he would miss. and I grew angry and I missed him bitterly.
But, I realized finally that I can “choose what to remember” and by choosing the happy moments, the heartwarming moments, the precious moments I had with my son, I am finding comfort.
I will always miss Mike. There will always be a huge hole in my heart. Always. I know that.
But, there is also a blessing that I’ve been given and that blessing is knowing that I had the privilege of being Mike’s mom. I will always and forever smile (even amid my pain) knowing that God gave me Mike for a while.
And, I will cherish my memories with Mike forever and always.
May your precious memories of your child bring you comfort, too, especially when you are missing your child so bad you think you can’t make it another day.
***To check out the online grief series on child loss click here.