Who would I be if my son had lived?

Have you ever thought about who you would be today if your child hadn’t died? I know we think a lot about who our child would have been, but what about us, the mothers and fathers, left behind?

My son died when he was 42. He had dreams of building a vacation home at “the homestead” — in the field where he grew up. I would have loved that! He and I talked about that a lot! His last trip home before his death we walked the field that adjoins my home and he and I stood on the spot where he wanted to place his home. “Can you see it now, mom? We could live here, the grandkids could visit you any time. We’d wear a path out to your place!”

We laughed, we plotted and we planned. The future was looking brighter and brighter. I had always dreamed one of my kids would build a house up on that hill. I loved the idea of Mike being my neighbor!

Clara Hinton grieving

He wasn’t supposed to die.

What would life had been like? What would ” I” have been like? I know I would have cooked lots of meals for my son and his family. Today I cook for one — just me. I know I would have loved looking into that field from my deck and seeing lights up on that hill. Now I see darkness. I know I would have given my garage space to Mike. He loved to build things. We talked about the shelves he was going to build in my mudroom so I could keep my canning goods there. He loved eating my home-canned food!

What would my life look like if he was still alive? How would my daily routine have changed? I know I was super excited thinking about him moving “back home” with his family when his kids graduated. They have now graduated. Life has moved on. Nine years, and life has moved on differently in so many ways.

We change when our child dies. No matter what age that child was, a parent changes. We become different. In some ways I’m a better person — more aware of the pain in the lives of others. In other ways, I’m just sad. I feel like as I’m growing older I will have more and more alone days. When a child dies there is an emptiness that can’t be explained with words. There is a sadness that looms even on the good days.

If only……..if only my son had lived I would be a different person. But, I know that a million “if only’s” will not change what has happened.

I loved being his mom. I loved the talks we had. I loved seeing him with his wife and children! He was such a great husband and dad!

I loved him! I loved who he was!

What would my life have been like if he hadn’t died? Sadly, I’ll never know. Death took him far, far too soon.



***Your comments are always appreciated. We need the love and support of one another.



  • Christina O'Neal

    The 19th of January my 3 other children celebrated my sons birthday. Days leading up to that day, my desperation to hug him and hear him say I love you mom took me to the day of his birth. Playing it like a movie in my head lead me to the present. I too wondered what our relationship would be like today? We were so close and could never be apart. He was my helper, my sidekick, my mommas boy.

    I see myself laughing more, living life to the fullest with all my kids and grandbabies, not being fearful of life. I would be the fun mom again.Sometimes I even think food would taste better, colors would be brighter, air would feel cooler on my face, silly I know! I want to be that person most days and other days I’m satisfied just wishing for it.

  • Deanna Decker

    I think about this often. My son Brandon never found that special one. Never married. Never had children. He would have been the best husband and father. He loved children and he loved animals. Sadly I lost him to a heroin OD when he was 26 years old. He had a very kind heart and gentle soul. I have four sons. He was my youngest. He was the most like me. I love and miss him with all my heart and soul.