Wednesday, July 10, 2013

16 Weeks

Sixteen weeks now since N left us. Life is definitely moving on without him. We have been back in the world now, gradually, longer than we were mourning at home (that first intense month of shock). Normal activities are starting to feel more normal, though we are still fragile and scarred inside, still stunned by the power of grief.

I read that mothers may experience the death of a child as a mutilation of their own body, as physical as pregnancy and birth. Even mothers who did not bear their children are intimately physically bound to them. Expectant parents count off the weeks during pregnancy or infancy with anticipation, marking each new beginning. Mourning parents count down the weeks, dreading each new ending that takes us further away from our child. 

Slowly, as we sense the reality of our child’s passing, we are starting to let go. The memorial services, the clearing out of N’s room, the finishing of his scrapbook each close a chapter. The smell of his glossy hair, the sheen of his wide green eyes, his loping gait—all are beginning to recede. The living child, the horrifically dead child--both are drifting away. Time is starting to turn N’s life, with all its beauty and messiness and suffering, into memory.

Expectant parents feel, with each week, the miraculous growth of love and family; mourning parents, on a reverse journey that was never meant to be, feel the pain of each small goodbye, each realization that our child is really gone. Saying goodbye to the joys that might have been, had our child given himself a chance to heal and grow into adulthood. Goodbye to our beloved boy, goodbye to what we knew as family. Ahead is unknown territory, how we will reconstruct our lives.

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