My son died, and my heart has been shattered
He passed away from an infection he developed while undergoing in-patient chemotherapy to treat an extremely rare form of lymphoma. Lymphoma he developed from his anti-rejection medications. Medications he was taking to protect his heart after his heart transplant. A heart transplant he needed after being diagnosed with a genetic condition which almost fatally attacked his heart, silently and with no warnings and no symptoms. This is not fiction; this is my reality.
The grief of missing him consumes me — gut-wrenching, relentless, never-ending grief. I grieve for him and the things he will miss. He will never fall in love, get married, have kids. He will never move out, find a job he loves, buy a house. He will miss his sisters’ weddings and never meet their spouses and children. I grieve for my daughters who no longer have their brother. They won’t make any new memories together.
I grieve for my husband who no longer has his son, and will never know the man he would become. I grieve for me, who misses my little boy, he who deserved so much more than what he was given the past three years. I grieve for our family, which wasn’t always perfect and often had challenges, but we always had each other.
I am angry my son is not here
I have felt all the feelings — guilt, sadness, shock, denial, helplessness, anger — and although some have subsided and even softened over the past year, anger has remained steady. I am angry my son is not here. Angry we would be given this wonderful person to love only for him to be taken from us so unfairly 22 years later.
Angry that this is my life and forever part of my story. Angry at moms who get to keep their kids, and angry at parents who don’t appreciate their kids. Angry at people who think I should and could move forward. Angry at the lack of empathy shown by my sons’ doctors and nurses during his care. Angry at circumstances; angry at time. Angry that people don’t know or understand the complexities of our situation. Angry that no one and nothing can take this feeling away. I’m his mom and I was supposed to make it all right. That was my job and I didn’t do it.
On the heels of the first anniversary of my son’s passing, I wonder how I made it here. How is it possible it’s been a year? How has that much time passed, and yet it seems like just yesterday I held his hand and rested my head on his chest as my son‘s beautiful new heart beat for a final time.
Time does not heal
Despite the dream people want to sell me, time does not heal, and as I enter this second year of grief, I actually believe it is worse. The numbness and disbelief that paralyzed me for those first few days, weeks, and months has worn off and the reality of him being gone has fiercely begun to set in.
How did I manage to go on an entire year after the worst thing ever happened?
How did I do all the things we do as humans day after day after day? I did them because I had three other people still here who needed me and I needed to know that they would be okay, even if I never would. I needed them to believe we are still a family. I needed them to know that they are still important. This is what keeps me moving when what I want is to just give up. But us moms, we just keep on mom-ing, and us wives just keep on wife-ing. While most days are a struggle, I am often glad for these tasks, as they provide a much-needed distraction from my thoughts, guilt, and regrets.
I will be his Mommy forever
I don’t know what the future holds. I know any plans, hopes, wishes, and dreams that I had built my life on prior to that fateful day will not be.
I don’t want to believe there is a bigger plan. He’s not in a better place.
It’s not okay that he will never have to suffer again. He was supposed to get better; he was supposed to come home. Our family was never told anything but that. I functioned solely on that knowledge and though I was scared and worried and angry, I focused on him coming home.
Time passes and the hurt remains. It’s part of me, and I carry it because it means my son was here, it means he mattered, and it means he is loved. I was there when he took his first breath; I was there when he took his last. The only thing I do know is, I will be his Mommy forever.