It has been 20 years since my little Tommy died, but today would have been his 30th birthday.
It seems it is the milestone days that still grab a hold of me;
The anniversary of the accident; his birthdays; His special days. My special days.
I think about him on these days and wonder, “What would Tommy think about this?” Or like today, I wonder what kind of cake and decorations would he have wanted for his big 30th birthday? Would turning 30 have bothered him? I can’t help thinking these things. I remember my daughter’s 30th birthday 2 years ago and how much I enjoyed plotting with her BFF. How much I enjoyed sharing the milestone and excitement with her, by phone, texts, and pictures. How much fun it was!!
Memories I will cherish forever.
But today, I don’t get to do that with my son.
This is what hurts; not getting to share these special days with my son.
It’s not that I wish he was back here on earth with me; no, I believe - I know - he is in Heaven with his father, his Papa, and his Heavenly Father and living it up, happy and fulfilling his ultimate purpose. I am so happy for that! I am so thankful that I don’t have to worry about him and his well-being anymore.
But I miss him! Oh how I miss him still!
I miss having the opportunity to share these special milestone days with him.
I miss getting to make new memories with him.
Like the milestone of getting his driver’s license, and graduating from high school; or the fun of meeting his girlfriends and contemplating his getting married, or his actual wedding! Or holding his new baby for the very first time – Lord, I’ll never have that sweet, precious blessing. All these precious memories I didn’t/won’t get to make and keep with my sweet little boy, Tommy.
Who would have been 30 years old today.
That’s what I grieve for – the missed memories.
The promise of each of those sweet, life-bringing memories, whispers through your heart the moment you lay your eyes on that tiny, fresh new miracle for the very first time. He takes his first breath outside of your warm protecting womb and your Mommy hopes and dreams take breath and soar! You are that little exquisite miracle’s Mommy!
When you lose that child, a part of yourself leaves too. But you’re still left cradling that exquisite little box inside of you that holds all those sweet promises of life giving memories that are yet to come.
But when the memory-making day comes, or the days that should have been memory-making days, you can’t seem to comprehend; your heart cannot understand – because the reason for that special day is somehow not here; he was – but somehow now he’s gone! There’s no life or breath to give to that memory. That memory that you looked so forward to, now will never be.
That is what a grieving Mommy grieves for. Not to have her beloved child back to suffer on this earth – no! But to have life breathed back into that little box of memories, to live and experience each of those exquisite little promises with that beautiful little miracle that was her child.
To keep making and living those life-giving memories secretly promised the day he was born.
Yes, grief has gripped me today.
But I have pulled out my exquisite little box of memories already made and am filling up with the life-breath they are breathing into me. I’m smiling and my heart is glad!
And then I sob.
My heart is overwhelmed and begins to break apart again.
And I sob.
But then I remember – I have these memories. And they can be enough.
I feel relief.
The burden, swollen and heavy, is lightened once again.
And I cry again.
But it’s ok.
Because I know I need to cry – tears to relieve the hurting, to release once again the broken promise of what this day might have been; to help me accept what my box of memories will now never hold.
So, tears go ahead and fall. Yes, at first you were Pain, but now you are Healing.
Each of you land in a broken part of me and with enough of you given, you‘ll hold me together again. And I‘ll live and breathe and smile once again.
Yes, I am different; there are scars from the loss. But with time they fade and don’t hurt as much.
So, please let me cry to relieve the hurt. And remember those memory days – will be the worst. If my child was still here, today would be all about him, so allow me to spend today in memory of him. And please remember that when he died, he didn’t cease being the child I birthed. For in my little exquisite box of memories called Tommy, there are 9 full years of promises fulfilled; 9 full years of dreams come true; 9 full years of the life and love that was Tommy; 9 full years of me being that little exquisite boy’s Mommy!
So let me grieve a little – or a lot - for a little boy full of love. Let me release those built up tears that will heal my wound. Remember, that like a broken bone, time heals, but still leaves a scar, and on a cold winter’s day, that scar will ache. So like an athlete, we must adjust and make allowances for those cold winter days and that cold winter ache.
So, yes, I’ll have cold winter days and my scar will ache, but I’ll pull out my warm little box of memories and breathe them in. My tears will fall, but when my heart warms with memories, the cold ache will fade. And I’ll smile again - until the next cold winter’s day.
Yes, grief will grip me from time to time, but with your tender understanding – I’ll be fine.