Friday, July 20, 2012

Grieving Parents

I am not the first one to comment on this phenomenon nor, I'm sure, will I be the last. But there is something so different about the love you have for a child. It gets in your soul, the very core of your being and sits there, grows there, radiates outward. There are times I physically feel the love for Baby H. when I look at him and I can barely stand it.

Lately I've been reading "Llama Llama Misses Mamma" to Baby H. before bed, and when we get to the end of the book he will say "someday me go to school too." Yes, I say, some day. But not too soon. I take joy in him every day and the new things he says and does. But I also ache a little each time he takes another step away from me. Thinking about him growing up and moving away makes me have actual moments of feeling bad about leaving my mother even though we live less than a mile from each other. In those moments I am glad I have at least another 16 years to keep my son close to me.

Whenever a tragedy like a shooting happens, or a little girl dies, I internalize and think how on earth can these parents who have lost their precious babies, no matter how old, how can they go on? I hope to never know that kind of pain. I know they do go on. I look at my mother-in-law who lost one of her sons at only 28 and know that she goes on. Heartbroken to be sure, but she lives. Maybe she finds the strength to go on to honor him. To honor all that he was and what he could never be by dying so young. I don't know if I could do the same. I'm pretty sure my instinct would be to lie down, curl up in a little ball and stop breathing. And chances are the mothers and fathers out there today, not only in Colorado, but all over the world who have lost their children to war, sickness, accidents, want to do the same.

There isn't much we can do to keep loved ones from dying. As they say, it is part of the circle of life. And I don't have any words of wisdom about living life to the fullest and enjoying each other while you can. I can't make a vow to live today like it's my last day on earth. If I did that I would get up from my desk, grab my son and husband and go to the beach and have a picnic. I can't even say that I'll tell all those I love how much I truly love them. Sure, my husband, my sister, mom. But making calls to my grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, everyone of my friends? Does an e-card count? How about a text? That's the problem with these moments. They are fleeting until the next one comes along and reminds us that life is short and sometimes, usually, quite tragic.

So a modest proposal, today I will take off work a little early. I'll go home and give my husband, my son, an extra hug, an extra kiss and that person on the train that wants to sit down - go ahead, I can stand.

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