"My son died," I find myself telling people who don't know or haven't heard.
Inevitably they say things to me like, "How are you still standing? I don't know that I could survive that. I don't think I would ever get out of bed. I would want to dive into the grave with my child if they died."
And I always explain it the same way: "Losing my son is the single most devastating thing that has ever happened to me - and probably ever will. But hurting myself or giving up or wanting to die, too, would not honor his life. I made a vow when he died that the best ways to honor Gavin's life were to live... and to not screw up his siblings. He would be very upset with me if I ruined his brother and sister's lives."
So, that is what I am doing. That is what WE are doing.
I have to believe that we are on to something.
As I sit at the art table and color... or make blanket forts... or play game after game of Chutes and Ladders...
...the giggles and the smiles and even the occasional cheating and making up new rules of a game make me feel close to you.
I remember sitting at the same art table playing with you.
As I chase your sister around the house and watch her get into mischief over and over and over again...
...I find myself quite amused. Even when she's naughty.
I remember when you started "getting into things." But knowing how hard you worked to get into those things in the first place - a "mischievous moment" turned into a "miraculous moment."
In other words - you had a good excuse. Hope gets away with it because - well - could anyone resist that face?!?
As I watch Brian and Hope play together...
and as I see their relationship deepen and widen -
I smile as I remember how close you and Brian had become.
He misses you so much.
There are a lot of things I can do. I can play and I can love and I can mother your brother and sister with my whole and broken heart.
I can try to help others as much as I can to continue your legacy. I can talk about you so Brian and Hope remember and know you. I can love your Father.
I can remind myself to breathe and eat and not drink and get sleep and breathe and smile.
But there's one thing that I can not do. I can no longer mother you with my whole being. I can't cook for you... feed you... make you smile or laugh. I can no longer take you on rides or play with you in the playroom. I can no longer hear you giggle when I tickle you. I can't plan for your future. I can't hold you in my arms.
So as I rock your baby sister in your rocking chair or tuck your brother in at night...
I remember the nighttime snuggles we shared.
And even though I know you have plenty of loving souls to mother you in Heaven and I am sure you are so, so happy and free. I wish... selfishly... that I could get the answer to the question that weighs heavy on my heart.
Do you miss me?
Do your arms ache for my embrace as much as my arms feel empty without you?
I just need to know that you miss me.
(I know it's very tempting to answer this question for Gavin... but please know that the only person I desire to hear the answer from is him. One day... )