We expect our grief to last a long time, perhaps even our lifetimes. However, nothing lasts forever here on earth, and I sincerely hope this expression also applies to the deeper sorrow we have experienced since one of our children passed before us at the young age of eleven. We expect to lose our parents as we reach our 50’s & 60’s, and occasionally a classmate from long ago who is in an explainable accident, and maybe even a brother or sister who unexpectedly succumbed to some illness in mid-life. But not our children. We are supposed to go before our children. If it’s not written in the bible, its written in our soul. My goal is to channel these strong emotions that I feel as a result of our loss into something positive. Jeffrey’s memory, and Jeffrey’s living spirit, will be driving me to try to be the person God wants me to be, which is whom he was already.
We are in uncharted waters here. We lost an 11 year old son, who we both could foresee what type of adult he would likely have become, so our loss is inexorable and thus immeasurable. We miss out on every new discovery, accomplishment, lesson learned, new loves found and lost; the grandchildren that we will never know; and the wise son at our bedside giving us love, hope and compassion when our time arrives to go home to Heaven. Not surprisingly, he was the rock for our family that we could all hold on to when life became topsy-turvy. Because every moment with him was precious, I always told myself that the time to grieve or express sorrow would have to wait for another day. Instead, I was full of hope, faith, patience, and love towards him. If our journey together was to last 5 months or 50 years, I was all in for life, and my son and I always knew we were going to beat this disease together.
We are not alone since there are so many others in this situation. Most of these people that lost children years ago are still experiencing sadness and grief on a regular basis. Some folks have been enlightened ironically by the darkness of their initial journey after their loss. Others are consumed by their sorrow, and darkness prevails. Loss of a child is obviously a dark path nobody would ever choose willingly, so finding your way back to the light must be painstakingly slow and measured, so that you don’t become lost in doubt, negativity, or sorrow. We will always be looking for breadcrumbs, or “Reece’s Pieces,” dropped by Jeffrey or helpful Angels to find our way home. Today, on the four month anniversary of his transformation, a beautiful butterfly literally flew into and bounced off my chest as I was walking his younger brother, Lincoln, and sister Amelie to school. I felt a thump of joy enter into my heart, and watched as the butterfly fluttered away. I didn’t know how he was going to say “I love you” to me today, but he did so before I could even start to stress about seeing the sign.