"Grief is the rope burns left behind when what we have held most dearly is pulled out of reach, beyond our grasp"-Stephen Levine
My grief was born from the death of my sweet, graceful son Anthony. He was 11 months old when he died and the rippling effects of his sudden death from a misdiagnosed brain bleed from Severe Hemophilia A, have taken their toll on my entire family, as I have parented in a completely different manner than I used to. Having lost a child in a cataclysmic way brings out the worrywart in me. I constantly rethink the “what-ifs” and scour over all unforeseen outcomes before making a move or decision. It’s really like swimming up from the bottom of a gel filled pool. I can see the blue of the water and I can feel the warm sunshine on my face but each movement is so heavy and must be calculated so as not to spend needed energy on the effort of reaching the top as I must tend to the ever consuming vacuum that is my grief. It must be fed with dreams of how he would look and sound and what his personality would be. The only comparison I have is his siblings, especially his identical twin brother, Nicholas, who is such a unique individual that I can’t imagine anyone else ever being like him. Except Anthony. Would he have short hair like his older brothers or long hair like Nic? Would he play an instrument like the 3 out of my four still living children or would he be like his older brother Dylan, more interested in a social life and disc golf? Throughout the years, looking back, I see that I have placed a huge burden on Nic, sometimes verbally (Anthony never got to play baseball so play in his memory) and at times, non-verbal-I’ve caught myself staring at him, squinting my vision so I could conjure up Anthony’s’ 16 year old image.
Whenever I see twin boys of any age, my heart pangs for the club that I was ejected from by the fates.. Mother of twins. It was like winning the lottery for me. But much like lottery winners, that joy was short lived and fell through my fingertips like the money they spend so frivolously. I am not frivolous any more. I cherish each normal, run-of-the-mill day and time spent with my children. They all still live with me, my oldest 25.. I’m sure this is because of the loss and grief we’ve all endured. The thought of living our day to day lives without each other is too painful to bear. Dinners together bring tears to my eyes to this very day as there is a seat at our lively, laugh filled round oak table that is empty and I wonder how he would fit into the mix, what jokes he would tell, who he would argue with and about what. Oh, how I would love to know the answers to these eternal questions of my heart.
I am still swimming through that gel filled pool, I can see the sun, I am about halfway up to the top and there is a rope for me to grab. I am reluctant to grab that rope. There is comfort in my aqueous womb. I don’t want to come into the light and be born without any sadness. How will I stay connected to my lost son, the child I cannot parent anymore and long to every moment? I know I have to emerge for the sanity of my own heart and that of my children’s so I stroke with my arms every so languidly and hope against hope that this gel filled pool is a dream of mine I’ll wake from.