What do you call a mother who loses her child when he is eleven years old? Is she a widow like when her husband dies? Is there even a name to represent her heart being pulled from her chest, like a heart attack that is associated with cardiovascular disease? There should be a name to call a woman who loses her child without warning or explanation. Maybe I’ll be the first to wear that name. I am after all a grieving mother and will likely be known by that until the day I die.
Most days, I wake up and do all of the things. But then there are moments when I see his lifeless body in my mind and I want to scream and cry and beg for it to not be real. Oh and then there are the times, when a friend will just simply ask, “how are you doing”, and the tears just start rolling down my cheeks before I even say a word. I know that people understand and they give me grace. But for some reason, I find it hard to give it to myself.
Since my dear Ethan’s passing in February, I’ve had time to sit with grief and ask why him he has been my companion for so many years. Why it seems, he follows me everywhere. Is there a lesson that I haven’t learned? Or have I not humbled myself enough? I wish I knew how to shake him or to travel a different route where he can’t find me. But somehow I don’t believe that is even possible. As soon as I let my guard down he takes someone that I love and need in my life.
My neighbor recently asked me if I thought I might date or find love again. My response, “probably not.” I reminded him that as a special needs parent, I wasn’t planning to get involved with anyone in that sense because my life was devoted to being Ethan’s mom, his person. I was prepared to take care of him. I am not prepared for someone to take care of me or for anyone to take up that much space in my life. That idea is so foreign to me at this point, that I don’t even entertain it.
What’s so interesting, is that being divorced didn’t and doesn’t feel like a loss. Losing my nana, my mother and my Ethan were losses, abandonment really and that is a visceral hurt that is indescribable. Those are the losses that make me question and wonder why I am still here. But grief won’t answer me, he just follows me and stares when I tell him to leave.
I guess this is the time where I have to accept what is and to be content with raising my daughter. She needs me and wants me to be the all in mom that she didn’t have for several years. So, that mom is who I will be because she needs me to be her.
In Christian Love,