When the past is all we have.

Today I watched a friend as she said a last goodbye to her son.  Life over just when it should have been beginning.  A much loved precious child. A first born. An eldest son. A big brother. As I looked around at so many tall strong young men mourning their friend I thought of my own eldest son, my only son, and all he means to me.

He may be  a tall nineteen year old boy, but to me he will always be my son, my wee small boy.photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/thelotuscarroll/7569131882/">Lotus Carroll</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a>

I remember the very first time I saw him. He was placed in my arms after an event free birth, which was everything I’d asked for.  Twenty four hours later I suddenly realised, “I have a son!”. It was a moment of huge joy, the recollection of which still makes me smile today. I can also remember, just as we were to go home, my distress as he was to be taken away to be placed under lights to treat his jaundice. So effective was my crying, that the ward sister allowed the special light unit to be wheeled to my room so we could stay together. Something the nurses said they had never seen her do before, ever.

This little boy brought me great joy. He was so very dark skinned next to his older sister. So much so that at nine months I recall scrubbing his “filthy” knees, only to discover that was the colour of his skin! He was happy to sit all day and unlike his older sister as a baby, loved everyone greeting them all with smiles.

As he grew older his charm began to work it’s magic on all who met him. He told his teachers he loved them, strangers that he liked what they wore, and always thanked everyone with a hug and massive enthusiasm.

So many of my memories of him make me smile.  I remember the time when he was about seven. He was heading out the door to school but with just one shoe on. I was a bit cross and said “How can you not know you are missing a shoe? Go and look for it in the cupboard under the stairs”. I went back into the kitchen and when I came out I could see him sitting happily on top of everything that was thrown under the stairs.  I shouted at him as I went upstairs “You better hurry and find it”, (by now my patience with him was running out). Then I heard him shout, “Mom, I found it!”. I was relieved, only to come down stairs to see him still sitting on his perch. “Whoops sorry Mom, that’s the one I was wearing”.

This memory and so many more, of my only son, came flooding to my mind today as I saw all of those others mothers sons. And then my thoughts turned to my friend, and all the memories she would have of her precious photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamiecat/12416831015/">Jamiecat *</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a>son. They brought up “gifts” which symbolised his life the first one of which was his teddy he had loved as a baby. Many laughed aloud on seeing this gift, probably because it was so far removed from the young man he had become. But as I saw it I cried. For I knew for his mother, above all the other things of his which were brought to the altar, that that was the part of his world she had shared with him so completely. What mother would not forget how precious a special teddy had been to her baby. He had gone on to finish school and live a life abroad. He had lived the dream. Now sadly the dream had ended, and for his mother and father, his brother and sister, his girlfriend and friends all that are left are memories. A teddy, photographs, stories. Memories of a lifetime together, of a life loved.

After young Dan died, my friend sent me a message. It said “I hope the cold dark place in your heart tonight is one day warmed once more by the memories of your time together”.

Tonight that is what I wish for my friend, his family, and for all who feel loss.

photo credit: Lotus Carroll via photopin cc

photo credit: Jamiecat * via photopin cc

33 thoughts on “When the past is all we have.

  1. Some parents live with an emptiness that can never be completely refilled. As a mother of two, it’s difficult to contemplate the loss of a child. As a parent, deep down, I pray I never will…
    But then there is a cold reality, parents – maybe our close friends – who have suffered immeasurable grief. We give our support, we give our embraces, we give all that we can if only to keep their hearts from dropping to the floor. And we’ll be there to keep their feet walking and their minds busy. We’ll be there to pick their hearts up – if they do drop to the floor for awhile. It’s what we can do for our friends.
    lovely written post – and very sorry…

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment. It is very sad to watch friends in pain and know there is really very little we can do except be there.

        1. When I was dating in the 80’s: I’d poof my hair, wear average heels, apply makeup and feel pretty until I entered the New Jersey club scene where I was usually taller than many of the guys.
          My husband is 6’7″ – I can poof my hair (no longer in style), wear heels (don’t usually – like comfort now), don’t use makeup unless venturing somewhere glamourous (rarely) but if I wanted to do all these things – I’d have no worries 🙂

  2. yes, and the sadness with the loss of a child never goes away, it just changes it’s form over time. i’m sorry for the loss of this young man, taken way too soon.

    1. It is awful, especially as I have an insight into the long difficult road ahead of them. Life is so quickly changed forever. I’m more grateful than ever when night comes and all went well in my world.

    1. Thanks a mil. I am very aware that whatever anyone else feels it is a drop in the ocean compared to the grief of this boys family. It’s so sad. All hugs appreciated!

  3. An ex-coworker of mine tragically lost her daughter this winter in an auto accident. She was just a little older than my Twee Destroyer. Even imagining through empathy what that loss must feel like almost broke me.
    My condolences to your and your friend. And hope that there is something out there to help mend your broken hearts.

    1. Up to a year ago I never really knew anyone who had lost a child. Now I know four! It is sobering especially when you have children of similar age.
      Last year when young Dan died it was devastating but I am very aware that even if it seems so sad and upsetting for us, it is a drop in the ocean compared to the grief of his parents and family. At the end of the day we still get to hug our children and plan their future.
      Thanks so much for all your support now and in the months gone by.

  4. Tric, I thought of your friends and their children while going through the motions of M’s funeral yesterday. My prayers are with them and you. xo

    1. Oh how very very kind of you. I too thought of you, and hope you eventually find some form of peace in your grief. You have had a very difficult time over the past while, you must be exhausted and weary.

  5. So sorry for your loss Tric and my sympathies to your friends and their family at this awful time. Life is just so unspeakably cruel sometimes.

    1. Thank you so much Aedin. It is so very sad for them. I have given up trying to figure out Life. I intend to live it every day.

  6. I can’t even imagine what this little boy’s family is going through, Tric, but I send my condolences…there really are no words that will take the pain away. I’ve told you about our daughter, 22, and we also have a son, 19, like you, so I know how you feel about your son always being your little boy…sometimes, the past is what we need to move forward each day…take care and hugs to you, as well!

    1. Thank you. Imagine the first year at college is nearly over. I hope all is going well in your world.
      Yes as you say “There are no words”. It is so sad, beyond anything I can really imagine as it was so very sudden.

  7. One of the things I’m grateful for is that I had Philip’s entire childhood, and that all my memories are good ones. To have a child is to know joy.

    Peace, love and blessings to your friend in her suffering, and to you for your generosity and compassion.

    1. Thanks Denise. Yes it’s not a lot to be grateful for but I am sure you have so many good memories, moments to make you smile and cry in equal measure. xx

    1. Even though I am close to my friend Dans mum I can never not for one moment imagine what she has lost and how it is to be a mum of three children and one who has died. It is awful but she manages it and inspires me every day, now I have another friend who is facing this hell.
      Thankfully every day I can gather memories and hopefully will continue to do so for the rest of my days.
      Thanks so much for reading.

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