It's important to me that you know

If you met me today, you'd think I was happy. Even if you heard that I'd lost a child, or found out after you friended me on Facebook, or I sat right down and told you. I'm not saying you'd like me or that knowing about what I've been through wouldn't make you feel weird (I can tell it makes people feel weird). I am just saying, you might assume that we'd made peace with our loss. We've had three children since, they are very cute and happy kids, we hang out with friends, go out for occasional date nights, laugh a lot.....our lives seem normal and good. For the most part I guess I would say you'd be right. We are happy. We have a really solid marriage and we are grateful that our loss brought us closer together, rather than further apart. We adore our children. We have some amazing people in our lives that support us.

But, Max is always there. Missing him is always right below the surface of every thought and moment. And, I am not sure why it is so important for me to make sure that you know that, because it doesn't change one thing at all for you think that he isn't. But, somehow, I need you to know that I am never not thinking about him. Never ever. Even when you think I am thinking about something else - I am thinking about him. This is one of the reasons that I often seem distracted, why I forget things even more than I did before, why I may not always seem completely engaged. I have learned to be in two places at once. Sometimes I think to myself, "I can't believe I am not thinking about him right now", which is, of course, still a form of THINKING ABOUT HIM.

His absence is everywhere and ever present. Above our kitchen counter floats a butterfly balloon that we kept after "celebrating" Maxie's birthday in October. One wing has deflated, but the other keeps it hovering. I am sure it will be in our kitchen until every last pocket of air is gone. There are times when his absence feels more obvious: When I sing my children to sleep, when I read them Goodnight Moon, when I'm in the presence of six year old boys, when I see on Facebook what the kids that were born at the same time as him are up to, when I register my second born child for Kindergarten. But he is also right there in less obvious times - as I am sitting at my computer, driving to the market, out to dinner, laughing my head off, comforting a friend, watching television, reading a book.

I don't want you to think I've forgotten him because I want you to know that he was unforgettable. I don't want you to think that I am fine and happy without him because he was the center of my heart. I want you to know that this pain is something I will carry around forever - and that it's ok because that's the way it should be. Sometimes I want you to know how much I still hurt because I am hoping you might be a little more forgiving with me or think about how the things you say might strike a chord in me. But, more than that, I want you to know that nothing at all will ever feel as big as him dying and leaving this world before I ever had the chance to do with him whatever it is that I'm doing right now.


Anonymous said...

Very well said. I feel the same way, and you put that perfectly into words.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Our first child passed away a year ago. He was 10 months old. We welcomed a second child, his little brother, this summer. He brings joy and happiness. But we are always thinking of his big brother and carrying the grief from his loss. Thank you Abby for describing what I go through and feel every day.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry. Your child should be with you.