I write what is too difficult to speak. When society hears about the death of my children, they usually offer the typical reply of how "strong" I am, or how they "would die" if the same thing should happen to their children.
The death of a child DOES kill the parent. Although we continue to move about this planet in a seemingly normal fashion....buring a child (let alone all of them) will destroy all that you thought you were.
Families suddenly find themselves living with and in a dark abyse. Dreams are destroyed, replaced with ultimate reality of a parents worst nightmare. You are given seconds to adjust to this new reality....often with life scaring memories of "the moment" that you hear "we did all we could".
Its been 16 years since my daughters accidental death. That phone call and time spent with her badly beaten lifeless body is one that will forever be etched in my heart. Nothing removes it....it is always there. But years have offered me peace. Much soul searching gave me a gentle place to keep that memory....tucked away from the public...but still there, nonetheless.
Fifteen years later....another devestating phone call....this time from my best friend and son, Bradley. What was thought to be a bad cough turned out to be a combination of 2 very rare cancers which invaded his lungs, heart, bones and brain.
How could this be? He didnt smoke, drink, do drugs?!?!? He was a strong, vibrant, barely 25 year old man who was loved by everyone he met. He worked hard, played when he could and literally, had gone through hell with me after his sister was killed. Why has the "other shoe fallen" in this family.....and why him??
Bradley was a warrior though. He refered to his grapefruit sized tumor above his heart as a "cyst". He constantly studied my face and reactions during the hi/lo roller coaster ride of treatments, surgeries, hospital stays, transfusions, ambulance trips. He was....through all this nightmare.....mostly concerned how I would 'fair' should he lose this battle. He did not want the single mom who raised him, to be alone.
Strange things happen to the heart and soul, when a mother watches her child fight for their life. You can do little to assist....just simply be there when the inevidable crashes come.
Your heart breaks....sometimes every second of the day....the pain, excrutiating to witness and feel. You're helpless.....and are forced into "letting go" in an extreme manor. As an outsider, you find yourself begging God for mercy and no more pain for your child, fully knowing that should God oblige your request, your own mortal life will then be encompassed in grief.
What was originally a strong healthy young life with so many dreams, gets ravaged with chemicals, pain and mind altering drugs. Somewhere along the path, reality again, suddenly sinks into your heart. The end is close....denial is not an option. Only acceptance and preparation is on the 'to do' list.
One day shy of eight months from that horrible "Discovery Day" phone call....the third worse phone call I shall ever experience, came through. Bradley left his cancer battle to re-unite with our Almighty Creator and his sister.
There are many avenues I could have taken after these tradgedies. Suicide was not an option.....emotionally checking out wasnt allowed either. A promise made to my dying son forces me to continue on. I must admit that sometimes I detest that I made that promise. But....I promised and that promise is one that I cannot break.
Since my words of grief to friends and family members often come with "shoulda, woulda couldas" on how to manage my pain....I opt to write. It is the only way I can truely release the thoughts of my heart without people advising me to get on mood enhancers and anti-depressants.
Drugs dont diminish the pain.....councelers, unless they too are bereaved, offer little reprise. No, the grief of losing a child can only be addressed head on. When things become overwhelming, I remind myself of my brave sons battle against a horrible disease. If he could fight with the vigor, grace, compassion, heart and love that he displayed....then I too, shall 'borrow' his example for my own battle.
We will all reunite again....this, I know. My children are safe and together. Oddley, I no longer fear both life AND death. I have lived every parents nightmare.....twice over. Nothing else that this Earthly world tosses my way will ever hurt me as badley as those 3 phone calls I received.
Lessons my children gave me come through in my writing....and if it helps just one single person struggling with loss....then none of the pain is in vain.