When your child is born, parents begin to count time by days, then by weeks, then months, then years.
Sometimes this happens as the smallest of the timelines reaches its full double, sometimes the figuring of time is more subjective and obscure and a combination of the time markers.
1 day, 5 days, 10 days;
2 weeks, 6 weeks, 8 weeks;
2 months, 6 months, 12 months, 18 months;
1 year, 12 years, 22 years.
It turns out this is the same when your child dies.
Riley died 2 months and 2 days ago today.
My heart, still broken, clings to memories of his smile, of his bright blue eyes, and of his voice strong and clear.
In my dreams at nighttime he visits me as the 22 year old young man he was. Oftentimes visiting with my father and brother, the first only knowing him til he was three years old, the latter never meeting him on this human realm. Yet together they gather in my dreams, sitting around dining tables, playing cards and guitars, laughing, eating meals together, as in realization of a dream that could never have been wished to come true, made manifest in a realm where things like that are possible.
During the sunlight hours my mind carries me to the days when I held him in my arms as a baby and a young child. I nursed him for more than three years. I know that is almost unheard of, but he was to be my last child and I savored every moment of it. Then, 10 years after Riley was born, (13 and 15 years after Morgan and Dylan were born, respectively) my fourth incarnate miracle, Orion, arrived in our lives and I witnessed Riley be a loving older sibling to his baby brother.
As Riley grew older, he grew tall and strong. There is something about my boys that as they each approached, then surpassed, my height, they would want to pick me up, lift me as high as they could. A silly thing masculine thing, but sweet nonetheless. Riley did it most often and when we had a photo shoot a couple years ago, he wanted this to be one of our poses. Him holding me, as I once held him.
I am grateful for this spur of the moment snapshot captured by our photographer. It is a memory and image I will treasure always.
Yet as I look at it in daylight, I think of me holding him, and tears flow again.
The missing of him is more than I can bear somedays. But the gratitude for our surviving children, the three I birthed, and the three my husband brought with him when we blended our families, along with our grandchildren each and all give me motivation to emerge when possible from the sadness that I am swimming in.
Thank you again to those who are sending love and prayers and cards and more. Every bit of it helps. Thank you.
November 22nd, 2019