Grieving the loss of someone you love is not only painful but it’s also different and varied. I have lost a number of people in my life over the years and tonight, seeing a simple scene brought such a simple, yet harsh awareness to me.
Driving home from dropping off my oldest son at work I saw young couple on the street. They were in an embrace, her arms sitting loosely on his hips and his hands placed on her face as they kissed. My breath actually caught as I saw them… the moment was so simple and the chemistry,love,lust, whatever it was swirled around them, palpable. It brought both a huge grin to my face and tears to my eyes. I wasn’t sure why I was crying…
I drove towards the house where my boys live for now and it struck me… it’s loss…it’s grief. Seeing the emotion and the expression of their feelings hit a spot in me that hurts because Willie has no tomorrows. Its something that is getting easier for me than it has been and I rarely actually think about it anymore but this came out of left field so to speak. It wasn’t a conscious “he won’t ever have that” but more of an internal gut feeling of loss that it took me a bit to figure out.
Losing a child brings with it a grief that is different from other losses through death. When we lose a parent or an older person in our lives who has had a life longer than ours we mourn for what was. We hold to the memories and those memories and what we have lost – and won’t have again – are what we grieve. That’s what we feel the loss of. Certainly we are sad that we won’t have them with us anymore but it’s different.
When we lose a child, depending on the age, there is limited looking back to mourn. In my case, we had 16 years with Willie. At once, a lifetime and a blink. So many years and so few. I mourn and grieve for what we’ve lost…what we had and what we won’t have again. Yet there is also the grieving of what he will never experience. That’s the grief that doesn’t seem to lessen in some ways.
An eighty year old passes away and you know that over time, your feelings of pain will lessen as acceptance settles in. That happens with the death of a 16 year old as well. I never thought it would, but it does. It’s been 2 and a half years almost and the pain, while still constant, isn’t what it was… it does get easier to bear and live with. What still stings just the same is the grief for what he’ll never have… the loss of his life that will never be, not just the loss of the life he did have. There will always be reminders of what he won’t be or do or have. So while some aspect will get easier with time, that one grief never will…and that’s hurting tonight.