Imagine for even 5 seconds what it would be like to face your child’s birthdays without them. Literally, without them. For the rest of your life. Living, when they didn’t. Celebrating how old they “would have been”, mourning over yet another age they won’t see. That isn’t a pain that eases with time. It just gets more familiar. Think about how fucked up that is. Missing your dead child becomes routine. Like doing the dishes or brushing your teeth. Except those things can’t destroy you.
In past years we’d woken up to hundreds of messages, a mailbox filled with cards, vases of beautiful flowers, phone calls, meals and stories of him shared far and wide. It’s not to say we expected these gestures forever, or that we are attached to the materialistic aspect of it all. It’s just that, you get used to that acknowledgment of your loss. You absorb that level of support and wrap yourself up in it to cope.
I knew that as the years passed others would move on from a tragedy that isn’t their own, I knew that the “settle down” would come and we would eventually have to traverse our pain more independently. But what it feels like, is him being forgotten, little by little. I guess I just wasn’t ready to process this stage yet.