I had his back pack of toys. I had his clothes and shoes. I had his beloved afaghan and monkey. I was leaving. Leaving the hospital for the first time in three weeks. Hubs and I were leaving together, but I was without my baby. My heart was still on the seventh floor. I was empty. I was broken. Hubs and I walked down that long bridge way to the car. Tears streaming down our faces. No one knew why, no one cared. I didn't really expect them too. (Looking back on that, I am glad no one stopped us, because I probably would have ran back upstairs)
So many times I have relived his last five days. In the first three months I relived those last five days almost everyday. Countless times in the first year, I hashed over those days and all the emotion they contained. I remember the waiting and watching for something to change. I still feel that pain of when the doctor called time of death. He could have stabbed me right then and it would not have hurt worse. My beloved Nathaniel was gone.
Six years have passed. I can breathe again. For the first few months, grief would steal my breathe, like bricks sitting on my chest. I don't cry everyday anymore. I can smile when I look at a picture of him and remember the funny things he did and said. I used to tell people that I reserved the right to break down at any time without warning. I still reserve that right, I just don't use it as often. I still question my self. "Did I do everything right? Did I do something wrong? Somehow I must have caused this." Mommy guilt covers a lot of things, even death. Deep down I know, I know there is nothing I could have done. Still sometimes I catch myself wondering, "what if".
On his birthday every year I am sad because he isn't here to celebrate and watch grow up and all the things we didn't get to see him do and be. It's a hard day. The anniversary of his death is harder, because I relive his death. Maybe I am the only grieving parent that does this, but somehow I don't think I am. I can't explain why, I just do. I think part of me doesn't want to forget. Grief sometimes can't explain itself, I've learned to stop trying.
I am blessed. Life went on. Part of me didn't expect it too, but it did. It was impossible, on my own. I am not strong. I am weak and broken, but God isn't. God has brought me through the fog of grief. He carried me when I didn't even want to be carried. He soothed me, comforted me, surrounded me with the BEST family and church family anyone could ask for, put a Pastor in my life I could lean on, and lean on him I did, we did. Do I still grieve? Yes, I am sitting here with tears streaming down my face in abundance. But I don't grieve everyday. The tears are a release, a cleansing. I weep, and I mean weep, in May and August. But I remember, with joy, every single day.
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.~~Isaiah 61:3
I am splashing around in the oil of joy and I wear my brightly colored garment of praise everyday!! Because God appointed them unto me! My heart still aches and it will always have a little ache but, the oil of joy soothes it.
Nathaniel Phillip Lovelock
May 11, 2000-August 22, 2003