I never thought of memories to be painful, hurtful, sorrowful. They were just that, memories. Whether they were good or bad, regretful or satisfactory, they were just part of our past. Memories didn’t start attacking me until the day after September 25, 2017. It was as if my life was not real. I would see pictures of my son and instantly fall to me knees or to the ground. I couldn’t believe I didn’t have him anymore. The memories of carrying him in my belly, nursing him, all the sleeplessness nights were vivid, real, but yet, he wasn’t in my life anymore. I would remember carrying him in a Moby baby wrap around the house or when I spontaneously mowed the lawn. The memories of him running a fever, taking him to the doctor, and meticulously caring for him were real, so why wasn’t he with me? I remember all the battles we would have when nap time came around, the baby sign language we enjoyed speaking, the adventurous days we would spend together filled with playgrounds, jogs, food, naps, races, and laughs. However, his laugh wasn’t present anymore. All the visits to the park were gone. The feet races we used to do weren’t going to happen. My favorite memories (they are all my favorite) were of us going down the stairs. He’d reach for my hand and say in his baby voice, “down.” We’d hold each hands and count each step as we stepped down, one half in English and the other in Spanish. We’d reach the bottom step together and he’d clap. In this real world that I live in without him, going up and down the stairs in the lack of his presence is utterly meaningless and painful. Memories of our breakfast time was also my favorite. He’d run to his high chair and again tell me, “down.” He’d scoot his chair all the way next to the stove where I would be cooking him his eggs. He’d tell me, “papa,” or food, and we’d sing, smile, watch Elmo, and enjoy the presence of life, of living. But I enter the kitchen, and it’s empty of all that used to be there. There isn’t any singing while cooking. The silliness of a spoon full of food flying through the air into the mouth of a baby boy is just a memory.

Riding the lawnmower with my Pebs.

Oh, but how beautiful and joyful are those memories. The beauty of feeling his first kick when I was pregnant. No pain could ever hurt more than the love of feeling that kick inside of me. The fun way we tried to learn how to use the wrap to carry him on will always be more precious to me than the pain of not having him here. It allowed me to hold him close, right next to my heart. I would never exchange that for anything in the world. The feeling of his little fingers wrapped around mine as we walked down the stairs, the sound of his baby voice as we counted the steps, and the cheerful sound he made when we arrived at the bottom will forever be treasured in my heart. The mornings filled with Elmo’s World theme song, the smell of eggs, and our contagious laughter and numerous amounts of surprised kisses, are the mornings that will forever live in my thoughts, my soul, my heart. As I write these memories down, the tears haven’t stopped flowing. I have had to take several breaks and have used a multitude of kleenex, but how could I not want to remember those precious moments with my sweet boy. However more painful it will be to continue reliving moments with him is worth every tear because those times were real. He was with me. It is excruciating, devastating to acknowledge and accept the reality. I will not be creating anymore memories with him, that’s reality. He isn’t living in this world, physically, with me anymore. He is now in heaven, safe, happy, and waiting for me. Yet, the time that he was with me was full of love, happiness, peace, joy, and so many other words of love that can’t be described with ink, paper, or fonts. It’s a feeling so profound, so in depth that it has no adjectives strong enough to bear it’s meaning. I slowly and cautiously venture down memory lane. There are videos and places that I still can’t see or visit, but I am patient and know that one day, I will be ready. Time doesn’t heal the pain, but it gives Strength, Endurance, Peace, and Joy the necessary duration they need to survive this empty world without our child. I live every minute, every second, every beat of the day with a memory of him. Not a moment goes by that he isn’t with me. Most days, I can smile. Every day, I still cry. In all the days, I thank God.

“Real grief is not healed by time…If time does anything, it deepens our grief. The longer we live, the more fully we become aware of who she was for us, and the more intimately we experience what her love meant for us. Real, deep, love is, as you know, very unobtrusive, seemingly easy and obvious, and so present that we take it for granted. Therefore, it is often only in retrospect-or better, in memory-that we fully realize its power and depth. Yes, indeed, love often makes itself visible in pain.                                                                                                                                                -Henri Nouwen

2 thoughts on “Memories

  1. I am so very sorry that you have to go through that. Although I don’t have children yet, I can’t begin to imagine the sorrows and pain that you are feeling. “Don’t be dismayed at goodbyes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.” — Richard Bach

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