Thursday, February 18, 2016

Wrestling with Guilt

It was late in the afternoon on Christmas day and over 200 miles away from my son's grave when I realized I had forgotten to go on Christmas day. Guilt, a sudden flooding rush of it, consumed me. What kind of mother does that?  What kind of mother forgets her child? Apparently, this one.

I awoke early Christmas morning, before my husband and my two boys, and sat quietly in the living room, sipping my coffee and staring into the warm glow of lights from our tree. I thought about Cain then, about how much I missed him, how much I wished he could be there to open presents with us. More than anything, I wondered what he would look like now and how his arms would feel around me as he thanked me for the best Christmas yet.  I was lost in my thoughts, daydreaming with my heart and missing my child.

When the boys awoke from their slumber, the presents were opened, and we were packed and soon on our way to my parents' house for the remainder of our Christmas day. I suppose in the scurrying of the morning is when I forgot to go to his grave.  I was so caught up in the events of the day that it didn't even cross my mind, that is, until I was too far away to go. That’s the moment the guilt hit me, I mean really hit me. I felt as though guilt had literally reached up or down or from wherever it was lurking and punched me squarely in the stomach, making it hard for me to breathe.
I suppose I’ve been wrestling with that latest wave of guilt since Christmas. That is until a few nights ago when I had myself one of those big, ugly cries. You know, the one where your mascara looks like something out of a horror movie, and you cry so much that you feel you can’t even gasp for air. Truth is, most days, on some level, life without my son is like a horror movie, except it’s not a movie, and the horror is far too real. And just like in those movies, there are times I wonder if I’ll get out alive. But here I am, making it, surviving, until that next wave of guilt hits at some unknown place at a time when I’ll least expect it. While I won't know when and where it will happen, I can almost bet, its next visit will be just as debilitating as the last.

The longer I am on this journey, though, the more I understand. It’s just part of missing my child. Most days are good for me. Others are bad, and sometimes, they are really, really bad. But through each of those days, I look up and know my son is up there, in heaven. He's up there somewhere. I don’t know what he’s doing or if he sees me here, missing him, but I have to believe in the deepest part of my heart that he knows how much I love him, how I would give my life if it would mean he could have his back . . . even if I didn’t make it to his grave on Christmas Day.


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