When someone who owns a piece of your heart dies…part of you dies with them. When I lost my son seven months ago, my life stopped. The world stopped spinning, my heart stopped beating, my lungs stopped filling, and my life became dark. I slipped into denial…denial that it didn’t happen, it was just a nightmare….that it just couldn’t be. I couldn’t bear the thought of reality. I couldn’t bear the idea of having to continue my life without one of my son’s being a part of it.
Weeks after I lost Cole, the holidays approached. Christmas used to be our favorite holiday….I could always hear Cole’s footsteps coming down the stairs, sometimes at 5 am, to whisper “mom, mom, come on, get up!” But this Christmas, there was a huge emptiness in our home, in our hearts and in our lives.
I remember being at the store, while the speakers hummed Christmas tunes, people wore holiday attire and everyone else’s spirits seemed to be gleeful. They shopped for gifts and decor for their homes. I found myself shopping for decor….to decorate my son’s grave. Flowers to adorn his name plate at the grave site. I chose the most beautiful flowers I could find…I stood there, in the middle of the flower section, watching everyone else. Watching them smile and talk about which item to choose. Watching them load their carts with gifts….I remember trembling, with anguish, heartbreak and anger. I remember my eyes swelling up with tears that made it hard to see. I remember feeling my heart race and wanting to run out of the store. I couldn’t handle it. Why was everyone so happy. Did they not just realize who we lost? Who the world lost?
When someone you love more dearly than life itself dies, part of you dies too. At least it feels like it does. But then a new part of you emerges to the surface. The part of you that says “I am a survivor, I have to find a purpose, a reason…to carry on”. I didn’t know which way to turn, sometimes I still don’t. I didn’t know what to say, how to answer the question, “How are you doing?”, and I still don’t. I’m doing…I’m here, I’m alive. But my son isn’t. Part of my heart is missing. How do you juggle two worlds? How do I allow half of my heart to live in heaven and half of it to live here on earth, for my other son?
It’s a frightening balancing act, and it’s not easy. In fact, it’s the most difficult situation I’ve ever, ever faced in my life. Sometimes it feels impossible, incomprehensible and unbelievable. There are no words to describe the anguish in my heart, my soul and my life. But I’m here. My oldest son deserves the same loving heart that I’ve always given both my boys, and that’s what I am going to do. While I balance the other half of my heart that now lives in heaven.
I can’t do this alone. This is much more than I can handle by myself. Losing a child is a pain that doesn’t exist for most people, unless they’ve experienced it. If you’ve lost a child, you understand the pain and the burden that we have to carry every day.
Time? Time heals wounds? It’s been seven months….seven months since I’ve heard his voice, felt his touch, heard him say “I love you mom”, and heard his infectious laugh. Seven months since I’ve been able to care for him, pick up after him, worry about him. Seven months since I’ve cooked for him or waited up for him. Time doesn’t heal all wounds. It certainly will never heal this one, this wound is something that I have to learn how to live with, how to cope with, and how to survive with.
Life will knock you down. I’ve never been hit so hard in my life than I was on October 21, 2014. So what do we do when this happens? When we see no way out, no light at the end of the tunnel? I had one choice….to seek God. I had to holistically allow Him into my life, my heart and my soul. Without God, I couldn’t survive this. But with God, all things are possible. I keep my faith, I keep hope alive, and I hold on to the promise from God, that I WILL be with Cole again. I just have to wait my turn.
I love you Cole. Forever and always, you own half of my heart.