With a silent nod, a single tear streaming down her face, it was over. She lifted her stethoscope, and it was done. There was no more heartbeat. The lifeless form I held in my arms was one of the two I loved most on this earth. My little one. My younger son. My baby boy.
It’s been over nine months since that night. 3:47am. Nine months, and I “should be” fine. I’m finding joy in every day. I’m carrying out a legacy. I’m holding strong for my older son, and I’m clinging like hell to God. But the ache is still present. Some days, it’s stronger than ever. Some days, I just wish his clothes still carried his smell. Some days, it’s easier to breathe, but some days, the grief is thick. I want to be walking easily through life, but instead, I feel like I’m in a river, waist-deep, walking against the thick and rushing current. My legs are weak from the resistance, and the miles are wearing on me, and it would be so much easier just to give in to the current and let it wash me away, wherever it pleases.
This is how grief and loss and devastation feel to me. Every day is worth it, and there is so much joy, but the basics of breathing and living and walking can take so much more effort through the heartache.
Some days its harder. Like the days when it rushes back to me. All the memories. All the moments.
And just like that the current washes over me. It’s one that I haven’t yet learned. The ebbs and flows are unpredictable. The current gives no warning before it thickens. It just does, and I just stand. And I wait. And I whisper little prayers like, “Please” or “I’m so sorry” or “I just miss him.”
But I look beside me, and I see hundreds, thousands of people standing in this river with me. Their own grief threatening to overtake them one moment and calming peacefully the next. I see them, reaching out their hands, and bracing themselves with the strength of others, and I learn that I can, too.
If you’re here in this river with me, let me look you in the eye, take your hand, and I’ll promise you we’re going to make it through. Because of hope, because of grace, because of a whole lot of love and determination and faith, we won’t have to fight the thick of the rushing current forever. The pain will always be there, but it won’t always be this hard. For now, on the days when it’s too hard and just giving in and floating away would be so much easier, stop walking and stand. Stand. Let the water wash over you. Let it cleanse you and heal you. And if all you can bear to do is stand for a while, then do it. And reach out and find a few who will stand with you and carry you through.
It’s been nine months, and I replay that first night over and over in my mind. My subconscious sits in it, comfortably, remembering my lips kissing his cheeks one more time. Some days, it’s gentle, and the current is easy. And some days, the current rushes.
On all those days, I reach out and reach up, and I remember that no matter how thick grief may feel, I’m not alone. I’m never alone.