I have been much more at peace lately than I have ever been since Calvin died. I'm not quite sure why, but perhaps it's because that dreaded one year angelversary has come and gone. In the first months after losing our son, time was very important. I counted the days, weeks, months without our boy. I couldn't get over that x amount of time had passed and that I was still living. Guilt ate at me constantly. As Calvin's year approached, I became extremely agitated. Not only was I dreading Georgia's birthday with the cake dilemma, but I felt an overwhelming sense that I was moving further and further away from my son. It made me angry and incredibly sad. How in the world do you justify your life carrying on when your child's life does not? Some would call it survivor's guilt I suppose, that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach that accompanies the question "Why him and not me?". I don't think there is one more thing that I could have felt guilty about when it comes to Calvin's life and death, I'm pretty sure that I felt guilty over every possible thing that could have happened to either cause his heart defect, cause the trauma he suffered during surgery, cause the overdose that I'm sure contributed in some way to his fragile state, or to cause the bleed in his brain because of ECMO. The guilt has not given me any sense of peace or any answer why, nor has it changed the situation. Although I have wished a thousand times that I could go back and do this or that differently, I can't. Calvin's death cannot be undone no matter how much bargaining I do with God, no matter how much baggage I carry on my self-imposed guilt trip. I think I am just beginning to realise this. And oddly, I have felt more at peace in this past couple of weeks than I have all year.
Another thing I have noticed as of late is that I am turning off the sappy music, changing the channel from sad shows that used to leave me paralyzed in tears as I watched someone else's tragedy unfold. I WANT to feel better. And I don't feel bad about wanting to either. I'm actually kind of surprised that I am okay with this. In the beginning, I desperately searched out anything that held meaning. Books, music, blogs, movies, anything I could relate to my pain. I was seeking some form of enlightenment that would give me answers, put my fears to rest and reassure me that I would see my son again in Heaven. The more I searched, the more focused I became on Calvin's loss and the pain became insurmountable. I doubted I would ever enjoy my life again. I expected to feel empty forever.
As of late, there has been a subtle shift in my feelings, a hint of light shining through. I'm not sure why, perhaps it has come merely through the passing of time, the softening of loss. Maybe it's because I have acknowledged that I am tired of feeling sad all the time and realize that only I can find the joy within again. Maybe it's the Christmas spirit that has filled my heart with hope for my life and my family. I'd like to think it's a gift from my son who perhaps whispered in my ear as I lay sleeping, "Time to smile again Mom...you need to start feeling better." Wherever this change came from, I appreciate the respite. Grief is exhausting, sucking the life right out of you. Yes, my son is dead and I miss him so very much, miss all the possibility for his life and the dreams I held for him. However, despite the fact that I miss Calvin, I can still love him. I can still imagine his beautiful eyes and curly blonde hair and I can remember how he felt in my arms, how his cheeks felt under my kiss. The remembering him and his life makes my heart shine with joy and love for my only son. And with it brings a feeling of serenity, that although my son has flown away, my love for him lives on and will never die despite the passage of time. I think I'm done searching for peace, and instead will embrace it when it comes to me.
Maybe This Year Will Be Better Than the Last*
3 weeks ago