I’m not a writer by any means. I don’t even keep a journal. In recent weeks though, I’ve found myself writing lengthy posts, texts, and emails about my experience. Experience. It makes it sound so normal and, in a way, it is. I experienced the death of someone close to me. In that, I’m not alone, I know that. People die every day, it’s a natural thing. None of us were meant to be here forever. The difference between me and a lot of other people is that I lost my child. My only child. I know I’m not the first, or last, mother to experience this. What most people don’t know, and what I’ve been scared to admit for years, is that a part of me has known this day was coming. I knew I would live to see my child die. I did everything I could think of to keep this from happening, yet it still did.
You see, my son was quite sick. Not the kind of sick you can always see, or recognize. My son suffered from mental illness. Even at this point in time, it’s still very difficult to talk about with people who haven’t experienced it first hand. He was one of the most generous, caring, thoughtful, kind, and truly genuine people I’ve ever known. If you were lucky, you knew that part of him. He was also manipulative and cruel. That wasn’t really him, that was his illness. He was extremely intelligent and had a unique way of looking at almost everything. Sometimes it was difficult having a conversation with him because you’d feel so lost. Where did he come up with some of these ideas? He was also in constant pain. He was struggling every day, just to get through to the next. I always hoped he’d get the help I thought he needed. Help I hoped was out there. We had many, many conversations about what I thought would help, and he’d argue that it wouldn’t. His moods were on a cycle. Every few months his mood would get extremely dark. We’d talk about how hopeless he felt, and the fact that he didn’t want to do ‘this’ anymore. By ‘this’, he meant ‘live’. It broke my heart every time I heard that from him. Several weeks before his death, we were having one of these conversations, and I said something I’d never said to him before. I told him, while I can’t help him die, and I don’t want him too, more than anything else, I don’t want him to suffer anymore. I told him that if he’s only here because I want him to be, that’s selfish on my part. ‘I don’t want you to stay here just because of me’ I said, as tears ran down my face. It was the hardest thing I ever did……or so I thought at the time.
Two weeks later I waited outside his friend’s house while paramedics were working on him. They tried to bring him back for about an hour. When I saw the paramedic come out of the house I knew what he was going to tell me. “I’m very sorry, we did everything we could, he’s dead.” Dead. I was going to call him tomorrow, I’d been giving him some space.
I have questions, but the answers won’t change anything. I have thoughts of things I could’ve done differently, but that won’t change anything either. I’m trying to focus mainly on the things that he told me over and over again through the years. ‘I don’t want to hurt you’, ‘I don’t want to die alone’, ‘I don’t want it to hurt’. I hurt, but it’s ok, it’s because I loved you more than anyone. You weren’t alone, you were surrounded by friends. I hope and pray that you didn’t feel anything or were even aware of what was happening. I know you’re at peace now. The struggles, the pain, the torment, they’re gone for you, and for that I’m grateful. That helps me get through each day. I also know you’re with me, I can feel you in little things I see or do. Last night was the first time since you died that you appeared in a dream. It was your beautiful smiling face, just a flash of it, in the middle of a dream. Thank you for stopping by to say hello. I love you around the world a million times, turkey noodle.
I’ll never be the same and that’s okay was originally written for Trying to Find a New Normal. Check out more writings from Dawn there!