If I Had Only Known

If I’d have only known…

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve said this since my son died. When he passed away my mother booked the first flight out and came to be by my side immediately. Over the next several days her and I would spend hours on my cold bathroom floor. My head in her lap like a child, sobbing endlessly, willing to give anything to have him back. She stroked my hair. Without saying a word she just sat, letting me be.

When you lose a child everything changes. You change. Relationships change. Everything you once knew changes. Life forever changes.

The change between my mother and I eventually happened too.

Over the next few months she became distant. I didn’t hear from her as often. She didn’t call me on the hard dates; the birthdays and angel anniversaries. During my grief season I am so engulfed in the loss and pain I honestly wouldn't realize it until sometimes weeks after the fact. When I did realize it I didn’t understand it. I tried to imagine my own daughter losing her child and I couldn’t comprehend her absence.

If I’d have only known…

Several months ago she was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. Almost three years after losing our son. My schedule quickly changed to flying back and forth between her and home. Aside from going to doctor’s appointments, tests, radiation - aside from the cancer - I learned things I never knew about her with each trip. I began to see she was anything but absent over the past three years.

If I'd have only known...

In her dresser drawer she kept printed copies of everything I would write about my journey after losing my baby.

Her office was covered with photos of him, beautiful quotes she had his name added on and information and donation jars for his foundation.

The background photo of her computer at home was a picture of me holding on tightly to his favorite blanket.

Every Christmas since he died his name was the first one listed on her Christmas list, always sending something special to add to his tree.

How deeply saddened she was she never had a chance to meet him before he left us. Not only did she lose a grandson, she lost a daughter too. Watching me go through the hardest loss you can experience broke her own heart in a very similar way mine was broken. A part of me died with him and she knew she could never fix it.

If I’d have only known…

I would be left without the person I brought into this world and without the person that brought me into this world.

If I’d have only known…

How soon I’d have to tell them both goodbye. My only comfort now is knowing they are together and one day I will be with them.