Almost anyone you ask anticipates that Thanksgiving and Christmas, two family-centered holidays, are difficult days and seasons for bereaved parents.
And they are. Especially for families that enjoyed special times around the table, unhurried visits reminiscing about years past and traditions that reinforce the unique heritage of their shared history.
But this time of year is also challenging for me and many other parents who have lost a child.
The mailbox is flooded with graduation and wedding announcements. Social media newsfeeds are packed full of smiling parents surrounding relieved and grinning kids proudly displaying the culmination of their educational efforts. Pretty soon photos will be rolling in as folks head to their personal “happy place” for family fun in the sun, mountains or amusement park.
Our own family participated in two graduations and a wedding within weeks of Dominic’s accident.
My youngest child, Julian, graduated from UAB on April 26th-five days after we buried Dominic.
He walked the same stage where his brother had given the undergraduate commencement speech a few years prior.
Less than two more weeks and we were celebrating Dr. James Michael DeSimone as he graduated from Auburn University School of Veterinary Medicine.
Six weeks later-James Michael married his bride, Lillie, on June 21, two days shy of my thirtieth anniversary.
Last May, Dominic’s University of Alabama School of Law class graduated.
Some of his friends graciously arranged for me to receive his Juris Doctorate degree posthumously.
I sat, both proud and stricken, as his name was announced at the end of the graduating class and his photo flashed on the giant screen above my head.
So please bear with me and all the other mamas whose children aren’t here.
While I rejoice with those that rejoice, I am also reminded, again, of what I have lost.
If it takes a little longer for me to send a graduation card, if I don’t “like” your status or post a sweet comment-it’s really NOT you, it’s ME.