Those hours before I planted one last kiss on my son’s forehead, I held his hand.
I nodded at the people filing past to pay their respects with my arm tucked behind me, desperate to cling to my child.
And I’m still clinging.
I will not let him go.
I don’t care how many days or months or years march on taking me further from the sound of his voice, the touch of his hand or the brightness of his smile-I refuse to release my grasp.
It’s hard for someone who has never buried a child to understand why we who have are compelled to speak about them, to post pictures of them, to air our great grief and share our great hope of reunion.
I didn’t have a clue before it was me.
But this is all we have.
There will be no new experiences, no fresh memories, no photos marking higher achievements or life passages.
So I will hold onto Dominic as a little boy who was so stubborn he would sit in the floor and cry in frustration because he couldn’t yet crawl.
I will hold onto Dominic as a young man who could argue anyone under the table until they gave in because, right or wrong, he wasn’t giving up.
I will hold onto Dominic who taught himself how to play the drums and pounded away when I took my daily walk so that it wouldn’t be too loud for my ears.
I will hold onto Dominic who talked his way into a program that admitted few students even though he had missed the first semester of classes.
I will hold onto Dominic who could fight like a banty rooster when he was mad but be as tender as a mother hen with someone who was hurting.
I will hold onto Dominic who would have never wanted this for me, who would have done anything he could to prevent this great sorrow resting on my shoulders.
I refuse to let go.
Because he is my son.
There is no past tense for a mother’s love.