It’s different for every heart.
But each of us who know child loss have a season of grief.
It’s so much more than “just” the day our child left for Heaven.
For me, it starts in November and runs through the end of May-fully half of
November 2013 was my 50th birthday and the kids arranged a surprise party for me at Dominic’s apartment. My husband was home from California and we were all together for my birthday, Thanksgiving and the Iron Bowl. So many memories, so many moments.
As the leaves begin to turn in Alabama, my heart begins the countdown.
Then that Christmas-it would be the last one where the table was full and all I have are a few fuzzy photos because we anticipated a spring season of graduations and a wedding. Plenty of time for better pictures when we were dressed for the camera.
As we hang the lights and the nights get longer, my heart gets sadder.
January was back to routine. Everyone busy. James Michael and Julian would be graduating soon. We had normal back and forth texts and messages, never knowing how precious these few recorded words would become.
As we move toward warmer weather, my heart grows cold.
February 14, 2014 was Julian’s birthday and for a couple of hours all the kids were home. We sat outside on an old trailer laughing and cutting up. Someone suggested a photo. Everyone demurred because we were in ragged work clothes and thought it was a waste of time. Oh, how I wish I had that picture now!
But there’s no going back.
I saw Dominic in March a few times. Since he lived just 25 miles away I would meet him to go to Sam’s Club and stock up on basic food stuffs. He came out to our place to work on a friend’s car. He and Julian met up and made a road trip for Spring Break.
It was the last time I’d see him alive. My heart hates turning the calendar to April.
April. What can I say about this awful, awful month?
I will never be able to recapture any sense of hopeful anticipation as flowers bloom and leaves bud. I don’t care when the last frost might be because try as I might, I can’t plant a garden. When the first really beautiful day arrives, whether or not it corresponds to Dom’s death date, it only makes me fearful other young men will take their bikes out for a ride after a long, cold winter. I wonder how many mamas wake to a knock or phone call.
The smell of cut grass reminds me of the people that came to help us clean up before the funeral. The sun streaming in the living room window conjures the mornings I woke and dared it to shine in the face of such tragedy.
My heart barely holds on.
And then May. Mother’s Day-what kind of mother lets her son die? Even though logic tells me otherwise, my heart still accuses.
Graduations, weddings–reminders that Dominic never got to finish his law degree, will never marry and that every single molecule of him is gone, gone, gone-no children, no likeness ever looking back at me again in this life.
Finally, there’s his birthday-the one he missed by only a few short weeks. Forever 23. Never any older. May 28th comes and goes. Sometimes it’s on Memorial Day like the year he was born but often not. So I gird my loins to face the date AND the day.
My heart hurts but breathes a sigh of relief.
This season is over. But it will come again.
So I try, try, try to cram as much into the intervening months as possible.
The calendar is relentless.
11 thoughts on “Season of Grief: How a Heart Marks the Days”
My calendar runs similar to yours. My son died on April 11th, the day before Easter that year. It was two days before his brother’s birthday. I feel so bad for him. We have to get past the anniversary of his brother’s death before we can celebrate him. His birthday was May 17th. Which, of course, falls after Mother’s Day. We get a brief reprieve before my husband and I have our birthdays in August. We can outrun the calendar. 😔
I meant to say we can’t outrun the calendar. But I know you knew what I meant.
I will be thinking of you and praying for your comfort and peace on Monday, May 28th. I know this pain all too well and so appreciate your writing.
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My heart will especially remember you on May 28, Melanie. It’s my birthday too.
Bless you and keep writing for us💙💛
Oh…..The calendar is cruel. I so understand the dates that taunt us. My husband’s mother missed his 40th birthday, and our son missed my 50th. Because we had 4 children (6 including our 2 unborn babies) – our calendar is relentless, we start off January with the loss of my mother-in-law right after one of my son’s birthday and the loss of one of our babies. Mother’s day, Memorial day, and our son’s birthday are much too close together. But I think it gets harder when fall sets in. The colder days, the end of fresh growth, the anniversary of my daughter’s wedding right before our son’s death, and his wedding that never will be celebrated. Then sprinkled throughout the rest of the year, it’s inconveniently full of at least one or two birthdays, anniversaries and losses. Every. Single. Month.
Oh my how I ache for you, these last few days and up to and including 28th…how do we bear them?……but we do.
Ours spans from Luke coming back home to live with us at the beginning of December to 17th June (Father’s day this year). At the moment it feels like a pan of milk simmering. No matter what, I know I will not be able to catch it before it overheats and boils over. 💔
My daughter was murdered on my
birthday (April 25th), three weeks after Easter (April 8th), a week before her birthday (May 3rd) and 2 1/2 weeks before Mother’s Day. (May 13th). I dread April and May. Then there is a Thanksgiving and Christmas a month apart. Her daughter’s birthday is Feb 28th (she was 3 at the time and present when her mom was killed). Not to mention all the memories of lasts all year long. It never ends.
My husband died the first Sunday in May, the second weekend is Mother’s day. Veronica’s birthday is in June, as is mine. It’s always bittersweet now. She was born with in days of father’s day. Again, so bittersweet…she died in the middle August, just days before senior year. My husbands birthday is in September. So, much like you Melanie, I remember all that is lost and can never retrieve any of it. My last goodbye to my husband was I love you, it’s ok to go. He died of cancer. Our daughter was killed 3 months later. My last goodbye to her was earlier in the day before we went our own way for the day…”see you tonight, I love you!” I did see her that evening, in the ER. She had already died. Thankyou Melanie for your daily blog! Hugs to all parents
Mine starts in November and barrels through January….. in the beginning it was every Wednesday …. every rainy day … every 18th of the month. Thank you once again for sharing….
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