I pull out the memories like treasures from a locked strongbox.
“Handle With Care” because they are all I have left.
But they are not enough.
They will never be enough to satisfy this mama’s heart.
We are supposed to have to remember our elders, our grandparents, even, maybe our spouse at some point-but not our children.
I knew my son from before he made his entrance into the wide world. He had already danced his way into my heart before he took his first step on solid ground. He was part of me from the moment of conception.
I waited breathlessly to see his face for the first time.
I never expected that I would also see it for a last time.
We all have people we expect to outlive-our grandparents, our parents, elderly friends and neighbors-but not our child.
As our loved ones age, the wise among us begin to catalog and carefully store all those “lasts” or soon-to-be “lasts”. We ask for stories to make sure we can keep telling them. We take extra photographs, make extra phone calls and write down recipes.
I was living life forward with Dominic-just like all my kids. We were a busy, busy family and I was never very good at scrapbooking or saving up the ordinary flotsam of everyday life.
So while I have some pictures, memorabilia and tokens of his too-short life, I don’t have nearly enough. Oh, how I wish I had more! Not to create a museum or a shrine but to help my poor brain remember.
When someone says, “Just think of the good memories” it triggers all kinds of emotions and not one of them is what the person intends when giving me that advice.
I feel guilty-guilty for all the things I CAN’T remember.
Dominic is my third child and only 19 months older than his younger brother. There are so many gaps from those early years because I was overwhelmed and tired. Why can’t I conjure up images of him at 3 or 4?
I feel incredibly sad-sad that whatever memories I DO have are all I will ever have. I had the memories BEFORE my son wasn’t walking with me and had planned on making many more.
So focusing on memories brings little solace.
Even at 4 1/2 years into this journey, I’m torn when I pull out the memories.
I can smile now about many of them, but it’s always bittersweet.
Because this treasure trove is as large as it will ever be. ❤