I was at breakfast with my son last Sunday and he decided to send my Mom a text message, your standard eleven year-old boy text, a string of poo emojis, some hotdogs and a few dozen cat kissy faces, with a note that simply read, “This is Jackson”. I’m sure my Mom would have cracked that code on her own but it was nice of him to include. My Mom responded with “Hi Jackson” and then she followed up with “What are you doing”. Our food had arrived at some point between his sent message and my mom’s received texts so I read her note to him and handed him the phone. I suggested he tell her he’s having breakfast with Mom, and maybe he could send her a picture of his yummy omelet. It was HUGE and delicious, I may have tasted it for poison while he was distracted with my phone, but that’s just good parenting. You should always, always taste test your kid’s food.
He snapped a pic of his plate, did some typing, handed me back my phone, and went back to diving into his breakfast. Before I picked up my keys and the check to head for the door, I looked at my phone and noticed the smallest little tweak he made to my suggested message, “Eating breakfast with “my” mommy”. I’m not sure what it was about that one extra little word that made my eyes leak and my heart swell, but I looked at him and thought to myself, I am his mom. He is my son. How lucky am I that I get to be that, Jackson’s “my mom”. I gave him an awkward hug and a kiss on the head as we headed out, and I keyed a quick note in my phone, “the power of my”. I knew this was a blog topic I would want to cover but I’ve been struggling with putting my finger on what was, what IS so powerful about the word “my”. My, oh my, is there power in that word.
I feel I have a special bond with my son. I know, I know, all parents feel they have “special” bonds with their children but I can’t help but to feel there is something extra special about my son, about being his mom. I think even my son realizes it, he has said to me before “we need each other” and he’s right, we do. I need him just as much as he needs me and on a lot of days, I think maybe more.
Then I started thinking of “my mom” and that made me smile, how simple a thought but it packed quite a punch. Thank God for “my mom”! That this woman who my son calls Oma is “my mom”. We all have our people and I’m blessed with the people I get to call “mine”. Our people, our tribe, our squad, our family, our home…they make us who we are and when we get lost, they bring us back to what is “ours”.
Things that take my breath away? My son, my dad, my mom, my sister, my nephews, my brother in law, these aren’t just people who take space in my life, they make up my heart, they are my heart.
I lost a “my”. Luke was “my Luke” he wasn’t just any old Luke. I’ve been thinking about that a lot, too. I still struggle with the notion of death. I hate, hate the idea that people are replaceable, that people can be lost and we must simply forge on without them, not only forge on but be happy! I know people aren’t replaceable and being happy after loss doesn’t suggest that but I hate the idea of death, of people going away, even worse, people not coming back, ever. It’s not even an idea, it’s a reality.
Luke doesn’t take up physical space in my life but he still resides in my heart, in the misshapen form it has taken since I lost him. How did Luke become a “my”? I really don’t know. I just know I’ll never be the same without him. Once you lose a “my” you’re different and your heart takes on a new shape. Yes, I lost “my Luke” and my heart took a different shape when that happened, but it didn’t decrease in size, I have so much space for more people to become a part of “my list” of mys.
For anyone who has lost a my; my wife, my husband, my brother, my sister, my son, my daughter, my love, my friend…you know the power of my. My becomes so much more powerful when your “my” becomes a past tense. Or does it?
In February of 2018, Luke will have been gone for 3 years. 3 years of nothingness and I still feel the strongest bond, the strongest love for him. Why? Because he was my Luke. I recently started taking a new medication and one of the side effects has been increased dreaming, or maybe it’s just given me the power to remember my dreams. Guess who resides in 90% of my dreams? Luke. I’ll be honest, here. Brutally honest. I am so sick of my own grief. I am over it! I’m tired of being tired. I’m tired of being sad. I’m tired of the dreams. I just want to close the door but I can’t. Why? MY grief isn’t ready. That’s right MY grief. My grief isn’t a choice. My dreams aren’t wishes. I sometimes dread sleep, I sometimes dread waking up, either way…sleep isn’t a place of rest for me, it has become a place of fear and uncertainty. My heart and my mind are having a hard time reconciling what has happened. Almost 3 years later and they still don’t seem to agree. I wish they would sort things out.
I can’t understand my grief, I know many others don’t understand it either and I guess that’s okay because it’s mine. My grief is my personal connection to a loss. I’ll say that again, my personal connection to loss. That’s what grief is, a connection to loss. The connection isn’t lost, there just isn’t anywhere for it to go. I still feel very connected to Luke but he isn’t here, he’s not mine anymore. I have a connection to a loss. I long for something that doesn’t exist anymore. There is no end to me missing Luke. I will miss him forever in some shape or form and accepting that is tough. There isn’t a lot of hope in grief. Grief demands to be felt. My only hope is that time really will heal. I’m still waiting.
Some days I have honestly wondered how in the world I have survived this awful connection to something so sad. My grief has reshaped my heart and my soul. My grief causes aches and pains, my grief rocks the very ground I walk on, but still I walk for all the “my” I still have left in the world and for the “my” that is yet to come. My heart is full of my and I know I reside in the heart of so many as “my” something. I hate feeling sad. I hate missing, I hate this ache, I hate the dreams, I hate the tricks they play. I am tired of my grief so I cling tightly to my other “mys”.
I said something the other day, and I said it out loud, which gave it more power. This is MY life! Do I get to choose my grief? No, I don’t. But I do get to choose to fight like hell every single day to be the best “my mommy” I can be to a not so little, little boy who still calls me “my mommy”. This is MY LIFE! I have a connection to a loss but I am not lost. As long as I am “my” to J, I am found. I am his and he is mine. Maybe the question isn’t always why, maybe the answer is simply “my”. Maybe there is power in not always asking why but being thankful for “my”.
Thank you, J. For the little moments like the one we shared over breakfast the other day. For reminding me of the power of my. I stopped asking why for a second and just thanked God for “my”.
My life, my love, my son. I love you so big and I love you so far. Thank you for reminding me of the power of “my”. You will always be my biggest and best “MY”!