I thought I had forgotten but it’s never far from my heart. I lied to myself and I believed the lie. Recently, I was at a family holiday party, surrounded by people who I love and love me, and there he was; my beautiful reminder. With his tender, sweet, barely 2-year-old smile, he tore the wound wide open. There should have been two 2-year-olds playing at the party but there is only one.
I sat in silence, with a vaseline smile plastered on my face, trying to mask the pain of the deep wound. Trying to remember to breathe. My eyes were burning but I dared not blink for fear that my secret might be revealed. I made small talk but I don’t remember a word that I said because I was so engrossed in my own inner monologue reminding myself not to cry; to be happy because I have so much to be thankful for.
In the background, I could hear my dear, sweet, amazing 1-year-old niece giggling and mouthing what might be words, or near enough. She is fully engaged. I am smitten with her. Simultaneously, the worn bandage that holds my heart together begins to pull and yank. So much happiness, only makes the emptiness that much more unbearable.
I fool myself into believing that I forget, then I punish myself with guilt but when I allow my heart to remember,to feel the full weight of what I’ve lost, it’s almost impossible in these moments. The moments that sneak up on you in the midst of your everyday life and cut you to your quick, reminding you that you’re not whole. That you will never be who you were before that day; that single moment that changed you forever.
Don’t blink. You’ll miss what’s happening because you’ll be blinded by what could have been. It’s hard to look directly into the sweet face of what should have been and know that it never will. I was overcome by anger, sadness, envy and then all-consuming guilt because I have more than I deserve.
Sleep in heavenly peace, my dear sweet one. I’ve survived another year without you, but you’re always with me. I carry you; I carry your heart in my heart; forever and always.