My breath catches. My heart races. I remember.
I remember when they were five and six. When they ran around with my son. I remember now how many years have passed, how long it’s been. I’m watching. Sitting on the outside, peering in. Wondering. Wishing. Tenderly remembering, trying to breathe. One breath. One moment. One day, one minute at a time.
The world still spins and time moves on. My other children have grown. But in 10-year-grief, the world stands a bit still.
The 5-year-old, toothless smile. Shy hellos to his friends. Missing him. Missing them. Missing that.
When he died, I built walls. I placed myself on the outside, watching. I couldn’t bear to be there. To see them closely. Hear their voices. Be in their little lives. I didn’t know my place. It was taken from me when he stopped breathing. I no longer belonged.
These friends, moms of his friends, reached out and remembered. They fed us and cared for us, but I couldn’t be with them without him. Small doses, push aside, bury deep. Smile on the outside. Come home and cry.
Middle school, homecoming, youth group.
Driving. Prom. Graduating.
I’m undone. Running into them. Watching them.
What would he be like now? What would it feel like to be his mom? When his arms wrapped around me tight? His toothy grin or teenage scowl? His laugh. His hair. The conversations I don’t get to have.
He is complete and whole and holy. He is with his Creator, his Maker, his Savior. He no longer feels pain or exclusion or suffering or loss. He doesn’t have to carefully select his food or fight for his every breath. He doesn’t have to find the words to tell me he’s in pain or ashamed. Everything, for him, is made right.
But I miss him. Grief that never goes away ebbs and flows and grows with the years. It has been forever since I held my son, and I long for him more today than any other day.
Death still stings.
Because we are still here. And everything here is tainted with broken. I cannot comprehend the true beauty or perfection of Heaven just yet. I can only hope, imagine, dream, and trust. Walk in faith. But I feel weak. Lean on Him, but he feels far.
Bring the pain, the grief, the suffering. Lay it at the foot of the cross. Bow down. Worship. Beg. Plead. Praise. Pray.
And walk away . . .
Because death still stings. but God is good.
Because this world is broken, but He is coming to make all things new.
Because I am weak, but He is strong.