Today marks five years since my life was split into two – marked by a radically profound ‘before and after’. May 8th marks the day you received the crushing, mind-numbing diagnosis: childhood cancer. As the words fell from the doctor’s mouth, my universe stopped from spinning on its axis. The ground disappeared beneath me – my vision and hearing simultaneously lost capabilities. I could literally feel the air being sucked from my lungs, and my heart being ripped from its cavity. In hindsight, my soul instinctively knew what my mind was struggling to process: nothing would ever be the same.
Despite the chaos that consumed my every fiber, I recall each and every moment. I’ve played the reel, frame by frame, in my mind countless times. Sometimes it plays in slow motion, and I find myself trying to will my energy ‘just a little harder’ to transport myself back in time, so I can jump in; stop the production; and carry you safely back to bed. Other times, the reel speeds ahead on fast forward. It plays without warning – and without permission. No matter how hard I try, I’m not able to turn it off, nor am I able to turn my eyes away from watching the gruesome details. Over. And over again. If it weren’t for the weight of the grief I carry inside me and the hole in my heart, the exact size and shape of you, most of the time I still wouldn’t believe any of this is real.
I have endured an immeasurable amount loss, pain, guilt, heartache and despair throughout the past five years. Still, all of it combined pales in comparison to the pain you suffered. I haven’t yet been able to forgive myself for failing to protect you and for failing to save you. I doubt I ever will. All these days and nights later – I cannot wrap my mind around the fact that I didn’t figure it out sooner. I am sorry. I am sorry. I am so very sorry.
The wreckage of this motherload of all shit-storms has brought with it many beautifully complicated lessons. (Juxtapositions seem to be a mainstay in this life of love and loss, my darling. But, more on that later.) One of the most important take-aways being how precious and fragile our time is in this world. We are all one phone call, one car accident, one unexpected discovery, one diagnosis away – from being robbed of time. I wish more people would realize this without having to be faced with a life-altering event, before it was ‘too late’…before they became ‘one of us’. Perhaps, we are the lucky ones, Diddy? For, I’ve come to believe that one is not able to love with true abandon, until faced with the uncertainty of time. In loving you, I’ve been blessed to have experienced love in the purest, deepest, most enduring way.
I loved you from the moment I first saw your faint heartbeat on the ultrasound machine; to your first breath, until your last breath. I’ve loved you every moment thereafter. I never experienced mother love, until you came into my life. Alas, the motherlove I hold for you is different than most others: because it’s reflective of the resolve, determination and grace you showed throughout your short time on this earth. And, it mirrors the unceasing and desperate measures I traversed – and the deals and vows I made, as I begged and pleaded with the universe to spare you.
We were robbed of so much time together, Paxton. You were robbed of far more. I was not ready to say good-bye. I am still not ready. I will never accept that this was your destiny and I will never stop asking, ‘Why?’. Yet, if given the option to do it again – knowing it would end the same, I would choose you. If I were told that I would only be able to have you with me in this lifetime for 141 days, I would still chose you. If I knew the thousands of tears I would cry, and the thousands more I’ll yet shed – out of a sea of millions, I would search the world over until I found you. I’d wrap you in my arms and hold you close. With my lips against your forehead, I’d revel in the feeling of our hearts beating in tandem – if even for one more moment.
Paxton, I would choose you. Again. And again. And, yet again. You’re worth it all. You always were. You always will be.
Wherever you are, and wherever you roam – promise Momma that you’ll love until your heart bursts. That you’ll love until you run dry. And, that then you’ll love a little bit longer.
My life has been split into two – marked by an indelible ‘before and after’. But our love is not defined by a before and after. By a diagnosis. Or by death. Our love is far more powerful than all the forces in the universe. It transcends lifetimes, crosses worlds, and extends through time, space and distance.
My blue-eyed boy, you are mine. I am yours. For eternity.