After work today, I met my husband and son for dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant. I think we all have one of those. Our favorite restaurant serves authentic cuisine and warm corn chips. Afterward, they were off to play poker and I reluctantly headed home. Alone isn’t a bad thing, but coming home to a quiet, empty house is a painful reminder of the loss. Over Christian’s life, the most time he ever spent away from me was during MDA summer camp which lasted for a week. When you care for a child with special needs, you develop a deeper connection, especially when you physically care for them 24/7. When Christian passed away I felt like I was thrown into an alternate universe. After 16 months I have become used to the new normal, but I still have moments when the realization that Christian isn’t with us makes my world turn on it’s side for a bit. Over time the dizzying effect doesn’t last as long but it will never be easy, just bearable.
Almost every time I have found myself alone in the house missing my boy, I turn on the music. Christian had so much passion for music. He enjoyed 90’s rap like NAS, current rap like Wiz Khalifa and Kid Cudi, and classics such as the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney. He talked me into buying several vinyls during the last year of his life. He encouraged me to buy the vinyl even though I had the CD because the quality would be worth it. Christian even talked me into buying music that he knew I enjoyed but he didn’t much care for either way. He grew to enjoy a lot of my favorite alternative bands like Interpol and Bare Hands.
They say that it changes a person when someone you love dies. That is an understatement. I felt hollowed out for the longest time and had to rediscover who I was. I was a caregiver for both boys for over 10 years. It took me weeks, even months, to stop setting out two sets of pills at mealtime. Not all of the changes have been negative. I would never have believed it if someone told me I would gain anything from losing someone who was as much a part of me as Christian was.
When I see a beautiful sunset, I see so much more than what I used to see. I see something amazing and holy. I feel a stirring inside of me that I have never felt. I see and feel God when I see the rays shining through the clouds, the chickadee in the pine tree, the beautiful pattern on the carpet at work from the sun shining through the window or when I see the stars in the sky. I feel a joy inside that I can’t explain when I look at things that to another person, may seem like nothing. It makes me feel guilty at times. How can I have moments of joy after losing my son and watching Andrew deal with the same complications as Christian did?
When we lean on the Lord, the amazing happens. The journey of grief is far from easy but we do not have to endure it alone. God heals us. God loves us.
As I listened to a song by Deathcab for Cutie, which Christian also enjoyed, I heard guitar melodies I didn’t hear before. Music touches me at a deeper level, bringing me to tears or making me want to get up and dance (listen to Stolen Dance by Milky Chance and you’ll know what I mean). Just knowing Christian and caring for him has given me a deep appreciation for life. I want to reach out and help those who have lost a loved one and I pray and I cry for them. I will not waste my pain. Instead I will find a way to help in a way that I know Christian would be proud of. I hope my posts offer a bit of hope and remind you that you are never alone.