The holidays have nearly passed. And for me, that is a good thing. Holidays remind me of who is missing, and that I will never ever again be the same person I used to be – a mom. I know that I used to be someone before my son was born, but that was so long ago and I was so young then that the memory of that old me has disappeared. So, my new life is all about creating a new me. I’m sure she is in here somewhere.
For those who have lost their children the holidays can be extremely difficult, especially for those of us who have lost our only (or all of our) children. Facebook is filled with photos of happy families. Everyone I meet on the street is talking about their family at this time of year. I don’t have much to say in that department – my family is dead. No one wants to hear about that, not even me.
I love children and hearing about other people’s children. But something is different during the holidays. I feel really left out. I miss my son so much now. Four years is really so little time to recover from the loss of the biggest part of me. I’m not really sure recovery is even possible. Maybe the most I can hope for is a kind of acceptance. And I don’t have little people, grandchildren, the legacy of my beautiful son. What is left for me is my own life and the children other people are willing to share with me. And for that I am grateful. I’ve felt really lucky to have some new and old friends bring their kids around for holiday meals at my house; there have even been some complete strangers with their kids turning up to my secret restaurant.
The future stretches out ahead of me. I’m still so young. There will be as many years ahead of me as there are behind me. So, I need to find a way to keep going, a way to keep swimming upstream against this current of loss and grief. This journey takes strong muscles. I was not born with these muscles. They are like the undeveloped parts of the brain that are sometimes developed by people who have had extreme head injuries. They are like the little antlers that grow out from little soft bumps at a certain point in the adult deer.
Like a salmon I’ve wandered huge distances in my life. But four years ago I started this new life. It was not planned, and I seriously doubt it was programmed into me, as some of my New Age friends would like to have me believe. When salmon go home to spawn they too have to develop all new muscles.
I read this in Wikipedia today:
“As the salmon comes to end of its ocean migration and enters the estuary of its natal river, its energy metabolism is faced with two major challenges: it must supply energy suitable for swimming the river rapids, and it must supply the sperm and eggs required for the reproductive events ahead.”
I’m not going home to breed. And I am not going home to die, as so many salmon do in prespawn mortality. Or not now anyway. But I am running upward, going home like they do, using my new strong muscles to go home to the new me, to give birth to the new me. Using some innate homing device I hope to discover this new person in my natal river.