In 9 days one of my biggest dreams will come true… I will graduate from College with a Double Degree in two areas I adore, Graphic Design and Digital Imaging. I will be official in being what makes me, ME. It’s a huge accomplishment. I will relish that moment and that joy, knowing, deep inside, something is missing.
While I am very proud of what I was able to do, which was very hard at times to even have the luxury to attend classes, I can’t help but remember that this year, 2013, should not have been about me or my graduation at all, it should have been Alex’s.
I will always have that feeling of ‘something is missing’, or better, ‘someone is missing’.
Alex, my first baby that was stillborn at full term, would have been 18 years old as of this past March 1, hence he would most likely be a Senior in High School, graduating this year. This next fall he would be heading to College himself. As any parent who had to bury their own flesh and blood, those feelings of “what could have been” will linger on until I take my last breath.
As I wrote in my book “Losing Alex“, my first moment of true “missing you so much I can’t breathe” feeling, came when I had to go to my 6 week check-up. Seeing all the moms with their babies cooing and happy proved to be too much for me to bear, so afterwards I went to the cemetery to visit my son in tears. Ever since then, there have been many ‘could have been’s’, from his first Easter, first Christmas, first Birthday, first swimsuit, first day at the beach, first day of Kindergarten, first Grade, first everything… any and all, one different from the other, and yet another stake in my heart with each one.
And yet, I feel many are going to be reading this feeling that it’s been a long time… why does she still need to talk about it? I tell you why, because nobody does, and they don’t because they know people don’t want to hear it, they don’t want to make people feel uncomfortable. Moms grieve in silence. But not this one. I will be their voice. In fact, what makes me so resilient in being their voice is something that happened four months after Alex died, when someone asked how we were doing and when we replied “not too good”, they were shocked… “Still?”
Yes, Still. And it still is, 18 years later, never mind 4 months, and it will forever be, no need to be shocked. I made my peace with that. Alex is part of me and will forever be. I am sorry to disappoint those that don’t want to hear it, I am sorry if that makes you uncomfortable, grief is not something that can be ‘dealt with’ or ‘get over’, it’s something we learn to live with.
Next Friday, May 31st, I will march down the aisle with my cap and gown, holding two 2013 tassels, knowing one of them is for my son. He won’t be missing this one. I am walking it for him.