“They know me in a way no one else ever has. They open me to things I never knew existed. They drive me to insanity and push me to my depths. They are the beat of my heart, the pulse of my veins, and the energy in my soul – they are my kids.” – Terri St Cloud
I love this quote by Terri St Cloud. It speaks right to my heart about how I feel about my kids. There’s nothing I’ve loved more than being a mom to them. Funny thing is, it was a surprise. When I was pregnant with our firstborn, my husband, Ron, wanted me to be a stay-at-home mom and I said no way. I enjoyed working and couldn’t see myself home all day with a baby. I was working full time and my job allowed 6 months off so I was going to take that and then go back to work. Of course, that didn’t happen.
I fell madly in love the minute I laid eyes on Matt, our beautiful baby boy.
So I became a full-time mom and two years later we had our son, Brian. I remember when I was pregnant with him, I was afraid that I would never be able to love him as much as I loved Matt. But mother-nature knows what she’s doing. They were each so different and I loved everything about them. Not that I didn’t have moments of frustration and screaming babies, but they touched my heart in a way no-one had ever done before. They needed me and I needed them.
I was so lucky I was able to stay home with them when they were little – thank you, Ron. They grew up, went to college and became amazing, kind young men.
When I think of my life and what I’m most proud of, it’s that we raised two truly wonderful men of integrity, who are so kind and loving.
And then Matt died. Losing Matt is indescribably painful. No one should ever lose a child, it’s unnatural and just too much to ask of a parent. I wonder how someone can feel this much pain and survive. It feels like happiness is over for me, but I can still have moments when I’m happy so that’s not quite right. It’s more that my default mode is no longer happiness, now it’s sorrow. I’m learning how to be happy while being in pain at the same time.
Because the thing about grief, that you learn as you grieve, is that it has no shelf life, you’ll grieve as long as you breathe.
What happened to Matt shattered my reality and left me questioning the nature of life itself. It’s all so wrong, and so unfair. Matt deserved none of what happened to him. He’s one of the best of people I’ve ever known. He truly made me try to be a better person. Not saying he was perfect, not saying we never argued, or he wasn’t the slowest person I ever met – besides my brother.
Matt truly lived a life practicing kindness and compassion. This should not have happened to him. So, I’m left with why?
And there will never be an answer to that, and yet I continue to ask it. I read all kinds of books, on mental health, the meaning of life, surviving loss, happiness, self-help books, I’ve even been to a medium. I’m not religious but I’m willing to sacrifice reason and take a leap of faith. Matt can’t just be gone. I want to believe there’s something after death. I know that we don’t know everything. I know that in this vast universe there are many unanswered questions. I choose to believe that a soul that I birthed will infinitely be connected to my soul. So I look for signs that give me a sliver of hope, a ladybug on Matt’s bench, a dog in San Diego, a song on the radio, a duck on the pond, and all the other things that I take as a sign, they give me hope that Matt’s energy might somehow be moving through this earth, that maybe he does still exist, even if it’s in a different form.
Today is two years that we’ve had to live without Matt’s voice, touch, laugh and love. We miss him every minute of every day. We always will.