Surviving Birthdays Is A Never-Ending Battle For Bereaved Parents
When our loved ones are no longer here for special occasions, it can be a very
emotional time for those left behind.
Finding a little solitude among the devastation in your heart, can gravitate you towards healing actions.
Yesterday, I survived the 5th birthday without my son. He should have turned 23 on September 21st, but instead, it was a reminder that he had been gone for five years.
As that day has come and went, I have taken the time to reflect on how I survived yet another milestone. To be honest, I actually find the days and weeks leading up to a special occasion are more emotional for me, than the actual day. It's like my brain begins to anticipate the upcoming date in anguish, or taunting thoughts about all that I don't have in my life. Sometimes, it is difficult to push those negative ideas aside long enough to not be affected by their dire consequences of having a bit of a cry session.
When the emotions get the best of me, I do succumb to their desire, and I let the tears flow... they ultimately need some sort of release from me, so I let them have their way. The one thing that I won't allow, is to stay in that stance for very long. I decided long ago, that I was not going to give up the fight of living beyond the hand I was dealt. Yes, I truly will always be a "Mom who lost her child" but after having lengthy mental discussions with my son, I will not let my circumstances tarnish who I am suppose to become in this life. He stands behind me and encourages me on from the spiritual realm, and I don't think I would have gotten this far without his support.
For anyone who has lost a loved one, you might well know that our loved ones are cheering us on from the sidelines, even though they can't be here physically. I have learned many lessons over the past five years, and I have no doubt that my son is still a very constant presence in my life.
So, on his special day, I made a commitment to myself that I was still going to honour him in some way. I sat down, and wrote him a little note, telling him how much I loved him and how I wanted him to have a great birthday. I rolled it up, like a scroll, and slid it inside of a balloon. It had to be a "blue" balloon, as this colour has become iconic when we talk about my son.
Humorously, I tried to write on the outside of the balloon with a magic marker, and just as I was finishing the last word, it popped in my hand! "Oh no", I digressed.
I went digging through my desk to find another balloon, and had to suffice for a lighter blue instead. I went through the motions and wrapped a sparkling, curly ribbon to its end. I waited for my parents to arrive, as they were making the 2 hour drive down to commemorate Logan's day.
We drove down to the river were his brick had been installed years earlier, and a balloon release had been conducted. Standing at the water's edge, right where Logan and his Step-Dad had swam during his younger years, I bent down and placed the balloon in the water in honour of my son's birthday.
Just then, a gust of wind blew through and guided the balloon back up onto shore, where it busted about twenty feet from where I had been standing. I giggled, as this idea just wasn't cooperating. I took the note and tied the ribbon around it's middle and tossed it into the water. I was determined to get it to float away! The current pushed the note back up towards shore, until it disappeared under a large bolder.
At that moment, I realized it really didn't matter, as I knew Logan was standing there laughing at his Mom's efforts.
Earlier in the day, my partner had surprised us with a birthday cake for Logan, and we enjoyed a beautiful afternoon together. We shared lots of laughs, memories, and a little virtual reality experience and I am pretty sure Logan was sitting among us, as we joined in unison for his special day.
I am slowly learning that every occasion we are faced with as bereaved parents, can become whatever we need them to be. We are in the driver's seat, when it comes to how we want to respond to our own personal circumstances. We can bask in all the hurt, anguish, and sadness... or we do have the choice of honouring our children that are no longer here, in any way we feel is appropriate.
If you want to envelop yourself within a sad, snuggle in bed, kind of day when occasions hit, that is completely your call... no one else can tell you what you need to do at that very moment.
What is right for me, certainly may not be right for you... But, if you are looking for a little guidance, because you just don't know what to do, or how to handle the overwhelming emotions, let me give you something to chew on...
If your child was standing here right now... what would they want you to do?
Listen with your heart, and the answer will become clear.
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