I would love to spend the day holding my little Owen Benjamin. Staring at the little being loved and cherished more than words can convey. I should not be engulfed in sadness, enduring this all-consuming lethargy that the grief presents in relentless waves.
We have spent a lot of time dwelling on the should’ves. Wondering what might have been had our dreams and expectations for our family turned out as we had planned. Today, we should be remarking and reminiscing about how he is growing up so fast. We should be making lists of his accomplishments, deciding that meeting/exceeding textbook milestones have nothing on the unique little man our son is growing into. We should be picking out an outfit, putting on our mittens (because it is still chilly on the fingertips), and going for a walk outside to listen to the birds welcoming the new season. We should be meeting daddy for lunch by the river next to his office. I should be witnessing the anticipation on Owen’s face as he cannot contain the excitement of seeing the person he adores most. We should be doing all of this and much more. Should be.
I know how it is supposed to go. I have run through this in my head over, and over, and over, and over again. And over. Again. Of course this is how we want it to be. If only the universe took such tall orders; adhered to expectation.
I will always wonder. I will always dream. I will always yearn. I can’t help but wish to know about the little things that Owen would do that are just his.
Would he sneeze when the sun meets his eyes? How many times? I bet they would be cute.
Would he love music as much as his parents do? Would he have the confidence to sing loudly?
Would he eat his peas? Or, would he scheme with mummy and try to avoid them?
Would he be inquisitive? ..clever? ..creative?
Would he enjoy learning about the world?
Would he have uncontrollable fits of laughter like his mummy when his daddy says something funny? Would his face turn bright red? What would his laughter sound like? What does his smile look like?
So much left unknown. The questions that hold so much expectation and yield so much pain. I want to learn more about Owen. I want to know more about my son.
Owen has lost out on the life we had planned for him. A lifetime of memories and giggles shared as a family. A lifetime of travel. A lifetime of love. The ability to grow up and develop into an individual capable of making decisions for himself. Making choices that we try to equip him for, holding our breath with the hope that we have done well enough as parents. Knowing that if he stumbles, he will know the importance of learning from hardships and heartache, that life will carry on.
Then I remember that it isn’t fair. None of this is fair. The should’ves and continued expectations are simply not fair to our son. He can still have a lifetime of love, of travel, of memories and giggles, but it just looks different for him. Owen’s life is beautiful. Just the way it is. A difficult reality to accept, but this is his. Owen Benjamin’s life. His story. A story without an ending. A story that I refuse to give up on.
I know how grateful some of you feel while you read this, those of you with living, breathing children in your arms. Those of you who are able to remark about the time passing with joy, mixed with sadness of its momentum, but knowing it is still time nonetheless. The I can’t even imagine thoughts of pity you have for those of us who do not have what you do – the ability to hold your baby and watch them grow. Yes, there is jealousy. No, the pity is not needed. We still have our baby, our little Owen Benjamin. We are just learning how to do this whole family thing in a different way than we had planned. We are learning how to hold him in our hearts, parent through our actions, and live an honourable life full of joy for our son.
Happy 5 months baby. You warm our hearts. We love you for the wonderful little guy that you are and the joy you have filled our lives with. The sadness and tears that you see will come and go. The smiles and the will to carry on are for your life, your spirit, your story that is still being written.