My biggest fear is that I will forget. That eventually life will get in the way of remembering. That my arms will no longer hold the memory of my son.
I am afraid.
After the death of your child, time seems to stand still. A day is simply too large to conceptualize. A moment seems more manageable, yet sometimes still not bearable. A moment can look like a step forward. Sometimes, two. Other times, there is doubt if a step is even possible, and if so which direction it will take you.
Moment by moment. We are not always present, not always mindful, but each passes nonetheless. We watch them come and go from a place of uncertainty. Uncertainty of a future that is one more step, one more moment in time, away from holding our son.
Photographs and memory are all that we have to anchor us to the past. To help us hold on as the moments combine into days, weeks, and months. Time continues to surge forward. I fear that I will become too reliant on photographs and they will replace the memory, the feeling of being with my son.
I take photos. A lot of them. It has been a hobby of mine since I was a young child. I love the ability to capture a moment in time that is just yours. A reason to stop and appreciate. To share. Photography preserves the beautiful, allowing you to cherish and reflect.
While this may be true, a photograph cannot preserve the feelings. It cannot capture the smell of Owen’s hair. The rising and falling of his chest as he takes his tiny breaths. The sound of a daddy whispering to his son so gently, so lovingly. The words that were spoken to a little boy who fought so hard to hear them. The overwhelming rush of love that I felt when I was first given my son to hold. The feeling of never wanting to let go.
I worry that my capacity for memories will reach its tipping point. That eventually, new memories, ones far less important will win the battle between now and then, overwhelming and pushing out my most cherished memories of our son.
I worry that even with my fight for them to stay, the feelings will fade with time, that their colours will not be as vivid. That eventually I will have this element of the loss to grieve, too.
Memories are fragile. I need them stay intact. I need them to weather the storm with me. I need the feelings to be remembered by every cell and nerve in my body. I fear that without them, I will not be able to carry on. They are all that I have.
Time is fleeting. I wish it would stop and let me catch my breath. I wish I could reverse it to a time where I was not afraid, the place where my innocence and naivety still reside. The time when our son was in my arms and everything was ok.