The other night, my husband woke up with this realization. In these moments, there is only affirmation. There is nothing that can be said to appease, to soothe. I cannot say that everything is going to be okay, because I am not sure it will be. Some days, there are glimpses of the future and we have a hint of clarity, but this can so easily fade. The reality of Owen’s death is difficult to grasp.
To an outsider, the fact that our son died is obvious, it no longer stumbles or surprises. It is something that happened back in November – a long time ago. They know that tragedy has impacted our family, but life has carried on. A lot happens in 6 months for people.
To us, we still cannot believe that it happened. That our son died. We still revert back to the line of questioning, usually starting, and often ending, with ‘why’. Time is passing, but we are not sure where it is going. We are trying to navigate a life we had not anticipated, trying to avoid ‘forward’ as the direction of choice as it seems too uncertain.
We are living in the honour of our son. We keep his spirit alive with us and include him in everything that we do (rightfully so, he is our son). We celebrate his monthly birthdays because he deserves celebration. We talk about him, and to him, in the present tense. Owen is with us. We will continue to celebrate him alongside our mourning and yearning.
However, we can so easily be drawn back to the grief and loss. Sometimes we are caught by death’s grasp and reminded of the finality of his work. That our now is also our forever. We do not get to have any more cuddles or to watch our son physically grow. In these moments, we are winded by the knowledge that Owen has died. It crushes us, leaving us deflated and feeling defeated. The ‘oh’ moment where you realize that your son has died and that is sad – really, terribly, fucking sad. We look at a photo of him and have to remind ourselves that our son, our beautiful little boy, was born, he lived, and he died. He died.
When my husband finally fell back to sleep, he woke up in the morning to tell me that he had another dream about Owen. This time, he was his knight in shining armour. He saved him. If only we could roll back time and make dreams come true.