the realization


Owen died.

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.


6 thoughts on “the realization

  1. Debra May 15, 2015 / 12:20 pm

    Well said, Robyn. I had a dream the other day where I had a second baby but Jacob had still died. My first thought when I woke up was, thank goodness that didn’t happen. And then I realized, that of course he was still gone and that was actually a sad attempt at a good dream by my brain. Anyway, what you said really resonated.


    • robynedmondson May 22, 2015 / 10:50 am

      When I wake up in the morning, my brain gives me respite and allows me to just be, if only for a short time. I look at a photo of Owen on our wall and the fact that he has died does not hit me. Instead, I have a moment where I am able to marvel in his beauty. However, every day, not too long after these moments, I have the punch in the stomach feeling when I realize that Owen has died.

      As I am sure you know, the mind is a tricky thing. Unfortunately, our babies will always have died. A sad reality I am struggling to understand and accept.


  2. Gretchen May 15, 2015 / 5:20 pm

    It is all so unbelievable, isn’t it? You highlighted one of the most disorienting parts… that others think it is over, that our child’s death is in the past. And, at face value, that is true. What is unrecognizable to people is the long, arduous process by which the parents of that loved child have to come to terms with the awful reality.

    Like you said beautifully:
    “Sometimes we are caught by death’s grasp and reminded of the finality of his work. That our now is also our forever.”

    At almost 16 months since his death, I still wake up with fresh disappointment each morning, that Zachary is (still) not here. I have resigned (?), accepted (?) that B.W. is not. I think that truly took something like 4 years. And, of course, it doesn’t mean I’m done grieving. Because he, like Zachary, is always loved…., so they will always be missed and mourned.

    Liked by 1 person

    • robynedmondson May 22, 2015 / 12:13 pm

      Resignation is the right word. We are not there yet.

      I have so much ache in my heart to know that some have to walk this road for more than one of their children. That you are 16 months from holding your little Zachary in your arms, after the loss of B.W., and still carrying on in their honour provides hope and light for me. ❤


  3. Justin May 15, 2015 / 6:39 pm

    As Gretchen said, it is all so unbelievable. To walk around all day with only one thought on your mind, only to be blind-sided by the same thought in the next breath. She is dead. You capture it so well with “our now is also our forever.” Time means nothing. The only measure is that our children are dead – today, tomorrow, and forever.

    And Mark’s dream – oh, the dragons I would slay if I only had the chance. Thinking of you, Mark and Owen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • robynedmondson May 22, 2015 / 12:26 pm

      Time can be a cruel reminder. As each day passes, I feel increasingly helpless. I wish there was something that I could do. If only there were dragons, I would use whatever energy I could muster. If only something could ease the pain we are all enduring.

      Thanks Justin. Sending love to your family. ❤


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