Would he have been taller than my husband? Would he have the same gleaming smile? Will he still throw me kisses and give me a bunch of flowers with an ““I love you” note? Would he still be cracking jokes? I can’t imagine because I will always remember him as an innocent and beautiful 6 year old boy whose death caused my world to spin around and around. I still miss him dearly but the pain is not heart wrenching anymore. I don’t feel like I am drowning in pain. I yearn for him especially during birth and death anniversaries or when I see a boy similar to his age.
Like this very moment, I think of Luijoe. Tomorrow is his 10th angel year.
““I don’t know how you’ve survived. It would kill me to lose my child.” Oh, to have one peso for every time I heard that sentence! I’d spend every one of those pesos for an answer, for you see, I don’t know how I’ve survived. What choice did I have? Each transistion has been work, hard work, sorting through what it means and learning to function in the face of these circumstances not of my choosing. Five years living as a zombie and the next five years in my new normal.
My new normal as a blogger served me well: my role as a bereaved mother is no longer the first way I define who I am, but it is ever-present in my life and cannot be separated from all that I am . . . for the rest of my life.
I bowed my head and thanked the Lord for giving this child to me.
My dreams were of the future and of how my child would be,
Of how he would run and play games like hide-and-seek and always run back to me.
How could I live my life without my child – How could I possibly survive?
When the dreams I once had for my child were no longer alive?
Nine years have passed since Luijoe died. Another year marked off the calendar as we confront life without our precious child.
Anniversary dates stare out from the calendar. For most of us, the days of birth and death are the most prominent but so hard to acknowledge. The birthday that brought so much jubilation may now be but a fond and sometimes painfully wistful day of a “what might have been” memory. Then the lousiest day of the year, the day that is etched on some stone in the south of Manila, the day some of our sweetness left us forever. A reasonable amount of preparation in anticipation of this gloomy day and the empty sadness it brings doesn’t really help. We are aware about these death anniversary dates which I’d rather call the Angel date.
You see, our family members are more irritable, tempers fly and tears easily roll down. Then we remember that Luijoe’s death anniversary is nearing. Ah yes, even if we were prepared for it. It is like standing at the shores of despair looking out at the waves below the sunset that is so beautiful while signaling the end of the day. These waves of profound sadness can be relentless and the big one is coming on that date. This knowledge never seems capable of preventing the wave from smashing us into our lonely reality.