Friday, October 8, 2010


Today I find a letter I wrote to Colby. It was a letter he never read, a letter I had never given him because I wrote it in case I passed away suddenly. It was to be my final words of encouragement to him, something for him to read after I passed on, never thinking that something that tragic would happen to either of us for decades. But just in case, years ago I tucked the letter into a corner of a drawer and in it I told Colby how much I loved him and that I would always watch over him. How, I think now, is that possible when Colby passed before me? How can I watch over him and care for him when he is no longer here?

Some might say that there is no need for me to do either of those things because Colby is now well cared for in heaven. I believe that is true, but as a grieving parent of an only child, my need to be a mom to my son didn't die along with him. That urge to care for him is still here. It is a unique position we grievers of only children are in. When our child passed, so did our role as a parent.

I find in addition to grieving for Colby, I grieve for my role as a mom. I grieve for the grandchildren I will never have. I grieve for the in-laws I will never meet, the weddings and birthdays and christenings and graduations I will never attend, and school plays I will never see. I grieve for what could have been, but will never be. I grieve for Colby, for my lost role as a mom, and for me.

The grief brings home to me that the loss of every person in its own way alters the course of the universe. There is all the love that will never be realized, the children who will never be born, the events that will never take place. It is very sad, all that loss. There is much to grieve for, and a lifetime of loss to contemplate.

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