I knew it was in August, but it had stayed buried, until someone during a unrelated conversation reminded me, the shock, the anger at myself and the shame and guilt rushed at me, literally taking my breath away.
Had I denied him by failing to remember him at this time of year? Can I console myself that I do in fact think of him, even subconsciously, on a daily basis and therefore am I forgiven for the unintentional lack of remembering that today is the day he was born, and in a day and a half it will be the day he died. Does it make me a terrible mother to him that the day did not shout out to me?
16 Years old today, my son, the boy who I never met, the boy who remains a wonder and mystery to me, a shadow of a memory who’s fleeting presence in my everyday life is small comfort to what could have been.
Passing away so soon after his birth means that according to Jewish Law I do not have “Yahrzeit” a day, set aside to remember him by, a candle to be lit, prayers for his memory to be said, what I have instead is a cold, grey stone, cut in to the shape of a heart with his birth day and the name I would have given him engraved on it, given to me by the hospital approximately 8 years ago, when I made my final pilgrimage there to enable myself to have the closure I so desperately craved.
Visiting the hospital where he was transferred to, being shown around the intensive care unit, being given the notes that were taken, sitting in the “garden of dreams” all those years ago I had finally felt a nearness to my son, it had taken many years of anguish and heartbreak to both find out where he had spent his pitiful life, and where he had been buried, so much of the trauma had been blocked out, sent to the back of my brain where a lot of the memories are still hidden.
I hear my brain shouting at me, echoing words I have heard from others, “get over it, it was so long ago, you have moved on, focus of the living, focus on what you have now” so this is a message to all those who have loved and lost, and continue to love the angel, the pure soul God blessed us with, you do move on, you do focus on living, the love you have in your life, but you never forget, you can not forget, each time a friend or family member gives birth there is a raw pain, there are prayers that their baby is healthy, there is a tiny spark of jealousy.
With each birthday I allow myself time to close my eyes and think, today he would be 16, would he be doing A levels? would he be academic? Is he a happy boy? Or is he moody, and angry with the world in general as is a 16 year olds given right to be? Is he loud, musical, an actor or dancer like his sisters are? how religious is he? Does he love and value Judaism, have we taught him right from wrong? Is he rebellious or is he laid back and happy wherever he may be? What foods would he like? What kind of clothes… the list goes on and on, if I let it, the list can overtake all other thoughts today.
If you are feeling judged right now because you lost your angel so many years ago but still feel the pain, know that you are not alone, no one can ever tell you to get over it, or move on because your can not and should not.
Never forget, never stop hurting, because it is the pain that connects you, the love that the pain brings, although so difficult is what will keep you grounded and give you the knowledge and the validation that you were once your babies mother.
I may not be obligated to light a candle, it may not mean anything in Jewish Law, but tomorrow I will light a candle, because it will comfort me, it will give meaning to my sons life and it will light up my home with its warmth, and maybe just maybe it will make me smile when I sit and look at it, smile because I know that today, he sits with God next to the Throne and is smiling back.
Lots of love