It was today, five years ago, that I last hugged my son. I think about that hug quite often, and I've been thinking about the lead up to this five year benchmark for a bit now. I think of how I talked about my loss a lot in the beginning; on social media posts, in my journal, to friends, and to strangers... but as time passed it became an occasional update with the hopes that my journey toward healing could help others. Now, I post less about that specific situation and more about my day to day and how I’m building things to move into the next chapters of life.
I've had a lot of anxiety these last few days. It's just been sitting under the surface, almost like a living thing. A parasite. It’s terrible. But I've noticed that I don't feel the same type of sadness that I did even two years ago. It's gone from a gut wrenching, knife cutting, pain to more of a longing. It's a feeling that something just isn't quite right; that I've left something important behind.
Even as I write this, I realize that I’m not breaking under the weight of the words and the reality. In the past I would have been a blubbering mess at the thought of “the last time I hugged him”, and although my heart feels so heavy, I can’t help but think of the good things that my son gave me, the lessons he taught me, and the blessing that our relationship was. I’m realizing that I’ve moved past the point where my first thought when I think of him is of his death. How easy it became to think of him as only that for a while. Now, I think of his personality, of his silliness, of his love for his family and friends, and of the good that I’m doing with this loss.
I’m actually more emotional when I think of the gifts that he left behind than of his leaving. I only hope that I can grow and honor him as well in these next five years as I have in the last five.