Is there a difference in death? I can honestly say that I believe so. I got caught off guard the other day and it struck me how different that a death can be. November 30th was the anniversary of my mother’s passing 22 years ago. I had long forgotten this date as the date was never more important that the loss. The loss was I guess ingrained in me as a young man. It is a certainty that at some point in our lives we will lose our parents our elders even our siblings. For my mother this happened far too soon and not in the best manner. She was taken by the beast, Cancer. She fought it off the first time, but as most beasts do, they can sense when you are weak may come back to claim what they missed the first time.
My mother was a damn important person in my life. She was always my mother but we were also great friends we had the type of relationship where nothing really was out-of-bounds. She was someone who I admired for being able to do what she did. When the beast had her for the second time and the battle was near the end, I could tell that she was just tired of fighting and there is no more helpless a feeling that watching someone you love so much, start to lose their battle to live. We talked about it one day and I told her how much I loved her and that if my kids turned out half as good as I feel that I turned out, I would be proud. I told her that when she felt she needed to, that there was nothing wrong with letting go. We would all be OK because of the way she and my dad raised us. We were raised to do the best we could with whatever we had at the time.
No long after that, I got the call one evening that my mother had indeed passed away. I was like everyone upset and mourned for our loss but this was no shock. I could feel better and almost relieved that she was no longer in pain and that for the first time in years could get some peace. I know that my mother is still with me and has never really left the family. There are a lot of examples of this. This brings me to the difference in deaths in our lives. Mt Grandfather passed away while I was stationed in Germany he too was caught by the beast… I gathered my Infantry brothers around, had a drink to him and his life and I moved on as he would have expected. My mother expected the same and I owed that to her. I had a young family to support and raise and all I could do was get after the task of doing that with a few moments of seeking out her silent advice on what to do at various times.. But always moving forward…
The death of my son is completely different and the hour and the date are seemingly forever burned into my soul. I cannot seem to move past this. Where glimpses and thoughts of my mother or grandpa bring me thoughts of happiness and even a smile or two, when something triggers thoughts of my son, there is only feelings of deep remorse and dread. The simplest thing can get me into that mode where I cannot seem to go anywhere but backward, back to the moment, phone call, the news, the wait, the ceremonies and too his loss. There seems to be a difference in seeing what we lost as opposed to what my son lost. I think I mourn more for what he has lost more than what I have lost this time. At this time of year when there is so much electricity in the air, so many past memories of my own childhood and of my own children. I hope someday to meet up with all of my lost loved ones someday in the great hereafter … I hope I’m worthy enough to make this happen. I hope that they all have a Merry Christmas and are out there somewhere enjoying the love that we all had for each other. I love you all and miss you still.