Losing a Piece of
Imagine someone has opened your chest with clawed hands,
grabbed your heart in a crushing grip and torn it from your body.
But you do not die. You remain alive, in agony.
Agony that will continue for days,
weeks, months and years.
This is what it feels like when your child dies.
This is how I felt when my son Charles died,
age twenty four years, 48 days.
To hold the limp body of my precious child in my arms
and feel its emptiness was pain that defies words.
I stood there staring at a once beautiful young man, now lifeless,
knowing that I would never again see his smile,
hear his laugh or feel his hand clinging to mine.
I would never again hold his warm
body close and
breathe in the scent of his hair or
cologne. I would never
know the person he would have grown up to be.
I walked from the room knowing that I had seen
and held my child for the last time ever.
I wondered why I still lived,
and how I was supposed to keep going.
I wanted to die; I wasn't suicidal - it's just that
the only way to end my pain was death,
and I ached to hold him in my arms again.
Never again will I feel 'whole'.
My whole future is flavored by the loss of my son.
A part of me went with him,
and a gaping hole exists that his warm
presence once filled.
I asked questions that no one could answer;
Why did he die?
Why not me instead?
Death has struck close to me once -
what if it happens again?
What do I do now?
How will I manage?
Why am I still here?
I rode an emotional roller coaster.
One moment I felt I was managing well -
the next I was curled up in a corner
pleading with God to take me, right now.
I went for long periods where I did well and thought,
"Okay, I've accepted it."
Then out of the blue, it hit me anew -
"He's dead. God, he's really dead."
And I began a new round of grieving.
Gradually, I found that the lows
weren't quite as low as the previous ones,
and that I rose from them quicker.
Then just when I thought I was cruising on a level piece of track,
it dropped out from under me yet again.
I did this over and over and over,
but living with it gradually became easier,
and I even found that I could live a 'normal' life again,
although it was a new normality.
We will never forget Charles.
He will live forever in our hearts
and in our memories.
Death makes him no less a part of our family.
Living with the fact that my child has died
does not mean forgetting.
It means knowing and accepting that he is gone,
but still holding close those precious memories.
It means that our love for him does not change,
but that we don't allow our grief for
to over-rule our lives forever.
It's about remembering that Charles would not expect
nor want us to spend the rest of our lives in misery.
My new normality is not necessarily an unhappy one.
Charles’ life and death is part of what makes me who I am.
It has had an immense impact on the way I look at life
and although I wish he was still here,
I know that I have grown from my experience.
remembered something the other day when Charles
Was only 2 and half years old; As I would drive up to
The day care to drop him off, he
would start singing a
Song we frequently listened too;
“Every time you go
Away, you take a piece of me with
you.” Only Charles would
you” instead of with you. I would
would be back soon to pick him up and that I always
piece of his heart with me while we were apart.
Charles’ official date of death is the 7th of June, 2007,
the day his life was taken away from him.
Even though they tried
To stop the bleeding and start his heart up again,
he was gone. I believe it happened so quickly that even he
Did not realize what was happening.
As I write this, it's the 20th of April, 2011;
Charles’ 28th birthday.
I wonder what he would look like now,
and imagine him playing with his four year old niece whom,
At the time of his death was only 27 days old. The last photo of Charles
would be of him holding his tiny new niece.
Even as I sit here writing about his death,
We tend to celebrate his birthday rather than his
To us it's more important that he was born
than that he died.
We choose to celebrate his life,
not his death.
It means more to us
that he was here
than that he left.
Charles your Dad views pictures of you every day at his
computer. He has dreams with you
in them often. Your Sisters think
about you all the time. Your niece
talks about you as though she remembers meeting you. Maybe she does remember. She loves playing with all of your legos! Your Grandmother, Aunts, Uncles, and
Cousins remember your life as well.
I now know in my heart and mind that Charles’ SPIRIT lives on and keeps evolving. He is still with us in SPIRIT every day. The signs are all around us. We just need to recognize them. A song at the right time, a shooting
star just as you are looking up at the sky at nighta
rainbow extending from north to south as though right over his gravesite,
thoughts pouring into your mind that you think are your own or your
imagination, but in actuality they are his connecting up! So just try it
sometime…Ask him what he thinks about a situation and wait and see what happens!
Yes Charles you did take a piece of me “wich” you when you
died; but I have your Spirit with me now ;
one will ever take away from me!