Before my son died, I was just like you, or most of you. I had kids to raise, homework to look after, house to clean, job to attend, you know, everyday stuff. Sometimes the stuff would take over and the kids would get put on the back burner. I recall saying things like, “We will do it later,” or “How about tomorrow?” Perhaps you don’t realize it but sometimes we “take our kids for granted” After all, there is tomorrow and I had to get stuff done. Often times, they would get to go to Grandma’s house so I could have some peace and quiet.
After my son died, I wondered where was He? So many people don’t want their kids, and beat them and wish them away, but I wanted all of mine! I remember everything leading up to Clifton’s death. The smell of the Johnson’s Baby Shampoo in his hair before the took him into surgery. I remember how horribly they treated us at the hospital, that is another story in itself.
I spent 20 years after Clifton died doing all that I could with and for my kids. Disappointments in life should make one better, not bitter. Though, the death of a child can sure make one bitter. There are so many feelings I experienced after he died. But the one that lingered the most was wanting to be the best I could be for my kids along with unconsciously staying busy so I wouldn’t have time to think about things, I guess.
Sadly, the latter attitude cost me a significant relationship, but I had and WANTED to do and be with my kids, more than anything. I know that it wasn’t totally understood by too many people, but they were my life. They kept me alive after my son died. I had to be there for them, but most importantly I wanted to be there for them. Trips to Grandma’s house were fewer, and job changes so I could spend more time with them. And I did for many years, but then they grew up. But what happened when they left and I was alone? My relationship ended, so I was really alone. But was I?
In my opinion, yes. I was all alone. Until I found Him in Africa, of all places. What was He doing on a different continent? He knew I was in North America trying to do my thing, SURVIVE! Keeping busy, trying to make it through each day for 20 years.
Now on the exterior, I have it together, aside from a messy desk at school, but the inside was shattered. I cry now writing this thinking of how shattered and alone I was. Shattered yes, alone…not really. I just didn’t know it until I spent 10 days in God’s Country in South Africa.
I was certainly in the right place at the right time when I got the opportunity to go hunting in Africa. My life is forever changed, AGAIN!. Not back, life will never be the same after a child dies. But, I am going to move to China??!! Last summer, I couldn’t even get on a plane for a 10 day trip in which I knew I would be returning.
So before I leave for China I am going to see what there is to do, see who there is to see, and just enjoy being…..free. I will always, ALWAYS miss my son and I can cry at the drop of a hat, but…..I know I am loved. There is nothing I can’t do. I have survived the death of a child.
I hope you come along for the ride.