There is not a second of the day I do not have Artie on my mind. No matter what I am doing, cleaning, cooking, yard work, or school with Wolfgang. Arthur is always right there in my thoughts. I went grocery shopping and thought about how he and I would sit up late at night and eat Oreos. I heard some guitar music today and it reminded me of how he would come in and play me a new song he had learned. I miss him with every fiber of my being and that will never change. The reality is, when you lose a child, you feel as though life is over. You can’t imagine going on without them, it’s not right, it’s not natural.
The world does not take pity on you and stop to wait for you to catch up. The sun rises, the wind blows and the birds continue to sing. Families don’t stop doing things together for fear of bringing pain to you. Holidays don’t get cancelled because your child is not here to celebrate them. It’s just not going to happen like that. Life truly does go on.
A year into this journey I can say with all honesty that it is not any easier today than it was the moment he was gone.. Life without him will never be as full, never will I have the deep, belly ache laughter that we had together. My dreams for the future are not as big and bright as they used to be. The dreams of Artie and Wolfgang standing up at each other’s weddings, becoming Uncle Bubbie and Uncle Boo to each other’s children. Arguing over who was going to take care of us when we get old… 😏 Those are the dreams that are no longer existent, they are gone forever.
I do still have a great future ahead. There are many travels and adventures to go on. I look forward to watching Wolfgang continue to grow into this amazing young man he is becoming. Many years are still ahead for me to continue loving my husband, the love of my life. Seeing our grand children grow up and hopefully having a few more.. 😊 I will take every moment as it comes and cherish each of them. I will share my experiences in the hopes that they will give other families hope for a life still worth living in the shadow of loss.
I have been trying so hard this past year trying to come to terms with the fact that Arthur had a problem he felt he could not come to me with. That boy and I talked about everything. So why then? Why would he not come to me with biggest issue of his life? I believe he did not come to me because of his love for me. Ever since he was little he spent his days making me happy. Taking care of me and Wolfgang was all he ever thought to do. I think when he realized there was something wrong, and I believe he knew this, he didn’t want to worry me. He knew kids that were medicated regularly and that was something he would never have stood for. We had talked about this at length before. When things started changing for him he kept it inside until he felt he had to stop the thoughts in his mind, one way or another. A year later we of course know more than we did in the time after his death. I wanted to blame the world, every person that came into contact with my baby, myself included. It was so much easier to feel the anger than to endure pain. Being a teenager is never easy. Puberty can totally mess up a young persons head. This is scientifically a fact. Maybe some kids just don’t adjust to the changes as well as others. I think Artie was one of those kids. He was fighting his own demons and when things got so out of whack that last year, it was just to much for him. The stress of things going on in our lives just finally took their toll. I do not believe it was something he thought about for a long period of time. Looking back now I can see things those last few months that could have been warning signs but, we chalked it up to the “teenage” thing. He was not sleeping well, was not eating as usual and had lost interest in a few things that he had always done. Then we found out he had told people about nightmares he had been having and of course there are the kids that he told that night that he was thinking about suicide. But we knew none of this. Teenagers are super good at hiding what they want. At this time, I have found myself at a place where it is time to stop looking for a why. The fact is Arthur is gone from this world. He is on adventures we can only imagine and I know he is happy. I also know for a fact that he is still here with us quite often. No longer will I ask why, and I have let go of all guilt and blame. My grief has been for myself, the loss of my son and the life we had. And now I choose to let it go.. It serves nothing..
I still forget sometimes. I hear a song I know you would like and I want to share it with you. When something good happens, you are always the first person I want to tell. When I am feeling down I start to walk to your room for a hang out session. Every time I am in the garden I really do expect you to walk through that back gate and say, “hey mom, whatcha doing”. I catch myself waiting.. Then I am right back in reality and I remember, you’re not here. Today I started a job. I kept thinking the whole day how it would be if you were here. Just like when we used to clean the beach houses. Even work was fun when we all did it together. Wolfgang went with me. I know he was thinking the same thing. We have so many amazing memories. The pain is still very real. Not as raw but still here. I hope you always see the love that is over flowing in our family. The sadness and loss will never destroy that. Our love for you makes our love for each other even stronger now. I love you bunches Artie. I miss you even more.
It is because of this grief I carry with me that I see what is important in life. The gifts I have received on this journey have been great. Would I change or forget all I have learned in exchange for having Arthur back? Of course I would. I would do anything to have him here with me. But I know, my Soul knows this is the way it has to be. The lessons we learn are not always easy and certainly not what we would choose. Yet, life is full of them. Some lessons bring us joy, happiness and at times, good fortune. Then, there are those lessons that bring agonizing, debilitating pain. Lessons that at first we only see the “why me” of it all. I fought the urge to embrace anything positive from Arthur’s death. I wanted to wallow in the darkness. There was a time in the beginning that I just wanted to die. I could not grasp a reality without him in it.
Then the numbness subsided and I became aware of the fact that I had one of two choices. Go the rest of whatever life I have left miserable and unhappy, just waiting for it all to end, or face life with anticipation and joy. In simpler terms, I could choose to live my life or sit around and wait for it to end.
It was the hardest decision I have ever had to make. At first I told myself that I had to go on for my family. My kids and my grandchildren needed me. Kurt needs me. But in truth, I needed to live for me. Losing Arthur made me see that there are so many things I still want to do. I have had a good life but I always hid a part of myself, tucked neatly away so long that I forgot it existed. I wish I had more courage when I was younger to do the things I longed for. I worried to much about what people would think I suppose. Most of the dreams I had early on were pushed away quickly by the ideas of others perspective on how I should live my life. So now, in my fifties, I am going to do some of the things I have always wanted to do.
I am going to grow an eclectic crazy garden, paint my house bright vibrant colors and listen to loud music as often as possible. I will surround myself with people I enjoy being with! I am going to throw parties for no reason at all.. I am going to stop and talk to people on the street, feed stray animals and hug trees whenever I can! I am going to go middle age crazy! I can almost hear Artie laughing…
My heart is broken. A million tiny little pieces that once held all of the love a mother can bare. I imagine sometimes, I am sitting at a table, putting them together like a jigsaw puzzle, one piece at a time. I work and work and work at it until finally I get to the end only to realize there is one piece of the puzzle missing. I stand back and look at this puzzle I worked so hard to put together. All the time, all of the love I invested, and the piece is not there and never will be.
Then as I focus on the missing piece, the hole where the piece should be, I realize something. I can still see the picture, I still see the beauty and know that even though there is an empty space, the frame that holds it all together is still there.