Today, I rummaged through my computer files looking for photos from Halloween 2008. It is one of the two times since Zachary's death that I have been brave enough to look at older photos, knowing they will unleash a deeper level of sorrow and regret at the old us and at all of C.T.'s ages that Zachary will never attain. With a heavy heart and shaking hands, I located the photos. C.T.'s precious round face, his drooly innocent smile and blue eyes, seemed to beam right out of his hooded lion costume. I had assumed Zachary would use that costume this year. I tearfully considered clipping out C.T. from his own photo and including the lion costume here. But, of course, that would be wrong. And, it is simply too sad. The costume is not Zachary's and it never will be. It was saved for him, but it never touched his body. He will never use it.
Nonetheless, Zachary would have been a lion cub today, for Halloween. Will anyone but us feel his absence today? Does the universe care that there should be one more lion cub? Probably not.
I think that's one of the more crushing aspects of losing my children when they were babies. They are everything to me, B and C.T., and yet, they had no (or so very little) time to impact others who (should have? would have?) loved them. That part of the hurt is so difficult to put to words. Imagine being the mother of two beloved sons who essentially had no obvious impact on the world,... who had very little identifiable impact even on their own extended family and friends. My love for them is the same - unconditional and everlasting. They are always on my mind. But, the memories "to hold on to", which Hallmark proclaims will counterbalance the devastation, are so few. The ability of my two sons to bring joy, to change and grow and continue to surprise, is completely non-existent. The concept of a meaningful life for Zachary and B.W., so cruelly unfulfilled. In so many ways, and over a period of years, I had accepted that it was this way for B.W. So, to be facing the same reality for Zachary now, just feels unbearable. A complete and shocking mockery.
Note: I am not saying that losing a child later in life is in any way less painful, or that any cropping short of a child's life is more tolerable for a parent. I am sure there is much about a son or daughter's future to grieve, even for a 90 year-old bereaved mother. But, this seems to be an extremely burdensome element of my grief, and I am having a particularly hard time coping with it after Zachary's death. I would do anything to have had just one Halloween, just one holiday, with my Zachary.