Neal should have turned 29 this May 19. His sister should be teasing him about almost being 30. His grandmother should be making his favorite key lime pie…the one she makes for no one else. I still find it hard to believe that he is gone sometimes. He was only 27 years old and still had so much life to live and experiences to taste.
Last year was hard. I’ve said this before, I know, but the pain of losing a child is like a primal scream. It feels like a piece of your very soul has been ripped out and there is no comfort or solace for that kind of pain. Time may dull the edge of it a bit, but you will live with the pain of your loss for the rest of your life. There is no “getting over it”. You can come to accept that loss and make it a part of who you have become, so that you can move ahead in life. But, you always feel sorrow that your child is gone.
This year is even harder for me in some ways. That’s unexpected. Now that my mind is no longer completely enveloped in that primal scream I can feel the real pain of losing Neal. Not just of losing a child, but of losing Neal. I miss him – his personality and quirks and humor. I miss his laugh and the silly faces he made when you wanted to take a nice photograph of him. I miss the inevitable movie quotes, mostly Star Wars or Monty Python. I miss the twinkle in his eyes when he teased me and managed to make me mad. And I really miss watching him mature and blossom as a wonderful father to his two little boys.
Happy birthday, Neal. Your mom misses you.