I never expected to be in this position so soon, saying goodbye to my son.
Today's selection from author Tori L. Ridgewood will take you on a mother's emotional journey, with an unexpected twist at the end. I think you'll like it! Read and be generous with comments!
Elliott: Lost and FoundI never expected to be in this position so soon, saying goodbye to my son.
I paced the waiting room floor, counting the gleaming tiles under my feet. Fourteen steps from the entrance to the spotless floor-to-ceiling windows. Outside, in the corridor, nurses moved placidly in their quiet white shoes, unhurriedly completing their duties.
I desperately wanted a cigarette, even though I had never been a smoker.
Don’t think of it as disappearing, I told my faint reflection. He’s being reborn. Becoming.
Outside, on the lawn two stories below, a young woman accepted a dandelion offered by her own toddling boy. I knew every inch of my son’s body, at that age. I had taught him how to pee without wetting the seat, and reassured him that sitting was just as good as standing. (Was that an early indicator? What other signs had I missed?) I remembered how he’d squawked when I first bathed his tiny limbs, the aimlessly waving hands and feet which were now the same size as my own. I had held him close to my heart, and in the blink of an eye, he was grown. Only the photo albums and my own memory remained as proof that this wonderful, intelligent, athletic person had once clasped me around the knees in order to keep from falling, as he took his first steps.
In a way, I felt as though my son were dying.
My throat burned uncomfortably. I coughed to clear it, earning myself a sympathetic glance from a little old lady seated nearby on the peach vinyl couch. Was her child here, as well, being reshaped by doctors into a more comfortable form? Was she waiting to meet a person who was brand-new all over again, while still remaining the same? Was she as confused, heartbroken, and hopeful as myself?
I wanted to ask her these questions, but my mouth was dry.
I recalled a coffee station down the hall.
Offering a half-smile by way of apology, I turned and walked the fourteen steps to the door and followed the neatly printed signage to the galley kitchen which was available to staff, patients, and visitors alike. A fresh pot was brewing; its nutty aroma should have relaxed me with its familiarity, but instead my stomach jumped into knots.
Elliott wouldn’t be different where it counted. His interests were still the same. His beautiful hands, long-fingered and delicate even in infancy, now produced award-winning abstract paintings. His boisterous laughter had lightened in tone over the past months, but it still carried me along in its infectious joy. We still shared our loves for running, camping, fishing, and cooking. But after all the subtle and not-so-subtle alterations, I couldn’t help but mourn for the loss of the child I had raised. I was proud of him for speaking out, for knowing himself so well, and beating the demon which had tempted him to take his own life. The complete loss of my child would have been absolutely unbearable. That he had even considered suicide devastated me.
The coffee was ready.