“Do you still think about Judson much?” my neighbor, whom I’ve only known for a few months, recently inquired.
I responded with a curious look, wondering what prompted her question, but touched she was thinking about my boy.
She continued, “The only person I’ve lost in my life is my grandma. It was a couple years ago and she rarely comes to mind.”
I realized she was sweetly trying to grasp my grief, but had limited experience of loss herself. “I understand,” I replied, ” I was actually present when both of my grandmas passed away. I love them very much, but they don’t come to mind for me very often either. “
Her son, born just a few months after Judson, was playing nearby.
“It’s different with Judson. Very different. I think about him all the time. Our kids are part of us; just as he was a central part of my life when he was alive, even in death my mind continues to connect Jud to my current experiences. Whether it be remembering him, imagining what life might be, or grieving what is, he comes to mind all the time. All the time. Although he is not physically present in my daily living, he’s still a central part of my thought-life. Does that make sense?”
This time, she responded with a curious look. I paused, trying to think of a way to help her understand.
“Consider how much you are connected to your kids right now. They are integrated in one way or another to most areas of your life,” nodding toward her son I continued, “Imagine if something happened…”
“…I can’t. I can’t imagine that! I just can’t!” she exclaimed, waving her hands in the air.
“I’m sorry. I understand why you wouldn’t want to imagine that,” I affirmed.
Meanwhile my heart was torn by the reality that I not only have to consider such an awful possibility, I live with the actuality of it every single moment.