It was probably a sight to see: a little girl walking through the mall dancing, laughing, and singing while holding her mom’s hand. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the girl, her mother’s face expressed agony and sorrow as tears poured from her eyes.
One of Judson’s favorite outings before he died was to the Westfield Santa Ana Mall; he would enjoy riding in the free fire-truck strollers (unfortunately, no longer free) and loved playing at the indoor playground with vehicles to drive. Our boy would regularly request a visit to the Mainplace Mall.
Jessie and I have been there many, many times since Judson’s passing and I am always acutely aware of his absence, but this time it hit me particularly hard…harder than any of the previous visits, even our visits right after he died. I couldn’t hold in the pain as I imagined my boy holding my other hand while Jessie and I walked through the mall.
Grief is strange in the way that something you regularly see or do can out of the blue affect you like it is the first time you’ve experienced it since your loss. I can be sitting in Jessie’s room and suddenly be overcome with a wave of grief by something that I do daily. I can regularly go to the park, read a favorite book of Jud’s, or watch Jessie play with his toys, but without warning those things can unpredictably trigger intense pain.
Judson is gone. He is gone every day. He will be gone every day for the rest of my life. I feel my son’s absence in everything. But sometime it’s the common experiences that unexpectedly hit me with severity.