Today, my little sunshine, would be your birthday. I supposed I would not be able to call you my little boy anymore, would I? I cannot even begin to understand it. You would be 12 years old today, my youngest son….12. When the autumn comes around this year, it will be 10 years since I last held you, since I last hugged you, heard your voice, heard your laugh, heard you roar at me. What would you be like now, my Matthew? Would you be rambunctious like Anthony or reserved like Joshua? There are new people in my life; how I wish they could have met you too. You were such a special little boy, in so many ways. I know your life was difficult, sweetheart, in ways that even as your mom, I did not understand. But I miss you…I miss you, I miss you, I miss you.
Most days I can grin and hide the loss away in a secret place and face the day, but sometimes, and usually at the most unexpected moments, the smallest thing happens, and the loss is brand new again, and it's gut wrenching, and I'm sitting here, thinking that surely this is how it feels to die, because there is no way a person can survive this pain. A pain so real that it makes my worst migraine seem like the tiniest pin prick that is over before it is felt. An emptiness that is somehow palpable, it is so profound that sometimes I can't find my way out of it, and momentarily, I feel myself succumb to the agony. I allow myself just a moment, the teeniest, tiniest moment, to wallow in the sorrow, in the hopelessness that the emptiness brings, and I cry, and I raise my head to the heavens, with the intention of crying out to God, and it's at that moment, always at that moment that I remember all is not lost. I hold on to that hope that one day, one day I will see you again, and I will drop to my knees in that field of flowers, and I will hold out my arms, and there you will be. You will run to me with your little Buzz Lightyear light-up shoes, and I will hug you again.
But I still miss you. Not a single day has passed that I have not thought of you. So many things I had planned for you. So many dreams and wishes and goals. The doctors told me you would never be able to live on your own, that if you somehow managed to grow older, that you would be always dependent on me. It never crossed my mind for that to a burden. Your brothers, they will grow up and they will go out into this scary world and make their own way. And you, I thought I would always have you with me. It was a comfort, never a distress, and then even that was taken from me. And sometimes I still get frustrated. I get upset. It never lasts, of course, but I have my moments. I am allowed moments of weakness, and I dare anyone who has been through what I have to tell me otherwise.
But, today, on your birthday, I just wanted you to know I am thinking of you. I remember you. I love you so very much, and I miss you even more.
Happy Birthday, Matthew.