Ezra was here. He was tangible and beautiful and full of light. He was Ethan’s son and Daisy’s brother. He was my sweetest boy. He was here. I could touch him and smell him and kiss his dimple. I miss his toes and his little sounds. His onsies in the wash. I even miss the sleepless nights.
I can not describe how surreal it feels to have my child die. When my mom died, it was- and continues to be- a hugely challenging loss. I believe there is absolutely no ranking of loss- one is not harder, or worse than any other… But in thinking about my experience, losing my mother made more sense. She was only 52, but in the order of life, I am suppose to grieve my mother at some point.
I am not suppose to bury my child. My 8 month old son. Ezra should be turning 2. He should not be frozen in time as a baby, but rather out exploring his world. Learning to interact with others and figuring out ways to express himself. Ezra is still part of our daily lives. Daisy talks about him through her day. She colors pictures for him and writes books about him. We watch the videos over and over and over and over again. And of course, there are pictures of Ezra everywhere. My ache for him is so overwhelming at times.
Since Ezra’s death, I have been very tuned in to other moms experiencing loss. Recently, I was put in touch with a beautiful mama in Austin who’s son was killed in a tragic car accident. Her son was not born with a genetic disease. He was growing and thriving and was about to start high school… my heart just breaks for her. Like I said before- there is no ranking of loss, it is all so very hard. The fear and worry can be consuming- and at the root of it is this underlying reality that gone are the days of assuming things will “work out for the best” or that “everything will be okay”. Things aren’t always okay and we have little control over any of it.
Lifting the veil on how heartbreaking real life can be does not mean that I need to go through my life being cynical and angry, never risking heart break again. I think this is the challenge of grief. When handed a loss, the choice arises to either become consumed by the grief, or to figure out how to integrate the loss into living. Our loved ones would want us to keep living. And although I hold irrational fears about keeping Daisy safe, and although I miss Ezra every minute of every day, it is important to keep living. It feels good to laugh… and I mean tears-in-my-eyes-can’t-catch-my-breath-full-body-shake laughter. It also feels good to dance. Our family loves to boogie in the kitchen… and as I watch Daisy pirouetting around in fancy tutus, I can picture Ezra smiling at her as she creates new moves, filling the kitchen with joy. Living through loss is hard. Most happy times have a bittersweet aura to them. But still, there are happy times. And there will be more happy times to come.
So, on this, what would be Ezra’s 2nd birthday, I will choose to live through our loss. And rather than succumb to the bitter, I will hold on to the sweet.
PS: Last year on Ezra’s birthday, I put together these photos…