Wednesday, September 15, 2010

24 Years Later - To Austin

My son, Austin, would have been 24 this year but instead, I'm honoring him on the anniversary of his passing.

I often think back to my life then.  Beyond poor, I survived on a pail of ice cream and Hershey's syrup each week, waiting for handouts from friends.  Austin was fed formula and natural fruits and veggies.  I did my best to keep him in clean new clothes, with clean, disposable diapers.  With no clue what I was getting into when I kept him, I did my best.  Read books, asked friends, talked to professors teaching child development, read more books, and went to school.

What I learned from AJ was the complete and utter giving of myself to someone else without abandon.  I also learned to cope with a grief so deep and so vast, that some days, I did not know how to survive.

For the years after he died, I prayed that God would make sure I never had another child.  I vowed to help others who were less fortunate than me... despite that I ate nothing, and had nothing.  My time volunteering went to really sick kids and their parents, I studied a little harder but so wrapped up in grief, I fell short and just wanted to graduate.  Get the paper, get out, get a job, move on  My life's dream did not matter anymore, not much did.  Nothing made sense, nothing helped soothe the heartache and loss so dark.

But helping others did help me cope. It forced an acknowledgment that despite my own pain and suffering there were others with far greater pain, and greater suffering.  Forced to focus again on someone else, my own pain lessened... as the pain of death always does.

The memory lives on in the way the survivors help others.  The memory lives on in the manner that we honor those who have since left our sides.

This clip is from the movie, "Pay It Forward" which came out about 10 years ago or so.  Fabulous movie, the ending was the only time I saw someone with a stone cold heart, cry.

And Austin, if you know and hear my heart, know I'm still trying to pay it forward.  As I will, for the rest of my life in your honor.

Love you,

~ Mom


Slamdunk said...

My condolences on this anniversary day. I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child. And hope that reading posts like this will remind me to cherish each moment with our sons and daughter.

K said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes. How special you are (even though you may not think so). It also made me think how lucky we are to still have my primary patient at work alive. Hugged her a little closer. Best of everything to you and your healing. My heart goes out to you, my dear.