Fifteen years on Monday, June 3— that’s how long he’s been gone.
I was poring through some old photographs the other day when it suddenly hit me that my son has been gone for 15 years now, and a wave of intense longing and sadness suddenly came over me. He was 4 years old when he passed away one rainy early evening in 1998, after having been in a coma for two weeks. His small, newly operated heart finally stopped beating that Wednesday evening, and he returned to his true home.
A few months after his death, I remember watching the film “Simon Birch” and bawling my eyes out at the voice over of the lead character, who was talking about his mother who had passed away several years earlier. He said, “When someone you love dies, you don’t lose them all at once. You lose them in pieces over time, like how the mail stops coming. What I remember most to this day was my mother’s scent, and how I hated it when it began to disappear. First from her closets, then from her dresses she had sewn herself and then finally from her bedsheets and pillow cases…”
How true that you lose them in bits and pieces, and that with time, the pain dissipates and the living you do takes over the grieving that becomes part and parcel of your days for many years after. But 15 years later, I can tell you that the memory of one’s child remains ever so vivid, and never dims.