Stretch Marks and Stones All in A Box

I buried my son in a 36 inch long coffin.

Shalebug was 37 inches tall.

I buried my son in a coffin one inch too short.

I am haunted by this.

I know, heck I knew at the time, it made no difference. Bug's feet were twisted and curled and even in life he preferred to have his little legs curled up instead of stretched out, but I can't stop fretting over the fact I crammed my son into a box one inch too small for his wee body.

What kind of mother does that?

Grief is a funny thing. It's a palpable emotion that will consume every ounce of joy and happiness if you let it. It's the monster that lives in your closet, a parasite feeding off your love and memories and always looking for your soft underbelly of pain, the chink in your armour.

This week, through a series of events I have had no control over, the monster rattled at my closet door and managed to find a way to slip through a crack to rip my shirt up and expose my garishly pale underbelly.

With it's plaque covered pointy teeth, this monster leaned over me during my emotional weakness and ripped through my defenses so that I am once more bleeding tears of pain and sadness and loss.

There is no bandaid for this oozing wound, as all the joy I have managed to harvest since my son passed seemed to quickly seep out of my soul and into the monster's foul, gaping mouth.

Which leaves me struggling with the knowledge once more that I crammed my little boy into a box too short for his small body.

Today I feel broken and hollow as the monster once more recedes into the darkness of the closet I wrestle to keep locked.

Today I exam the past and savour the what-if's as they roll around my brain.

Today, I try to remember that at the time, it seemed like the right choice. We didn't have the money to have a coffin custom sized for our boy, and there were only two options available to us. A three foot coffin or the next size up, at five feet.

The thought of my son lying in an adult sized box for all of eternity seemed ludicrous to me. What did he need all that space for? So I chose the smaller version, thinking I would find comfort in knowing he was snug as a bug as he lay beneath the soil.

I can't for the life of me shake the image of that tiny oak box covered in white daisies being lowered into the ground.

I suppose I would be haunted by this vision still, even if I did choose the larger coffin.

I buried my son in a box because I couldn't handle the idea of cremating him and the flames surrounding him.

The truth is, today, I can't handle the knowledge I ran out of tomorrows with my son.

I'm grieving the fact he never had the chance to grow taller, get smarter, become more.

I'm struggling with the fact the only tangible evidence he once existed are the stretchmarks on my body and the stone marker on the ground.

The monster won last night as he terrorized my hard fought peace and bound me tight in the cloak of sadness once more.

Today I grieve; for tomorrow I will have no time to as I once more set out to find joy that is not lost, but eclipsed by this eternal darkness that rolled in like the fog on a gloomy day.

But today, today is for knowing I buried my boy in a box too small.

IMGP2918Stretch marks and stones, reminders of how I miss you so, Shalebug.