There is an emptiness surrounding today which fills my space with hurt.

It's my son's birthday today. He would have been twelve. 12. ONE-TWO. My mind is blown. Somehow, if my son had lived, he'd be in double digits. He'd be a preteen.

It's weird. For the first time, in all eight of the birthdays he missed since his death, I feel a bit closer to him than I have before. 12. Twelve is a language I understand. Twelve is tweenager language and that is a language I'm fluid in. Twelve makes me smile and remember his siblings at that age, while nodding my head as I stare off in space.

'What ifs' and 'would he's' taunt me more today with their cruel mysteries and I'm having more trouble than normal with eyes that leak unexpectedly. Like a dripping faucet in the night, keeping one awake, that's how my tears feel today.

In all honesty, for the past few years now, I've handled his birthdays and his death days with a tug of sadness. Mostly they are just grim reminders that life moves on when love ones don't. I've been filled up with love and life and I refused to allow room in my heart to let this hurt seep back into my life.

But pain and grief ricocheted back this October when my dog died. I was scared to write these words, for fear of feeling the wrath of anyone's judgment, but Nixon's death hit me as hard as Shale's death did.

Only, it didn't. Not really. What my dog's death did was rip me back into the centre of my memories and force me to relive wounds that I had long thought had been sealed tight; welded shut by all the tears I've cried.

The unexpected cruel death of my dog brought back all the terror and pain I had felt years earlier. It was less about my dog than it was about my child. Timing really is everything.

It was about a mother who never got to say goodbye to the child she loved more than anything in the world. I never got to say goodbye. To my son. To my dog. Everything was conflated, a puddle of oozing wounds and bad memories.

These past few months I have learned I'll never really be far from that moment my son died.  Love and laughter and life will heal me and move me forward, but it only takes a second to be sent tumbling back into the abyss of loss and fear once again. I will never really escape the scars of burying my son.

I wanted to be done with this chapter of my life. I'm tired of having to bear the burden of this pain. This epic ache of a mother longing for a child that no longer exists. Life is too short for this; I'm too fragile.

But there is no escape from that reality. There is no escape from January fourths or October twenty-firsts. My son's death as much as his life, has shaped me into the person I am, the people my children are and life as I know it.

I didn't choose it, nor did I want it, but there it is.

I can't wallow anymore. And I've no real words for this sorrow of mine any more, other than I really miss my kid and it sucks he's dead. It's as ineloquent as that.

I didn't want to wake up on my son's twelfth birthday and think about his death.

Twelfth birthdays are about hope and joy and possibilities. All of that still exists even if the boy does not. That is the gift of love and of life.

That is the gift my son gave me.


Happy birthday Shale. Happy birth day, me.

My view this morning.

Hope and possibilities await.