The next day, I was driving down the highway when I realized that Wizard World is May 22-23-24. I had looked at tickets, discussed dates with friends...and not once had the date struck me as significant--until that moment, driving down Mid Rivers Mall Drive in St. Peters, MO. I pulled my car onto the shoulder and stopped. Amazed. Stunned.
May 24th is the birthday of my second son, Joseph, who died nine days after he was born. As I sat in my car by the side of the road, I remembered my journey of grief. Having friends insist I go on anti-depressants because I was "too sad" just six weeks after his death. Having family members tell me they were "over it," so they thought I might be, too--just eight weeks later. I remembered declining invitations for Memorial Day weekend picnics and BBQs for years because the date of his birth always brought my loss to the surface. I remember the birth of my niece on the 26th of May, and how her birthday parties drove stabs of pain into me so fierce I could barely breathe.
The life and death of my son changed forever the person I am. On the tenth anniversary of his birth, my husband and I solicited donations for the Children's Miracle Network, to honor him. When making the donation on the radio, I could barely speak. At that point, I knew that my grief would travel with me all of my life. I would forever see a small shadow of the missing child in photographs and at family events. I made peace with that shadow and peace with the significance of May 24. I decided I would be patient with my grief, myself, and life itself--even if no one else would be!
Then, just last week I saw the date without a flashback. I looked at those days in May without my thoughts turning to anything but an adventure. I put my hands up through my moon roof on my car and did a happy dance! I am still healing--still moving foward!
My son, Joseph, would be 22 years old this May 24th.