We were an entity, Graham and I. He didn’t exist without me. He could have, in the same way I can live without him now, but while he was here we lived in and through each other. Eating, sleeping, speaking, choosing, playing, touching… Everything was connected, layered. The edges of ourselves blurred together… I was Kristin, but not without being Graham’s mom. I was lost in him, and there were days when the fluidness of us welled up in me and I felt anxious… Resentful even? So much love and so little ‘me’ and SO MUCH love… and Graham was everywhere… all of it.
We were more than just puzzle pieces of a story but more like a liquid suspension, mixed up entirely. It’s true that as he grew older he was beginning to sediment from our solution, I could imagine him someday standing apart… I looked forward to it even, until of course I found myself suddenly alone.
Completely separate, totally autonomous. Split wide open and gaping in ugly emptiness.
My daughters were once wrapped up in me and through me in similar ways. Each in their uniqueness, each in turn, and in moments all together, we shared existence. But as time tumbles forward there are a hundred things that demonstrate their separateness from me – their maturity, their individual personhood apart from my life and my love. I often feel dumbfounded in wonderment and gratefulness.
The thing is, there are still pieces of me that completely fit with the pieces of my girls. In quiet moments, in desperate moments, in simple joy filled moments our fitting pieces find each other and we remember – we connect as mother and child and know who we are and where we are through the life of each other.
I think that we’ll carry these pieces in us forever and I pray that we’ll always have the desire and wherewithal to seek out quiet moments to join our pieces… the remnants of a life lived fully entangled. We carry history inside us, living memory.
I think if Graham were to come back to me today, I wouldn’t be familiar to him. I don’t think we could fit together anymore. What’s left of the edges that we once shared are so disfigured now, so damaged… He couldn’t find a haven. As I peer into myself, I am resolved in the disappointment that he wouldn’t find anything he needed..
Graham’s mother was demolished. I am still his mother somehow – but the mother of a dead son is nothing like the mother of Graham, because a living Graham is nothing like a dead one. I wonder even, if there’s anything to tie them together at all… Love maybe?
I wonder too, if I am even capable of finding him, could I know his soul in the darkness or has all sense of him been burned away in the disaster. Even now so many of my memories seem flat, a memory of a memory perhaps… I feel such shame to admit it, knowing that my mirror to his light is so essential.
It’s all more of my brokenness.