Sometimes, late at night, I’m reminded of this painful truth. While everyone else is sound asleep, I am awake and alone with the realization of something very certain. Inevitably, tears stream my face. They fall without any accompanying sounds, and I always try to shut my eyes tighter to make them stop. It’s all in vain. No matter how hard I try, I cannot escape this painful truth.
The empty void, the stinging pain of losing a loved one never truly goes away. What people say is true; the intensity of the pain does lessen with time. It is always there, but it tends to bury itself under other things as we heal. From time to time, we face the triggers or memories, or even come across thoughts, and the pain becomes real and intense once again. For me, I’m reminded every so often that my parents are long gone. This is a wound that can never heal.
I always seem to think of what could have been, or even, what should have been. My parents didn’t get to live long, healthy lives. My mother wasn’t around to see me past my pre-teen years. I couldn’t confide in her all the things a young girl would have wanted to. I didn’t get to ask for her guidance. I didn’t get to cry in her arms my heart was first broken, and later again when it was torn apart. I never had a chance to tell her the pain of my miscarriage. I will never be able to ask her what it was like for her to become a mother.
My father didn’t get to walk me down the aisle. He didn’t have a chance to see what I’ve become. He never got to see the impact he had on me. He never got to see his favorite bands or sports teams in person. He didn’t get to travel home one last time. I never got the chance to ask him what it felt like to be a parent in your 30s. I never got to ask him what it felt like to see your dreams realized through your children.
The part that tears me up the most is that they will never know the joys of being a grandparent. I see my in-laws, and the way they look at my son. I see their excitement and love. I wish that my parents could have experienced the same. I think my mother would have enjoyed cooking his meals and reading the same stories to him that she read to me. My father would have loved to joke around with him, and tell him stories from his childhood. They both would have laughed at how much my son resembles me. They would have marveled at how he seemed to inherit the same little quirks that I have. They would have joked around about how his naughty behavior was payback for my own.
The tears will only temporarily cease. I can’t change what happened. I can’t bring them back. Alas, these are things that can never be. Dreams will continue to haunt me. There’s not much that can bring comfort to a stolen future.
The painful moments do pass, and I try to think of the good times. I think of all the fond memories I do have, and what kinds of things my son does that would have made my parents laugh. I’m happy with the fact that they would have been extremely proud of us. I know that they are somewhere out there, watching over me and my family. I try to think of them this way, if only to at least ease the pain.