Kerry Ryan Magann
In the days following his death, I remember the slap of dawn and how I begged to hold on to the night.
In the weeks following his death, I remember how hard it was to eat, drink, bathe, and sleep. How impossible it was to function in a world that did not include him.
I remember how I drove to the beach on my birthday, waited for the tide to rise, and waded towards ripples of darkness. But I couldn't stay under long enough to make the pain go away.
In the months following his death, I remember how hard it was to talk about anything other than my son. I don't remember how I found my way to a grief counseling group but I remember I wore all black. There was one other person in the group - a mother who lost her only son. And I was no longer alone in my grief.
I remember how hard it was to listen. How I would twitch my feet, and shift anxiously in my seat, waiting for my turn to speak. I remember how much she loved her son. And how we cried and screamed and begged and pleaded.
I remember how we blindly stepped into traffic because we didn't want to walk in a world that did not include our sons.
I remember holding on to his scent, his ashes, his clothes, his notebooks. I remember holding on to every tear. And how I was convinced that these things, if held long and hard enough, would bring him back. Because life could not move on without him.
I remember confessing to the police that I killed him. And how they tried to convince me that I did not. I remember discovering his cold, gray, breathless body and how it haunted me for years (it haunts me still). I remember worrying that as he was letting go, he was scared. And how his eyes, frozen open, pleaded for mercy.
I remember how cancer, and heartbreak, loneliness and fear, pale in comparison to learning how to breath without my son.
He challenges me still.
I remember the moment I decided to live because he could not.
I would watch his son grow. And I too would grow. And all who loved him would grow.
Today, on the 37th anniversary of his birth, I remember his first breath. I remember how shocked I was that, like his father and my father, he did not have dark hair. I remember how wise and old and wrinkled he looked. I remember how my world changed the moment he was placed in my arms.
I remember so much about my beautiful son. Mostly, I remember how he loved and how deliberately he lived.