Seven years ago today was the last time I saw him alive.
I know everyone thinks that August 31st, the day he died, is the hard day for me. It isn’t. It’s today.
Mike’s dad had been with us for a few days visiting, but left on the 30th. Mike helped me to get Keeghan and I settled on the sofa in our standard position - me sitting sideways with Keeghan between my legs, leaning back against my chest - before he and his dad left. We spent the afternoon watching movies, most notably his favorite movie - Transformers.
It was a good day if you don’t think about the fact that Keeghan could no longer walk, talk, or do anything other than click the remote to change channels on the TV. I had a whole day to just hold him and at that point, that was a good day.
Mike woke me up the next morning at 4:30 to tell me he was gone. I think he probably would have died sooner, but was holding on for a day when it was just us, The Fantastic Four, together. That moment wasn’t meant to be shared with anyone else.
Seven years. I just don’t understand how I have gotten through that much time without him. I miss the little moments…watching him eat his cereal and drink his coffee (with exactly one Irish creamer, thankyouverymuch), looking like a grumpy old man until he’d been properly fed and caffeinated, every morning.
Seeing him watching TV with that big old cat, Buddy, curled up in his arms like a baby.
The way he would look at Mackenzie in utter confusion as to how they were even related when she said something goofy.
Hearing his voice say, “I love you, Mama.”
I have so much love in my life, and I know I am still so blessed to have the amazing husband and daughter that I have. Without them, I would not be here, and that is a fact. But damn it, I miss my son so much. He should be here. He should be in college, working toward that goal of finding a cure for cancer like he told us he would when he was 5-years-old.
Instead, I get to see pictures of other boys his age doing the things he never got to do. Some are children of my friends or coworkers; others are children I knew when Keeghan was alive, children he should have been out running around and playing with, but couldn’t because he was going through chemo at the time. No longer children, but young adults now. I get to see them live the dreams I had for my own son.
Even worse are the ones whose children survived cancer. Again, I don’t wish Keeghan’s fate on those children at all and am happy that they survived. It’s how the parents address that survival that can set me off on a flight of anger that can soar for days. Thanking some god for a miracle that implies that child was deserving of one when my son wasn’t is, at best, naive. At worst, it’s offensive to the families of all those children who have died. Thank a doctor, a research scientist…hell, thank Lady Luck that your child had the right type of cancer that was caught at the right time by the right group of medical providers. But DO NOT imply that your child’s survival was solely attributable to some mythical being who, apparently, thinks your child is more deserving of a life than mine.
Yes, I am bitter sometimes. I don’t wish Keeghan’s fate on anyone else, but I can’t lie - seeing those other children doing things Keeghan should be doing makes me angry. Not at them per se; just angry in general. It isn’t right.
I don’t know if other parents who have lost a child feel the same way. Many have religion in their lives to lean on; maybe that helps them to not look around at all the opportunities their children were denied and accept it. Perhaps some feel exactly as I do, but are too nice to say it, or are too afraid of the backlash from others.
I have always been the person who doesn’t really give a damn if I hurt your feelings with my honesty. You aren’t me and have no idea what I feel; therefore, you have no right to judge my feelings. I do a good job most of the time keeping my feelings to myself. Today is the day that honesty gets to be at the forefront though. Because today is the day that all of those years, months and days of watching him fight to live, only to see him slowly fade away and die, hit me all over again, the pain as fresh as it was seven years ago. Today is the day I allow myself to rail at the universe.
THIS IS NOT RIGHT!
HE DESERVED MORE!
He deserved a chance, like all the rest.
He was so good, so sweet and compassionate…so smart! He had so much to offer this world. He wanted to be a father someday, so he could be just as good a Daddy as his own was.
We all deserved to get to see him reach those goals.
For seven years, this world has missed his light, even if most didn’t even know it ever glowed to begin with.
Oh, what they missed out on, and oh, how I miss that light.
I miss you, Bubby.