I discovered after losing my son that anything can trigger a memory of him, and quite often it occurs when least expected. The most recent incident occurred this past Sunday morning after preparing omelets for breakfast. It was simply a jar of salsa that triggered a memory of Stanley.
While sitting at the table preparing to eat, my husband suddenly asked me if we had any salsa. After getting the salsa out of the refrigerator and handing it to him, I suddenly had an epiphany. I recalled an earlier conversation years ago with my son, while sitting at this very table and him asking me if we had any salsa. I visualized his face so clearly, capturing that sparkle he always had in his eyes and a smile came over my face. Just thinking about the joy he experienced eating his favorite foods gave me a warm feeling and I felt happy. He had a voracious appetite like most boys, and I used to joke with him saying that he was eating us out of house and home. Just visualizing his face was quite pleasing to me and the memory of him asking for salsa seemed like only yesterday.
As I sat there gazing out the window reminiscing about that particular occasion among others, my husband asked me what was wrong. I told him I was thinking about Stanley and how he loved salsa, always putting it on his eggs and other foods. His expression immediately turned to sadness and he said, “I miss my son.” I told him I missed him as well and that regardless of how much time passes, losing a child is an unending grief. Although time allows us to live with it, the emptiness and longing for our child remains.
That emptiness remains with each passing year, often growing deeper during special occasions. When your child’s friend’s graduate high school and college, move away to begin their careers, or when meeting their first love, and learning of engagements and pending weddings, I am proud and happy for them, but sad that I will never share those experiences with my son.
However, even with moments of sadness that sometime come my way, I still experience joy, Joy can arrive suddenly, and making its appearance unexpectedly by way of a memory that had been buried deep within. Joy can come by way of something as simple as a jar of salsa, triggering a memory of Stanley eating something he loved, enabling me to see his face however fleeting, capturing that sparkle once again in his eyes.