“A year without him ever in it.”
I was standing on line in Target when my friend sent me a DM with that line. It was kindly meant, as part of a larger message about being gentle with myself, but it physically hit me, like a punch in the gut.
I leaned over my cart and made a sound. The woman behind me said, “Are you ok?” I nodded, choking back tears.
An entire year without my son. A year that he will never be part of, that he should have been. The year he would have turned 11, and gone to middle school.
For the rest of my life, I’ll refer to him in the past tense. He is trapped in the amber of memory, frozen in time. Every year, I travel further into a future without him, my broken heart beating on because it must. The way ahead is less bright without his light. My tears make the path slippery and uncertain, and I am crushed by the weight of this grief.