A Continuum

Losing someone is, of course, difficult.  The thing is, it’s difficult in different ways depending on when you lose them.

Unrealized Potential ←→ Lost Reality

When you lose someone you’ve known for a long time, someone who has lived for a (relatively) long life, you miss who they were and what they did.  You miss the inside jokes, the memories, and the times you shared together.

When you lose a young child, of course you miss the time you had together, however brief . . . but there’s a wider issue that breaks your heart: the unrealized potential of who they would have been.  As the song says, “I wonder what would you name your babies.”

It kills me to think of who Jack would have been had he grown up.  All the wonderful potential he had inside him.  What a great man he would have been.  The family he would have had.  The difference he would have made.

I’m saying this poorly.

As much as I miss the real person Jack was, he was so young, so just-expressing-a-real-personality, that it almost hurts more that I never get to see his first love or first job or first victory or first child.  It’s all those potential moments you dream about when you think “This is what it means to be a parent.  This moment is why I do this.”

I have my list of what those moments are.  You have yours.  We both know how important they are and you can imagine, having been able to share these moments with your own kids (or eagerly anticipating doing so in the future), why it hurts so damn much that I’ll never get to share them with Jack.

He was my son and he had all the potential in the whole goddamned world.

And I love him.

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5 responses to “A Continuum

  1. I can’t know how it feels to lose a child, but my brother died when he was 17. I was only 7 then, but as I grew older I wondered the same things about his life and thought about how different things would have certainly been had he lived. He was a talented musician and artist, he had already talked of having a family in the future. There is a deafening silence left behind when we lose someone. Thinking of you, Gina, and your kids often.

  2. thinking about who our children would have become is truly a heart breaker. I have lived with grief after the death of our daughter for 16 years. Every day I think about unrealized potential – of her as an individual, and for us as a family. I believe we would have been a very different family with her still in our lives.

  3. Pingback: Each Grief is Different | New John for a New Year·

  4. Pingback: Who You’d Be, Sixth Birthday Edition | New John for a New Year·

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