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Losing Ian

“My destination is no longer a place, but a new way of seeing.”–Marcel Proust

I lost my son Ian and life has become a deep haze of grief. Time is meaningless except for the vast swaths of the future that is lost to us. All the plans, all that was saved and counted on dissolving like salt in a watery broth of tears. And the inability to reconcile reality – the immediacy and permanence of death seems impossible for my beautiful 26-year-old boy.

I am often speechless which is an unknown territory for me. There are no words that do not provoke the inconsolable brokenness that now resides where my heart once was. Witnessing this loss transform the soul of our family and how the devastation is embodied by my other children and my husband brings me to my knees.

Here is the only thing that I know now. That love is the only reason we are here. That however many days you have to love those near you is the totality of what your life means when it ends, when any part of it ends. For years I have written about the last moments of life, where the only thing that remains real is those we love and those who loved us. I know this is what held my boy’s heart as he took his last breath and I feel the enormity of his grief larger than my own many days.

We will never be the same, but one day when the enormity of this loss has lost all of its ragged edges, we will never take another precious moment of a single day for granted. All those years that I practiced imagining that this was the last time I would see one of my beloved children didn’t scratch the surface of the irreconcilable reality of his absence, but it is in the end a worthy practice.

What I wouldn’t give for one more day with that boy. Everything. Because now I know that every problem I ever thought I had was actually me having fun, doing work that I choose. I can’t believe how much time I wasted not loving the challenges. NO more.

If losing Ian offers anything redeemable it is this- that all I have time left for in this life is love. Loving it all, all the time.