Secondary Losses

Drove by his high school today. It wasn’t the first time. Not even close. I pass by it at lease once a week, but today was different – today it hit me hard. A memory came flooding back to me, and it was completely unexpected. It brought me back to his senior year. It was a cold day in December, and I received a text from a friend letting me know that East Providence High School has been placed on lock down because of a gun scare. I was at work when I received the text, and immediately asked my co-workers to pray. I tried calling Christiano, but couldn’t get through. I tried texting, but there was no response. I even tried the school, but to no avail. 

After about twenty minutes of waiting for a response, I decided to go to the school and see what was going on. When I pulled up the whole outside of the building was swarming with police, reporters and parents. I asked around and parents confirmed that they has heard the same thing. The police allowed parents to go to the front of the building and wait in line to get to the main office, where we could dismiss our children. No one was sure of the whole story, but a couple of the moms that were in line had heard from their kids. They seemed to be shaken up, but unharmed. I waited for about an hour to get my son, but it felt like an eternity. I gave him the biggest hug then asked what had happened. He wasn’t even sure, himself. He was in class in another part of the high school when a voice came over the loudspeaker telling them to remain in their classrooms and not to leave. He said he really wasn’t nervous until they had the students lay down on the floor. But, even then he wasn’t too scared to fall asleep while waiting it out. Typical Christiano. 

Being brought back to that day made me so sad because I won’t ever get to have that role in his life again. I want to be his rescuer, his comforter, his protecter, his aide; I want to be his mother. Will I get to be in Heaven? Will I ever get to do those motherly things for him again? So much of who we are as mothers comes out in the care taking of our children. We thrive on loving and nurturing our children – even when they are grown ups. As hard as it is to let go of Christiano; it’s almost equally hard to let go of my role in his life. I know God is way better at all of it than I am, but I want to be the one. 

I’ve been learning a lot about the secondary losses we experience after the loss of a loved one, and I have suffered many. The loss of his future, the loss of the family comedian, the loss of a bond so precious, the loss of our future family plans, and for his – his wife, his children, his first home. The loss of security in the God I’ve known all these years, the loss of faith that once seemed so strong, the loss of future plans, and much much more. 

Some of those losses are reversible and can be regained. But,  the one I cannot ever get back in this life, and perhaps the most difficult, is the loss of me. So much of me was established through mothering Christiano. And, I’ll never get to be her again. How I long for my son, and how I long to be his mommy. ‘You’ll always be his mother,’ you say. In title, yes – I suppose that is true. But, I’ve really been into titles. Never again will I get be his mother in deed. And, that’s a loss I can hardly bear. 

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