What do I do with these photos? School pictures, snapshots, family portraits.
What do I do with these memories? The memories from when he laughed for the first time, said his first words, learned to walk, all of the first days of school, snuggling together on the couch.
Am I allowed to keep these? I stare at pictures of him when he was five years old and think about all of the possibilities we had imagined for him. Will he be a writer? Maybe a scientist. Would he be good at sports? Would he want to have children of his own? Would we get to spend time with our grandkids?
I remember Saturday morning breakfasts, talking about whatever was on his mind. We went from talking about his favorite toys to his favorite cartoons, to how to do magic tricks, to his plans for building a bike ramp, to his favorite classes in school, to his dreams for the future. At some point, the conversations became less in-depth and shorter. Eventually, I noticed that we had stopped having those breakfast talks. I chalked it up to him being a teenager. He probably didn’t think that I would understand the feelings that he had. Maybe he was right.
Is it okay to think about the trips to the beach when I would watch him jump and laugh as the water splashed on him? Is it okay to watch the videos of him scoring his first points in a basketball game? Can I remember how his hugs felt and how it changed over the years? Can I remember the time he started crying at the table and we hugged and I could only guess why he was crying?
What about the cards and drawings that he gave me over the years? Can I keep those? Can I look at them? The hair from his first haircut? The carving that he spent weeks making for me?
Is it okay to remember that he loved me and that I loved him? Can I tell people that I still love him?
Do I tell people that this is all my fault? I am his parent and I am responsible for him? It is my fault that he…
Do I remove him from our insurance? Do I sell his bike? What do I do with his trophies and medals? What do I do with that picture he has hanging in his room of him and his Grandma laughing together? Is it okay to remember that he was funny and liked to make us laugh?
Do I talk about him with the rest of the family? Does he still exist in our lives?
I always told him that I would love him no matter what. Is it okay to keep that promise?