Dawn, Monday, August 8, 2016: I drove to work feeling worried. Jesse had not shown up for dinner the night before and I still had not heard from him. There were other times he missed Sunday dinner, but he always called or sent a text. My calls and texts to him were unanswered. When I called his number later that morning for the 28th time, my call went straight to voice mail. His phone was dead. I called his work place and they could not find him. By this time, my heart felt like a lead ball sinking slowly into a deep deep sea.
It was at that moment that I heard a voice that seemed to be coming from the area of my chest say. The voice said clearly and with great compassion “It was time for him to come home.” And I knew Jesse was gone, though my mind refused to accept it. A little while later when my husband called from his apartment I felt no shock — only confirmation. It took a few minutes for the full weight of devastation to ld that did not let up for the next year.
Now on the two-year anniversary of that day, I am surprised to be in the same office and not a complete mess. Yes I am still sad and I still feel the loss. My heart still aches. But I am not destroyed and can even feel joy. I have read quite a few books on losing a child and some people say the second year is harder than the first. This has not been the case for me. The first year was harder, harder than anything I have ever been through, as hard as anything I am capable of surviving.
For 12 months I let myself feel the full weight of grief. One mother who had also last a son told me it was like being hit by a train and I concur with that description. I took no mind-altering drugs and did not drink alcoholic beverages. As the months went on, I reviewed every phase of Jesse’s life in excruciating detail and was very hard on myself for every parenting mistake I made or might have made. One afternoon in February 2017 I felt so weighted down by grief that I collapsed in the parking lot on the way to my car after work and scaped the right side of my face on the pavement. Only one man saw it happen and I quickly told him I was fine. I got in my car, wiped blood from my face with a t-short, and picked out bit of gravel from my cheek. I still have the scars.
On August 7th, 2017 I was finally able bring myself to visit Jesse’s grave. Some of his friends were planning to gather there on the 8th and I wanted to make sure it looked nice. We still had no grave stone, but that day at the grave the first tiny seed of healing found its way into my heart. The second year has been one of slow healing. We got a beautiful grave stone and I started bringing flowers every day. I read more books on the afterlife, both personal experiences and scientific research. On Mother’s Day weekend I found myself sitting with psychic medium named Shelly Frey and had a wonderful conversation with Jesse that confirmed all the messages I thought I had heard from him in the first year. I knew for sure he is okay and that removed the bulk of the lead from my heart. How I ended up meeting with Shelly is a story in itself and some day I will write about it. For now I will just say it was not the sort of thing I ever thought I would do and events leading up to it fell into place suddenly and quickly.
During that conversation, he told me he would be around, that he would send signs, that he would come in dreams. I do see signs and have dreamt about him several times that I can remember — and lately I have been able to remember my dreams more often than in the past. In the most recent one he appeared as he looked at age 13, when he was going through his rapid growth spurt. We were walking somewhere that seemed like it was both in front of a school and a path in the woods and my Mom was walking with us. There was a feeling of love of comfortable companionship among the three of us, and just before I woke up, Jesse said, “You are the one who really knows who I am.”
I just now realized this that this is the same thought I had when my mother died in 2010: “I have lost the one person who really knows me.” Of course God knows us down to the number of hairs on our head, far better than we know ourselves. But to have a human in your life who really knows you is like a small connection to the whole and is of infinite value. So what Jesse said to me in that dream is the most precious gift. I did know him, and better, I know he continues to be the Jesse I love.