I love family celebrations and fortunately there have been many, of late. Three birthday parties (including a milestone one for my 90-year-old father-in-law), as well as meals shared over Easter weekend. And coming up, a get-together for Mother's Day. After any family event, I always experience the inevitable emotional letdown of missing my son more acutely, but thankfully, the intensity of this feeling usually dissipates by morning.
Today, however, there are still lingering effects from a celebration that took place over a week ago, due to a comment an extended family member directed at my husband that evening. The words continue to reverberate in my mind, triggering this ache in my heart: "You're lucky you don't have a son." This, from someone who had known Michael. Obviously, it was an off-the-cuff comment; this person certainly did not intend to cause any pain. Still, it is difficult to understand how he could forget that we had had a son. Maybe it occurred to him later, maybe not. Upon reflection, there is the off chance that he hadn't forgotten, but neglected to consider the consequences his words might have. The impact this comment had on my husband and me was twofold: one, the shock upon hearing the words themselves, then the resulting pain, and two, recognizing the stark contrast between these two realities. My husband and I live with this profound loss every single day and yet, for this person, it appears that our son has slipped completely off the radar. And so, it goes. The learning continues.