I talked to my mom today. She and her husband had just returned from vacation, and I reached her on her cell phone as she was shopping for the perfect frame in which to place a photo of Julian alongside the poem I had written for him. This reminded me of what I have been going through over the past few months, searching for the perfect stationary, the perfect picture frame, the perfect container for his ashes, the perfect way to commemorate him... What I realized is that each of these actions serve not only as a way for me to remember him, but also as a way to love him.
A friend's mother complimented my blog today, saying how amazing it is that I was able to create something so helpful after such a great loss. All I can say is that this is the only way I am able to continue to mother my son. I need to feel that his life had meaning for my husband and me, and that our hopes and dreams for him were not in vain.
I went to a support group meeting tonight. We had been to a previous support group that turned out to be a disaster, but my friend Lorraine found out about another group affiliated with Mount Sinai Hospital, and I decided to try it out. Robert couldn't come with me because of the timing, but I decided to go anyway. It was great--a much better experience than our previous one. Hopefully, Robert will get to attend a meeting of this group at a later date. It was definitely more in line with what I was expecting.
Strangely, Robert and I also experienced our first night "out" tonight. After Robert got off work, and after I left the support group meeting, we met up with our friends and went to the opening of an Off-Broadway show and after-party. It was great fun, but at some point we were talking to a woman whom we would have normally found eccentric and interesting in a New York sort of way, and found that we both wanted to interrupt and tell her about our loss in order to explain our complete lack of interest in what she was saying. We have been amazingly on the same page with all of that has happened. At least we can be thankful that our experience has strengthened our relationship, as opposed to tearing us apart as we understand happens to many couples after a loss such as ours.
How strange it was to be dancing, laughing, and having fun at a time like this. What a different life than what I thought I would be leading at this particular moment. I found myself dancing with a handsome young man, probably gay, and only a few years younger than me. To my surprise, my feelings toward him were more maternal than anything else. Even this experience, although very outside our recent experiences of grief, reminded me of Julian. It made me recall wondering how I would react if Julian were gay. Robert and I always agreed 100% that we would absolutely love him unconditionally, attend PFLAG meetings, and whatever else it took to support our son. We would be his biggest fans, no matter what course his life took.
Needless to say, it takes a little creativity to parent a child who is no longer living, but this blog is my response to those who question Julian's impact on our lives or how we can go on. We go on because we must, and because Julian would have wanted it that way. We go on living and loving Julian in the only way we can--by finding comfort and meaning in the everyday and the mundane, by standing up for what we believe, and by loving each other.