Joshua was 27 when he left this world by his own hands. He was the youngest of 4 and, ironically, the father of 4. At 23, Josh was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a mental disorder his dad also had. People with this disorder go through periods of extreme highs, mania, and extreme lows, depression. Josh’s depressive episodes were also stronger and longer lasting than his manic episodes.
I remember on the morning after he left us, I decided to walk down to the corner Kwik-Pic and get a cup of coffee. It was mid-August. When I stepped outside the sun was shining bright and warm on my face, birds were singing, there were 2 baby rabbits playing in the grassy area by the parking lot, cars were going up and down the road. I could hear kids laughing and playing at a school bus stop. Everything was going on the same as the day before as if nothing had changed. My soul was screaming “This is not right! It’s not fair! Everything is not the same!” My child had left this world by his own hands, everything had changed. Everything for myself, his children, and his siblings; nothing would ever be the same again.
Some years back I read a poem written by another parent who had lost a child. One sentence in particular stood out to me. It has stayed with me since. It stated, “I am constantly aware of the presence of the absence of my child.” Constantly aware at every ball game of his son, every birthday party, every graduation, every wedding, every birth of one of his grandchildren…constantly aware.
I have learned that a mother’s love truly knows no boundaries, not even in death. Until my last breath I will be Josh’s mom. He will forever be my blue-eyed baby boy.