I started to type out an email. It had been a long time since we talked and so much has happened. I am so different now: “What you need to know about me is, I talk about Lincoln a lot. My son died and it has shaped me. My life revolves around death; and until new life is brought into it, my life will continue to revolve around death.” I carried on explaining myself. I said that I know it’s hard to understand, but I hope they could bare with me.
I stopped typing. I stared at the screen. Why am I always apologizing? What do I have to feel sorry for?
I spend so much of my time feeling sorry for everyone else around me. I’m difficult to be around. They couldn’t understand. It’s hard to be my friend. I make people uncomfortable. I couldn’t expect them to know what to say. I’m different. I’m damaged. No matter where I go or who I talk to, I’m giving a disclaimer: This is my life. I’m sorry it’s so hard for you. As hard as it can be for others, it is one thousand times harder for me. I am missing a piece of myself and, on top of that, I am constantly having to explain myself to other people. Why I’m depressed. Why I’m sad. Why I have anxiety. I feel the need to justify my every thought and feeling. And I am exhausted.
I have continued to do this because I want people to know him so badly. I want him to be remembered. There is such a desperation for others to see him the way that I do. I have spent countless hours, days, weeks, and months telling other people who he is to me. I type until I have no words left. I paint and I draw until my fingers are sore. I say his name: loudly, clearly, proudly. I will continue to do these things. I will always share him. He is my child, and I am his mother. But I can no longer issue a disclaimer to everyone in my life. I will no longer beg or plead for others to understand. Those who love me and who love Lincoln, will try to understand on their own accord. Those who love me and who love Lincoln will never need a disclaimer. I have the right to be a mess. I have the right to cry. I have the right to mood swings. I have every right to live a life consumed by my child, just as any other parent would.
To those people who still need a disclaimer, I will give one final apology. I’m sorry, but I’m NOT sorry. I am freeing myself from the pressure that I put on myself to appease others. I am not sorry for loving my son with all of the love that my heart can hold. I am not sorry for speaking his name. I am not sorry for the ways that he has changed me: deep in the root of who I am, eternally, and irrevocably.