In Loving Memory

  • Remembering my beloved child, Austin, who passed away at the early age of 14. He lived more in those 14 short years than most and is an inspiration to us all.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Dance

When you lose a child, you open yourself up to signs from them. As much as you know they are in a better place, you miss them with every breath - and you wish for just one more moment with them. Since Austin died, he has sent us many messages, always seeming to be at just the right moment.

I ran out to vote earlier and needed to stop by the store quickly on the way home. A few minutes later, I realized that I was on my way to his grave. I guess subconsciously I needed to visit him. Typically, I don't get a lot of comfort from being there. A mother never imagines she'll be visiting the grave of her child. It is surreal, foreign, wrong. I go through the motions. I clean his stone, straighten his flowers, fix the things I have control of. Today was different. Today I felt him there.

As I stepped out of my truck, I looked towards the golden field beside his stone. It bowed and whispered in the gentle Spring wind, almost dancing. It reminded me of a poem Austin had written several years ago, titled "The Field," and I wondered if it was a fraction of the beauty Austin sees daily now.

My stay was brief, as even though I felt the connection with him today, the reality of visiting his stone is still too much to bear for long. The cemetery was unusually busy as well and I prefer to be there alone. As I pulled out, I turned the volume up on the radio and was welcomed by another goose bump moment. One of my favorite songs began to play.

I was moved by the words of "The Dance" by Garth Brooks from the first time I heard it. When it released, I was just a kid, but the words were still powerful to me.

From the beginning, the song spoke to me in how I wanted to live my life. I even told my husband, then boyfriend, that if I should go before him, I wanted it played at my funeral.

To me, the song meant living your life to the fullest, with no regrets, and most of all, living in the moment. No looking back, no worrying about the future. Just to be.

Today, the words had such a new meaning. I could hear them being sung by my sweet little boy, telling me to listen....

Looking back on the memory of
The dance we shared 'neath the stars alone
For a moment all the world was right
How could I have known that you'd ever say goodbye


....and I could picture holding him as a baby, dancing under the stars and watching his amazement at the first time he noticed them. Thinking about how lucky we were to have him in our lives, how much of a treasure he was to us. And how we'd never imagined he'd be gone in an instant.

And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I'd of had to miss the dance

Holding you I held everything
For a moment wasn't I a king
But if I'd only known how the king would fall
Hey who's to say you know I might have chanced it all

I wish things were different, wish he was still here, but it could have been so much worse. His death could have been painful, with a lengthy illness. And the pain from his loss is more than I have ever experienced. I've cried more tears in the past year and a half than in my entire life combined. The pain is tangible, all encompassing. I now know a heart literally can break from sadness. But I would NEVER trade this pain because it would mean never having Austin in my life. He is worth a lifetime of sadness from his loss for the fourteen years of happiness he gave us.


And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I'd of had to miss the dance

Yes my life is better left to chance
I could have missed the pain but I'd of had to miss the dance

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