What we have once enjoyed we can never lose.
All that we love deeply becomes a part of us. ~Helen Keller
And so, here I am again, approaching yet another anniversary of the death of Daniel Paul Wisler, my son, who left for Heaven on Ground Hog Day, 1997.
And I am grateful that after thirteen years, the anguish leading up to his death date anniversary is gone. I can look at his photo by my computer and smile into his blue eyes and not feel the panic or misery I felt on the first February 2 after his death. I see him with hair--lively and mischievous. I view the professional photo taken of him and his big sister, Rachel, where he had a wet spot on his little vest--my attempt to remove the sticky chewing gum before the photographer snapped the portrait. In another photo, I see his clear eyes, before cancer treatments touched them, and his wide smile at the birth of his baby brother, Benjamin.
Another year and I am older. Although the pain has lessened, and I've learned to cope with being the mother of a deceased son, the love has only grown. I have learned to love my three kids on earth--Rachel (19), Ben (14) and Elizabeth (12) much more. So, my love for Daniel (who would be 17) has increased as well.
Not a day goes by that I don't think of Daniel. His life, so well-lived, and death, has shaped me into what and who I am today. Losing a child is so powerful, considered the worst loss. Of course, it literally restructures your life.
I used to come to Compassionate Friends meetings and look at those tear-stained faces with new losses, like myself. Then I heard the voices of those who were more experienced, having lived through years of grief. Now, I am one of the latter--seasoned in grief, tougher, more resilient.
Yet tears still catch me. Sometimes, even unexpectedly, I will feel my eyes fill. Sometimes the tears come when I see a blond-haired toddler at the mall, or a kid wrapping his arms around his mother at church.
I have missed you for 4,745 days, dear Daniel. And I have loved you during every single one. I toast your life of four years, I sing to your memory, and I carry the love. None of it can be stolen from me. I'm grateful that you are my son and that I am your mother.