Grief and guilt are strange beasts.
As a father to a disabled son, I’m still learning the ropes, but have realized you can never anticipate, you can never prepare for when it hits.
Perfect example; yesterday we were at Disney World, the Magic Kingdom, the most magical place in the world.
Never once did Harrison’s disability hit me. Never once did it weigh on me that he was missing out.
Maybe it was because countless other families of all types surrounded us. Maybe it was simply because he’s two, and only has eyes for Bluey.
Either way, it never struck me.
Then you have today.
A simple day on the beach, and I was struck countless times. It feels like an anvil weighing me down.
Our little boy could not run around in the sand. Unable to run and play in the water like the other kids. When you see other kids up and down the beach, doing things your kid can’t, you can’t help but just wish your little boy could play on the beach.
Then as I write this, a father and son, playing catch on the beach. Just having a father-son moment. While I know that Harrison and I will have our moments, it’ll unlikely be a moment so recognized, so universal as that.
You think all that would be enough? The grief just sucking the fun out of things. The grief that takes up in pockets of moments, but then the guilt comes.
Guilt for even feeling that way. Guilt for feeling a ton of jealousy, or of the grief of what you had in your head when you have your baby boy in front of you.
It feels as if it is an unending pattern.
It’s exponentially more for me, however.
I had two children prior to marrying my wife and us having Harrison.
Harrison is her only child. Will be her only child, and I have lost count of how many times I’ve felt guilty. That I’ve felt the weight of how I failed her.
I’ve not given her all the standard mother-son moments, and all the typical milestones. Instead, I’ve given her therapies, worries and unknowns, and her own grief and guilt.
The guilt and grief are not constant. There is no real rhyme or reason for when they hit, but when they do, they hit hard, and it sucks.
Memories are never tarnished, and moments are never avoided, but there are those unavoidable times where some do come with an asterisk. Where joy and sorrow intertwined.