People will tell you that you will know when it’s time.
That you’ll see it in their eyes or that they’ll give you a sign. That one day you will just know.
My 15-year-old boy would have hung on until the ends of the Earth. Even if it meant his being in agony, he would have soldiered on.
I worried that his devotion, his dedication, would mean that I wouldn’t know when it was time. And he tried.
He tried to hide his tiredness, his pain. He tried not to show that he was ready to go. But that morning I saw it.
I saw that shudder as he took a breath in. I saw the beautiful spark in his eye grow a little duller than it was before.
His sweet face looked at me as if to say “I’ll stay, mom, I’m here…” but for all the love, all the joy, all the happiness he had given me, I couldn’t ask for a single second more.
I held him in my arms, I stroked his ears and kissed his head and I told him that it was okay. His job was complete and what a magnificent job he had done.
I told him that mommy and daddy would be okay. I told him that we would care for each other now and it was his turn to rest. That we would be there with him to help him over the bridge and into my little brother’s arms. I let him know that there was nothing to be scared of, that he was a good boy, he was MY good boy and I could never repay him for all the love he had given me.
He buried his head in my neck. He breathed slowly, labored breaths.
For an hour more we waited for our appointment time and when it came, we helped him to his feet and took our last car ride together. I sat on the back seat, his head on my lap and I told him all of the things that we saw on our way.
I fought back tears because I didn’t want him to think that I didn’t want him to have peace. I know that he knew. He always knew every nuance of my being, but I tried, so help me I tried to hide it this one time.
As I lifted him from the car and we walked inside, one tiny step at a time, I kept on trying to fight back those tears. Every fiber of me wanted to turn and run, to pick up all 70lbs of my boy and cradle him in my arms, to hide away for just one more day…but I couldn’t.
It had taken everything in him to surrender, to admit that he was tired and as much as my heart was breaking, I couldn’t let him down.
So we walked inside, one foot in front of another, both of us braving the most difficult decision we have ever made – to let go.