M heard this song in January and fell in love with it. Profoundly autistic, he had never learned how to express his emotions before he heard this song. He used this song to teach himself how to tell me that he loved me. Everytime the chorus would play, he would pause his dancing to say, "I love you, mommy!"
I knew for years that M loved me to the best of his ability to love anyone. I knew his autism left him trapped in a mind and body that would never know how to properly interact with the world around him, a body that would shut down with strong emotions of any sort. I accepted that reality. That in the end he learned how to say he loved me was a bonus I wasn't expecting.
It was this song he insisted I switch my phone to at 2:30 in the morning when I could not sing Puff without crying (stupid last verse about little boys don't stay little forever). I knew it was his way of telling me that he loved me as he left this earth.
This morning, I headed out for my walk. I promised I would walk slowly. I have discovered that my entire body simply HURTS now. I know it's a manifestation of my internal pain. However, every walk since he left has been painful and a tremendous struggle. Today, I assumed I would simply walk at whatever pace my body needed to go. What mattered was that I walk, not that I do so gloriously. My ankle burned in the old injury. My calves groaned in the effort. Yet, I walked. I hurt so badly I had to pause and sit on a tree-stump at my turn-around point. As I headed home, M's song started to play in my shuffle list.
I knew my son was reminding me that he still loves me, though he is no longer here to be with me. I love him so much. I miss him so much.
One week ago he left me. I asked II to stay home today. I'm not sure I can face this first milestone alone yet. Tonight, I'm going to buy some red helium balloons and release them. M always loved helium balloons. What he hated was that he didn't have anymore to play with once he 'accidentally' let them loose. Perhaps I will mark every hard milestone this way. I don't know. I know that it feels right to celebrate his spirit today this way. We never talked about what came after M was gone. I don't know where or how I move forward from here. I just know today I miss my son and I can barely fathom that it's been a whole week since he left him for the last time.