by Angela Miller
Today you should be turning thirteen. Thirteen. Your friends are starting to get facial hair, and it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around how that can be.
Today is your birthday. Today should be the first day of your teenage years. Instead you’re forever two. Instead I will celebrate yet another one of your birthdays without you. This is the eleventh birthday I’ve celebrated without you. It’s hard to imagine how I’ve gone on that many years, and managed to get from point A to point B. It’s miraculous, really. I never imagined it would happen. I never imagined I could actually survive this.
Time is strange when you’re a bereaved parent. It feels like both yesterday and forever ago, all at the same time.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. It’s not supposed to be this way. Parents aren’t supposed to outlive their children. I wasn’t supposed to outlive you.
I will always wonder who you would be. What you would look like now. What would your teenage voice sound like? When and how often would you roll your eyes at me?? Would you still willingly give me hugs?… Or would you pretend you don’t like it, but deep down you actually would?
I wish I knew. I want to know it all. The good things, the terrible things, and everything in between. I wish I could experience it all with you. All of it. A lifetime of hard and joyful childhood phases. I’d take all the crap of the teenage years just to experience one more minute with you. I’d take a lifetime of crap just to experience one more minute with you.
People tell me how hard it is to have a teenager. I wish I knew. I want to experience that kind of hard, not THIS kind of hard.
Living without you is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.
Although there are so many beautiful things I’ve created in your memory, nothing will ever make it ok. Nothing will ever take the place of you. Nothing will ever make it ok that you’re gone and I’m still here. I could build the biggest memorial in the world and it would never make my heart ache one. bit. less. Nothing will ever fill the endless void you left behind. Nothing will ever bring you back.
As the years pass, some things remain the same, and some things are so different now. One thing never changes: I love you more than life, and I miss you more than words. It doesn’t matter how much time passes, the ache, and my love for you will always remain. We are soul-tied. Forever.
I’m so proud to be your mom. So proud, Noah.
I wish I could give your smelly-stubbly-facial-hair-clad-13-year-old self a big birthday hug today.
I wish I could see you roll your eyes at me, and laugh at your silly mom who thinks she can still get a hug from you whenever she wants.
I wish I could see you smile, hear your laugh, and be your mom in the you’re-alive-kind-of-way.
I wish I could see you blow out 13 candles on whatever kind of cake you’d want.
I wish I could ask what you want for your birthday and how you’d like to spend your day.
I wish I could tell you how much I love you, and how proud I am of you.
I wish I could celebrate every birthday with you for the rest of my life.
I wish I could watch you grow up.
I wish I could.
ANGELA MILLER is an internationally known writer and speaker on grief and loss. She is the #1 bestselling author of You Are the Mother of All Mothers and founder of the award-winning online community ABedForMyHeart.com. Angela’s article 7 Things I’ve Learned Since the Loss of My Child has been shared over 1 million times. Her work has been widely featured in Forbes, People Magazine, Psychology Today, CBS News, Broadly Vice, The Huffington Post, MPR, BlogTalk Radio, The Gottman Institute, Love What Matters, and more. Angela’s writing has comforted millions of hurting hearts around the world.