Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Following the Map That Leads to You

I miss the taste of a sweeter life
I miss the conversation
I’m searching for a song tonight
I’m changing all of the stations
I like to think that we had it all
We drew a map to a better place
But on that road I took a fall
Oh baby why did you run away?
I was there for you
In your darkest times
I was there for you
In your darkest nights
But I wonder where were you?
When I was at my worst
Down on my knees
And you said you had my back
So I wonder where were you?
When all the roads you took came back to me
So I’m following the map that leads to you
"Maps" by Maroon 5

Lately I've had bits of that song replaying in my mind.

I know it's a romance gone bad. A struggle to find what happened and went wrong.

But in so many ways those broken hearted songs could also be from a mother missing a child, a true love that even those most committed of lovers can't quite understand.

I find I spend time in my head sorting my way back to Ethan, as though I could unravel what went wrong and make reality different somehow. It's a wasted exercise. It's a silent conversation with my son, "Why didn't you? Why didn't I? If I'd only? We should have...."

There are times that I feel as though I'm wasting all the mental energy I should be using for a million other things simply trying to change the past, to reconstruct something that will make the present different and I get so tired of it. In reality, I'm still struggling to grasp his death and the end of all our conversations and dreams, our shared existence.

It doesn't take much to bring that on, although certainly when this song actually plays on the radio that will do it.

A "Hiring" sign at a job he could have done makes me think of him and what could have been.

Someone talking about their college plans reminds me of all he wanted to do at one time.

Encountering a teenager that I want to grab and shake because he reminds me so much of Ethan in that 'life happens and eventually I'll sort it out because I have no plans way,' and in the meantime he's doing nothing and making bad choices.

The sometimes crushing realization that it's been two years since I saw my son and touched him and that that number will only grow as I get older, but I don't think I'll grow to miss him less. He'll forever be stuck in my mind as the overgrown kid who hugged me at E1's fourth birthday party, picking me up because he thought it was funny that he could, slumped in the back seat of my parents' car as they drove away. I didn't want him to go, ever, yet because of his drug use I couldn't let him stay and there was just never any way around that.

I wonder if he ever really knew how much I loved him, how precious he was to me, how badly I missed the real him that was so often lost in a narcotic haze, or even just the physical presence of him in my day to day life? Perhaps he felt the same way, but the drugs were always between us and we could never find the map that put us back together.

So I listen to broken hearted romance songs and sometimes I cry for the man I lost.

The man I gave birth to and watched grow up.

My son.


  1. I love this, Angela. Those 'what ifs' are so hard and I'm so glad to know you see the futility...and yet, it is an exercise we experience and grow from... One of the things that helped me years following my Gavin's death was the "What if I can still love him, just in a different way that I'd ever expected?" What if you can still make memories with Ethan, just in a different way than you'd every imagined or planned on? Yours is still such a raw grief, Angela, and I'm sending you light and love...

    Be kind to yourself, Journeyer. This is the path Ethan chose. It sucks and his death will never be okay, but I believe with everything I am that you can be okay in the face of it... Hugs and <3

  2. I hope you find your strength through the love of those around you. I now someone who lost her son 2 years ago. She is making progress, but it takes time. Be good to yourself.