Grief practically strangled me during the first few years after Calvin was born. Though we did not lose our child the way some unfortunate parents do, we suffered a great loss nonetheless. We lost—albeit never had—the pure joy of a healthy child. We lost the chance to delight in seeing our child run and play with other children. We lost the hopes and dreams of any parent whose child wakes up in the morning only to scramble into bed with them and beg for what the day might promise. We weren't even sure if our child would ever walk or talk or be able to feed himself.

At first I found it difficult to look at pregnant women. I felt sheer envy of what they were about to experience that had been robbed from me. Every time I visited the grocer I came home sobbing having seen countless bouncing babies sitting upright in their carts, locking gaze with me from afar, rummaging through their mother's purses with supreme dexterity or quite simply not crying, but rather taking in the experience as if it were honey. Life was so carefree and joyous for those mothers.

My child could not support his own head let alone sit in the cart. He could see only inches from his face and his beautiful indigo eyes jerked and roamed in their sockets. He could hold nothing and he cried and cried and cried. I loathed going to the grocery store for I couldn't avoid the painful, happy images that were looming around every corner. I felt this way for the two years leading up to Calvin's epilepsy diagnosis and for years afterwards. Sometimes I still feel the familiar sting.

Once, I received an alumni newsletter from my Alma Mater. On the cover was a photograph of a fellow graduate and her husband with their grade-school daughter and healthy nine-month-old quintuplets. All of the children were fat, happy, bright-eyed and glowing. To regard it nearly made me ill. I had to throw it immediately in the trash as tears streamed down my face. Calvin's home-health aid at the time, at seeing my reaction said something like, "you gotta get over it."

Don't let anyone tell you that there is a time-limit on grief.

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Version originally published 10.19.10.

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