It’s really hard to develop an intimate relationship with someone after they’re gone. And as a birthmother, even one with a strong sense of self-esteem, I can’t help but question my “right” to want this relationship. I have to pointedly talk myself through, again and again, the entire decision making process.
I have to do this all the time, lately it's been almost daily.
Since he turned 18, and we were first reunited, I’ve tried to glean a sense of who my son is. Early on social media was the main source of information, and since his death I’ve been fortunate to have access to his family and friends too.
Here’s what I’ve come away with:
the image of a young man with a tendency to think-outside-the-box;
not just an ability to do so,
but an inclination to do so.
The ability to think outside the box is prized and encouraged, while those who prefer to live life outside it can be viewed in less favorable light. I imagine, as a result, that some people were not so sure he had it all together or perhaps thought that he was a bit “out there.” But I also believe he had to have some of the BEST friends a person could ever ask for. Friends who embraced his individuality and who encouraged his imagination, and even friends who took up residence outside the box with him from time to time.
There’s power in owning ones’ uniqueness, and I think it takes most of us a long time to figure that out (yep, still working on it over here), but I think he “got it” early. I think he figured out that there’s a lot more space to move and “be” outside the box than in it, and he made the conscious decision to go there.
Is this who he was? How his mind worked? I don’t know. I may be just making things up. Again, it’s really hard develop a relationship with someone once they’re gone. But this image I’m developing of him, in my head, is beautiful. And in my head, I can embrace him and hold him, and if he did indeed live and think outside the box, then I can believe he would embrace me back, without hesitation and without judgments.